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Portland Cartography Symposium 2011

On Nov. 4, 2011, more than 80 professional and student cartographers gathered in SMSU 238 and 294 for the first Portland Cartography Symposium, sponsored by the Portland State Geospatial Information Society student group and Department of Geography.

The free event, created and organized by Dan Uthman and David Banis, featured a full day of presentations and a robust map gallery featuring work of more than 20 attendees. The keynote by Oregon cartographer David Imus, winner of the 2010 CaGIS Best In Show for his Essential Geography of the United States wall map, focused on the role maps and map design can play in battling geographic illiteracy in this country. The other eight presenters hailed from non-profits, local and state government, and geographic information companies that numbered from 1 to more than 1,000 employees. Their topics were a diverse mix of theory and techniques.

The 97 registrants represented five colleges or universities, two non-profits, two science-based consulting firms, eight Oregon municipalities or local governments, five state or federal agencies, seven independent entrepreneurs or cartography shops, and ESRI. Of those 97 registrants, 26 were current Portland State students or faculty.

This event was accomplished without promotion beyond selective canvassing and word of mouth/email. Because of space limitations necessitated by the budget, registration was capped at 100, and some on the waiting list were turned away. The event turned out to be even more popular than we imagined in advance, and afterward many attendees said it far exceeded their expectations. Everyone we spoke to said that they hoped the first cartography symposium would not be the last.