NACIS – a North American cartographic community

Title page for NACIS cartographic presentationSteve Burry, the Managing Director of Dennis Maps, enjoys representing the company in the global cartographic community. In October he made a very exciting trip to the USA to attend the NACIS annual conference, and describes his experiences of this lively event:

What is NACIS, Steve, and why did you attend their conference in Tacoma, Washington State?

NACIS is the North American Cartographic Information Society. I attended the annual conference for the second time this year following a very enjoyable and informative experience in 2018.

I was made to feel so welcome as a first time attendee, and learned so much about what was happening in the North American cartographic community, that I decided to return this year.

What was your objective in attending?

Dennis Maps NACIS conference badgeI wanted to build upon the knowledge I gained last year by attending as many presentations and events as I could during the three days of the conference. I was also looking forward to meeting up again with everyone I’d met in 2018 and to meeting some new people. The whole NACIS community is so welcoming that they’ve made me feel really at home as a visitor from the UK.

Everyone who attended the conference received a Dennis Maps delegate bag – what did it contain, and how was it received?

I decided to provide all of the attendees with a Dennis Maps delegate bag as a small thank you for the welcome I had last year. The bags contained a notebook, pen, lapel badge, post-it notes and a couple of printed map examples illustrating some of the different UK cartographic styles.

The bags seemed to be very well received, and it was very nice to see delegates using their notebooks and pens during the presentation sessions, and also to see a few social media posts commenting on the sample maps. The Great British Music Map seemed to be very popular!

It was particularly nice of the current President, Leo Dillon, to give a formal thank you at the annual NACIS banquet dinner. This was a nice touch and one that I very much appreciated.

What was it like being with a group of such amazing cartographers for three days?

The Great British Music Map - NACIS PresentationIt was fascinating to be with such a great group. The NACIS community is a really knowledgeable and diverse group that comes from all parts of the US and Canada, and from all areas of the cartographic sector, from the US government, private commercial, academic, and artistic arenas.

Did anyone comment on you having made the journey from the UK to attend?

Some delegates were interested that I had travelled from the UK, and were also keen to learn more about the current cartographic community in the UK (British Cartographic Society) as well as Dennis Maps’ role as a leading service provider to this group.

You were asked by the previous NACIS President to give a presentation – how did it go down?

NACIS Presentation with Steve Burry from Dennis MapsI delivered my presentation, The Art of Map Printing: Colourful Reflections from Across the Pond, on the second day of the conference.

It was very well received, with a high level of engagement and interest from those attending. There were some interesting questions too, particularly around the possibilities and opportunities that digital printing offers, both now and in the future.

What was the most interesting thing you learnt?

There were so many interesting presentations it’s very difficult to select just one particular thing! The breadth of the subject matter was what impressed me. Whether that was artistic advice on colour hill shading by hand, a Spatial Analysis of Students in K-12 Education, or the mapping of the evolution and growth of the US during the nineteenth century.

What did the delegates think of Dennis Maps’ products compared to those produced in the US and Canada?

There was a definite interest in the different cartographic styles that were illustrated by the Dennis Maps samples, and it was fascinating that the UK style of having a printed map with a separate cover is virtually unknown in the US and Canada.

And real interest in the quality of the Custom Made digitally printed product and the possibilities that this high level of personalisation could offer to other printed maps.

Do you plan to go again next year? If so, would you do anything differently?

I do plan to attend next year’s conference in Minneapolis, and I’m already looking forward to meeting up again with the great people I’ve got to know. With a record number of 464 attendees at this year’s conference, you can only meet so many people in the course of three days, which is another great reason to return in 2020!

Dennis Maps is one of the leading map printers in the world, producing more than two million maps and charts every year. We offer comprehensive pre-press services, large format print solutions using both large format litho printing and large format digital print technologies, plus specialised map folding and map finishing techniques.


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