a guest post by Mariam Gambashidze,
Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, Leipzig
Conferences are exciting scientific events, especially if they are held in person after the long pandemic times. In September 2022, the capital of Austria, Vienna, hosted a big cartographic event: EuroCarto 2022, where I was happy to present our ongoing project ‘Digitale Kartenwerkstatt Altes Reich’ (DigiKAR) to the scientific community.
EuroCarto 2022 was organised by the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), the International Cartographic Association (ICA), the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), the German (DGfK), Austrian (ÖKK), Swiss (SGK), and British (BCS) Cartographic Societies. The organisation committee ensured a diverse scientific program including workshops (before and during the conference), keynote sessions regarding the relevance of cartography and maps in different aspects, meetings of the committees of the International (ICA) and German (DGfK) Cartographic Associations, side activities (exhibition, guided visits, an orienteering event), poster and presentation sessions.
The conference was hosted at the main campus of the Technical University of Vienna (TU Wien). The venue is located in the heart of the city surrounded by historical buildings, impressive architecture, art, and many more; everything that suits the idea of cartography – a discipline which is at the crossroad of art, science, and technology. Already the weekend before the presentation sessions, the participants were arriving at the conference venue for the registration and pre-conference activities. Everyone seemed excited about the long-awaited in-person meeting and was looking forward to exchanging ideas, and hearing about the ongoing and recent research. So was I, happy to be back at one of my universities of Cartography M.Sc. programme. This time not anymore remotely as a student but on-site, as a young researcher.
My EuroCarto 2022 experience started with interesting workshops about storytelling in geographical visualisations and mapping holidays by creating a web map (Figure 1). In the evening all participants gathered in the festive and imposing Kuppelsaal for the official opening ceremony (Figure 2). Later the same domed hall with its 200-year-old wooden construction hosted the award ceremony of young researchers who received the scholarship from the International Cartographic Association (ICA) (Figure 3). I was honoured to be one of those young researchers who was given the opportunity of being part of this cartographic event and present our research to an international scientific audience.
The presentations were grouped into the following thematic sessions: Topographic Cartography, Toponomy, SDI and Beyond, Cartographic Heritage, Thematic Cartography, Location-based Services, Generalisation, Atlas Cartography, Multimedia Cartography, Cartographic Education, Perception and Cognition, Collaborative Mapping, Theoretical Cartography, Visualisation and Design, Cartographic Methods and Applications. Sessions were divided between two presentation areas: Festsaal and Böcklsaal. The diverse and interesting content of the talks were making it difficult to choose which session to attend.
The presentation of our project DigiKAR took place on the second day, the 20th of September, in the session on Cartographic heritage. On behalf of our research team at Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL), I presented a conference abstract with the title ‘Mapping complex history on the web: is a point-based approach a better way?’, which has been published in a special issue of Abstracts of the International Cartographic Association (Abstracts of the ICA, Volume 5). In the first part of the talk, I introduced our ongoing interdisciplinary project with its multidimensional approach, the complexity of dealing with the historical data, developing and testing of new concepts regarding the collection, modelling, and visualising of early modern spatial data from the Holy Roman Empire. The main focus of the second part of the presentation was visualisation which is the subject of my research group at IfL. Here, I further discussed the aims and methods of modelling place-based spatial constructions and phenomena of historical assignments of authorities, mobility, and networking together with experimenting with different forms of web-based spatial visualisations for historical datasets (Figure 4).
Our research addresses the central challenge of the manifold borders of the Holy Roman Empire. Therefore, we aim to avoid the usual area-based representations of the territories which are often seen in conventional historical maps. For this purpose, with an iterative approach, we design and experiment with the concepts and visualisations for chosen case study areas, which have different complexity. The research focuses on the one hand on creating location and point-based visualisations (to be able to illustrate multiple spatial overlaps), on the other hand, on developing a grid-based area visualisation (which can represent a rather generalised image of the phenomena) for different zoom levels. After defining the research focuses on point- and grid-based area visualisations and uncertainties of historical datasets, I introduced our work-in-progress materials and future steps of the research. The presentation was appreciated and received positive feedback from colleagues who are already looking forward to the development of the DigiKAR project and finding more insights about it in the upcoming times.
EuroCarto 2022 brought together 280 participants from 38 countries, 128 oral and 35 poster presentations, and 31 scholarships for promoting young talents. The conference once again showed the importance of in-person networking, offering a platform for discussion, exchange of research projects and their impact on the further development of the scientific disciplines.
At the very beginning of the conference, each participant was given souvenirs of EuroCarto 2022 which included a bag with the motto ‘It’s ok to be a cartographer’ (Figure 5). In the end, I think it is great to be a Cartographer and to be a part of our DigiKAR project.
Cite this article as: Mariam Gambashidze, "EuroCarto 2022 – presenting DigiKAR to the international cartographic community" in Digital Humanities Lab, 13/01/2023, https://dhlab.hypotheses.org/?p=2874.
- Featured image: Illustration from the presentation of the DigiKAR project presented at EuroCarto 2022; image by author
- Photos: Wangshu Wang, Jakob Listabarth
The project “DigiKAR” is funded for a period of three years by the Leibniz Association’s “Leibniz Cooperative Excellence” program.