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Welcome to NACIS 2014 in Pittsburgh! This is the annual meeting of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS). The theme for this year’s meeting is Cartography and Time. See the schedule below and go to the NACIS website for more details.

[If you are a presenter and want to provide a link to your slides in your presentation description below, send an email to veep@nacis.org.]

The North American Cartographic Information Society, founded in 1980, is an organization comprised of specialists from private, academic, and government organizations whose common interest lies in facilitating communication in the map information community.

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Thursday, October 9 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Literature, Criticism & Forgotten Places

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Flashes on the Map: Forgotten or Short-Lived Places
Leo Dillon, US Department of State
It is said that as soon as a map is published, it's obsolete, and certainly change is a constant in the world of cartography.  In the lifetime of some still among us, dozens of republics, enclaves, colonial outposts, puppet states, and dubious islands appearing on reputable maps have come and gone.  Join the presenter as he takes you across the world over more than a century to have a look at these footnotes in the history of cartography.

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A Pocket Anthology of 20th Century Map Poems in the United States

Adele Haft, Hunter College of the City University of New York
This paper offers a selection of notable American map-poems and considers their place in a century unique for the number, range, and quality of such poems. It looks at the "map" poems preceding Elizabeth Bishop's groundbreaking "The Map" (1934), then turns to John Holmes's "Map of My Country" (1943), which argued that a poem maps a person's identity better than its graphic cousins. Other poets found inspiration and an analogue of their experience in a particular map, cartographer, or painter of maps. Since the 1960s, visual poets have shaped poems into maps of American locales, thus complementing more "conventional" uses of maps to trigger poetic memoirs of place. Influenced by Donne and Louise Bogan's "Cartography" (1938), the sexual revolution has popularized the body as map metaphor. And since 1980, map-fixated collections have been on the rise, inspiring this century's poets to consider what maps say about history, culture, ourselves.

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Mapping Narratives: The Spatiotemporal in Digital Literary Cartographies

Leah Thomas
This presentation will provide a working definition of digital literary cartographies and discuss how these cartographies present spatiotemporal elements of literary narratives. I will explore examples of successful projects such as The Grub Street Project and the Early Modern Map of London that map literary narratives and examine what these projects reveal about these narratives. I will highlight my own digital literary cartography using Mary Prince's slave narrative The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, Related by Herself (1831). I define this work also as a literary text because of its use of sensibility popular in contemporaneous novels. Additionally, including this work demonstrates literary and historical intersections. This project will incorporate digital images of contemporaneous maps to contextualize the geographic imagination. Comparing this project to existent digital literary cartographies will illumine the spatiotemporal mapping of literary texts.

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A Pragmatic Approach to Criticism, Critical Theory, and Critique

Mark Denil, US National Ice Center
Critique is a method of disciplined, systematic analysis of a discourse. In its strong manifestations, cartographic critique involves critical examination of both the artifact and its foundational assumptions, and of the interrelationships between the two. At times, it also involves challenges to accounts of legitimacy. Strong critique is not widely practiced in the cartographic community.

This is unfortunate, because critique is a significant tool for evaluation, analysis, planning, design, and problem solving.

The application, however, of faulty theoretic postulates, or of weak critical analysis, usually leads to unsatisfactory results. Utility demands adoption a pragmatic approach to cartographic critique. Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition that contends that the value of an analysis is best judged in terms of the practical use of the results.

This talk will elaborate a usable framework for pragmatic cartographic critique, and to show the value of adopting it.


Alethea Steingisser

Cartographer, InfoGraphics Lab, University of Oregon


Leo Dillon

Office of the Geographer, U.S. Department of State

Adele Haft

Hunter College, The City University of New York

Thursday October 9, 2014 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Marquis A Pittsburgh Marriott City Center

Attendees (15)