AutoCarto 2020 Workshops

Seven virtual workshops on a variety of themes are offered by organizers from around the world, including CaGIS, Esri, Taylor & Francis, USGS, AAG, and others.

CaGIS and IJGIS Joint Workshop on Publications (sponsored by Taylor and Francis)

Cartographic and Geographic Information Science (CaGIS) and the International Journal of Geographical Information Science (IJGIS), both published by Taylor & Francis Group, are leading journals in GIS and mapping science. In this workshop, the journals’ editors and managing editor will overview recent developments for these journals, discuss new policies and visions in academic publications, including the implementation of new data-sharing and reproducibility policies, and answer questions from potential and current authors and reviewers.

This workshop is presented as a series of slides available here, as well as a video presentation.

Andrew Kelly, Taylor & Francis,
Nick Chrisman, editor of Cartography and Geographic Information Science
May Yuan, editor of International Journal of Geographic Information Science

Living Structure as a Scientific Foundation of Maps and Mapping

Please see this web page for details.

Discovered by Alexander (2002–2005), living structure is a physical phenomenon, just like a tree, that has two distinguishing properties: “more or less similar things” at each scale, and “far more small things than large ones” across all scales ranging from the smallest to the largest. These two notions underlie the two fundamental laws of living structure: Tobler’s law (Tobler 1970) and scaling law (Jiang 2015). The Earth’s surface is essentially a living structure, in which these two notions recur at different levels of scale, e.g., at the global scale, at the continental scale, at the country scale, at the city scale, at the building’s facade scale, and down to the ornament scale (Jiang 2019b). In essence, it is these recurring living structures that make maps and mapping possible. Given the right perspective and scope, living structure can be pervasively seen in our surroundings: not only in nature, but also in the things we human beings make or build. In some situations, however, we are not able to see the kind of living structure, particularly if we are constrained by a certain perspective or scope. For example, a street network is not a living structure, when seen from the perspective of street segments or junctions. Instead, the street network is indeed a living structure if seen from the perspective of individual streets, because across all scales, there are “far more short streets than long ones” geometrically or “far more less-connected streets than well-connected ones” topologically, or “far more meaningless streets than meaningful ones” semantically, whereas at each scale, there are “more or less similar” streets. What underlies the phenomenon of living structure is the new third view of space: space is neither lifeless nor neutral, but a living structure capable of being more living or less living (Alexander 2002–2005), formed under the organic cosmology conceived by Alfred Whitehead (1861–1947). The third view of space is clearly different from the two traditional views of space: absolute space by Isaac Newton (1642–1727) and relational space by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716), both of which are framed under the mechanistic world view of Descartes (1596–1650).

In this workshop, we will attempt to challenge the current paradigm of our discipline, regardless how it is named, either geography or cartography or GIScience, by advocating a new mapping paradigm. We will use the two concepts – natural cities and natural streets – to demonstrate the ubiquity of living structure and scaling law, and further demonstrate the automatic generation of all small-scale databases from a single largest database. The generated databases are not only for discrete map scales, but also for any scale in between. Some hands-on work will be carried out with two tools: Axwoman (Jiang 2019c) and head/tail breaks.

This one-day workshop will be organized through lectures, hands-on exercises, and discussions surrounding living structure. Interested participants are encouraged to have Axwoman installed on their laptops, and run the natural streets tutorial (Guo 2018) themselves prior to the workshop. During the workshop, we will offer a large dataset of pre-generated natural cities and natural streets from the OpenStreetMap data. Participants will have an opportunity to explore these data to develop a better understanding of living structure and scaling law. For this purpose, all participants must bring their laptops with the following basic tools installed: Excel, Axwoman 6.3, and ArcGIS 10.x (Axwoman requires either 10.2.0, 10.3.1, or 10.4.0). Internet access is essential for the workshop.


Organizer/Instructor: Dr. Bin Jiang, University of Gävle,
Discussant: Dr. Terry Slocum, University of Kansas,

Geospatial Semantics Modeling and Visualization; the First Workshop of the International Cartography Association Commission on Geospatial Semantics

Geospatial ontologies formalize representations for sets of interrelated concepts based on their semantics from theoretical and applied perspectives. The representation and reasoning of geographic knowledge must be cohesive with many interrelated disciplines, including: language, logic, cartography, social theory, geospatial analysis, and programming. To advance research in geospatial knowledge representation and reasoning, the International Cartography Association (ICA) is sponsoring a Commission on Geospatial Semantics (CGS). The CGS will solicit abstracts for presentations on both theoretical and applied aspects of geospatial and cartographic ontologies for the First Workshop of the CGS. This half-day workshop will bring together expert and newly interested specialists and technologists from across geospatial informatics to network and develop an agenda to advance the broad role of semantic technologies in geographic information science.

Prior to the meeting we encourage prospective attendees/participants to examine the agenda and guidelines at the CGS web site (to be provided with the announcement). A range of potential topics will be suggested for the workshop and opportunities will be provided for those interested in the day’s agenda to register a topic or an issue to be included. We will accept and cover complex issues for discussion. Participants will have the opportunity to develop papers within this framework for publication by the ICA prior to the International Cartography Conference in Florence, Italy in 2021. A secondary activity immediately before the research workshop is to offer participants a hands-on tutorial addressing basic concepts of geospatial semantics with the aim of expanding the community of scholars interested in the field. This workshop will also offer an opportunity for semanticians to formalize concepts using a compatible technology where more widespread forms of geographic information systems (GIS) are inflexible.

Scholars interested in presenting a paper or participating in the session as a discussant will be able to submit their abstract through the standard submission procedures whose guidelines will be provided. The CGS will cooperate and correlate all activities with the AutoCarto 2020 organizers.

For a proposed agenda, download this PDF.

Dalia Varanka, U.S. Geological Survey,
Alexander Sorokine, Oak Ridge National Laboratory,
E. Lynn Usery, U.S. Geological Survey,

Cartographic and Geospatial Information Education: from Classroom to Anywhere

Conventionally, cartography has been mostly taught in classrooms with lectures and exercises, aiming to enhancing peoples’ map reading capabilities and map making skills. Nowadays, the general public has access to the wide spread of web map services, navigation apps on smart phones and open source software and datasets at no cost. Background knowledge of students entering professional training on cartography today is very different from those ten years ago. The body of knowledge for cartography and GIS has been transforming continuously by incorporating new ideas from applications and interdisciplinary research. Suites of online courses incorporate some of the new concepts and technologies and make teaching cartography and GIS more flexible and practical. Educators have been conducting reflections on these changes, which can be observed from publications in many conferences and journals. 

This workshop serves as a forum to share the latest practices and insights on cartographic and GIS education in a rapidly changing landscape. The topics can include but limited to new course contents, curricular design, incorporation of online courses, education resources using open source software and datasets, teaching experience to non-specialists.

Tao Wang, Capital Normal University, Beijing, China,
Terje Midtbø, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway,

Map Projections – Practical Selection and Use with Current Research Directions: Workshop of the International Cartography Association

Map projections are a critical part of any map design and creation. The plethora of projections that exist allow a user to select an appropriate map projection to preserve the global characteristics that are critical to the map design. Unfortunately, many users of maps and geospatial information have little understanding of map projection concepts and are not able to determine a correct map projection for the type and purpose of the map being created. This workshop will thus include a brief tutorial on map projection concepts, selection, and use. The tutorial will also include presentation of existing tools to aid in selecting the correct map projection. The workshop will conclude with several presentations of current research in map projections.

Prior to the meeting we encourage prospective attendees/participants to examine the agenda and guidelines at the Commission on Map Projections web site. Participants will have the opportunity to develop papers within this framework for publication by the ICA prior to the International Cartography Conference in Florence, Italy in 2021.

For a proposed agenda, download this PDF.

E. Lynn Usery, U.S. Geological Survey,, Chair Projections Commission
Miljenko Lapaine, University of Zagreb,, Vice-Chair Map Projections Commission

GeocomputationalEd’20 Workshop II – Curriculum at all levels that bridge geography and computer science concepts

The geospatial services industry across public and private sectors shows continuing innovation and growth. A 2017 global impact study on geospatial services estimates that this industry creates approximately 4 million direct jobs and generates 400 billion U.S. dollars globally in revenue per year. The presence and contributions of geographers in this industry is crucial because they provide conceptual geographic knowledge and an understanding of spatial data quality standards, which prevents misused or mishandled spatial information, misinterpretation of spatial analyses, and misinformed decision-making. There is still a demand for geographers in this industry, although employers now prefer to also see their knowledge accompanied with skills in GIS, computer programming, data management, software development, or even computation, but they are hard to find. Efforts to build capacity for computational thinking in geography education come with many challenges.

In this workshop we invite teachers, educators, and professors from both geography and computer science disciplines to showcase teaching frameworks, curriculum, labs, or activities they have tested in their classrooms (online or offline) that teach concepts and skills that bridge geography and computer science. Workshop presenters will be invited to submit a 400-word abstract that describes their teaching activity and how they measured (or plan to measure) learning outcomes or teaching effectiveness.

This workshop builds on the GeoEd’19 workshop that took place at 2019 ACM SIGSPATIAL. GeocomputationalEd’20 is a two-part workshop, where the first workshop will be held in April 2020 at the Annual Meeting of the AAG in Denver (CO), and the second part will be held in May 2020 at AutoCarto in Redlands (CA). The organizers are currently developing a proposal to publish the proceedings of both GeocomputationalEd’20 workshops in a special issue of GeoInformatica.

Each workshop presenter will be invited to submit a “demo paper” of max. 2 pages.

For additional details, download this PDF.

Atsushi Nara, San Diego State University,
Coline Dony, American Association of Geographers,
Amr Magdy, University of California Riverside,

ArcGIS Pro as a Data Science Workstation: Introduction to Machine Learning and Spatial Data Science

Space and time are essential components for a wide spectrum of problems ranging from designing resilient cities to understanding natural systems of our planet. Modern developments in GIS can integrate vast amounts and types of space-time data, enabling an interconnected nervous system for our planet. Harnessing the power of this nervous system requires connecting it to intelligent systems that can reveal critical patterns and relationships to guide decisions that shape our future. The increased quantity and diversity of data sources pose both challenges and opportunities for this connection. In this day-long, hands-on workshop, you will explore, hands-on, multidisciplinary spatial problem solving to transform spatial data into deep understanding with modern analysis approaches. Workshop will introduce machine learning methods in ArcGIS platform in addition to ways to integrate R and Python functionality to use ArcGIS Pro as a data science workstation. Throughout the day, you will be introduced to different components of the ArcGIS platform that enables advanced problem solving. You will get first-hand experience in ways in which Esri’s platform fuses state-of-the-art GIS technologies for mapping and spatial analysis with established technologies, both in ArcGIS Pro and open-source via Python and R integration.

Interested participants should complete the following survey: All the asynchronous materials, an introductory video, and the training materials are at the end of the survey. Materials will appear after the survey is completed.

Organizer: Orhun Aydin, PhD,, Esri

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