Terms of Reference

It is time to look at the future… Terms of Reference outlining our goals for the next four years (2015–2019) are:

  1. Update and maintain a website for the exchange of knowledge, news, and information on use, users, and usability in cartography, geo-information processing, and related fields (www.univie.ac.at/icacomuse). Usability is identified as one of the 10 main keywords in the ICA’s Research Agenda and herein defined as:  a range of issues which connect the human user of spatial data with its representation, its processing, its modelling and its analysis.
  2. Maintain an online bibliographical database on use, user, and usability research in Cartography and related fields. The bibliography includes references on the following topics: studies of user abilities and differences therein; use case studies with print, web-based, and mobile maps; map-based user interfaces (UI) and user experience (UX) design; user-centred design and usability engineering, as applied to map design and development; methods and techniques for evaluating products; the use of emerging mapping technologies. The importance of these sub-topics is further illustrated in the ICA’s Research Agenda.
  3. Synthesize the bibliographical database into a review paper for the ICA journal ‘International Journal of Cartography’ that includes a final research agenda on map use, users, and usability for Cartography.
  4. Generate an online overview resource on usability methods and techniques, including FAQ, why/when one would use the techniques, aspects of experiment design, and tips for analysis.
  5. Organize special sessions on map use, users, and usability at future ICA conferences as well as other regional conferences on Cartography and related topic. Through this channel, original scientific contributions can be gathered and communicated.
  6. Organize training workshops for non-specialists on use, user, and usability issues in Cartography and related fields. The resulting training materials will be made available on the commission’s website.
  7. Jointly organize a special journal issue with sibling ICA Commissions for ICAs ‘International Journal of Cartography’.
  8. Participate in and contribute to workshops and seminars organized in other disciplines (e.g. Computer Science, Geography, GIScience) and by other ICA Commissions.
  9. Involve young (PhD) researchers and researchers from different cultural environments in all Commission activities in order to promote scientific research and support them in their activities.

To the end of achieving these goals, we have started to make concrete plans for the near future:

  • We are planning to organise another training workshop in conjunction with the International Conference on Cartography and GIS in Albena, Bulgaria (June 2016) http://iccgis2016.cartography-gis.com/
  • We will organise a series of sessions (jointly with other ICA commissions) at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (San Francisco, USA; March 29 – April 2 2016) http://www.aag.org/cs/events/event_detail?eventId=1022
  • We are working on a review paper regarding methods and techniques in use, user, and usability issues in cartography that are mentioned in articles of ‘Cartographica’, ‘Cartography and GIS’, ‘The Cartographic Journal’ and ‘Proceedings of past ICC’s’.

In close, we want to remind that this commission operates to serve the needs of its members. Thus, if you have proposals on other activities that should take place during this new term, please send them directly to the Cahir (Kristien.Ooms@UGent.be). We are happy to consider any and all suggestions.


Terms of Reference 2011–2015

  1. Maintain and expand the website for the exchange of knowledge, news and information on use and user issues in cartography and geo-information processing and dissemination
  2. Maintain and fill the on-line bibliographical database on use and user issues which is accessible through the website.
  3. Set-up and maintain a database of individuals working on, or with expertise in, the various use and user issues and denote it with keywords (similar to the listings used in the bibliography) to stimulate exchange of information. This database will be accessible through the current website.
  4. Provide a Web discussion forum through the current website.
  5. Produce The Handbook for User Research in Geoinformation (textbook publication focusing on methods and techniques of use, user and usability research in cartography and geo-information processing and dissemination).
  6. Foster, stimulate and contribute to other publications on use and user issues in cartography and geo-information processing and dissemination.
  7. Organize (or help organizing) sessions on use and user issues at future ICA conferences.
  8. Establish one or more “Project Groups” that deal with a specific aspect of use and user issues in cartography and geo-information processing and dissemination. The Project Groups will execute concrete tasks within a given time span.
  9. Organize (or help organizing) specialist workshops or seminars on focused topics related to use and user issues in cartography and geo-information processing and dissemination.
  10. Participate in / contribute to other workshops / seminars organized by representatives of other disciplines (e.g. human computer interaction, computer science) or by other ICA Commissions / Working Groups.
  11. Involve young (PhD) researchers in all Commission activities.