Professor Menno-Jan Kraak

University of Twente

President of the International Cartographic


How Can Maps be Relevant for the Global Sustainable Development Goals?

Cartographic innovations are driven by changing societal needs and respective technological developments. These have influenced the discipline of cartography, and respective map products as objects of study from within and the outside of the discipline.  However, analyzing the structure and activities of the International Cartographic Association over the past, will also help to further understand the professional development of the cartographic discipline.

We do this starting from the definition of our discipline, that is able to handle societal and technological change, without compromising on fundamental cartographic values.  Also a newly proposed definition for the scientific map concept will be discussed. It aims to be a concise, but inclusive definition, that shall be able to flexibly adapt to internal and external pushes and pulls over time, from both the inside and outside of our academic community.

This knowledge used in the global activities of ICA give this organization a great opportunity to display the strength of the discipline to get involved into the mapping of the Global Sustainability Goals as advocated by the United Nations. This contribution will also report on seventeen different take-home-messages based different cartographic perspectives offered by ICA’s Commissions which can be applied when mapping data related to the Global Sustainability goals, and the plans to work on an Atlas of best practice.