In the spirit of the International Map Year, a full day workshop at this years’ AGILE conference studied, discussed and sampled cartographically oriented programming environments.


Maps in digital age build on program code. This program code ranges from low level infrastructural code of operating systems to high level abstract code of applications, the latter of which is brought to users in visual cartographic form by compilers and interpreters in operating systems and web browsers. Since program code is a means to most powerful expression of ideas for user interfaces, innovative cartographic development requires cartographically oriented programming environments. Learning curves and ease of use in this kind of coding environments vary in large measure, which causes varied potential for cartographers to practice their discipline with these libraries.

To discuss these issues, the ICA Commission on Maps and the Internet invited to a workshop in Helsinki, Finland. 19 persons from European universities and research institutes interested in map programming attended the workshop. Presentations from various interesting viewpoints were seen about how map coding happens today and how it could happen more cartographically in the future. In the end of the day, a lively closing discussion was born on the theme and finally, a position paper brainstormed, so you may bump into cartographically oriented map programming also in future…

Programme and extended abstracts of the event can be found at

– Pyry Kettunen
Vice chair of the ICA Commission on Maps and the Internet