March 06, 2012.

While we working on getting our inaugural edition together, we wanted to share with you what our publication is about.

There’s a lot of great cartography out there, and our goal is to both honor the people making it, and to show these amazing maps to the world at large. So, NACIS is compiling some of the world’s best map work into a biennial honors volume that we hope everyone will want to have a look at. It’s the Atlas of Design, and we think it’s going to be pretty awesome.

The Atlas will feature a gallery of full-color maps showcasing cartography at its most beautiful, its cleverest, its sharpest, and its most intriguing. But it will be more than a museum of images; each map will be accompanied by thoughtful commentary that guides the reader toward a deeper understanding of the work: its inspiration and message, the ways it means to influence us. It is well to look upon something beautiful and good, but once we understand how it is beautiful and good, our experience becomes much richer. For those of us who make maps, we can carry those lessons into our own work and advance the craft of cartography. Even if you don’t make maps, it’s a chance to gain insight into what mapmakers really do, and to see how it’s about more than just pushing city dots and rivers around. Everyday objects become much more significant when we see what is behind their creation.

The Atlas aims to inspire readers both within the field of cartography and without toward new understandings of design, and of the power that a well-crafted map can have. In an age when more and more mapping tasks are being turned over to computers, the Atlas will provide one more answer to the question: What do cartographers do?

We’re really excited, and we hope you are, too.