• Registration for this years BCS/SoC conference is now open!

    — News release: 14th June 2017

    Registration for this years BCS/SoC conference is now open.

    Entitled Maps for Changing Reality delegates from commercial, academic and government organisations will come together to share a common interest in using and promoting maps as a valuable means of communication.

    To register and for more information please visit here.

    Bursaries for 2017 BCS-SoC Conference


  • CartoClinic

    — News release: 2nd June 2017

    CartoClinic is a simple way to get in touch and get help whether you are having problems with your GI or concerns with your cartography. Made up of Paul Naylor and Charley Glynn from the GeoDataViz team at Ordnance Survey, we can also call on industry experts from both within OS and from within the British Cartographic Society.

    Maybe you have been working on a map or visualisation and you would like us to have a look or perhaps you have a question around how best to visualise a dataset you are using. Whatever your geo problem might be, we are here to help.

    Drop us an email to, or tweet us:




  • ONS are looking for a Senior Interactive Content Lead

    — News release: 18th May 2017

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) are looking for a Senior Interactive Content Lead at their offices in Fareham with a deadline of 31st May 2017.

    ONS is committed to improving its product portfolio with a ‘digital first’ mantra. We are looking for people to join our award-winning team to lead the production of high quality data visualisation products. Our aim is to connect ONS data with its users in innovative, creative and effective ways.

    The work of our team is used on various ONS channels including & social media. It is also regularly used by the wider media in their story-telling, often reaching a wide and varied audience. The post-holder will work within an interdisciplinary team, including designers, data journalists, together with teams across ONS to generate ideas and translate these into engaging pieces of content. Think newsroom developer – if you have an interest in using visualisation (sometimes interactive) to enhance data storytelling then this could be the job for you.

    For more information on the job and how to apply, click here.

  • Visual Deconstructions

    — News release: 3rd May 2017

    Introducing Visual Deconstructions

    Taking visualisations apart to understand how they were made

    Have you ever looked at a map (or any data visualisation for that matter) and thought, I wonder how that was made? If so, then a new concept that the GeoDataViz team at Ordnance Survey are calling Visual Deconstructions, could help.

    What is a Visual Deconstruction?

    A visual deconstruction is a concept that allows them to record the styling rules for a given data visualisation. It is made up of a title, a description, a url where relevant, keyword tags, an image, plus the draw order and styling information for each layer of data from which it is compiled.

    It is a form of documentation that allows you to quickly reference and recreate styling rules, as well as being able to share it clearly with others. It is also a great way to learn how something is made and therefore is a useful tool for someone designing their own visualisation.

    For a better idea, here is a minified version of what a Visual Deconstruction looks like:

    Useful documentation

    Our GeoDataViz team have been using Visual Deconstructions for a while now and find them really useful for documenting work in a visual manner. They allow for quick future reference and help ensure the consistent application of styles that can be shared with other teams too.

    The title and description give the all important context and purpose. When trying to understand how a map or chart was made, it’s also important to know why, and who for (the audience). The list of layers then breaks the visualisation down to reveal each slice of data that makes it up in the order in which they’re drawn. This mimics the layers in a GIS or graphic design software.

    The styling rules for each layer of data are then laid out clearly. Data types include Points, Lines, Polygons, Text and Image (often used as a baselayer). Here is an example for each of the data types:



    This example shows how we handle stacked or composite styles




    You may notice that we don’t record the sizes of features such as line widths or font sizes. This is because they vary based on the software units, dimensions of the visualisation and/or map scales etc. The image itself should help you gauge the relative sizes of features if you are copying the styles.

    Now that we have explained what a Visual Deconstruction is, you can see a couple of our recent examples here and here.

    In the future we will be hosting Visual Deconstructions on our website and hopefully they will prove to be useful resources. Once we have enough they will also serve as a gallery of our work.

    We would love your feedback so please get in touch if you’re interested in this concept and let us know if you are already doing something similar.

  • Shaping the Future of the BCS

    — News release: 7th April 2017

    First and foremost, the British Cartographic Society is a registered charity (No.240034) whose central aim is to promote maps and mapmaking. Apart from the administration of the Society and the coordination of Restless Earth, the Society is managed and run entirely by volunteers. We work hard to ensure that the Society looks after the interests of its Members and recognise that we constantly need to keep in tune with the technological changes that influence the way we work. These changes are fast-paced and we should always be open to new ways to achieve our objectives. We welcome involvement from those who can work with us to achieve this.

    The evolution of the Society is a process and recent initiatives such as the rebranding and new website form part of our ongoing orientation towards new generations of mapmakers, while serving the needs of our existing Members. We need to respond to the changing needs of those making maps and are continuing to expand our online resources, but at the same time we recognise that developments largely rely on voluntary support.

    The Society is particularly pleased and honoured to represent and provide a community for those working or interested in all aspects of cartography, including map art, GIS, map libraries, publishing, design and many more.

    We launched our Members’ Survey in winter 2016 to identify what our Members value about belonging to the Society and to invite ideas for enhancing what we offer through membership. In particular, this revealed that our Members value the Society’s publications and their membership of a Special Interest Group (SIG). Our bestselling book, Cartography – An Introduction, has sold out after several reprintings and a second edition is in preparation. We are continually developing our online content to offer new resources, but recognise at the same time that our book contextualises knowledge in a way that online solutions do not.

    Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are a valuable element of the organisation of the BCS because they bring together people who share a common focus. Anyone can join a SIG (you don’t even have to be a Member of the Society) and new SIGs can be proposed and established at any time. The activities are directed by each Convener. Regional meetings and events were mentioned in the Members’ Survey and we are looking to develop a richer programme as we move forward.

    The Society has undergone a major change in its staffing and administration since November 2015, with several new people who have become involved in running the Society, and in key roles, including the Secretary, Chair of Programme Committee, SIG Conveners (Design and GIS) and Awards Officer. Adding to this the change in the Vice President, half of our Trustees are new-in-post compared with two years ago. With the new (and younger!) faces joining Council, we are demonstrating that we are investing in new generations and supporting the future growth of the discipline.

    The Society is a democratic organisation whose decision making is founded upon transparency and open debate amongst elected members of Council. We have found that there is nothing so effective for getting decisions made than meeting together face to face, which also facilities networking and spontaneous discussion before, during and after meetings. We are conscious that these activities and meetings require financial support and accountability and responsibility are key pillars of the Society. We have found that virtual meeting facilities can work best for small, one-to-one meetings and we take advantage of these where appropriate.

    Restless Earth, our programme of workshops for Years 9 and 10 students studying GCSE Geography, supports one of our charitable objectives to further education in cartography, and has been delivered in over 180 schools to over 14,000 students. Scenarios include the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster and, more recently, the flooding in Cumbria. We are delighted that Restless Earth has successfully attracted some financial support from external organisations, such as the Japan Society and the Sasakawa Foundation. It is also an initiative that makes proper use of Society monies previously held in reserve and in line with Charity Commission guidance, to both further our purposes and provide greater benefit to our Members.

    Better Mapping, our programme of seminars promoting best practice across the cartographic industry, has been completely revised to focus on improving cartography using specific software and by particular groups of map makers (we have recently run sessions designed expressly for   university students and for local authorities). It is important that we continue to establish a wide range of methods in delivering this material and are developing resources to enable this via the website. Cartography is an exciting and dynamic industry and we aim to offer events that are relevant to the breadth of our membership, which includes those who make, sell, use, study, curate and buy maps.

    We are actively working with the Society of Cartographers to ensure that the future of cartography in the UK is strong and serves the needs of all who enjoy maps. Our annual symposium continues to evolve to meet and exceed delegates’ expectations and since joining forces with the Society of Cartographers to host the joint BCS-SoC Conference in 2015, we have delivered a reinvigorated programme which delivers a good blend of talks and workshops that bring together key academic and commercial contributors and advances.

    Membership numbers fluctuate throughout the year and annual comparisons always need to rely on like-for-like data. As stated in our Annual Reports, which are usually published in the last Issue of the year of The Cartographic Journal, the number of paid-up members has increased to 753 from the previous totals of 711 and 664. However, it is important that we remain committed to listening to the needs of current and future Members in order to maintain this positive trajectory.

    The Cartographic Journal, our quarterly peer-reviewed periodical, is a leading ICA-affiliated journal that covers the full breadth of the discipline. It attracts increasing numbers of submissions from all around the world and its impact factor is on a strong upward trajectory. After the acquisition of Maney Publishing by Taylor & Francis in 2015, Council decided to retain the services of Taylor & Francis to publish The Cartographic Journal, ensuring that the transition of papers in process ran smoothly. We value the reputation and services that our publisher brings and appreciate their commitment to ensuring the Journal’s return to publication on schedule following the transition, thanks to the efforts of the editorial team. Our Members’ Survey highlighted the value of the Journal and also our triannual magazine, Maplines, to our membership. The latest edition is available to BCS Members and previous editions are available to the public, all via our website.

    Looking forward, our intention is to create an online forum for Members to discuss new ideas as they emerge regarding the future of the BCS. This will enable the Society to keep in better touch with changing needs of Members and Council to discuss and explore how they may best be implemented. Instructions for using this initiative will be communicated to Members soon.

    The British Cartographic Society is committed to furthering its charitable objectives and welcomes the views of all its Members as we shape the Society’s future together.

  • Essex Summer School

    — News release: 7th April 2017

    Essex Summer School, University of Essex, Colchester, UK
    GIS, Map Making and Spatial Data Analysis
    Mon 10th - Fri 14th July 2017
    More details.

  • Enter the Barbara Petchenik Children’s Map Competition 2017

    2015 overall winner

    — News release: 3rd March 2017

    A fantastic way to inspire a love of cartography at an early age, have you heard of the  Barbara Petchenik Children’s Map Competition 2017? Barbara was a leading cartographer whose work related to children. In her memory, the International Cartographic Association holds a biennial competition.

    Continue reading "Enter the Barbara Petchenik Children’s Map Competition 2017"

  • The BCS are looking for a social media whizz

    — News release: 14th February 2017


    social media whizz

    Do you love a good tweet?

    Do you love a good FB post?

    Then BCS needs you!

    Are you interested in helping us?

    Please contact

  • RGS establish new strategic alliance with AGI

    — News release: 2nd February 2017

    The Royal Geographical Society and the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) are pleased to announce a strategic alliance that will see them working closely together to advance the understanding and use of geographic information, including its use as an enabler to the world of big data.  

    Initially confirmed for three years, the focus of the work will be in two main areas in which the organisations have a strong shared interest. The first is in public affairs – including liaison, advice and advocacy – and will be supported by the joint appointment of a Policy Manager based at the Society. The other main aspect will be in supporting the professional development of GI practitioners, including those working towards the Society’s Chartered Geographer accreditation.

    Find out more here.

  • Missing Maps

    — News release: 17th January 2017

    It would be great if you could join us for our first Missing Maps event of 2017 taking place on Tues 7th Feb.

    For more information click here.

  • PopChange

    — News release: 17th January 2017

    We would like to share with you our new, free OpenData GIS tool at a free half day workshop, which could help with analysing small areas of deprivation for instance over time, based on ONS data.

    Click here for more information.

  • Mapping the Future

    — News release: 17th January 2017

    As the Library’s Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line exhibition shows, mapping has come a long way in the last 100 years

    But what lies ahead for a diverse discipline that has already witnessed unprecedented technological developments, and diversification into a multitude of fields including gaming and augmented reality? Explore the future of mapping through a day of talks and debate at the British Library. Hear from Maps and the 20th-Century: Drawing the Line curator Tom Harper and a panel of leading specialists from across the GIS, public mapping, tech and gaming industries. We’ll investigate current trends for mapping based around the themes of citizens, society and technology, and consider what developments lay over the horizon.

    For more information visit here.