2014 NACIS in Pittsburgh

October 30, 2014

While Travel Initiatives staff Ginny Sullivan and Saara Snow had five two-wheeled reasons to visit Pittsburgh this September, Routes & Mapping staff had a cartographic one in October.

Photo by Jennifer Milyko

One of the multiple bridges in Pittsburgh.

As I mentioned in a recent Routes & Mapping update post, three staff attended this year's North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) meeting in Pittsburgh this month. We spent most of our time in a series of hotel meeting rooms learning what our fellow cartographers and GIS professionals are up to in their corners of the world.

Photo by Dylan Moriarity

Group of cartographers conferring over the sticky issue of projections.

Every year there is a student mapping competion and this year's winner was of particular interest to us. It was a new bike map of Cincinnati, Ohio. Right on! Nate Wessel, the cartographer of this map, gave a session describing his process. He used OpenStreetMap data as well as doing on the ground research to create his award-winning map. There is a lot of detail packed onto the map from street widths to water fountain locations to the all-important-to-a-cyclist grocery store locations.

In that same session, Adventure Cycling cartographer Casey Greene shared the Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route map. He wowed the crowd with tantalizing tastes of the route via some great photography before getting into the nuts and bolts of his cartographic process. A brief discussion on font selection followed in the Q&A portion. (I think a few people had their eyes opened to the possibilities that bicycle travel presents, as well.)

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Milyko

My colleagues Jenny Marie Johnson, Map and Geography Librarian at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, myself and Trudy Suchan, Research Geographer at U.S. Census Bureau, with MOOC course developer and Penn State Assistant Professor, Anthony Robinson.

My joint presentation with two colleagues on the plusses and minuses of the online learning system known as a MOOC (massive open online course) was well received also. We were invited by the creator of our course to sit at his banquet table to continue the discussion.

Photo by Jennifer Milyko

Hot Metal Bridge leading to the Great Allegheny Passage.

Outside of feeling inspired by all the great mapping work I saw, the fun part of the trip for me was staying over an extra day and renting a bike. I was joined by my colleage Glen to explore the city a bit on two wheels. We had perfect weather throughout the day as we pedaled the bike path to cross the Monongahela River on the Hot Metal Bridge to take a brief spin down the Great Allegheny Passage. From there we headed back up river to Point State Park and Fort Pitt Museum where the Ohio, Monongahela and Allegheny rivers meet before heading to The Strip for lunch.

Photo by Jennifer Milyko

Glen Pawelski and Hans van der Maarel wish Maggie Smith well on her ride to
Cumberland, Maryland from Pittsburgh.

Before leaving the hotel to retrieve our rental bikes, we encountered two cartographers bound for Cumberland, Maryland. En route to the NACIS meeting from the Washington, DC area, they had dropped off a car so they could have the joy of riding back over the weekend. How fabulous is that? I had heard the day before of two others who were planning the same thing only they were going all the way back to DC! In addition, Glen and I also met two cyclists in Point State Park who were embarking on their first-ever bike tour riding the GAP to DC. Their excitement was palpable as they pedaled off.

Photo by Glen Pawelski

How great to unexpectedly find bicycle travel connections on a cartographic trip! Maybe there was more than one reason to be in Pittsburgh in October.

Photos 1, 4 and 5 by Jennifer Milyko | Photo 2 from Dylan Moriarity's Flickr photostream | Photo 3 by Paul Zeisset | Photo 6 by Glen Pawelski

GEOPOINTS BULLETIN is written by Jennifer 'Jenn' Milyko, Routes & Mapping Assistant Director, and appears weekly, highlighting curious facts, figures, and persons from the Adventure Cycling Route Network with tips and hints for personal route creation thrown in for good measure. She also wants to remind you that map corrections and comments are always welcome via the online Map Correction Form.

 

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