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  • Celebrating 50 Years of Cartographica, 1965–2015
  • Roger Wheate

The emergence of cartography as a distinct discipline after World War II was marked by the founding of societies and institutions such as the International Cartographic Association and the Ontario Institute of Chartered Cartographers, both in 1959. Learned and applied journals soon followed: the International Cartographic Association produced the International Yearbook for Cartography from 1961, while in Canada Bernard Gutsell founded, edited and published the journal initially named The Cartographer. When he sought to commence the fledgling journal, funding bodies would only support a continuing journal, not a new one. The solution was to publish volume 2 in 1965 and postdate volume 1, which was assembled from a symposium on cartographic education along with technical articles from colleagues. The journal logo consisted simply of a circle of varying width resembling a “double eclipse,” with two issues annually.

Each issue concluded with an update on recent cartographic literature and a section of notes containing informal news including departmental activity, technical notes, conferences, symposia, and new map series. In volume 3 this section was renamed “Cartographica” – the first appearance of this new word of which he was “rather fond.” In 1968 the journal was renamed the Canadian Cartographer. The “Cartographica’ section remained until 1971, when the first monograph, The 17th Century Cartography of Newfoundland (O’Dea 1971), was published under the cover title of Cartographica. Subsequently the column previously known as “Cartographica” became “Cartographic Commentary.” This began a pattern of two to three monographs per year combined with one standard issue of Canadian Cartographer through the 1970s. While that issue retained the original cover design, the monographs bore a new logo consisting of the word cartographica, printed in decreasing font sizes in concentric circles.

Historical cartography was particularly well represented in articles and monographs, but the journal also strove to match the growing trends in computer mapping, for example, including the heavily cited article on line generalization by David Douglas and Thomas Peucker (later Poiker): “Algorithms for the Reduction of the Number of Points Required to Represent a Digitized Line or Its Caricature” (Douglas and Peucker 1973). After the Canadian Cartographic Association (CCA) was formed in 1975, the journal was endorsed by the CCA, whose members receive an annual subscription as an integral part of their membership, although the association has no role in the journal’s production and management.

From the start, the journal was published and edited by Bernard Gutsell, with his wife, Barbara, usually listed as assistant editor. At the end of the 1970s, the journal was sold to the University of Toronto Press, who assumed the name Cartographica and its swirling cover logo for quarterly issues, whether regular articles or monographs. Monographs decreased in frequency from a high of 24 in the 1970s to 12 in the 1980s, plus four special issues containing multi-author papers. The next decade included a further 12 monographs, but thereafter, in the new millennium, the single-author monographs would increasingly be replaced by special issues with guest editors assembling papers by assorted authors on current relevant topics.

Bernard continued as editor through the 1980s, with Ed Dahl as associate editor, overseeing and documenting the growth of digital cartography and GIS, with many seminal papers authored by the main figures in the ongoing spatial revolution. The journal was the preferred choice for the influential writings of J.B. Harley, most notably for “Deconstructing the Map.” This was included in a collection of the 10 most cited “classic” articles from Cartographica (Dodge 2011).

The relative changes in submission topics and content over the first 25 years of Cartographica were documented by Pat Gilmartin (1991). The journal adopted the standard letter size in 1992, and in 1994 Bernard stepped down as editor after producing 30 volumes of the journal, a record that may be unequalled in scholarly publishing. The “Gutsell years” have been documented in much greater detail by Henry Castner (1997), and the reader is encouraged to review that article for a fuller understanding of the journal’s lore.

Michael Coulson, until then the associate editor, assumed the role of editor and was succeeded in 1999 by Brian Klinkenberg, also a past president of the...


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pp. 259-261
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