British Cartographic Society

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British Cartographic Society
Type Professional Organisation and Registered Charity
Founded 28 September 1963
Based Wellington, Somerset
Focus Promoting the Art and Science of Mapmaking

The British Cartographic Society (BCS) is an association of individuals and organisations dedicated to exploring and developing the world of maps. Membership includes mapping companies, publishers, designers, academics, researchers, map curators, individual cartographers, GIS specialists and ordinary members of the public with an interest in maps.

The BCS is regarded as one of the world's leading cartographic societies and its main publication, The Cartographic Journal, is recognised internationally[1]. Membership of the group, can be useful for making contacts and keeping up with developments[2].

The BCS promotes all aspects of cartography to a wide range of potential users.


One of the aims of the Society is to encourage better mapping, by providing medals and prizes to individuals or companies who have shown excellence in this field. The annual BCS awards includes categories such as:

  • Stanfords Award for printed mapping
  • Avenza Award for electronic mapping
  • John C. Bartholomew Award for small scale mapping
  • OS MasterMap Award for 'Better Mapping'
  • BCS Award for best entry of the year
  • The Society medal for distinguished contribution to cartography
  • The Henry Johns Award for the best cartographic journal article
  • The National Geographic Society New Mapmaker Award for those starting out in cartographic or related industries
  • UKHO Junior Mapmaker Award to encourage map making at primary and secondary school level (run every other year from 2008)


The society also publishes a variety of periodicals and books, including:

  • Cartography - an introduction a practical A6 64pp guide to making better maps
  • The Cartographic Journal the official journal of the society
  • Maplines - the society newsletter
  • Maps and Surveys - the newsletter of the Historical Military Mapping Group
  • Cartographiti - the newsletter of the Map Curators' Group
  • Map Curators Toolbox - an online resource supported by the Map Curators' Group
  • Directory of UK Map Collections - an online resource detailing major map collections in the UK
  • Careers in Cartography - an online resource providing answers to the ever increasing number of enquiries concerning the possibilities of employment in the mapping industry


The Society holds not-for-profit events open to the public and any interested parties to help raise the profile of cartography in Britain and facilitate the exchange of information and ideas amongst the members of the Society and others. They also aim to advance cartographic education and encourage research through such events.

  • Symposium - Annual 3 day gathering held in June each year (from 2009), for Cartographers and associated professionals.
  • Map Curators’ Workshop - Annual gathering held in September each year, for Map Curators.
  • Better Mapping Seminars - held in various locations around the UK each year to advise and teach new users the principles of making better maps.
  • Fellows Evening - Held in February each year. Brings together the Fellows of the Society to listen to the guest lecturer.
  • Group Events - The societies groups (Map Curators, Map Design, Historical Military Mapping, and Education Group) also hold events for their membership: ie: Map Cataloguing seminars, Design Group Meetings, and Study/Lecture Days.

See also


  1. International Map Trade Association: "". 2008
  2. Author: Ruth Livermore, The University of Birmingham, © Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCACS) ( OCCUPATIONAL PROFILE - CARTOGRAPHER, page 2, paragraph 8. Graduate Prospects, 25/01/2007

External links