The UW-Madison Cartography Lab occupies a unique space in the industry. First, the axis: the Cart Lab exists along on the spectrum between theory and application. Predominately we focus on the application, and dabble in theory. Our participation in theoretical endeavors will increase in the coming years, as Dr. Rob Roth has taken on the role of Faculty Director of the lab. Out of this we expect to see more projects like the Process for Assessing Emergent Web Mapping Technologies. This will not diminish our focus on applied, service-learning projects, as we expect to be able to train more students with our expanding mission.
Secondly, the Cart Lab is positioned at the confluence of Arts & Humanities, Technology, and Science. This is the intersection in which all cartographers engage in the process of creating maps.
Finally, where the Public Sector, Industry, and the Academy overlap the Cart Lab is in a unique place to connect people and practices and ideas. This is the most exciting aspect of my job! As an educational space, we are not a competitor with industry organizations. In fact, I work closely with industry experts to adjust our curriculum and training for our students in order to best prepare them to join the workforce. This work includes inviting industry experts from government (local, state, and federal), and private organizations to engage directly with our students, through presentations in our lab, visits to their offices, interviews, and advice seeking about process. I'm grateful to the many individuals who engage directly with me and my students to help us to better train future spatial data scientists. Of course, we also exist in a space that engages the academy. With frequent academics visiting or collaborating with our Geography Department, our students have regular access to trends in research.
It is the combination of research and production, along with the willingness of multiple sectors of the field to collaborate with us, that situates the lab for the most meaningful work. The Cart Lab will continue to seek impactful work through the combination of research and production, and continue to build collaborative relationships with across the field.