Each year the National Geographic Society sponsors a number of cartography awards
to support up-and-coming student map makers. Last week, we met Adam Thom, winner of the Arthur Robinson Award. This week, we’ll meet Aly DeGraff, who won the National Geographic Award in Mapping with Treasure Island,
a map of Colombia’s Isla de Providencia, a.k.a. Old Providence Island
. Her prize: $900 and a National Geographic Atlas
. Aly shared her map with us, as well as her thoughts on cartography, design, and “ground-truthing.”
First, can you give us some information about yourself?
What was your undergraduate major?
Geography with minors in Latin American History and Portuguese
Where are you from?
East Middlebury, VT
Name one or more dream jobs:
Who is your favorite geographer, map maker, or adventurer?
Bernard Nietschmann, a Latin Americanist Cultural Geographer whose work focused on empowering native peoples to fight to protect their rights to land and the environment, and on the use of traditional knowledge in marine conservation (he received five grants from National Geographic for his work).
What is your favorite thing about cartography?
I love making visually appealing and yet extremely practical products that help the audience to approach the landscape through a new and different mindset.
Name an important skill that you learned before college:
The most important skill I learned before college was basic graphic design from my mom. I understood early on the importance of presentation in my work and I cannot thank her enough for that!
Now then, about your map…
What class was it for?
I turned the final work in for my Spatial Visualization (Cartography) class, but I collected all the field data during an independent mapping project over Middlebury College’s January-Term
What inspired you to do this project?
I decided to embark on creating a map of Old Providence, Colombia on my second trip to the tiny Caribbean island where my best friend spent his childhood.
Continue reading “Cartography Award Winners PT 2: Aly DeGraff”