About the Commission

The International Cartography Association Commission on Geospatial Semantics is an international group of researchers and practitioners exploring the representation of geographical meaning in a range of data structures. The Terms of Reference for the Commission can be found here.

Commission Organizers

Dalia Varanka is a Research Scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Her Ph.D. degree focused on the spatial information theory and the history of cartography. She began her Federal career in 1993 with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management developing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for natural resource management. After joining the USGS Varanka has been a research scientist since 1999 with the National Geospatial Program. Varanka leads the Geospatial Semantics and Ontology project “The National Map as Knowledge Base” of the Center of Excellence for Geospatial Information Science. Dr. Varanka teaches Geospatial Ontology and Semantics for the GIS degree program at the Johns Hopkins University Advanced Academic Program.

Francis Harvey is Professor for Visual Communication in Geography at the University of Leipzig, Germany and Director of the Section Cartography and Visualization in Geography at Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, also in Leipzig Germany. Previously he worked as an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Society at the University of Minnesota, the University of Kentucky, University of Leicester, UK, and École Polytechnique Fèderal de Lausanne, Switzerland. He also has held several visiting faculty positions in Poland and Germany. His research addresses a range of central issues for Geographic Information Science and cognate fields including visualization, semantics, interoperability, overlay algorithms, institutional aspects, cadastral issues, and practical ethics. Harvey’s book A Primer of GIS (Guilford Press) covers the use of evolving geographic information technologies and is widely used for undergraduate and graduate level courses in the United States and internationally. He is currently working on two large research projects and a number of institute projects.


Commission organizers can be contacted here.