Student map and poster competition

Reported Balloon Bomb Incidents

Once again, attendees at the 2010 NACIS Annual Meeting in St. Petersburg gave their considered appraisal to the entrants to the Student Poster Competition, the exhibits hall kept lively with their discussions late into the night. Nearly everyone at the meeting took the time to browse through the impressive collection of maps from throughout the U.S. and Canada, and to engage with the students who had crafted them. For the students, it was a rare chance to receive feedback from some of the most talented individuals in the field, many of whom were happy to pass along advice. It was also a chance to compete for a grand prize of $500.

The competition winner was selected by popular ballot, with all attendees eligible to vote. Michael Bricknell, of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, captured a plurality for his piece, Reported Balloon Bomb Incidents, depicting Japanese balloon bomb attacks on North America during the Second World War. His victory was rewarded with a check for $500 and the acclaim of his peers in the cartographic world. Two challengers finished close on Mr. Bricknell’s heels in a tie for second place: Joe Fraser of the Centre of Geographic Sciences at Nova Scotia Community College for his map,Annapolis County Historic Homes, and the University of Kansas’ Travis White for The Salton Sea: An Endangered Human Error.

Mr. Bricknell was inspired to create his winning map after watching an episode of PBS’ History Detectives on the balloon bombs, and he brought it the conference in hopes of getting people interested in forgotten history. He was not expecting to earn any prize money, but was simply happy to have a chance to hear comments from NACIS members. As he put it, “I’d heard about Tom Patterson’s NPS maps, Cindy Brewer’s ColorBrewer, and Bernhard Jenny’s terrain programs, but I didn’t know I would actually meet these people.”

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