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Corlis Benefideo Award for Imaginative Cartography
About the award

This award recognizes imaginative cartography. Cartography is often seen by the public as work opposed to imagination, grounded entirely in established fact. While this devotion to reflecting what is forms the heart of cartographic thinking, cartographers and artists who use maps as a basis for their work can (and do) take that grounding in fact and use it to venture into the world of the possible. Some explore real places from perspectives that allow us to see it fresh and full of possibility, and some take our established traditions of mapmaking, and indeed take fully-constructed maps themselves, and turn them on their heads to make us see ourselves anew. This award is to recognize this work and the perspective it brings to the field of cartography, and the contributions it makes to the world as a whole.

The award is for a person or group of people and their overall body of work, not for a particular piece of work.

Nominees for the award will be judged on the following criteria:
  • The potential of their work to transform our ways of seeing and understanding our world, and to trigger imaginative reaction from its audience. Does the nominee's work give humanity a new tool with which to see the world more clearly and/or to improve the human or global condition? How so? Does the nominee's work cartographically break new ground?
  • Their relationship to cartography as a discipline and tradition of graphic communication. How does the nominee's work engage with cartographic methods and theory? If the nominee is critical of mainstream cartography, is that critique well thought-out, and would it make sense to cartographers? Does the nominee's work engage cartography with fields, communities or issues with which it hasn't previously been associated?
  • The quality of the creators work, both within the creative sphere in which they work and in relation to mainstream cartographic values of consistency, accuracy, completeness and clarity. Is the nominee's approach to the work rigorous and bound to a high level of quality, however that may be defined? Does it stand up to critique as "solid work"? Is the work likely to remain relevant and thought-provoking for the long-term? Has the nominee demonstrated a body of work that has developed over time?

Guidelines for nomination

All nominations should be submitted by email to The deadline for nominations is March 15, 2015. Please include:
  • Name and contact information for the person being nominated
  • A list of examples of the nominee's work which you think exemplifies why they deserve this award. If possible please include either links to their work, or attach (small) images or PDFs of their work to the email.
  • A description why you think the nominee is deserving of this award. It would be especially helpful if you could answer some of the questions listed above in the judging criteria.
  • [Optional] A description of how engaging with the nominee's work has impacted your own practice as a cartographer.
  • [Optional] Your own name and contact information, if you would be willing for us to contact you with follow-up questions.
We will accept incomplete nominations, but the more information you can provide, the easier our job will be and the better we can judge the merits of the nomination.

For 2015, nominations will be accepted from all sources, whether or not the nominator is a NACIS member. For a postable flyer about the award, download this PDF.


Natural Earth Data - FREE Vector and Raster Map Data


Annual Meeting

NACIS 2014
Pittsburgh, PA
October 8-11, 2014


 Student Dynamic Map Competition

 Student Map and Poster Competition

 Map Gallery

Corlis Benefideo Award

Cartographic Perspectives

CP 60, Spring 2008

CP 60 - Spring 2008

CP Archive (from 1989)

Student Dynamic Map Competition

2013 Winner - Narrative

50 Years of Change

by Rashauna Mead, Erin Hamilton, and Vanessa Wetzel
University of Wisconsin - Madison

2013 Winner - Interactive

by Caroline Rose, Chris Cantey, and Morgan Jarocki
University of Wisconsin - Madison


Student Poster Competition 

2013 Winner

Sawtooth Wilderness, Idaho 
by Aaron Taveras
University of Kansas

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