International Cartographic Association
Commission for Theoretical Cartography

Vilnius University
Centre for Cartography

Cartographic Society

Vilnius Seminar on Cartosemiotics
21-22 March 2003


Scientific seminars in Europe can be considered a normal phenomenon today. Our last seminar on cartosemiotics was unaccustomed both organization- and theme-wise. In May 2002 a group of students and lecturers from Vilnius University by the initiative of Giedre Beconyte visited the Institute of Cartography at Dresden University of Technology. After this visit I corresponded with Giedre and proposed to conduct a joint seminar on cartography and cartosemiotics. On March 21, 2003 the first joint seminar, organized by the ICA Commission on Theoretical Cartography, the Center for Cartography of Vilnius University and Lithuanian Cartographic Society was held in Vilnius. Over 40 participants from Germany, Poland, Ukraine, USA and the host country Lithuania met at Vilnius University, Department of Natural Sciences. In one-day meeting there were two oral sessions with 8 presentations, a poster session with 6 posters and time for discussions. The result of this seminar is the twelve papers presented in these proceedings (CD-version). All papers can be grouped under four thematic topics: cartosemiotics (6 papers), thematic cartography (4), history of cartography (1) and cultural semiotics (1).

The theme of the seminar was "Cartography and Cartosemiotics". Today cartography and cartosemiotics focus their research on education and other activities in interaction. But cartosemiotics has not only cartographic tradition; there is a semiotic tradition in cartography and beyond cartography. Cartosemiotics, in its various manifestations, is an important component of cartography, not only in Europe, but also in the rest of the world. The last decade of the 20th century has been characterized by considerable research activity in its theoretical and applied subfields. I believe that cartosemiotics has an enormous potential in both cartographic and non-cartographic aspect.

It is paradoxical, but cartography still does not have a discipline, which would deal with study and research of cartographic, map-like and cartographic-textual models (products) with a goal of acquisition of new spatial knowledge or revitalization of forgotten spatial information. Cartosemiotics, as discipline studying features of diverse cartosemiotic models from the standpoint of modelling, communication and cognition, can and must become such a discipline. In this sense, it would be good to conduct our next seminar on cartosemiotics in 2005 in Vilnius University again.

Finally, I would like to expresss my acknowledgement to all the contributors to these proceedings and a very special thanks to Giedre Beconyte for her initiatives and help.

Alexander Wolodtschenko
Chair, ICA Commission on Theoretical Cartography

Dresden, December 2003

Program (Word)


All participants Seminar Poster session Organizers Presentation Coffee break

: Cartography and Cartosemiotics. The Selected Problems of Theoretical Cartography 2003. International Cartographic Association. ISBN 9955-9673-0-7.