Mapping for a Sustainable World

By the United Nations and International Cartographic Association

In partnership with the International Cartographic Association (ICA), “Mapping for a Sustainable World” covers the best practices and methods in geospatial data and cartography to help unveil challenges and achievements towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In order to achieve the goals, targets, and indicators, each country needs large volumes of data to determine their baseline and similar data collected at an on-going basis. These data provide comparative findings useful for future planning. The variable types of data required for specific SDGs and the volume of data points needed at the appropriate levels of geography can be overwhelming. Maps, mapping technology, and the skills of cartographers can help synthesise and visualise complex data.

Drawing from cartography, this book offers guidelines for mapping geographic datasets related to the SDGs by introducing basic principles of map design and use, discussing established best practices and conventions, and explaining how different mapping techniques support understanding of the SDGs. The book offers recommendations to avoid common pitfalls in cartographic design rather than enforce hard-and-fast rules required in all mapping contexts. The book is of interest to those who want to make and use “SDG maps” that help create a sustainable world.

The book comprises four sections:

  • Section 1 introduces the SDGs and their relation to geospatial data, describing SDG indicators and data transformations for mapping.
  • Section 2 describes foundational design decisions in the cartographic workflow including projections, scale, generalization, symbolization, typography, and visual hierarchy among others.
  • Section 3 introduces common map types (e.g., choropleth maps, proportional symbol maps, dasymetric maps, bivariate maps, cartograms) and diagrams (e.g., bar graphs, scatterplots, timelines) for representing the SDG indicators.
  • Finally, Section 4 discusses considerations for map use environments such as audiences, user interfaces and interaction opera- tors, mobile and web media, storytelling versus exploration, and open access.

Download the book or learn more about it.

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