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The Northern California Chapter of URISA
(Urban Regional Information Systems Association)
presents its first professional development event of 2020:

Designing Visually Accessible Maps
Full-day workshop with lunch included on January 30, 2020

8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in West Sacramento
(address will be provided upon registration)


Course Summary:
Maps tell a story and should be usable and understandable to everyone. This means making design choices from the start that consider users with different situations such as color vision deficiency and visual impairments, motor impairments, cognitive disabilities and conditions, considering cultural understandings, and much more. We will create beautiful and accessible maps to help your map’s viewers understand the content you aim to share.

This full day workshop will highlight color, patterns, aerial photo usage, and more. We will go through resources, and guides to incorporate accessibility into your map products right away. Content is focused on cartography, static maps (e.g., PNG, or PDF-based), and web maps. Participants will learn ways to make their maps digitally accessible. Material will be presented at a beginner level; all audiences welcome!

Participants must provide their own laptop with their GIS software program of choice installed (and checked-out license, if applicable.)

This workshop is offered free of charge to current (2020) URISA members. Membership information may be found at (discounted memberships for young professionals and students).
NorCal URISA is now a OneURISA chapter. By joining URISA, anyone who lives or works in Northern California is considered to be a NorCal Chapter member! More information on OneURISA may be found at
Non-members may register for the workshop for a fee of $195.
Seats for this workshop are limited and we anticipate full enrollment, so don’t delay!

Register now at (This is a Google Form.)
We encourage members or prospective members to handle payments directly through the URISA Membership portal; for anyone who this presents difficulty please bring a check for $195 payable to NorCal URISA to the workshop or contact to arrange a credit card payment. Receipts and certificates of completion will be provided.

  • Amy Ellison
Amy is the Minnesota State Parks and Trails Cartographer & Event Coordinator at the Department of Natural Resources. She has been producing recreation maps, both digitally and in print, for the public for over 21 years. Outside the office, Amy loves being active outside, to travel with her husband and kids and watch British period and crime dramas.
  • Kitty Hurley
Kitty is a GIS Applications Developer at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources with over a decade of GIS experience. She specializes in web accessibility, user interface/user experience (UI/UX), mobile-first development, and front-end web development. In her free time she enjoys playing and coaching hockey, hiking, canoeing, and traveling with her husband.
Workshop Outline:
  1. Background/History
    • Background on accessibility, and why accessibility is important
    • Why maps are included in the accessibility discussion
  1. Accessible Maps
    • Why a map?
      • Purpose/audience
    • Cartographic standards - 80% there
    • How can maps be accessible
    • Accessible map examples
< Morning Break />
  1. Color
    • Contrast
    • Individual Activity (Color): What color is this?
      • Individual Post-it’s
      • Show different answers from the group on the board
      • Similarities? Differences?
    • Color Palettes
    • Print (paper) vs. Digital (screen/machine/projector)
      • RGB vs CMYK
      • Assumptions for both print and digital
    • Cannot rely on color alone
      • GeoPDF example (color and patterns)
    • Individual Activity: Color Perception – What color is this?
      • What color is this dress? What color are the sneakers?
      • Once complete, work in small groups to discuss.
      • Report results to the larger group.
< Lunch />
  1. Patterns and Line styles
    • Patterns
    • Line Styles
    • Exercise 3
  1. Labeling (Text)
    • Fonts and annotation
    • Text (Bold, Regular, Italics)
    • Labels
    • Halos
    • Exercise 4
< Afternoon Break />
  1. Symbols (Objects)
    • Leader lines
    • White space
    • Object Placement
    • Hands-on Exercise/Game (teams)
  1. Accessible map “dos and do nots” summary
  1. Basemaps and Imagery
    • Team exercise: Filter test with imagery
    • Examples
  1. Static and Interactive
    • Static Maps
    • Interactive Web Maps
  1. Tools and Resources
    • Tools
    • Resources
      • WCAG
    • Exercise 5
Copyright © 2020 NorCal URISA, All rights reserved.

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