Council of North American Map Societies

Minutes of meeting of February 7, 2015


Attendees: Presiding – John Docktor – President CONAMS, Eliane Dotson and Dennis Gurtz – Washington Map Soc., Ray Wolf – Philadelphia Map Soc., Tom Sander – Soc. of History of Discoveries, Dick Pflederer – Williamsburg Map Circle, Art Holzheimer – Chicago Map Society, Jeremy Pool – Boston Map Society, Wes Brown – Rocky Mountain Map Society, Jim Walker, Portland Oregon.


Philadelphia Map Society – A meeting will be held on February 19th and 20 at the Kislak Center of the library of the U. of Pennsylvania titled Hand-Colored Books and Maps of the Early Modern Period. Overall, the society is doing well with several meetings each year.

Society of History of Discoveries – Their October 2014 meeting in Austin was a success. The next meeting will be July 8 to 11, 2015 based at the University of London organized by Imre Demhardt. Highlights will be tours of the Royal Geographic Society and British Library map collections. The 2016 fall conference will be in Newport, Road Island. Dues continue at $40 per year delivering two issues of the journal, Terre Incognitae.

Williamsburg Map Circle – Next meeting will on February 26th relating to the Battle of Yorktown. They continue to have about five meetings a year. Their distribution list has about 90 names and they have started collecting $25 in annual dues and have 40 or 50 paying members.

Chicago Map Society – Art reported they are experiencing renewed vigor with 40 to 45 attendees at meetings and more young blood in the mix. There are currently about 150 members. They recently raised their annual dues to $40. In October 2016, the Society will play host to a major event, a conference celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Nebenzahl Lectures, the International Symposium of IMCOS, and the Chicago Map Fair. A large attendance is anticipated. The Chicago Map Fair is not a direct activity of the Chicago Map Society but they help publicize it. There are lessons learned from the last fair but there is an intention to continue it annually.

Texas Map Society – The fall conference and map fair was a great success. Attendance was about 300. 14 dealers were represented, about half of them not generally attending the Miami Map Fair, so it was a chance to see new faces and materials. The Society now has the confidence to put on another fair in the future but specifics are not decided and one will not be held in 2015. The spring meeting will be on April 10th and 11th in Galveston Texas.

Boston Map Society – They have been holding about seven or eight events a year; typically about three of which are held in conjunction with new map related exhibits at Harvard. Membership is holding steady at about 140.

Rocky Mountain Map Society – Holding steady at about 100 members and about eight meetings a year. Annual dues were recently raised from $20 to $25. This year’s Map Month will involve four Monday nights in a row during the month of May with a theme of Twentieth Century Mapping. Two lectures will be at the University of Denver and two at the Denver Public Library. Each institution will also be mounting a map exhibit concurrent with the lectures. The Map Month program received excellent turnout in 2014, its first year, with the Denver Public Library helping with publicity.

Washington Map Society – Membership hovers around 400, about 50 of whom are institutional members. Individual members pay dues of $45 per year, a bargain for which members receive three issues of the Portolan Journal. Additional income from advertising helps cover the cost. They typically have eight or nine meetings a year with about 40 or 50 attendees now at the newly remodeled reading room of the Library of Congress with an excellent new large high definition screen.

Phillips Society – Dick Pflederer discussed how it would be helpful if each regional society made an appeal to its members for support of the Phillips Society, support organization of the Map and Geography Division of the Library of Congress. The Society has a contributing membership of about 175, three to four newsletters a year, and has recently crossed one million dollars as total donations received. He will draft a sample appeal that might be used by each society and it will sent to each representative by John Docktor.

Contemporary Mapping - The group engaged in a spirited discussion about introducing contemporary mapping and GIS to go with the traditional program emphasis on historical cartography of most of our map societies. There is a view that the rise of GIS has significantly reduced the interest of young persons in historical cartography yet there are huge young crowds attending conferences relating to GIS. Interestingly, at the Library of Congress’ conference in May 2014 on 20th Century Cartography, the first day was on works on paper, generally the first half of the 20th century, and the second day was on digital mapping. Both days were equally well attended but many attendees were only at one of the two days, each drawing a somewhat different crowd.  Some societies have so far reported almost no programs related to GIS. Rocky Mountain reported that about one third of its meetings have been devoted to contemporary mapping involving space, GIS, mining and petroleum, and many other fields. Attendance at these meetings is just as high as the others and a somewhat younger crowd is noticed. Each society will be wrestling with how to accommodate the changing interests of its members.

Pacific Northwest - Jim Walker discussed his desire and the difficulties of starting a map society in Portland. Much advice was given, including the idea of using senior education programs, such as OLLI, to provide lecture programs on maps that might generate support for a fledgling society.

Prepared by Wes Brown, Secretary