Minutes from CONAMS meeting at the Miami Map Fair, Feb. 3, 2018

Attendees: John Docktor – President CONAMS; Richard Pflederer – Williamsburg Map Circle; Eliane Dotson – Washington Map Society; Art Holzheimer – Chicago Map Society; Jeremy Pool – Boston Map Society; Leonard Rothman & Juliet Rothman – California Map Society; Wes Brown – Rocky Mountain Map Society. Also present: Dennis Gurtz.

Washington Map Society – Eliane Dotson is transitioning from VP to President, and will be replacing Ed Redmond. Membership is slightly down (~375) from a prior high of about 400.  All meetings are now recorded (as video) and available to members through the WMS website. Also available are the PowerPoint presentations of the speakers. The Society is increasingly using electronic media for communication. This includes a monthly email newsletter and a Facebook page (that now has over 500 members) that are managed by Bert Johnson. A new class of membership is being planned: E-membership (with the Portolan being received as PDF, rather than paper). Because of the savings (printing/postage), it is anticipated that the price of the new membership category will be roughly 2/3 of the current US membership cost.

Chicago Map Society – Membership is stable or slightly rising. Meetings typically draw 45 to 50 attendees. More of the meetings have content that is focused on modern mapping, rather than on historical cartography.

Rocky Mountain Map Society – Membership is about 115, at its lowest point (after culling inactive members). The Society continues to sponsor a map month, with four speakers on a common topic throughout the month (May). This year’s topic is Maps in War. The Society will be co-hosting, with SHD, a meeting in Golden, Colorado between Sept. 20 and 23rd. The first day will be a Society-sponsored symposium on the topic of Gold Rushes. The next two days will be the SHD meeting. The final day (Sunday) will have excursions (e.g. to an old mine). Attendees can sign up for parts or all of the four days of activities. The host location is the Colorado School of Mines.

Boston Map Society – Membership is around 150. Finances are good (thanks, in part, to a new arrangement at the Boston Public Library, where most of our meetings occur, for refreshments, which have always been one of the largest cost items in our budget). We have a new and solid relationshp with the Houghton Library (Harvard’s rare book library), with two upcoming events and a third being discussed for April. The Society publishes two full-color newsletters per year. The Society’s web site has been redesigned and is nearly complete. The Society has two new young board members.

Williamsburg Map Circle – Roughly 100 names are on the Circle’s mailing list. There are 5 to 6 meetings a year, with typical attendance of 35 to 40.  The Circle holds a winter social, a Sunday brunch, with a few very short map presentations.  There are really no young members.

California Map Society – The Society has about 200 members, including 42 new members, many of them young and tech-oriented. Attendance at meetings is in the 30 to 50 range. The northern California sub-group (Bay Area Map Group) is a Founding Friend of the Rumsey Map Center. This has provided the opportunity to have meetings at the Rumsey Center and to provide Society member’s an opportunity to visit the Rumsey Center. The Society sponsors an opportunity for college students to submit a cartography-related lecture and slides. The winning submission presents their paper at a Society meeting.  Because of the large distance between the northern and southern California members, the Society sometimes sponsors a speaker to give their lecture in both locations (or in three locations: SF, LA & San Diego), which includes covering the travel costs.  The newsletter has turned into a journal, Calafia, which is 48 pages in length and appears twice a year. The journal (under the editorship of Juliet Rothman) aims to include both tranditional map society informational content and scholarly articles.

There was some discussion of the changes occurring at the G&M Division of the Library of Congress. Less focus is being given to historical cartography, and some of the activities that were of interest to our map societies (the Occasional Papers and the annual symposium) appear to be gone or soon gone.  It is not clear how these changes will affect local map societies, though the Washington Map Society’s historically close relationship with G&M would suggest that the Washington Map Society is the society most likely to be affected by these changes.

Minutes prepared by Jeremy Pool