News & Notes


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Conference Update:

The Western Association of Map Libraries is hosting its 2020 annual meeting on the gorgeous University of Idaho campus in Moscow, Idaho between September 9-12. This will be the first-ever WAML conference hosted in Idaho!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020 – pre-conference workshops
Thursday, September 10, 2020 – conference day 1
Friday, September 11, 2020 – conference day 2
Saturday, September 12, 2020 – field trip

Additional details will be shared via email and the WAML conference website as they develop.

See you all in Idaho!

Matt Toro
Arizona State University
WAML Vice President/President-Elect

Major Award Winners!

Andria Olson and Julie Sweetkind-Singer won Esri’s StoryMapper of the Year contest for their StoryMap about Virginia City which they presented about during last fall’s WAML meeting in Reno.

Congratulations to Andria and Julie!
Susan Powell
UC Berkeley
WAML President

Announcing the winners of the 2019 StoryMapper of the Year competition

Esri – January 10, 2020 “Pancakes and Silver” by Stanford University Libraries took the grand prize in Esri’s 2019 StoryMapper of the Year competition. The story, made with the new ArcGIS StoryMaps builder, describes the use of 21st-century technology to cast a new light on 19th-century silver mines in Nevada’s Comstock lode.

Grand prize: Pancakes & Silver

The grand-prize-winning story map “seeks to highlight the history and data buried within maps and views of the Comstock Lode, a significant lode of silver ore discovered in Virginia City, Nevada in 1859.” The story is an accompaniment to “Mining Maps and Views,” an exhibit produced by the Stanford University libraries. The story uses engaging text and handsome images of historical maps to set the historical context. It then describes how old maps were digitized and combined with elevation data and mine depths to generate bird’s-eye views from above—and miner’s eye views from beneath the surface.

From Chris Thiry:

You might have seen my message earlier this week for “Time Machine Available!!”  It was my lame attempt at click-bait. I have created a FREE, online tutorial for aerial photographs.  The stated goal of the tutorial is teach people a “basic understanding of how to use and interpret historical aerial photographs (air photos).” The tutorial is designed to be used by college students and adults who are interested in learning things.  While containing many interesting images, it is not a site merely for pretty pictures.  This is a serious endeavor meant to teach people things.

My hope is that professors will use the tutorial in classes (for credit or extra credit).

The tutorial starts with text, an agreement to participate in a study, and a pre-test.  It ends with 12, ever increasing in difficulty, quizzes.  The introductory text takes about 30 minutes to read, and quizzes take an additional 30-45 minutes. Set up regarding the quizzes:

“You will be shown a recent aerial photograph of a place in Colorado, and an additional group of photos.  From the group of photos, chose the 4 older photographs that cover the same area as the recent photo, and put them in chronological order. All dates on the photos are withheld purposely so as to make the quizzes more challenging.

After choosing the 4 photographs, you will also be asked the following questions:

  • What is the main feature of this photographic sequence?
  • What differences do you see between the photographs?
  • What are your guesses for why things look different? List as many as possible.  NO guess is wrong.
  • What information is difficult to determine by examining only these aerial photographs?
  • What resources or contacts would you use to get additional information about the location depicted in these photographs?”

A few notes on the tutorial:

  • I got clearance from Mines to collect data from human subjects, hence the participation agreement for the study. It is possible to take the tutorial and quizzes without agreeing to participate in the study–merely a matter of hitting the button at the bottom of the agreement page.
  • I hope to use data from people’s answers to understand if this tutorial is effective.
  • I used over 220 images.
  • Almost all the photographs are from our collection & cover parts of Colorado
  • The tutorial is best viewed on a pc with 2 monitors
  • I made the tutorial using LibWizard (a Springshare product which is an add on to LibGuides)
  • I worked on the tutorial for about a year (with long breaks).

The most difficult parts of making this:

  • The common problem with teaching–I know this stuff but how do I convey my knowledge to others?
  • Being precise with my words
  • Finding interesting examples

PLEASE distribute this tutorial widely!  My hope is that it can be a useful resource to anyone. I welcome questions or comments on the tutorial. Happy to send you the flyer for the tutorial.

Other News

An image of Blaeu's world map
  • Though the comment period has closed, be aware that NOAA is initiating a five-year process to end all traditional paper nautical chart production and is seeking the public’s feedback via a Federal Register Notice published on November 15, 2019. Chart users, companies that provide products and services based on NOAA raster and electronic navigational chart (NOAA ENC®) products, and other stakeholders can help shape the manner and timing in which the product sunsetting process will proceed.
  • Some good stuff here: A Roundup of Geospatial Podcasts from GIS Lounge.
  • Graves Lost or Found? There’s an App for That! features websites: Find A Grave allows members of the public to search for graves located on any of the seven continents. Members may add photos of headstones, memorial information, or GPS coordinates, and may also request photos of grave sites or headstones from other users. Billion Graves is a similar resource. Billing itself as “the world’s largest resource for searchable GPS cemetery data,” their app includes satellite maps of cemeteries around the world with GPS markers to help users find individual graves. Users can contribute GPS data, add images of headstones, and transcribe material online.

Conferences, Classes & Exhibitions

**Strike-Through indicates it has been canceled

March 31, 2020 – Stanford Peter Hiller, the Jo Mora Trust Collection Curator, has been enamored with the art of Joseph Jacinto “Jo” Mora (1876-1947) since he came upon Mora’s cartes (maps) in the mid 1990’s – to the extent of having recently written an extensive biography about Jo published in October 2019 by the Book Club of California. He will talk about Jo Mora: Pictorial Maps and Beyond in the David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford University, 557 Escondido Mall. 2:45 pm: Center Opens; 3.00-3.30: Pop Up Exhibit of Jo Mora maps; 3:30-4:30 pm: Talk by Peter Hiller. The talk is free and open to the public, but requires advance registration. postponed indefinitely due to coronavirus

April 6-10, 2020 – Denver Join the American Association of Geographers at the AAG Annual Meeting for the latest in research and applications in geography, sustainability, and GIScience. The meeting is an interdisciplinary forum open to anyone with an interest in geography and related disciplines. All scholars, researchers, and students are welcome. The five-day conference will host more than 7,000 geographers from around the world and feature over 5,000 presentations, posters, workshops, and field trips by leading scholars, experts, and researchers. Sessions will be organized around many subfields, special tracks, and featured themes. canceled due to coronavirus

April 14–18, 2020 – Granby, Colorado The International Cartographic Association is holding its 12th Mountain Cartography Workshop at Snow Mountain Ranch. The goal is to bring together cartographers, geographers, and others in a relaxed and beautiful setting to share new developments in cartography, design, and spatial analysis related to mountain environments. The theme of the workshop is People, Maps, and Mountains. Typically, about 50 people from multiple nations attend and it is a great opportunity for students, faculty, and mapping professionals to present their research.

April 25, 2020 – San Francisco The California Map Society, Northern California Spring Conference will be held in San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin Street. Meeting is from 9:15 AM – 5:00 PM. Cancelled due to coronavirus.

May 25-29, 2020 – Victoria, BC The Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives will be meeting in the region at Carto 2020, to be held in conjunction with the Canadian Association of Geographers and the Canadian Cartographic Association, at Victoria University.

If you are attending the ALA conference in Chicago, please be aware of this local event.

June 18, 2020 – Lake Forest, Illinois The Chicago Map Society will take our annual field trip to the MacLean Collection at 5:30 pm. The MacLean Collection is one of the premier map destinations in the United States, with close to 40,000 individual items, and we’re grateful for their generosity in sharing their collection. This meeting is intended to be a hands-on learning experience for CMS members, as we will solicit information from attendees to focus on a number of county atlases with our resident expert, Michael Conzen. These atlases provide a window of insight into a county’s history, demographics and development, and we look forward to our members learning more about their hometown, county of residence, and family history at the meeting. Michael Conzen is Professor of Geography at the University of Chicago and the co-author (with Diane Dillon) of “Mapping Manifest Destiny: Chicago and the American West,” published by the Newberry Library; he is co-editor (with Peter Larkham) of “Shapers of Urban Form: Explorations in Morphological Agency,” published by Routledge, and a contributor to the recently published book, “Teaching Urban Morphology.”

September 21, 2019 – January 20, 2020 – San Marino, California

The year 1919 was significant for so many reasons but none would affect the art scene and cultural life of the San Gabriel Valley more than the founding of the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. And we have Henry and Arabella Huntington to thank for bestowing on us their incomparable legacy. An exhibition called Nineteen Nineteen, at the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery, showcases 275 items from Henry and Arabella Huntington’s vast collections, some of which have never been displayed. The thread that ties them all together is that they were all acquired in 1919. In January 1919, President Woodrow Wilson and Allied heads of state gathered at the Paris Peace Conference to make new maps of a changed world. The carving up of ancient empires created new nations in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Africa, while regional promoters published maps to highlight Southern California’s capacity for growth. High above Los Angeles – at the Mount Wilson Observatory – the world’s largest telescope was on a nightly quest to chart the universe. In a world turned upside down, maps offered a welcome measure of predictability. What the charting of territory that occurred that year meant and its resulting significance are explored in the ‘Maps’ section. On view is a first edition of ‘Traite de Paix,’ the Treaty of Peace signed at Versailles on June 29,1919, with a map showing new territorial configurations; an album of autograph signatures gathered at the Paris Peace Conference by T.E. Lawrence, otherwise known as Lawrence of Arabia; rare maps depicting population, transportation, and demographic data in Los Angeles and the nation at the time; and original astronomical photographs of the moon and constellations.

September 27, 2019 – January 5, 2020 – Lethbridge, Alberta

Created by the Cushing Memorial Library & Archives at Texas A&M University, Worlds Imagined: The Maps of Imaginary Places Collections invites visitors of all ages to explore the intersections between maps, fantasy literature and popular culture. Of course, not all maps show places that exist, or ever have existed anywhere on Earth. From maps of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendary Middle-earth, to the Marauder’s Map from Harry Potter’s universe, explore a variety of imaginary worlds from literature, games, film and other media at the Galt Museum & Archives, 502 1 St S.

October 14-17, 2020 – The NACIS 40th Annual Meeting will be in Minneapolis, MN. See their YouTube channel for prior conference videos.

November 23, 2019 – August 2, 2020 – Austin, Texas

The Frank and Carol Holcomb Map Collection consists primarily of Texas maps spanning from 1513 to 1904. With an emphasis on color and rarity, the maps are both art and historical images. Collectors’ Gallery: The Frank and Carol Holcomb Map Collection exhibition focuses on landmark maps of Texas from 1646 to 1874, with the bulk of material showing the explosive growth of the region from 1830 to 1851, when Texas sovereignty changed three times in only 21 years. Exhibit can be seen at the Bullock Museum, 1800 Congress Ave.

New Maps & Web Sites of Interest

  • California has released a new State Geoportal, a clearinghouse of location-based government, organized into 12 different data categories such as water, health, and energy. Related, the state of California has a job posting for a newly created position, State Geographic Information Officer (GIO) and Manager of Data and Geospatial Services.
  • From the Digital Scholarship Lab, University of Richmond: Here you will find one of the greatest historical atlases: Charles O. Paullin and John K. Wright’s Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, first published in 1932. This digital edition reproduces all of the atlas’s nearly 700 maps. Many of these beautiful maps are enhanced here in ways impossible in print, animated to show change over time or made clickable to view the underlying data—remarkable maps produced eight decades ago with the functionality of the twenty-first century…. Most maps in the atlas have been georectified, warped so that they can be placed consistently on top of a digital map. Series of maps in the atlas that show how something like the exploration of the continent, different reform movements, or the location of churches evolved over time can be animated. Dozens of the maps like those illustrating presidential voting, population demographics, and crop production are clickable to access the underlying data in greater detail.
  • It’s not exactly new but Reddit’s Map Porn, for interesting maps is a site for high quality images of maps. Personally, reading Reddit threads gives me a headache, but one can just look at the maps, such as what Greenland would look like without the ice (let’s hope we won’t actually see this). Did you know it would have a lake in the middle of it?
  • City Roads is a simple but very cool website which instantly renders every single road within a city. The first person to name this city will win a free beer at the next WAML conference:
  • If you haven’t looked recently, the Sanborn Maps Collection at the Library of Congress now has 18,695 maps online, and what appears another 30,000+ to be added.

Publications about Mapping

  • The Amazing Pictorial Map That Captured the Soul of Los Angeles: Meet Joseph Jacinto Mora, the king of California pictorial cartography (by Glen Creason, map librarian of L.A.Public Library and the author of Los Angeles in Maps). Mora’s map is about the place that Los Angeles was, and can be, for an everyday person. [CityLab]

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