News & Notes

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On behalf of the Western Association of Map Libraries (WAML) executive board, thank you to all who took the time to complete the WAML 2020 Conference Opinion Survey.

 The survey had 70 responses. A summary of survey results, including basic descriptive statistics, is found at the following (bitly-shortened) Google Drive link:

 The survey produced insightful feedback on respondents’ thoughts about the on-going pandemic, fiscal constraints, and other concerns that pose significant impact on WAML 2020 conference activities. Based on this feedback the WAML executive board this morning voted to move the event to a virtual format.

 The WAML 2020 Conference will be held entirely online October 14-16, 2020. Full conference details will be announced over the coming weeks on the conference website.

 While the COVID-19 pandemic has altered our lives in innumerable ways, WAML remains committed to supporting the continued advancement of the map and geospatial profession through its annual conference and other activities. We hope you all join us online in mid-October for a dynamic and engaging event!

Matthew Toro
Director | Maps, Imagery, Geospatial Services
Map and Geospatial Hub | ASU Library

WAML member Stanley Stevens’ book, Names on the Map: History of the 1889 “First” Official Map of Santa Cruz County, California will be published this fall by the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (it should be available at this link). It will include biographical sketches of the principal participants, plus reproductions of the Hatch Map of 1889 and a complete index to landowners names depicted on the map. For historians and genealogists.

From Peter Stark, former WAML member and map librarian at the University Oregon, has completed a monumental illustrated, multi-chapter reference work entitled Names, Boundaries, and Maps: A Resource for the Historical Geography of the National Forest System of the United States, which is now being mounted on two free publically accessible websites: The National Museum of Forest Service History & The National Forest Service Library. The complete announcement is part of this issue.

WAML member Jim Coombs, Associate Professor of Library Science and the Maps and GIS Librarian at the Missouri State University Libraries, retired on May 15th, after over four decades of praiseworthy service to the profession of maps librarianship. Jim is also the creator of the “Great Moments in Map Librarianship” cartoon, the first 30 years in book form can be purchased here. Is this his last cartoon?

UC San Diego will receive a Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award from Esri at their Virtual User’s Conference (July 13-16). The case study, UC San Diego Makes GIS Accessible Across Campus, provides background on the basis of the award. Students across fields as diverse as business, data science, oceanography, and urban planning are accelerating their geographic information system (GIS) adoption with the help of synergy between the University of California (UC) San Diego Library, led by WAML member Amy Work, and its Information Technology Services (ITS) department, to streamline access to ArcGIS through a single sign-on (SSO) experience.

Other News

  • The Philadelphia Print Shop West in Denver has a YouTube page with a series of on-line lectures related to antique maps and prints from one of the premier galleries in the country. Lectures are by Christopher W. Lane, who has been in the business for over three and a half decades, including over 20 years as print and map expert on Antiques Roadshow.
  • See how your city’s climate might change by 2020 is a story map from National Geographic that will zoom in to your location and show how it’s climate zone might change. This is pretty horrifying: Hanoi, Vietnam, is different. Its climate will feel like no place that currently exists on Earth. Its future, and that of 90 other cities around the globe, has no direct analog, or comparison, to any climate in the world today.

Conferences, Classes & Exhibitions

Upcoming conferences for the rest of the year will probably be canceled or will be held virtually.

Here are some that have happened recently, or are scheduled.

Recent virtual conferences with viewable content online:

FOSS4G UK Online 2020, a conference for open source GIS applications, took place on June 23. Session descriptions, recordings via Youtube and slides are available here.

The International Society for the History of the Map (ISHMap) conference took place June 12-13. Presentations and other material will be made available on the ISHMap website after the Symposium when permission is granted to do so. The schedule with descriptions and lecture notes can be viewed here.

The University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS), the professional hub for the academic GIS community in the United States, held an online symposium June 1-4. Most of the session presentations are available via YouTube.

How to Do Map Stuff was a day-long livesharing event held by the cartographic community on April 29. Presentations can be watched here on Youtube.

Upcoming online and still in-person events (for now):

July 30, 2020 – Washington (Online) The Washington Map Society is offering a virtual lecture via Zoom. Anyone interested in participating in the meeting must RSVP to John Docktor at washmap(at) in order to receive the meeting ID and passcode. Meeting will start at 7:00 PM eastern time. Garrett Dash Nelson, Curator of Maps and Director of Geographic Education at the Leventhal Map and Education Center at the Boston Public Library will be speaking about his new exhibition, Bending Lines: Maps and Data from Distortion to Deception. The virtual exhibition can be viewed online.

August 27, 2020 – Washington (Online) The Washington Map Society is offering a virtual lecture via Zoom. Anyone interested in participating in the meeting must RSVP to John Docktor at washmap(at) in order to receive the meeting ID and passcode. Meeting will start at 7:00 PM eastern time. Libby Bischof, Executive Director of the Osher Map Library at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, will be discussing her recent exhibition, Mapping the Classroom: Teaching Geography and History in the 19th and 20th Century New England. Libby Bischof, Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education and Professor of History at the University of Southern Maine. A visual historian, Bischof curated Mapping the Classroom for the OML in 2019. A digital version of the gallery exhibit is available online.

September 25-27, 2020 – San Francisco The San Francisco Map & Print Fair (still scheduled) will take place in the Forum at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street. The Fair is sponsored by the History in Your Hands Foundation a non-profit organization with a mission to provide classrooms with authentic, historical objects in an effort to help foster a more enriched learning experience. The lecture series portion of the San Francisco Map Fair will be sponsored by the California Map Society. It will consist of three 40 minute lectures followed by a 10 minute Q & A period.

September 26, 2020 – New York (and online) Eric Sanderson, author of “The Mannahatta Project” and “Terra Nova,” will present an update on his Welikia Project. Venues: Virtual, via Zoom, AND onsite — we hope! — at Avenues: The World School, Headquarters, 11 East 26th Street (between Madison and Fifth Avenues), 17th Floor, New York, NY 10011. Please RSVP to MapSocietyNY(at) “We’re going beyond Mannahatta, launching the Welikia Project to encompass all of New York City circa 1609: Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, and surrounding waters. Welikia means ‘my good home’ in Lenape, the original Native American language of the region.”

October 14th-17th, 2020NACIS Conference (online) Updates will appear on the Annual Meeting page. It’s not clear whether this will be an open meeting, or if you have to be a NACIS member to participate. Last year’s conference videos can be viewed on their YouTube page. There are 134 (!) videos from last year.

October 31, 2020 – New York (and online) The New York Map Society plans to meet virtually, via Zoom, and onsite — we hope! — at Avenues: The World School, Headquarters, 11 East 26th Street (between Madison and Fifth Avenues), 17th Floor, New York, NY 10011. Please RSVP to MapSocietyNY(at) if you plan to attend. Meeting will start at 2 PM. Lars Grava will speak on: At the Edge of Empires – Maps of the Baltic States”. Lars, in a reprise of his Fall 2019 presentation to the Washington Map Society, will discuss how maps have more than two dimensions, as they also illuminate political, societal, cultural, and economic features of the geographies they depict.

November 12-15, 2020 – New Orleans Join us in the Celebration of our 60th Anniversary at Society for the History of Discoveries Annual Meeting in 2020! The 2020 SHD Annual Meeting will be hosted by the Williams Research Center, which is part of The Historic New Orleans Collection. Consisting of the museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. As usual, the SHD meeting is planned as a three-day event, consisting of opening reception on Thursday evening followed by conference program on Friday and Saturday. There will be a one day trip (optional) on Sunday. Theme is New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta: Cultural Crossroads.

November 21, 2020 – New York (online) The New York Map Society plans to meet virtually, via Zoom, and onsite — we hope! — at Avenues: The World School, Headquarters, 11 East 26th Street (between Madison and Fifth Avenues), 17th Floor, New York, NY 10011. Please RSVP to MapSocietyNY(at) if you plan to attend. Meeting will start at 2 PM. Dr. Larry Tise will speak about his recently co-authored book: “Theodore de Bry — America: The Complete Plates from 1590-1602”. Dr. Tise will discuss his research in writing the book and will show many of the beautiful maps and native Americans depicted.

February 14, 2020 – February 28, 2022 – Oakland

We all use maps in our everyday lives—to navigate public transportation, find places to eat, and visualize big data like weather patterns or political opinions. But have you ever considered the deeper stories maps tell us? In You Are Here: California Stories on the Map, you’ll discover there’s more to maps than meets the eye. Showcasing a diverse range of maps from Oakland, the Bay Area, and California—from environmental surroundings and health conditions to community perspectives and creative artworks—experience how maps can be a powerful tool to share unique points of view and imagine a better future. Explore new perspectives of familiar places through maps made by the community, and mark your own stories on the community map inside the exhibition. The exhibit encompasses more than 50 maps divided with segmented focus on climate change, nature, public health, community projects, and maps from a personal perspective. It can be viewed in Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St.

For other events, see:

Cartography – Calendar of Meetings and Events


New Maps & Web Sites of Interest

  • Obligatory sites for COVID-19: it’s pretty much a two-shop stop with the COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) for world data, and for U.S. data COVID-19 Trends for U.S. Counties from Esri.
  • Two online image collections from American Geographical Society Library:

Map covers: Beautiful and timeless art on the covers of folded maps

Compass Roses: Compass roses on maps

  • The GIScience YouTube channel has been around for a few years, but it’s a recent discovery that features a variety of tutorials, hands-on exercises, and educational videos related to Geographic Information Systems or GIS and related topics. Recent videos include “How to Create Coronavirus Maps with Free Tools and Data” and “How to Create Coronavirus Dashboards with Maps and Charts using Free Tools and Data”.
  • The newish website Atelier Ideas & Research includes a census of the digital collections and archives which provide free access and downloads of their cartographical documents. Recent highlights include the Osher Map Library, David Rumsey Map Center, University of Minnesota UMedia Libraries, American Geographical Society, Princeton University Library, Brigham Young University, among others.

These sites that aren’t new, but they’re new to me (or maybe I forgot about them):

  • Since 2018, Story Maps from the Geography and Map Division at the Library of Congress have used immersive web applications that tell the incredible stories of the Library’s collections through narrative, multimedia, and interactive maps.
  • Mapping History: Produced at the University of Oregon, the Mapping History Project has been designed to provide interactive and animated representations of fundamental historical problems and/or illustrations of historical events, developments, and dynamics. The material is copyrighted, but is open and available to academic users. There are dozens of entries which cover American, European, Latin American, and African history.
  • The Bodleian’s Map Room Blog has been highlighting maps from the Oxford library since 2012, such as the 319 pubs, breweries, beer houses and other licensed premises found on the Drink Map of Oxford from 1883
The Drink Map of Oxford from 1883
A map showing the ‘federal enclave’ carved out of the new state of Douglass Commonwealth

Unified Geologic Map of the Moon, 1:5M, 2020 [USGS] This new work represents a seamless, globally consistent, 1:5,000,000-scale geologic map derived from the six digitally renovated geologic maps

Publications about Mapping

  • Strategies for Planning and Selecting Maps for Exhibits, Displays and Workshops
    This is a guest post by Kathy Hart, Head of the Research Access and Collection Development Section in the Geography and Map Division. Libraries and museums often feature maps and related geographic content in digital and analog, large or small exhibits, displays and workshops. When considering the variety of materials available, how does one select the material that will best inform and inspire the visitor? The following are some factors to consider. [From the blog: Worlds Revealed: Geography & Maps at the Library of Congress]

  • JUST RELEASED for all to read: Lauren Bouchard Killingsworth’s prize-winning article on “Mapping Public Health in Nineteenth-Century Oxford.” It appeared in The Portolan, Journal of the Washington Map Society (Issue 101 – Spring 2018). Click HERE for hi-res version of article or HERE for lo-res version. More free articles from The Portolan are available here.
  • Interesting coronavirus perspectives via Bloomberg’s MapLab:
    Collecting the Maps of the Coronavirus Pandemic As the Library of Congress archives visuals about coronavirus, it is documenting a dramatic expansion in the forms and functions of maps — and their makers. An interview with John Hessler, a specialist in modern cartography and GIS at the Library of Congress, who is collecting the maps of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • How 2020 Remapped Your Worlds Through homemade maps, readers shared perspectives and stories from a world transformed by the coronavirus pandemic. Some great maps here! This is a rendering of San Diego, which is pretty close to my world the last three months.

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