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News & Notes

Current Issue: May - June 2009   |    Previous Issues    |   Submit a Tidbit

Benchmarks: People & Jobs

  • The University of British Columbia Library is pleased to announce the appointment of Tom Brittnacher as our first GIS librarian, effective Aug. 17, 2009. Tom comes to UBC from the American Geographical Society Library, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where he has been the Digital Spatial Data Librarian and Digital Collections Librarian for the past three years. He holds a B.Sc. in geography from UC Davis, an MA in urban planning from UCLA and an MLIS from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Before returning to school for his library degree, Tom worked as both a  transportation planner and GIS analyst in southern California for a number of years. He is a member of ALA MAGERT, NACIS, and WAML, where he is the Information Bulletin Production Editor.

While several academic departments and research institutes at the University of British Columbia have long been active in GIS, there are many students and faculty who have not had access to GIS services. To address this need, the Library is now constructing a geospatial lab and establishing full GIS services, which Tom will be responsible for. He joins a team which includes Mary Luebbe, Data Librarian; Darrell Bailie, Reference Librarian; Paul Lesack, Data Technician; and Tim Ross, Map Librarian.

Tim Ross, Map & Reference Librarian
Koerner Library, Univ. of British Columbia


New Maps of the WAML Region


Publications about Mapping

  • Articles from The Map Collector, a quarterly magazine published between 1977 and 1996, are now being reprinted online.
  • The most recent addition to Coordinates (Series B, no. 11) is: Jefferson Moak, Louis H. Everts: American Atlas Publisher and Entrepreneur.  This article is a good online starting place for research on nineteenth and early twentieth century American county atlas publishing, and a case study of how one atlas publisher went about his business.--David Allen, editor.
  • /Cartographic Collections/ call for articles:

     /Cartographic Collections/ is a column appearing in /Cartographic Perspectives/, the journal of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS).  /Cartographic Collections/ provides a forum for map librarians and includes articles with full color, high quality illustrations. Articles provide a broad overview of map libraries, description of digitization projects, web design, unique partnerships, description of unique content, or new approaches to common problems.

    In collaboration with a future issue of /Cartographic Perspectives/, the /Cartographic Collections/ editor is seeking articles from map libraries featuring unique terrain mapping collections or projects. Articles may be from any map library worldwide, public or private.  Please contact the editor, Angie Cope with a brief proposal.  She can be reached at 414-229-6282, or by emailing acope@uwm.edu .--Tom Brittnacher


Other Map Organization Journals

  • CUAC : Cartographic Users Advisory Council
  News | Conferences | Cataloging | Canadiana | New Maps & Web Sites



  • The WAML Fall Meeting will be held in Cody, Wyoming September 15-18. For complete conference information see the WAML 2009 Fall Meeting wiki. Make your hotel reservations soon as the rooms will be released July 15.  The reservation is under the name "Western Association of Maps,” and our contact at The Cody is Maureen Harris. You may contact her directly at 307-527-3398. The due date for conference registration is August 15.
  • The WAML Nominating Committee, Mary Douglass (chair), Jim O'Donnell, and Chris Thiry, has a slate of candidates for this year's election of officers. You should have received your ballot either via email or in paper, depending on your previous request. Paper ballots must be received by Secretary John Kawula by July 8th.
  • Congratulations to longtime WAML member Fatemah Van Buren, who retired from UC-Berkeley at the end of June.
  • A request from Janet Collins: “Just a quick note to say that I'll be doing more work on the photo archive soon.  Still seeking photos of previous WAML meetings!  If any of you newer retirees--Linda N., Mary L., Sue H., Fatemah V B., Wendie H.--have photos of any WAML meetings, it would be wonderful to add them to our photo archive! Please email me at:  janet.collins2@gmail.com or janettheplanet44@yahoo.com.”

Other News

  • If you could not attend last month's Waldseemuller Symposium at the Library of Congress, or if you did and just wanted to watch it all again, it is now available as a web/podcast on the Library of Congress' website.

All four sessions of Exploring Waldseemuller's World are there for free download and viewing. It is over 10 hours length.

Session 1: Scholars and Scientists
Session 2: Exploring the Known and the Unknown Sessions
Session 3: Sources and Texts Session
Session 4: Changes and Revolutions

  • A new version of MapAnalyst is available. MapAnalyst is software for the accuracy analysis of old maps. Its main purpose is to compute distortion grids and other types of visualizations that illustrate the geometrical accuracy and distortion of old maps.

What's new in version 1.3:
- MapAnalyst now uses OpenStreetMap as the default reference map. This will simplify the analysis of maps in areas where OpenStreetMap data is available.
- Distortion grids can now be combined with undistorted grids.
- Distortion in grids can be amplified for visualizing the accuracy of relatively precise modern maps.
- Many improvements to the interface.
- Various bug fixes.

Bernhard JENNY
Institute of Cartography ETH Zurich


The survey has been prepared within the International Cartographic Association (ICA) ODAIPR working group.  The summary of the results will be sent directly to the participants toward the end of November.

Lucia Lovison-Golob
Project Director/Librarian
Afriterra Foundation

Future WAML Meetings:

  • Cody, Wyoming, September 15-18, 2009
  • Eugene, Oregon, Spring, 2010 (dates TBD)
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, May 17-20, 2011 (joint meeting with ACMLA)
  • WAML Meetings Web Page

Conferences and Classes

  • There are several events planned in October around the re-opening of the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education at the University of Southern Maine, including an exhibition, public lecture and one day conference. For details and registration, see the OML website.
  • The Map Curators’ Group of the British Cartographic Society is pleased to invite map curators, map librarians, archivists and all those charged with the care of maps to its 2009 Workshop at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, to be held September 9-11.  This conference’s theme is From Paper to Screen: Putting Maps on the Web.

            See brochure for full details. Booking forms: paper and online.

There is a specially priced offer for those wishing to attend the entire MCG event, and a la carte options as well. Early bird booking closes on July 31 and all booking closes on August 21.  Also, The Charles Close Society for the Study of Ordnance Survey Maps is planning an Edinburgh program for September 12th.

Anne Taylor
Head of Map Department
Cambridge University Library, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR
Tel: 01223-333041
email: aemt2@cam.ac.uk

  • There is a Call for Presentations for the upcoming conference "Geospatial Technologies in the Liberal Arts" to be held September 25-27, 2009, at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY.  This event is a community effort organized by GIS professionals in the liberal arts, with logistical support from NITLE (see below for planning members and contact information). Our goal is to create and participate in a geospatial conference focusing on issues common to smaller educational institutions, such as GIS management and support, and to consider how we can adapt to rapid advances in the mapping industry and research. We also seek to sustain the progress that NITLE institutions have made in GIS development and promote educational innovation for digital mapping in the liberal arts.

We are now looking to those of you who have been innovators in areas of geospatial visualization, support, teaching, and data management to offer presentations, panels, or workshops at this event.  In this spirit, we invite your ideas for sessions in the following areas:

* Interactive map visualizations and web-mapping applications in teaching and learning
* Virtual earths in the classroom: examples, methods, and implications for GIS in higher education
* Best practices for geospatial data collection, documentation, delivery, and protection
* The use of GPS-enabled technologies and similar mobile technologies to support spatial studies and research
* Mapping/Cartography to support critical thinking, numeracy, and spatial competency
* Effective assessment of maps: rubrics for projects/presentations by students and professionals alike
* Open-source map-serving solutions - MapServer / GeoServer /
Postgres+PostGIS. How have these geospatial tools been implemented on
campus? What are their benefits and drawbacks? How do they compare to the commercial options, such as ArcGIS Server?

If you are interested in contributing to this effort, please review the Call for Presentations and then submit your proposal(s) here.  Additional conference information, including instructions for registration is available here.

Proposals must be submitted by July 31, 2009. Notification(s) of acceptance will be returned by August 14th, 2009. The conference registration deadline is August 28th, 2009. As with other NITLE events, speakers and participants will be responsible for registration and travel related costs.  Questions or suggestions can be addressed to myself, Alex Chaucer.  If you have questions related to NITLE, please contact Sean Connin.

Cataloging News

  • Two announcements from the Library of Congress:

In February, 2009, the Policy and Standards Division (PSD) of the Library of Congress announced the beginning the genre/form project for cartographic materials. As with previous projects, PSD is reexamining current subject headings and subdivisions to determine whether any changes should be made to their structure and/or to the ways that they are assigned.

PSD is requesting input from the library community regarding a possible change to the structure of most of the form subdivisions in the area of cartography.  A discussion paper that provides an analysis of the current subdivision structure, the impact that the genre/form project will have on cataloging and resource discovery, and a solution to ameliorate the negative impacts, has been posted on PSD’s genre/form web page.

Interested parties are invited to send their thoughts on the proposal to Janis L. Young, genre/form coordinator, at jayo@loc.gov, or to PSD’s general e-mail account, policy@loc.gov. Comments will be accepted through August 10, 2009.


All 123 issues of Cataloging Service Bulletin (CSB) are now available at no cost. CSB is a quarterly bulletin that includes current, new, and revised information about LC cataloging and classification practices and policies. CSB lists revised AACR2 rules, LC Rule Interpretations, changes to the ALA/LC Romanization tables, changes to the LC Subject Headings, and includes "Cataloging Publication News" and "News of Cataloging Projects," and more.
CSB Issue 1 (summer 1978) through the current issue 123 (Spring 2009) can be accessed directly from the Library of Congress's Cataloging Distribution Service (CDS) website. The entire 31 years of CSB are made available by LC as a free service to the worldwide library community.


Canadian News

  • This year’s ACMLA  conference was held jointly with the Geomatics Association of Nova Scotia from June 9 – 12, 2009, in the charming university town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Keynote speakers included Prof. Michael Goodchild, Director of the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science at UC, Santa Barbara.  ACMLA’s 2010 conference will take place at the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, during the second week of June.

The University of British Columbia Library is currently constructing a GIS lab, which will be managed by WAMLite Tom Brittnacher, currently with the AGS Library at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Tom will leave that post to become UBC’s first GIS Librarian in August 2009.

Canadian Federal Government agencies continue to make geospatial data available to university libraries. Elections Canada will be releasing some cartographic files in the near future. Information is available from Richard Pinnell of the University of Waterloo (rhpinnell@uwaterloo.ca)

In preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, BC,  Feb. 12 – 28 and March 12 – 21, 2010,  the Olympic Torch will be carried for 45,000 kilometres throughout Canada. Detailed maps can be found at http://www.vancouver2010.com/en/torch-relays/olympic-torch-relay/the-route/-/34592/1bonut/index.html

Tim Ross, Map & Reference Librarian
Koerner Library, Univ. of British Columbia


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New Maps & Web Sites of Interest
  • The online exhibition Divine Sky: The Artistry of Astronomical Maps is hosted by the University of Michigan’s Shapiro Science Library. It includes all of the plates from the Harmonia Macrocosmica (1708 edition) by Andreas Cellarius, John Flamsteed's Atlas Coelestis (1729) and Elijah H. Burritt's Atlas Designed to Illustrate the Geography of the Heavens (1850 edition).  The images can be downloaded at various resolutions allowing even the smallest details to be seen.
  • This week, NASA revealed the most complete terrain map of Earth that covers 99% of planet's surface. NASA’s press release with high-resolution TIFF images.

    Further info from email to MAPS-L by Joseph Kerski at ESRI:

Article in GIM magazine about this.

ASTER GDEM tiles may be downloaded electronically from ERSDAC, and from the LP DAAC.  I tried to use the site in Japan because it had a nice map interface, but eventually I abandoned it and went with the NASA site.

I had to register on the site, and then navigate to the data.  After I ordered a block of data from 39.5 to 40 North Latitude, 105 to 105.5 West Longitude, a short time later I received an email indicating that the data was ready.  I received 4 ZIP files that unpacked into 8 TIF files, 4 of which were the actual data, which I loaded into ArcGIS.  A screen shot of my results is here.

  • A large online historical Map Archive is available courtesy of EmersonKent.com.
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Last modified: July 21, 2009
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