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News & Notes

Current Issue: September - October 2009   |    Previous Issues    |   Submit a Tidbit

Benchmarks: People & Jobs

  • Note this recent job announcement:

    The University of Nevada, Reno Libraries seek a tenure-track library faculty member to manage the DeLaMare Library, including the Mary B. Ansari Map Library. The DeLaMare Library includes resources in the fields of earth sciences, engineering, chemistry, physics and computer science. The Head of the DeLaMare Library implements effective traditional and technological solutions to the information needs of the University community, offering research support and knowledge management in a highly automated science reference environment. Position reports to the Director of Information Services.

  • For a full position description and to apply, please visit:


New Maps of the WAML Region


Publications about Mapping


  • From the Library of Congress:

The Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress, is pleased to announce the addition of the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Online Checklist, an online version of the popular but out-of-print Library publication entitled "Fire Insurance Maps in the Library of Congress:

Plans of North American Cities and Towns produced by the Sanborn Map Company (Library of Congress, 1981).  The new website can be accessed directly via  http://www.loc.gov/rr/geogmap/sanborn/

The printed volume, and now the online version, describe the nearly 700,000 sheet collection of maps published by the Sanborn Map Company from 1867 to the 1960’s in the Library's collection, the single largest and most comprehensive collection of maps published by the Sanborn Map Company.  These maps were acquired by the Library as a result of copyright deposits, government agency transfers, and gifts.

For those who may be unaware, fire insurance maps and plans show detailed, accurate and large scale building “footprints” of individual structures and are often the earliest large scale urban mapping available for small cities.

In addition to a searchable database which lists all editions and number of sheets for each city/town/village represented in the collection, the online checklist will be continually updated to reflect new acquisitions.  Most importantly, the online checklist contains links to existing downloadable digital images from the collection and will be continually updated as new digital images are added to the online checklist.

The web site includes essays on the history of large scale mapping related to fire insurance efforts and examples of how large scale maps can be used by historians, geographers, and researchers in virtually any discipline.

For additional information contact Ed Redmond, Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division at ered@loc.gov


  • From the University of Kansas comes the Cartobibliography of the Maps in 18th Century British and American Geography Books:

On 11/2/2009 Barbara McCorkle’s "Cartobibliography of the Maps in 18th Century British and American Geography Books" was published on-line in the University of Kansas digital repository, known as KU Scholarworks, at URL http://hdl.handle.net/1808/5564.

This cartobibliography contains descriptions of approximately 6700 maps found in 470 books.  Entries are arranged alphabetically by author/title, and each entry lists every map included in the book with the full title, dimensions, name(s) of any publisher, engraver or cartographer appearing on the map, and the page location within the work cited.  There are three indexes: cartographer/engraver, geographic, and publisher.  The ESTC [English Short Title Catalogue] number is also given with each entry, enabling a researcher to locate copies and even call-numbers at participating libraries.  The ESTC catalogue is freely accessible on-line at the British Library website at URL: http://www.bl.uk/.  This cartobibliography will enable scholars to locate hitherto unrecognized work of the leading cartographers/engravers of the period and, as each entry contains the entire list of publishers/booksellers, will be an aid to researchers in the field of early publishing history.

Those having access to a library which subscribes to the Thomson Gale digital database, Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO), will have full-text access there to many of these books, including illustrations and maps.

The McCorkle cartobibliography project files are held in the Department of Special Collections, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.  The files include a xerox-quality paper copy of 99% of the maps in the cartobibliography.  These will be most useful to researchers within visiting distance of Lawrence, Kansas.  If you are trying to identify a map and are unable to visit, you are welcome to send an image of your map to the Special Collections Librarian, who will be glad to check the files as time allows.  Spencer Research Library does offer copy services, and it would be possible to request copies of maps, but only of those in books held in Spencer Research Library. The contact person at Spencer Research Library is Dr. Karen S. Cook, Interim Special Collections Librarian, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas, 1450 Poplar Lane, Lawrence, KS 66045-7616, USA; e-mail: kscook@ku.edu: telephone (785) 864-3357.

  • Special Digital Issue of Cartographic Perspectives from NACIS:

Last week the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) launched a special digital issue of Cartographic Perspectives in an effort to begin discussing the future of the journal, (e.g., possibilities of open access, digital format). Additionally, there are some great tools for all of us in the GeoSpatial community to take advantage of in this issue.

I have been tasked with putting another issue together, and will be accepting submissions until January 15, 2010. Please contact me with any questions, ideas or interest in publishing in the next digital issue, to be released in April 2010. The content, as you will see in the current issue, is not restricted to classic research/refereed papers. You can share techniques, tips, data, etc. For professors or TAs of GIScience, I would be interested in receiving submissions that focus on a particular lab or difficult topic for which you have found great solutions (e.g. projections to new students, successful seminars).

A link to the journal, back issues (special digital issue, 64, on the right): http://www.nacis.org/index.cfm?x=5

A link to issue 64, the Special Digital Issue:

Table of contents, Issue 64:

Featured articles:
Freeing CP: GIS&T, Cartography, and NACIS in the Open Educational Resources Movement David DiBiase Extending the Google Maps API for Event Animation Mashups (with Tutorial) by Robert E. Roth & Kevin S. Ross
Cartography 2.0: For People Who Make Interactive Maps by Mark Harrower, Anthony C. Robinson, Robert Roth & Ben Sheesely
Natural Earth Vector by Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso & Tom Patterson
When is it Too Late to Find a Cartographer? By Charlie Frye
Cartographies of Participation: How the Changing Natures of Cartography Has Opened Community and Cartographer Collaboration by William R Buckingham, Samuel F Dennis Jr.

Featured maps:
Hillshading with Illuminated Contours, Kevin J. McGrath
Increasing Data Density with Multivariate Symbols, Daniel Huffman

All the best,
Tanya Buckingham
UW Cartography Lab
550 N. Park Street
Science Hall, M390


  • New Geography Journal:

NESTVAL Announces Publication of The Northeastern Geographer

The New England-St. Lawrence Valley Geographical Society (NESTVAL), a regional division of the Association of American Geographers, is pleased to announce publication of the first volume of its new peer-reviewed journal. The Northeastern Geographer replaces NESTVAL’s conference proceedings which the Society published between 1971 and 2006.  The journal will be available to libraries, NESTVAL members and other subscribers in October 2009.  Subscription information and a table of
contents for Volume One are attached as a MS Word document.  

We hope that your campus library will purchase a subscription to The Northeastern Geographer; information to do this is given below.

Institutional Subscription Information:  The Journal will be published in September of each year.    Annual cost:  $25.00.  Payment should be in the form of a check or money order, payable to NESTVAL.

For further information or to subscribe:  
John T. Hayes and Steven E. Silvern, Editors The Northeastern Geographer
Department of Geography Salem State College Salem, MA  01970
Email:  negeog@salemstate.edu


Other Map Organization Journals

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



  • The meeting in Cody was a rousing success. If you have pictures from the meeting, or any previous meeting, here is a note from Katie Lage:

I’d like to put up photos from the Cody conference and the fabulous field trip up on our WAML Flickr account. Please either send me photos, or email me and I’ll give you the password to our Flickr account and you can do it yourself (easiest way to do it if you have a lot of photos). For those of you who have already posted to your Facebook accounts, we’d like to have them on the public Flickr account too, so send me the ones you want to share: http://www.flickr.com/photos/waml/sets/

  • The next WAML meeting will be held in Eugene, Oregon, on March 17-20, hosted by Jon Jablonski. The field trip will feature a wine tour of the region. Please see the WAML Spring Meeting 2010 for preliminary info.
  • Also reported in Cody is that Mabel Suzuki will host a WAML meeting in Hawaii in 2012. Time of season to be determined.

Other News

  • The Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education in Maine re-opens (story with video content).
  • Journal of Maps Google Maps Mashup Competition

At the Journal of Maps we have recently moved over to having a Google Maps map on the main page showing the location of maps we have published in the journal. Its not exciting or pretty, but does the job. However we thought it about time we ran a competition to develop the best Google Maps mashup.

The rules are simple: use the JoM GeoRSS feed and Google Maps APIs to do something interesting, useful, unique. The map can be designed to load in to the current space on the main page OR load in to a separate window.

Every *legitimate* entry to the competition will get a printed copy of our 2008 Best Map.
For the winner there is £200 payable via PayPal.

The contest runs from now until 11:59pm on Thursday, 31 December 2009.  Entry is straightforward: just email googlemap@journalofmaps.com giving a grief description of the project and a link to the code or project home page.

Future WAML Meetings:

  • Eugene, Oregon, March 17-20, 2010
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, May 17-20, 2011 (joint meeting with ACMLA)
  • Hawaii 2012
  • WAML Meetings Web Page

Conferences and Classes

  • The International Cartographic Association Commission on Digital Technologies in Cartographic Heritage is organizing in Vienna (22-24 February 2010), its 5th International Workshop on Digital Approaches to Cartographic Heritage in association and with the support of the Technical University of Vienna, Research Group Cartography. For more info see: http://cartography.tuwien.ac.at/cartoheritage/

Background and Goals
The Places & Spaces: Mapping Science exhibit was created to inspire cross-disciplinary discussion on how to best track and communicate human activity and scientific progress on a global scale. It has two components: physical exhibits enable the close inspection of high quality reproductions of maps for display at conferences and education centers; the online counterpart ( http://scimaps.org ) provides links to a selected series of maps and their makers along with detailed explanations of how these maps work.

Places & Spaces is a 10-year effort. Each year, 10 new maps are added, which will result in 100 maps total in 2014. Each iteration of the exhibit attempts to learn from the best examples of visualization design in existence. To accomplish this goal, each iteration compares and contrasts four existing maps with six new maps of science. Themes for the different iterations/years are as follows:

            • 1st Iteration (2005): The Power of Maps
            • 2nd Iteration (2006): The Power of Reference Systems
            • 3rd Iteration (2007): The Power of Forecasts
            • 4th Iteration (2008): Science Maps for Economic Decision Makers
            • 5th Iteration (2009): Science Maps for Science Policy Makers
            • 6th Iteration (2010): Science Maps for Scholars    
            • 7th Iteration (2011): Science Maps as Visual Interfaces to Digital Libraries
            • 8th Iteration (2012): Science Maps for Kids
            • 9th Iteration (2013): Science Maps for Daily Science Forecasts
            • 10th Iteration (2014): Telling Lies With Science Maps

Places & Spaces was first shown at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers in April 2005. Since then, the physical exhibit has been displayed at more than 175 venues in over 15 countries, including eleven in Europe, plus Japan, China, Brazil, Canada, and the United States. A schedule of all display locations can be found at http://scimaps.org/flat/exhibitions.

Submission Details
The 6th iteration of the Mapping Science exhibit is devoted to science maps that address the needs of scholars. Among others, scholars are researchers, authors, editors, reviewers, teachers, inventors, investigators, team leaders, and science administrators. To fulfill these roles, scholars benefit from a deeper understanding of and more global perspective on science. As science becomes more interdisciplinary and international, scholars must become “sciencetrotters” as well as globetrotters, crossing existing boundaries with ease. They must be fluent in multiple science languages and cultures to harvest the best data resources, theory, tools, and expertise independent of their origin. Maps of science can guide scholars in knowledge access and management activities as well as their evaluation of certifiable novelty and impact.

We invite maps that show a visual rendering of a dataset together with a legend, textual description, and acknowledgements as required to interpret the map. Science map dimensions can be abstract, geographical, or feature-based, but are typically richer than simple x, y plots. Scientific knowledge can be used to generate a reference system over which other data, e.g., funding opportunities or job openings, are overlaid or be projected onto another reference system, e.g., a map of the world, but must be prominently featured. See http://scimaps.org/static/docs/all-maps.pdf for an overview of all 50 existing maps.

Each initial entry must be submitted by January 9th, 2010 and needs to include:

  • Low resolution version of map
  • Title of work
  • Author(s) name, email address, affiliation, mailing address
  • Copyright holder (if different from authors)
  • Description of work: Science policy maker needs addressed, data used, data analysis, visualization techniques applied, and main insights gained (100-300 words)
  • References to publications in which the map appeared
  • Links to related projects/works

Entries should be submitted via email to the curators of the exhibit: Katy Börner (katy@indiana.edu) and Elisha F. Hardy (efhardy@indiana.edu) using the email subject header “Mapping Science Entry”.

Review Process
All submissions will be reviewed by the exhibit advisory board and invited scholars from academia, industry, and government. Submissions will be judged in terms of

• Scientific value – quality of data collection, analysis, result communication. Appropriate (innovative?) application of existing algorithms and/or development of new approaches.
• Value for scholars – what major insight does the map provide and why does it matter? Is the map easy to understand by scholars and the exhibit audience?

Final Submission
Authors of winning entries will be contacted end of January and invited to submit final entries by March 31st, 2010. Each final entry comprises:

            • Title of Work
            • Author(s) name, email address, affiliation, mailing address
            • 24 x 30 inch, 300 dpi, landscape version of map
            • Official map description (200 words)
            • Biographies and photos of all authors (100 words each)
            • Signed copyright and reproduction agreement

Map makers are welcome to use the expertise and resources of the exhibit curators when designing their final maps. The layout and production of the 6th iteration maps are expected to be ready for display by April 30th, 2010.

Important Dates
Submit initial entries: January 9th, 2010 Notification to mapmakers: January 31st, 2010 Submit final entries: March 31st, 2010 6th Iteration ready for display: April 30th, 2010

Cataloging News

  • Please send any cataloging items to me. (hint, hint)


Canadian News


  • A new National Mapping Strategy for Canada has been under development since early 2008, led by the federal Dept. of Natural Resources and involving representatives from the geospatial industry, higher education, all levels of government and the map library community (ACMLA). So far, 700 groups or individuals have provided input during consultations held across Canada.

Key statements in the draft  Strategy report include the following: “It is important for all of Canada’s mapping community to have a voice in the way the nation’s mapping systems operate”;  “A national approach [with] regional and local decision making…”; “New sources of change information, such as citizen-contributed data, will be developed to improve the currency of mapping”;  “Options for establishing a national map data archive system will be explored”;  and “The National Mapping Strategy recognizes the importance and value of  ‘no charge’ unrestricted distribution of government mapping data when there is no threat to either personal privacy or public security”.

Further information at http://www.giac.ca/lib/db2file.asp?fileid=153 (PowerPoint Presentation)


  • The city of Toronto has recently followed the lead of Vancouver, BC and several US cities in providing open access to much of its geospatial data. Read this welcome news at http://www.toronto.ca/open/catalogue.htm  which includes the open licence statement:

“The City of Toronto (City) now grants you a world-wide, royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to use, modify and distribute the datasets in all current and future media and formats for any lawful purpose.”

  • British Columbia has released the Biodiversity Atlas of British Columbia, similar to one produced by the State of California several years ago.  To view it, Click on “Downloads” at http://biodiversitybc.org/

Tim Ross, Map & Reference Librarian
University of British Columbia, Vancouver

  • From Bruce Blair, Natural Resources Canada Library:

NRCan Topographic Maps in GEOSCAN

You can now find over 13,000 Canadian topographic maps via GEOSCAN, the search engine for publications of Natural Resources Canada's (NRCan's) Earth Sciences Sector.

Use GEOSCAN's Advanced Search page and select the "GC Topographic Maps" option in the Series search box to limit your search to these maps.

The full display for each map provides links to PDF images and to the National Topographic Data Base (NTDB) data in both English and French.

Thanks to this latest innovation from the NRCan Library, GEOSCAN provides discovery of both geoscientific and topographical maps through a single access point. For more information: esic.geoscan@nrcan.gc.ca.


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New Maps & Web Sites of Interest
  • Cartography 2.0: A Guide to Animated and Interactive Maps. “Cartography 2.0 is a free online knowledge base and e-textbook for students and professionals interested in interactive and animated maps.”  Sets out to answer the basic question: What’s the important stuff I need to know about making great on-demand/interactive maps?
  • A quick guide to finding and printing Free USGS Topo Maps. Check the comments for other good links.
  • An interesting collection of an online map quiz without legends: Cloud of Atlases.
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News & Notes editor: Michael Smith
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Last modified: November 21, 2009
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