Council of North American Map Societies

Minutes of meeting of February 5, 2011 in Miami


Attending: Jeremy Pool - Boston Map Society, Dennis Gurtz, Washington Map Society, John Docktor, CONAMS, Art Holzheimer – Chicago Map Society, Tom Sander – Soc. for the History of Discoveries, and Wes Brown – Rocky Mountain Map Society.



The meeting was called to order by President John Docktor and the group went around the table giving a status report of their local society, passing along new ideas, and identifying ways to cooperate.


The Washington MS, with about 400 members, is very active and has recently experienced an increase in the average number of attendees at monthly meetings from about 40 to about 50 now. They have spent considerable energy establishing a presence on Facebook, but have not yet experienced much positive results from this effort.


The Chicago MS remains active with 150 members but has suffered a little from aging membership. They continue with nine meetings a year and an occasional field trip and average attendance of 30 to 35.


Tom Sander explained that SHD also is experiencing an aging membership with about 300 paid members and about 85 members attending the annual conference; the next meeting will be Portland Maine in September 2011. Details are at which has seen many recent updates. Administration of their publication, Terrae Incognitae, twice-a-year beginning in 2011, has recently been handed over to a professional publishing house, leaving more society time for editorial activity. Content of current and journals is now available online to members/subscribers.


Boston MS continues to have about 150 members. They have seven or eight events a year including a very successful recent excursion to the John Carter Brown Library that was very well attended. They have a member show and tell meeting on occasion that is very popular. The board is struggling a little to get other members to become more active in shouldering the burdens of managing the society’s affairs.


Rocky Mountain MS, with about 85 members, has experienced a modestly growing attendance at its programs, totally about 40 per event. They have about six or seven events a year, including a very popular summer program at an avid collector’s home. The Society has chosen to save member time by not publishing a journal. Instead, it puts its energy into occasional conferences. A joint meeting of the Rocky Mountain and Texas Map Societies will be held in Denver with lectures on July 26th and 27th, 2012 and a map fair on July 28th and 29th. The lectures will be at the University of Denver, a sponsor of the program, and the map fair will be at the Denver Public Library. The program is entitled “The Mapping of North America: The Westward Expansion”. The other map societies were urged to spread the word to their members and the group agreed to help with direct mailings, once the notices are prepared.


There was some discussion of show-and-tell programs. Washington MS has had the event at the Library of Congress with each person standing near their map to explain their story to roving visitors. Unfortunately, they experienced a theft of one person’s maps. The library was also worried about private maps coming in and out of the building, so they will plan this differently, if they do it again. Rocky Mountain MS also has an occasional show-and-tell, and after trying the idea in the Denver Public Library, now does this as part of its (nearly) annual dinner. One group had a program in a private building with many tables and the group collectively moved from table to table as each showed their special curiosity. Another group described the problem of the program getting a little out of hand in terms of the length of time to get around to each speaker. Only about ten persons bring maps to the Rocky Mountain dinners, so length of presentation has not yet become a problem. Another group described that members wishing to speak might sign up, in advance, for a designated number of slots.


Map societies not publishing a journal were urged to promote The Portolan, Journal of the Washington Map Society, as an affordable and outstanding journal focused on the American mapping experience, which interested persons throughout the nation would enjoy.