http://www.newyorkmapsociety.org

Previous New York Map Society Meetings

2014

September 20

Field Trip: Firestone Library, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Join us for a tour of the map exhibit entitled “Nova Caesarea: A Cartographic Record of the Garden State, 1666-1888.” John Delaney (see below) will lead the tour. Afterwards, we’ll repair to the nearby Triumph Brewery for an early dinner—it’s a great opportunity to socialize with map aficionados. This is a members-only event: if you plan to attend the tour alone or the tour and dinner, please RSVP to Connie Brown (connie@redstonestudios.com). We’ve also invited members of the Philadelphia Map Society and the Washington DC Map Society to join us for this event.

Public transportation from New York City: Take a New Jersey Transit train from Penn Station to Princeton Junction, where you change to the “Dinky” to Princeton’s campus. More information here: www.njtransit.com.

ABOUT THE EXHIBIT: Commemorating the 350th anniversary of the naming of New Jersey, this exhibition introduces viewers to the maps that charted the state’s development—from unexplored colonial territory to the first scientifically-surveyed state in the Union. Coastal charts, manuscript road maps, and early state maps provide a historical background to the major focus of the exhibition: the state’s first wall maps and country atlases. The large scale of these maps allowed mapmakers to include the names/locations of nineteenth century merchants and farmers, hence personalizing local history. Note: limited editions of Delaney’s companion book, Nova Caesarea, will be available for sale. Exhibit Poster: Download Poster

ABOUT THE CURATOR: John Delaney is the curator of Historic Maps at Princeton University Library. His previous works (and exhibitions) on the history of cartography include To the Mountains of the Moon: Mapping African Exploration, 1541–1880 (2007); Strait Through: Magellan to Cook & the Pacific (2010); First X, Then Y, Now Z: An Introduction to Landmark Thematic Maps (2012).

May 10

Field Trip: Hispanic Society of America located on Broadway between 155th and 156th Streets.

Their collection features the Mappamundi of Juan Vespucci (1526). Juan was the nephew of Amerigo Vespucci, for whom the Southern part of the New World was named, in 1507 by Martin Waldseemuller. Juan succeeded Amerigo as the chief pilot for Spain and was charged with updating the Spanish source map with the latest discoveries of the explorers. The Society’s collection of sailing charts by which Spain controlled their overseas possessions is particularly rich.

April 5 Dr. Frederik (Frits) Muller

The Itinerario Maps of Jan Huygens van Linschoten

In 1579, sixteen-year-old Jan Huyghen (John, son of Hugh) left his ancestral home in the Netherlands to join his half-brothers in business in Seville. Moving on to Portugal, he secured employment as a clerk with the newly appointed Archbishop of Goa, Portugal’s colony in India. He was among the surviving 50 percent of the ship's company that sailed, for six months, around Africa to India. During the ensuing six years, he had access to the state secrets of wind patterns, currents, coastlines, charts, pilot's notes, customs and countries, that had allowed the Portuguese to maintain their monopoly of European trade in the Far East for one hundred years. He arrived home in 1592, bearing the self-appointed title “van Linschoten” (of Linschoten). From his detailed notebooks, he published the first edition of his Itinerario in the Netherlands in 1596, and shortly after, in England. It contained the secret information he had learned, and directly led to the Dutch and English breaking the Portuguese monopoly. The book contained drawings and maps—some drawn by Linschoten from his personal observations. In later years, he was map-maker on the two abortive Dutch expeditions to search for a Northeast Passage.

Dr. Frederik (Frits) Muller and his wife live in the Netherlands. He is taking time away from his booth at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair to discuss the maps of Jan Huyghen van Linschoten. He worked for 25 years in health care in developing countries before returning in 1998 to the family business of buying and selling antiquarian books. He specializes in voyages of discovery.

March 24 Connie Brown

The Art of Cartography: Connie Brown's Hand-painted Maps

For twenty years, Connie Brown has painted custom maps for clients—individuals, organizations, and companies. Each map presents cartographic and aesthetic challenges. She has mapped private properties, favorite places, exotic travels, family genealogies and diasporas, life histories, school campuses, and environmental/historical regions. In this illustrated lecture the audience will see examples of her maps, hear their backstories, and learn how a painter-cum-cartographer combines 21st century geography with traditional manuscript map-making methods.

Guest speaker Connie Brown has formal training in neither cartography nor art; years ago, she learned her trade by scrutinizing antique maps and adapting techniques to suit her needs. She has been featured in such publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, House & Garden, Travel & Leisure, Town & Country, Forbes FYI, Vogue, and The Times of India. Her maps reside in numerous private collections and in the Map Division of the New York Public Library. Besides making maps, she teaches manuscript map-making workshops in her Durham, Connecticut studio and in New York City. She lectures on her own work and on the internet-fueled 21st century cartographic renaissance.

February 8 Sara-Jayne Terp

Crisis Mapping

Crisis mappers are online teams who turn Internet data—tweets, Facebook posts, messages sent to crisis mapping sites, satellite images—into usable information which is then broadcast to people affected by the crisis, or analyzed and transmitted to such crisis responders as the United Nations.

Many people started crisis mapping after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, where all the information needed to respond to the earthquake was lost in collapsed buildings. Mappers created online maps from satellite images, put SMS (Short Messaging Service) and media reports onto an Ushahidi map, got documents into Sahana, added the details of people who were lost into Google's Person Finder, built websites and software to help, and did dozens of other small data jobs that made a difference to what was available online and in the country, including sending data updates into the country on USB sticks. Since then, crisis mappers have covered crises like Libya and Somalia (refugees), Japan (tsunami), Chile (earthquake), Pakistan (floods), Alabama (tornadoes) and have been ready to help with dozens of other crisis events around the world.

Guest speaker and crisis mapper Sara-Jayne Terp will describe the mechanics of crisis mapping, its potential future, and ways to get involved. Ms. Terp currently leads OpenCrisis, an organisation dedicated to training people to manage crisis data, and has mentored many other organisations into this space. She spends a lot of her spare time designing systems, writing code and mentoring teams building socially-useful systems through Geeks without Bounds and Random Hacks of Kindness. She’s worked on almost every major crisis mapping deployment since January 2010.

January 11 Zhennya Slootskin

Semiology of Portolan Charts: A Narrative of Time and Space

What does the Portolan chart reveal about the people for whom they were made and the culture in which they were created? Beautiful and rare, northwestern Mediterranean portolan charts—the earliest existing nautical charts—date from the late thirteenth century. Because portolan charts deviate from known cartographic norms, and because no documentary data survives, these medieval progenitors of Google maps remain enigmatic to modern viewers and scholars.

In her talk, Zhennya Slootskin employs a semiological approach to shed light on portolan charts. She explores the meaning of their geometrical symbology, the toponyms which mark long-extinct cities and towns, and the peculiar topographical shapes used to delineate familiar countries and regions around the Mediterranean Sea. In such an analysis, these intriguing maps not only reveal the nature of their use and cultural context, but also enhance our understanding of the language, signs,and structures used in historic and contemporary cartography.

Ms. Slootskin, a cartographer and web designer, has created hundreds of maps concerning urban waterfront issues. The guidebook Going Coastal NYC, to which she contributed maps, details every mile of New York City coastline and was awarded the EPA Environmental Quality Award. Her New York City kayak map was featured in the New York Public Library cartography exhibit Mapping New York's Shorelines. Ms. Slootskin completed her Masters in Geography at City University of New York Hunter College and received the Society of Women Geographers fellowship for her thesis, Semiology of Portolan Charts. She serves on the board of the New York Map Society and contributes to the dissemination of cartographic knowledge.

2013

November 9 Don Kaufman

The Elusive Nile: Explorers and the Changing Map of Africa

This illustrated talk features sixteenth-to-nineteenth century European maps of Africa, the Nile River and the European quest to find the river's source. A mystery to the ancient Greeks, it continued to intrigue Europeans for centuries, with interest intensified as nineteenth-century explorers sought fame for themselves and glory for their nations.

Guest speaker Don Kaufman, F. R. G. S., has collected over 300 maps of Africa, has travelled extensively there, and has lectured extensively on the Nile all over the United States.

October 22 Chet Van Duzer

The Martin Waldseemüller Map of 1507

Members-Only Meeting: Leading scholar in medieval and Renaissance cartography Chet van Duzer will discuss the Waldseemüller Map of 1507, one of the world’s most important maps as it was the first map to depict the western hemisphere and name the newly discovered continent, “America.”

Chet Van Duzer recently completed a Kislak Fellowship at the John W. Kluge Center in the Library of Congress, where he studied Martin Waldseemüller’s Carta Marina of 1516, and is currently an Invited Research Scholar at the John Carter Brown Library in Providence, Rhode Island. He has published extensively on medieval and Renaissance maps in journals such as Imago Mundi, Terrae Incognitae and Word & Image. He is also the author of Johann Schöner’s Globe of 1515: Transcription and Study, published by the American Philosophical Society in 2010, the first detailed analysis of one of the earliest surviving terrestrial globes that includes the New World. His book Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps will be published by the British Library in 2013.

October 12 Field Trip

Graham Arader Galleries

Graham Arader is one of the world's most prominent dealers in rare maps, original watercolors, and prints. We will meet at his beautiful gallery, where we’ll be shown a selection of his cartographic treasures. See his maps and learn about his educational/philanthropic endeavors. Visit the Arader Gallery website. You might also enjoy reading Arader’s blog.

September 7 Vanessa Schneider

Making an impact: Telling stories with Google Maps and Google Earth

Google Maps and Google Earth are great tools to help you explore the world, whether it's walking along the Grand Canyon using Street View, flying over Vatican City with Earth's 3D imagery, or navigating around Japan's Haneda Airport using indoor maps. Yet these tools also provide a powerful platform for story-telling, visualizing, and making sense of data. Google’s Media Program Manager Vanessa Schneider will look at how people across industries—from non-profits to academia to media—are using maps to make an impact, including the Surui people in Brazil tracking deforestation, Google Crisis Response making emergency information accessible during Hurricane Sandy, and a professor in British Columbia using maps to stop school closures. We’ll also talk about how you can start telling your own stories with Google’s mapping tools.

Based in Mountain View, California, Ms. Schneider's been with Google for more than two years, working on outreach for Google Maps. A member of the Google Earth Outreach team, her most recent project at Google is helping journalists tell stories with maps. Before becoming a Googler, Vanessa worked at The New York Times for several years as a community specialist, Time Inc. as a researcher and reporter, and at New York startup Hot Potato, acquired by Facebook in summer 2010.

May 11 Marguerite Holloway

The Measure of Manhattan: The Tumultuous Career
and Surprising Legacy of John Randel Jr.

John Randel Jr. was the eccentric and flamboyant surveyor who laid the 1811 grid plan on Manhattan Island. Marguerite Holloway will talk about the challenges Randel faced measuring, gridding and mapping the hilly, rural island and about his cartographic legacy. Randel created stunning maps of Manhattan, and his fanatically precise surveys gave rise to data that researchers still use today.

Marguerite Holloway teaches at Columbia University, where she is the director of science and environmental journalism. She has written for many publications, including Scientific American, the New York Times and Discover. Her  book, The Measure of Manhattan: The Tumultuous Career and Surprising Legacy of John Randel Jr., Cartographer, Surveyor, Inventor (New York: WW Norton & Co., 2013), will be available for sale at the lecture.

April 13 Victoria Johnson

The Lands Beyond: Cartography in Fantasy Literature

It's a cliche, to “get lost in a good book,” but when the story takes you to another world, isn't it great when the author helps you find yourself, literally, with a map? Maps have enhanced all corners of literature from classics like Norman Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth to relatively recent hits like George RR Martin's Game of Thrones series. In a 2012 article for The Awl, Victoria Johnson explored the representation of maps in fantasy literature as compared to conventions of real-world cartography. This lecture explored fantasy literature's fascination with cartography and expanded to include fan creations, representation in film, and other ways that maps have crept into fantasy media.

Victoria Johnson, a GIS Specialist, lives and works in the Washington, DC area. Her work has appeared in The Awl, Muse Magazine, Tomorrow Magazine, and online at MentalFloss.com.

March 9 Map Society Members

“Show-and-Tell”

Join us for a very special members-only event: New York Map Society board member and map collector Ned Davis has offered to host a map “show-and-tell” party at his beautiful apartment in an historic building close to Central Park. Fortified by wine, treats, and a cozy fire, we’ll settle in while a number of members give short (10 minutes) map-related presentations. If you would like to attend, RSVP to Connie Brown (connie@redstonestudios.com): she will give you Ned’s address. Furthermore, let Connie know if you’d like to give a “show-and-tell”—first come, first serve for presentations, since we are limiting the number to 6 or 7. Presenters may bring primary materials or a laptop—WiFi available. You don’t have to share a map to attend—this is a great opportunity to socialize with other NYMS members and learn about their interests.

January 12 Martayan Lan Gallery

Field Trip

We will meet at the Martayan Lan gallery (http://www.martayanlan.com/), prominent Manhattan dealers of antique maps and rare books, for a talk and personal tour: 70 East 55th St., 6th Floor (Heron Tower), between Madison and Park Avenues. A rare opportunity to learn about and see historic maps on the market. In their own words: “Since 1987, we have offered fine antique maps, atlases, sea charts, city plans and views, and globes dating from the 15th to 19th century. We deal exclusively in original antique maps. Our stock of rare maps, atlases, globes, and city views can also be viewed at our beautiful and spacious mid-Manhattan gallery. We also offer a complimentary illustrated, printed catalogue.”

2012

November 10 Denis A. Khotimsky

The Cartography of Russia: Legends, Mythes & Secrets

Where was Russia in the 16th century? Or in other words, what did medieval mapmakers mean while inscribing names like Russia, Moscovia, or Tartaria on their maps? Dr. Khotimsky will examine the fate of antique maps of Russia during the subsequent historical periods: obscurity in the 19th century Russian Empire, secrecy in the 20th century Soviet Union, and controversy in the 21st century Russian Federation. Finally, he will touch upon specific topics that most often form a core of legend and myth surrounding the cartography of Russia.

Dr. Khotimsky, an electronics engineer, was born in Moscow and has lived in this country since 1992. He began collecting antique maps of Russia—beginning with Mercator's famous Russia cum confinijs—a decade ago. Since then, he has acquired an important cartographic collection; he regularly writes and lectures about maps of Russia. In February—May of 2012, he curated the exhibition “Maps: Pathways to Russia” at the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, MA.

October 13 John Delaney

First X, Then Y, Now Z: Landmark Thematic Maps

Our October 13 meeting (at 2:30 pm) will be a field trip to Princeton University's Firestone Memorial Library, where Curator of Historic Maps John Delaney will give us a guided tour through the “First X, Then Y, Now Z: Landmark Thematic Maps” exhibit. After the tour, we're planning a dinner at the nearby Triumph Brewery.

Tour space is limited, and we need to let the restaurant know how many reservations we'll need. So, please RSVP to NYMS Board Member Connie Brown on or before Saturday, October 6, at: connie@redstonestudios.com. Let her know if you plan to attend, and if you'll stay for dinner.

September 8 Harrie Teunissen

From Mauritsstad to Nieuw Amsterdam:
Mapping Early Jewish Presence in the America, and
The Topography of Terror: Maps of the Warsaw Ghetto

Guest speaker Harrie Teunissen is a Map Curator and Historian, who currently teaches Mapping Jewish History at the Centre for Jewish Studies in Leiden, Netherlands. His ”From Mauritsstad … ” talk traces, mainly with seventeenth century Dutch maps, the first Jewish communities in the Americas. Beginning in Mauritsstad (now Recife in Brazil) and finishing in Nieuw Amsterdam (now New York), the presentation will also sketch the role of Jews in the European expansion to the West, describe religious toleration by the colonial regimes and discuss the Jewish role in the slave trade.

Mr. Teunissen's “Topography of Terror” is an analysis of wartime Warsaw Ghetto maps, mostly from the speaker's private collection. Among them is a unique 1940 ghetto-plan drawn on a secret German military map of Warsaw by the Warsaw SS Chief of Staff. The central question is: To what extent are plans and maps instrumental to the organisation of terror and of resistance?

May 12 Benjamin B. Olshin

A Look at the “Marco Polo” Maps: Curiosities and Questions

There exists a mysterious collection of early Italian maps, related cartographic documents, and other manuscript materials—with many apparently connected to the famed travels of Marco Polo. Informally known as the “Rossi Collection” after the name of the original owners, these works seemed to have been passed down to the present owner by way of a branch of the famous Sanseverino clan in Italy. The maps include peculiar renderings of the farthest reaches of Asia, as well as texts in Italian, Latin, Arabic, and even Chinese.

Dr. Benjamin B. Olshin has been working on the Rossi collection of maps and related documents for over a decade, and his talk will present the latest findings and at the same time reveal the many puzzles that these materials present.

April 12 Ronald Grim

FIELD TRIP: The “Torn in Two” Exhibit

We will meet at the Ground Floor Gallery of The Grolier Club (47 East 60th St, between Park & Madison Avenues). Ronald Grim, curator of the exhibit and Curator of Maps for the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library, will lead our tour.

The exhibit explores and illuminates the causes, conduct, and historical record of the Civil War through maps and other historic items. Organized by the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center of the Boston Public Library, the exhibit commemorates this major event in America's history. “Although cartographic material has played an important role in many past Grolier Club exhibitions, ‘Torn in Two’ is the first large-scale public show in the Grolier Club's 128-year history to tell a story exclusively in maps,” comments Grolier Director Eric Holzenberg.

An illustrated catalog, published by the Boston Public Library, will be for sale at the exhibit. NYMS members and friends are also invited to attend a reception on Friday, April 13th, 5:00-7:00 pm at the Grolier Club.

Election Notice

There have been no nominations for officers and board members other than the slate presented in the last notice. Therefore the slate is elected by acclamation for one year. The officers and at-large members of the board are:

At Large Board Members (3):
Sy Amkraut
Connie Brown
Heather Kinsinger

President: Fredric Shauger
Vice-President: John Woram
Secretary: Zhennya Slootskin
Treasurer: Leslie Trager

March 10 Mark Monmonier

Mercator's World Map: Contribution and Controversy

To help celebrate Gerard Mercator's 500th birthday, Syracuse University Professor Mark Monmonier will describe Mercator's famous conformal cylindrical map projection, the context within which he developed it, and its adoption as a navigation tool. In addition to examining the famous map's role in framing large-scale navigation charts and topographic maps, Professor Monmonier will explore its rise and fall as a geometric framework for whole-world atlas and wall maps. He will also discuss the controversy triggered by German historian Arno Peters, who claimed to have devised a unique antidote to the misuse of the map by persons and organizations unsympathetic to Third World nations.

After the meeting, there will be an exhibition of Mercator-related items in the New York Public Library's Map Room, just across the street from our meeting place.

February 11 Nick Frearson

Operation Icebridge: Mapping Thin Ice Sheets in Antarctica

Polar scientist and explorer Nick Frearson will recount tales from a recent expedition in (and over) Antarctica as one of the geophysicists involved in Operation Icebridge's flying lab, a DC-8 fitted out with intriguing and exotic equipment such as an Airborne Topographic Mapper, Gravimeter, Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor, Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder, Snow Radar, and a Ku-Band Radar Altimeter. Operation Icebridge scientists record data on the thickness and depth of Antarctic ice sheets and glacial movement in order, in the words of NASA, to “learn more about the trends that could affect sea-level rise and climate around the globe.” Learn what Frearson and his colleagues discovered on this trip, and how polar exploration and mapping have changed since Shackleton's day.

January 14 Leslie Trager

Using NASA Satellite Radar Maps to Solve a Geology Problem

New York Map Society Treasurer Leslie Trager will compare Thomas James' 1631 description of the Hudson and James Bay area with modern NASA satellite radar surveys. The collected data indicates that in the last 400 years the land rose five meters, rather than earlier estimates of only two meters. Aerial photographs taken in summer 2011 and early maps confirm this analysis.

2011

(and earlier, to follow ASAP)