Upcoming Events

The Chicago Map Society typically meets at The Newberry on the third Thursday of every month during the academic year (September through May). Meetings start at 5:30 p.m. with a social half-hour, followed by an hour presentation on a cartographic subject of interest to our membership. Our meetings are open to the public, but to help defray expenses, non-members are asked for a small donation at the door. If you are unfamiliar with The Newberry, which is located on the near north side of Chicago, here are directions.

The list below details the upcoming meetings of the Chicago Map Society, as well as an occasional event that is of especial importance to our membership. John Docktor maintains calendars of map society meetings and cartographic exhibitions worldwide, both of which are available at Cartographic Calendars. In addition, the Washington Map Society publishes the meeting schedules for a number of North American map societies. For information on the events held by Wisconsin Map Society, our sister organization ninety miles to the north, please visit their website by clicking here.

Fall 2017 Meetings of the Chicago Map Society

Date:  Thursday, September 21, 2017 5:30 PM
Title:  Maps as Seen From Space
Speaker:  Richard A. Kohrs
Location:  Ruggles Hall, The Newberry

Rick Kohrs has been with the University of Wisconsin Space Science and Engineering center for twenty-eight years and specializes in creating satellite composites used on three-dimensional spherical displays. In fact, Rick has been a driving force behind “Science on a Sphere,” which is NOAA’s global display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto sixteen-to-sixty-inch diameter spheres that are similar to giant animated globes. Now installed in over eighty museum and science center exhibits worldwide, these spheres can be used to display images of atmospheric storms, climate change, and ocean temperature and are used to explain these and other complex environmental processes in a way that is simultaneously intuitive and captivating.

Join us for what should be a unique learning experience as Rick uses a spherical display system to illustrate how satellites orbiting the earth continuously gather data and how this data are used to help forecasters predict the weather. In addition, Rick will touch on other complicated global concepts, such as how El Nino and La Nina contribute to global climate change.

Date: Thursday, October 19, 2017 5:30 PM
Title: Sky Maps and the Origins of Modern Constellations
Speaker: Pedro Raposo
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry

For millennia, humans have found familiar shapes in the night skies. Different cultures have given different names to these shapes, and have seen, or constructed, different shapes. Many of us can point out the Big Bear or Orion the Hunter, but probably very few would be able to identify the eight-eight constellations admitted to the “canon” by the International Astronomical Union in the 1920s. Please join us as Dr. Pedro Raposo, curator of the Adler’s Webster Institute for the History of Astronomy, guides us through this fascinating story, illustrated by reference to the Adler’s splendid collection of celestial maps and atlases.

This is a joint meeting with the Friends of the Adler Webster Institute.

Date: Thursday, November 16, 2017 5:30 PM
Title: The Rockford Map Company: County Plat Books for the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
Speaker: Charlie Lunn and Brock Alekna
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry

Most of us have had some experience with county plat books, a genre of atlas that had its beginnings in the 1850s and became ubiquitous in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Plat books, which show the boundaries and ownership of rural property, are an essential tool for realtors and developers, and have proven their value as historical records for genealogists and local historians. Anyone who grew up on a farm in the twentieth century knows that the plat book persisted, not as a large leather-bound folio, but as a more modest booklet of maps, stapled or spiral-bound, and for many of us, the name on the cover was “Rockford Map Publishers.”

Founded in 1944 by J. Q. Cummings in the basement of his home, Rockford Map Publishers began as a farm plat book company with all of the maps painstakingly researched, hand drawn and published by the founder himself. Rockford Map owns the largest and most comprehensive plat information record of its kind in the country and is recognized as a pioneer and industry leader. What started as rural farm mapping has now grown to include digital map products, custom mapping services and spatial parcel data throughout the United States. Senior Vice President Charlie Lunn and Marketing Manager Brock Alekna will give us a guided tour of the history and work of this venerable Illinois map publisher.

Date: Thursday, December 21, 2017
Title: Annual Holiday Gala and Members’ Show-and-Tell
Speaker: Members of the Chicago Map Society
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry

Join us for our annual Holiday Gala, which will feature an especially full smorgasbord of holiday treats for your dining and drinking pleasure. We will also continue our tradition of pairing this party with our “Members’ Night” that allows members to display and speak a special item in their personal collections. In the past, we’ve enjoyed hearing about maps, atlases, globes, and “cartifacts”—old, new, borrowed, and blue (yes, we have seen blueprints). You will be given five minutes to talk about your item, will be able to display it on an easel or table, and can use our projector if that will help.

We will also have a silent auction of any items that you may wish to donate to the Society—the full value of which is tax-deductible! To help us assemble our program, please email us at contact@chicagomapsociety.org by December 19 with details about your item.