JUNE 18, 2011 MEETING
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CMS SUMMER MEETING
VALLEJO NAVAL AND HISTORICAL MEETING
SATURDAY, JUNE 18, 2011
8:30 -9:00 Registration, coffee, tea, juice, fruit, muffins, scones, bagels, hot entrees
9:00 - 9:10 Welcome, Phil Simon, President and Fred DeJarlais, Vice President for Northern California
9:10 - 9:40 James E. Kern, Director, Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum, History of Vallejo and Its Marine Heritage. Mr. Kern will discuss the importance of Vallejo in California’s early history, including its maritime and military heritage.
9:40 - 10:20 Stewart Long, President, GonzoEarth, GoogleEarth Tutorial and, Weather Permitting, Live Balloon Mapping Demonstration. GonzoEarth supplies on-demand aerial mapping, remote process of aerial images acquired via unmanned aerial vehicle, balloon, kite, fix-wing aircraft, helicopter and satellite and training.
10:20 - 10:35 Break - beverages
10:35 – 11:20 Larry Orman, President, GreenInfo Network. Mr. Orman will bring examples of his firm’s elegant, information-laden and cartographically attractive contemporary maps and discuss their use and the creation process.
11:20 - 11:50 General Membership Meeting and election results
11:50 - 12:10 Dr. Norman Thrower, The Origin of the California Map Society, A Tribute to Al Newman.
12:10 - 1:25 Lunch – sandwiches/salads, beverage and sweet.
1:25 - 2:10 Joel Pomerantz, a San Francisco-based writer and natural history educator will discuss the historic water courses of San Francisco.
2:10 - 2:50 MaryPat Noeker, Vice President, National Underwriter, Chicago Title Insurance Company, Maps, Tidelands and Land Title. Ms Noeker will illustrate the challenges of establishing land ownership in salt marsh and tideland areas of San Francisco Bay and the role that historic maps play in this process.
2:50 - 3:20 Break – beverages and review of aerial photos collected during the day by Stewart Long.
3:20 - 4:00 David Kalifon, Past President, California Map Society, The Tabula Peutingeriana. David will reprise a talk on the ‘Peutinger Map’, a medieval copy of an ancient Roman map and an important source for the study of ancient topography.
4:00 - 4:30 Member’s Memorable Maps
4:30 - 5:00 Director’s Meeting 30 min 5:00 – 6:30
Adjourn for Wine and Cheese Social at the Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum
President Phil Simon welcomed everyone and handed the meeting to Fred DeJarlais, Vice President for Northern California and organizer of this meeting. Fred, in turn, introduced James A. Kern, Director of the Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum. Vallejo is home to the U.S. Navy Base at Mare Island, officially closed in 1996. It has since undergone a rebirth with both residential and industrial properties under development. The museum building in which we were meeting was Vallejo’s City Hall from 1927 till 1979.
Our first state capital was San Jose. Vallejo served as California’s second capital and in 1852 the legislature stood there for one week since the Capital building lacked any seating. That oversight was rectified in 1853 and the legislature met for one whole month in February, before deciding to decamp to Benecia. Benecia’s capital status lasted a year or so before the politicians decided to move again, this time to Sacramento, finding more watering holes complete with back rooms there. And so it remains today.
General Mariono Guadalupe Vallejo was military commander of northern California and was openly in favor of annexation to the United States. John Frisbie married Vallejo’s oldest daughter, took over the Vallejo rancho and donated land for the city’s first church and park. In 1853 the Naval Base was established and in 1854 David Farragut (“damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”) became its commander. Many ships were built on Mare Island including the battleship USS California. That ship had an unfortunate launching when cables parted and the hull ended up hard aground on the Vallejo shore, opposite the island shipyard, to the consternation of officials. She was later sunk at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, repaired and refloated and served nobly in the Pacific in WWII. In another distinction, 17 nuclear submarines were built and launched at Mare Island.
The Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum is filled with interesting exhibits and well worth a visit. A submarine periscope mounted outside our second floor meeting room and extending through the building’s roof provided an unobstructed panoramic view of the city.
Our first speaker was Stewart Long, President, GonzoEarth. The first part of his presentation was a demonstration of how older maps can be superimposed on Google Earth maps and the scales adjusted to match. By making the overlays transparent, the maps can be toggled back and forth from old to current. The tools to do this are on the Google Map site for anyone who wishes to play. That part of the presentation was fun, but more exciting was that part given in the museum’s parking lot. As Stewart had demonstrated at our Clark Library meeting, an ordinary digital camera, a cut-off plastic milk bottle equipped with stabilizing fins and a balloon can capture extraordinary photos. A six foot diameter balloon and a helium tank provided the motive power as we all craned our necks to follow the progress up several hundred feet in the air. Shades of the current CitiBank commercial. Stewart’s hands-on presentation was the hit of the meeting. His ordinary small digital camera took over 1,000 photographs while we were outside and later Stewart showed us on his I-Pad the stitched together photos that could be the basis of mapmaking. That’s in addition to the bald-heads close up on the first page, taken as we finished hauling in the flying camera platform.
Our next speaker was Larry Orman, President, GreenInfo Network. His company specializes in making maps that explain the message his clients want to convey. They search for the pivot-point of the map - what is it that the message is trying to say? Maps are interpretation, not reality. A properly designed map can provide subtle information rather than blatant advocacy. Communicative design can hold the viewer’s attention while a story unfolds as the eye scans the map surface. Most observers will only spend from 5 to 8 seconds on a map. Also, they will observe only 3 or 4 maps before the glaze factor sets in. The point is that maps should be designed to quickly focus the viewer’s attention on the desired idea or theme. Color, typography and ease of quickly finding important data are all important aspects of map design if the map is to have impact on the majority of viewers.
Next a General Business meeting was held. Susan Caughey, Treasurer, reported that the Society is solvent. Pat Boyce, Secretary stated that the website is generating memberships, our current number is 172 members, a historical high. David Kalifon, Past President, announced the results of the balloting, with the following members elected to office:
2011-2012 President, Fred DeJarlais, Capitola
2011-2012 Vice President, Northern California, Leonard Rothman, San Francisco
2011-2012 Vice President, Southern California, Steve Hicks, Santa Barbara
2011-2012 Secretary, Pat Boyce, San Diego (continuing)
2011-2012 Treasurer, Susan Caughey, Santa Paula (continuing)
Elected candidates were given a round of applause for agreeing to serve.
New positions as Membership Coordinators were announced with Bill Brandenberg the first for northern California and a search underway for a southern California coordinator.
We next heard from Dr. Norman Thrower, who combined the early history of the California Map Society with a tribute to Al Newman. Al was the Secretary of the Sir Francis Drake Commission established by the State of California to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Drake’s landing in California and subsequent first circumnavigation of the globe by a ship’s captain in 1579. Norman was another appointed member of that Commission who went on to become the first President of the California Map Society. The statewide celebration included a visit of the Commission to Plymouth, England and a visit there with Queen Elizabeth. Al Newman went on to the Presidency of CMS and choreographed the IMCoS meeting in San Francisco in 1985. Al was a terrific leader who involved everyone, yet always stood back to let others take the credit.
A delightful lunch was served in the museum, giving members a chance to catch up on one another and re-enjoy the morning’s presentations. Some took the opportunity to explore the museum.
Joel Pomerantz is the founder of Thinkwalks and a natural history educator from San Francisco. He discussed how many early maps of San Francisco were made to sell land, a good deal of it under water. Streets mapped in the Hunter’s Point vicinity never existed but were happily sold to gullible buyers. The west side of the San Francisco peninsula was sand with intermittent streams and lakes. East of twin peaks the winds swept sands from the landscape. Many small streams such as Mission Creek drained into the bay. Today those streambeds still exist with the water mostly flowing underground. Joel’s “Thinkwalks” show today’s visitors and interested residents where those flows still occur and why San Francisco’s filled lands are badly affected by earth tremors while the San Francisco peninsula continues its journey northward.
Our next speaker was MaryPat Noeker, Vice President and National Underwriter for Chicago Title Insurance Company who spoke about “Maps, Tidelands and Lands Title.” Spanish and Mexican land grant maps, or disenos, were 3D description of lands. Exact boundaries were unimportant until the United States came and required more rational boundaries. Surveyors were often paid in land for their services. Through later years of endless litigation, others would take over the function of separating grantees from their property.
Lands touching water were designated as “Sovereign Lands.” Commerce on such lands was allowed as long as taxes were paid. Such lands could not be sold to individuals, thus becoming Trust Lands. Rancho grants became grazing permits. San Francisco became a chartered city and land sales often rested on “shotgun titles and barroom surveys.” Sovereign Lands became Tidelands, the savior of California’s beaches and now under control of the sometimes overbearing California Coastal Commission.
David Kalifon, Past President of CMS, retired emergency room physician and active attorney, was our last scheduled speaker on the “Peutinger Map.” The Tabula Itineraria is the only surviving map of the World that was originally created in Roman times. The eleven manuscript sheets of parchment were probably created about 1200 AD from an earlier copy. They were discovered in 1500 and bequeathed to Konrad Peutinger in 1508. Through various hands, Ortelius gained access to an artist’s copy in 1597 and a half size version in eight plates was produced in 1598. Two hundred prints were made from the plates in 1619. Another 1025 prints were made in 1624 and 1641. The plates were printed two at a time on four sheets. The Peutinger family sold the original parchment sheets in 1714 and they were later acquired by Emperor Charles V. They now reside in the Austrian National Library.
David explained that Richard J. A. Talbert of the University of North Carolina has authored a book, Rome’s World , with extensive information on this map and a companion website with high resolution images and a comprehensive database. The map seems to combine both 1st and 4th Century AD information. The vertical (N-S) scale is markedly compressed and to allow portrayal of important N-S oriented features such as the Nile and its delta, they are rotated horizontally. The horizontal (E-W) scale is inconsistent, showing more detail for Italy (at a smaller scale) that the peripheral Empire (at a larger scale). There may have been as many as three additional parchment sections on the left or west side, hence putting Rome more nearly in the center of a fourteen sheet map. David’s PowerPoint presentation really brought the map to understandable terms.
Michael Turrini is not only a CMS member but a member of the Board of the Vallejo Naval and History Museum. He was a great help in arranging this meeting. For Members Memorable Maps he brought a copy of Jo Mora’s map of California and a number of books by that same cartographer. Mora was a colorful artist, cowboy, and mapmaker.
The meeting adjourned to a Director’s meeting followed by a Wine and Cheese party in the museum. A delightful day was had by all.