MAY 8, 2010 MEETING
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CMS SUMMER MEETING PROGRAM
SATURDAY, MAY 8, 2010
8:30 -9:00 Registration, coffee, tea, juice, fruit, muffins, scones, bagels
9:00 - 9:10 Welcome
Phil Simon, President and Fred DeJarlais,Vice President for Northern California
9:10 - 10:00 Tom Conrad, Retired Urban Planner, Cities: Why the Shape?
Mr. Conrad will discuss the evolution and determinates of city shape and size - cultural, topographic, mercantile, and protective.
10:00 - 10:30 Phil Simon, President of California Map Society, Historic Tulare Lake in the California Central Valley. Phil will describe the origins of Tulare Lake which covered most of the land that was later to become Kings County. This large fresh water lake, said to have been the largest in the western United States was supplied with waters brought from the Sierra Nevada mountains via the Kings, Kaweah and Tule Rivers.
10:30 - 10:45 Break - beverages
10:45 - 11:30 Richard Hintz, Infrastructure Engineer at Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California, Geo-Volunteer. As the New York Times has noted”… [he] is a foot soldier in an army of volunteer cartographers who are logging every detail of neighborhoods near and far into online atlases. From Petaluma to Peshawar, these amateurs are arming themselves with GPS devices and easy-to-use software to create digital maps where none were available before, or fixing mistakes and adding information to existing ones.”
11:30 - 11:45 General Membership Meeting & election results
11:45 - 1:00 Lunch – box lunches with side salad, drink and sweet (with Workshop on new CMS website – Pat Boyce)
1:00 - 1:30 Stuart Snydman, Manager, Digital Production & Web Applications, Stanford University High-definition Map and Document Scanning.
1:30 - 3:00 Stuart Snydman & Julie Sweetkind-Singer, Assistant Director of Geospatial, Cartographic & Scientific and Data Services, Tour of University Scanning Department
This will include viewing of rare books and maps and historic prints at the Cecil H. Green Library
3:00 - 3:15 Break – beverages
3:15 - 4:00 Joshua Miele, Ph.D., Associate Scientist at The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute's Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center, San Francisco. Automated Production of Tactile and Audio/Tactile Maps.
Dr. Miele has developed the first web-based software tool for rapid production of highly specific, tactile (Braille) street maps of any location in the USA.
4:00 - 4:15 Member’s Memorable Maps
4:15 - 4:30 Adjourn for Director’s Meeting
4:30 – 5:15 Wine and Cheese Social
To be held at William Harris’ residence in nearby Menlo Park (map will be provided).
At 9:05 AM President Phil Simon opened the meeting. Vice President Fred DeJarlais expressed the Society’s thanks to Stanford University for hosting our event and for contributing funds towards making it a successful meeting. Fred was followed by Robert Schwartzwalder, Associate University Librarian for Science and Engineering Libraries, who welcomed us to the Stanford Campus. He explained the Stanford commitment towards broad access to their collections through digital means. He in turn introduced Julie Sweetkind-Singer, Assistant Director of Geospatial, Cartographic and Scientific Data & Services and Acting Head Librarian of the Branner Earth Sciences Library who worked closely with Fred DeJarlais in setting up this meeting and explained the logistics of the meeting.
Our first speaker was Tom Conrad, a retired Urban Planner whose presentation was Cities: Why the Shape? Cities emerged from energized crowding of villages leading to urban clusters which evolved into areas of separation of usage; ie, residential, commercial and manufacturing. Cities tended to grow where a change in transportation mode became obvious, ports, river crossings, etc. Many early cities evolved from defensible positions on heights. As that became less important surrounding areas tended towards more orthogonal structures rather than the crowded inner city of streets following natural lines or artificial walls of defense. Some cities were redone after natural or manmade disasters to incorporate grand boulevards such as the Champs Elysées in Paris or Regent Street in London. Ideal city plans such as l’Enfant’s Washington DC were great for carriages, less ideal for automobile traffic. It has been found that travel across Paris was much faster in 1922 than it is today. Some late cities such as Brasilia have been designed to separate vehicles and pedestrians and to allow open vistas. Some “city planning” was done by unscrupulous developers who designed and sold underwater or precipitously unsuitable lots to naïve buyers. City planning remains a compromise between the practical and the esthetic.
Our next speaker was President Phil Simon whose talk was Historic Tulare Lake in the California Central Valley. In pre-settlement days Tulare Lake at the south end of the San Joaquin Valley was the largest fresh water lake west of the Mississippi River. It measured 100 miles north to south and had four times the surface area of Lake Tahoe. In the 1850’s schooners operated on schedule across the lake. Eighteen fifty two saw the passage of the Swamp and Overflowed Lands Act where land subject to periodic flooding sold for 50 cents per acre. Slowly the lake shrunk as more mountain runoff water was diverted for agricultural use. Large holdings such as the Boswell Corporation’s 200,000 acres became the norm. Dams were constructed to regulate water flow in the 1930-50 period. Still, flooding occasionally occurred. In 1974 white caps were seen covering vast areas, and in 1997 as much as 50,000 acres were flooded up to nine feet deep. Surface water evaporation led to salinity problems, leaving some of the basin unproductive. Yet there are vast reservoirs of underground water which may lead to large operators like Boswell virtually abandoning farming of cotton and other water intensive crops in favor of tapping the water for sale to urban areas of the State. Underground Tulare Lake may once again become a major resource for the Golden State.
Our final morning speaker was Richard Hintz who can be billed as a Geo-Volunteer (or in his words, as a “Google Slave”). His paid vocation involves locating and installing fiber-optic cables but his avocation is filling in the blanks for Google Earth. The New York Times noted an army of amateurs armed with GPS devices are creating digital data in areas previously unavailable, or are fixing mistakes in digital maps already available. Richard has been over much of the world but has concentrated his efforts in Cambodia and Laos, solving way-finding problems: how to you get from one known place to another. Few inhabitants have the sophistication to draw the native trails or paths and language barriers keep cartographers from discovering them, so Richard and other volunteers fluent in several languages are invaluable. Yet how can mappers be sure they are getting accurate information as opposed to Wikipedia type opinion? Volunteers such as Richard moderate other’s entries and build a network of trusted advisors who are actually credited on Google Earth. Richard is currently 18th in the world in the number of corrections and new information he has supplied to make our digital mapping experience more accurate. You can become a geo-volunteer for anywhere outside of the United States and Canada. If you’re planning a walking trip into the back country of the Amazon Basin or Central Mongolia, Google would be glad to give you help in learning how.
A General Membership Meeting was next on the program. The electronic voting system was accepted, resulting in many more ballots being cast than any previous election. David Kalifon announced the results for 2010-11 officers, as follows: President, Phil Simon. VP Northern California, Fred DeJarlais. VP for Southern California, Juan Ceva. Secretary, Pat Boyce. Treasurer, Susan Caughey. All were congratulated and thanked for their continuing participation.
Secretary and Webmaster Pat Boyce noted we have (168) paid members to date with only (20) unreachable by e-mail. Current and past CMS Newsletters are now posted on the CMS website in the Members Only Section. The newly redesigned website has been very favorably received by the membership and viewership around the world has grown with at least one new member resulting. The website will continue to provide the most accurate and timely information for both members and non-members. This Newsletter will gradually evolve into online rather than printed format, allowing much faster and more complete information transmission. A new Directory of Members can be printed directly from any member’s computer, saving the cost of printing and safeguarding that information from all but paid Society members. Another handy feature is the ability to search the member database in the PDF format used.
Treasurer Susan Caughey reported on the Society’s finances which she has carefully organized to be able to report in detail. Our invested funds generate income which might be used for supporting a Student contest. Anyone interested in such a contest and willing to help in organizing, judging and publicizing it should contact President Phil Simon.
Another use of funds to be considered is the publication of additional Occasional Papers, either in print form or electronically. A committee of interested members will be formed to lay out guidelines for such papers and to screen submittals for suitability.
Liz Kalifon, with help from past and present Officers, has written guidelines for future Vice Presidents. Their task includes setting up the twice yearly meetings of the Society and can appear to be intimidating. However, by outlining the various steps and requirements these guidelines will make the process much easier. Anyone interested in participating in planning a future meeting is encouraged to request a copy from any officer.
Box lunches were made available and enjoyed on Stanford’s beautifully landscaped campus on a gloriously sunny and breezy day. We then strolled from the Mitchell Earth Sciences Building across the Quad to the Cecil H. Green Library where we reconvened.
Stuart Snydman, Manager, Digital Production and Web Applications, greeted us and gave us an overview of High-Definition Map and Document Scanning. Stanford is fast becoming a world-wide leader in non-governmental work to improve access to major collections by digital means. Between 500,000 and 1 million documents a year are being digitized and made available on the web. This process also serves the purpose of preserving rare resources. Stanford has many digitizing methods including three 42-60 megapixel overhead cameras and numerous scanners. Files are stored in TIFF format and plans are being formulated to share much of this material in electronic form with visitors to Stanford’s mapping website.
Attendees were divided into four groups which then toured the several labs and saw demonstrations of the processes used. Julie Sweetkind-Singer had also arranged for a display of maps from the Branner Library holdings. We also enjoyed the fine collection of bird’s-eye views of San Francisco on display around the library’s corridors.
After our tour and an afternoon break we reconvened in Mitchell Hall for our continued program. Our next speaker was Joshua Miele, PhD, Associate Scientist at the Smith-Ketterwell Eye Research Institute’s Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center. Dr. Miele’s talk was Automated Production of Tactile and Audio/Tactile Maps. Dr. Miele has developed the first web-based software tool for rapid production of highly specific tactile (Braille) street maps for any location in the USA. That is, quite simply, maps for the blind. Dr. Miele is himself blind, but that was no handicap to enthralling his audience. He passed out maps of New Orleans and Oakland with streets shown by raised dots with Braille three digit street names embossed around the periphery. A blank piece of heavy paper became instantly an understandable tactile street map for sighted and non-sighted persons. He explained how this simple grid could provide all the knowledge necessary for a blind person to navigate any city and how it could be individually modified by any user by adding simply embossed detail. Each map has an identified central raised square, in the case of Oakland the intersection of Broadway and 14th Street. Each map is printed with north at the top and Braille identification.
Joshua Miele put the crowd at ease and concisely answered many questions from the audience. His sense of humor was evident in the question he likes to ask blind audiences – how many blind people does to take to cross a street? The answer – two; one to push the cart full of electronic stuff and the second to ask for help.
He described a pen-like device under development which can audibly locate additional features on the maps. Another project involves tactile maps of BART stations since each is different and can be confusing even to sighted persons. His research is ongoing; we were most pleased to have this remarkable man agree to be part of our program. He introduced us to a new and important field of cartography. Want to learn more? Visit Dr. Miele at http://www.ski.org/Rehab/JAMiele/index.html.
Our thanks go to Past President Tom Worth and new member and speaker Tom Conrad for providing Dr. Miele with transportation to and from the meeting.
Member Arjun Israni brought a copy of Wytfliet’s very early map of the West Coast to share. This map was reportedly the first map to concentrate solely on Baja California and its relationship to Mexico and today’s United States.
The meeting was adjourned to a Wine and Cheese Social held at Member William Harris’ home in Menlo Park, very close to the Stanford Campus. His beautiful yard includes an impressive grove of Redwoods he personally planted years ago. Our thanks to him for his hospitality and a lovely affair held in beautiful surroundings including massive rhododendrons in variegated bloom.