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We are passionate about all phases of cartography in its broadest sense. We are fascinated by the potential of remote sensing, GIS, and the tools for today’s digital mapmaking. Yet we love the art and history embodied in antique maps. Understanding man’s continuing change in perception of his environment and world is part of the fun of viewing old maps. And we never fail to delight in the curious forms that maps have taken over the centuries.

When you’re ready to be part of a great group of map-loving people of varied backgrounds, please come to one of our meetings as our guest or join our society now.


  • CALIFORNIA'S CONTRIBUTIONS. Californians and California businesses and institutions have played a central role in the development of modern mapping.  To read a few thumbnails about California’s contributions, click here

  • GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS (GIS).  A GIS is a System (of hardware and software) to manage Information (or data) that is Geographically (i.e.) referenced.  Read more about this powerful tool, by clicking here.

  • DETERMINING POSITION.  “Where am I?” seems an easy question with today’s technology so we may soon forget the struggle man has gone through to answer that question.  Click here to read more.

  • "DIY" MAPPING.  You can do-it-yourself for your own needs or just for fun.  Click here to read more.

  • MORE INTERESTING TOPICS.  To read about additional interesting topics, click here.

  • ANTIQUE MAPS & THEIR STORIES. View a few of our members' favorite antique maps and read the stories behind each.  The maps date from the 16th century onwards.  Click here for more.

  • CALIFORNIA 49.  Developed by members of the California Map Society, this book contains forty-nine maps of California from the 16th century to the present.  It includes a thorough description of each map and is no longer in print.  Click here to learn more.

  • HUNTINGTON MAP CATALOGUE.  Developed by Bill Warren, a Past President of the Society, and Mario Einaudi, Kembel Digital Projects Librarian, at the Huntington Library, this database is an internet catalog of over 8,000 maps of California and the World.  Click here to learn more and access the database. 

  • FAQS ABOUT COLLECTING.  Learn more about collecting old maps by clicking here.



Very Curious Map of the Southern Sea

Richly decorated, finely engraved and extensively annotated, this large work is perhaps the most spectacular map of the Americas ever published. It originally appeared in 1719 in the sixth volume of Châtelain's Atlas Historique ou Nouvelle Introduction à l'histoire à la Chronologie et à la Géographe Ancienne et Moderne. (The seven volumes of this historical atlas were issued over fifteen years, from 1705 through 1720.) Although the map extends from Asia's Pacific Rim at the left to the western parts of Europe and Africa at the right, its focus is on the Americas.

The map contains a plethora of geographic information. It tracks the routes of a number of great voyages, including the first encounter with the "New World" by Columbus in 1492; the somewhat later and more southerly



  • OUR JOURNAL.  CALAFIA, is published twice a year and includes articles about cartography, summaries of presentations at semi-annual meetings, descriptions and links to meetings and exhibits of interest to members, book reviews, an essay on a member’s “favorite map”, and more.  Click here to view recent issues

  • OCCASIONAL PAPERS.  The California Map Society sponsors the publication of research by our members in cartography and related fields.  To view our publications to date, click here

  • EDUCATION FUND.  The California Map Society Education Fund was established in 2014 and sponsors annual lectures and a student paper award.  Click here to read more.

  • STUDENT PAPER AWARD.  The California Map Society is a founding friend of the David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford University. As partners, the Society will underwrite and facilitate the jurying and awarding of a Student Paper Award.   Click here to read more.

  • DAVID RUMSEY MAP CENTER.  The California Map Society is a founding friend of the David Rumsey Map Center, which opened on April 19th, 2016, at Stanford University.   Click here to read more.

Upcoming events

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To view video recordings of selected past events, click here.


The Society has five membership grades: Student, Active, Retired, Patron, and Life Membership. All CMS Members receive the following benefits:

  • two Calafia Journals each year
  • a continually updated e-Directory of all Members
  • full access to the private Members’ Area of the CMS website
  • invitations to all Member Meetings and CMS Special Events
  • local group meetings
  • e-mails of upcoming events of interest to Members.


Members only pages:

  • directory of members
  • renew membership
  • edit profile
  • reset password
  • organizational documents
  • meeting minutes
  • minutes

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The CALIFORNIA MAP SOCIETY is a not-for-profit California corporation and a 501(c)(4) corporation under federal law.  Copyright 2001-2019.  To contact webmaster, click here. 

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