Lecture Series

Sponsored by The California Map Society

The lecture series portion of the San Francisco Map Fair will be sponsored by the California Map Society. It will consist of three 40 minute lectures followed by a 10 minute Q & A period.

Star Maps

by: Nick Kanas, M.D.

Book Front Cover (Star Maps).jpg

Nick Kanas, M.D., is a Professor Emeritus (Psychiatry) at the University of California, San Francisco, and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.  He has conducted NASA-funded research, has been an amateur astronomer for nearly 60 years, and has collected antiquarian celestial maps, books, and prints for over 35 years.  He has given a number of talks on celestial cartography to amateur and professional groups, and he has written two books on the subject:  Star Maps: History, Artistry, and Cartography, now it its 2nd edition, and Solar System Maps: From Antiquity to the Space Age.  

People have observed the night sky since antiquity in an effort to predict celestial events, help with navigation, coordinate planting activities, and understand their place in the universe.  Many cultures visualized the stars as forming heavenly patterns called constellations that reflected issues important to them.  The ancient Greeks placed the stars in a coordinate system that was based on celestial latitude and longitude, but they also organized them in a group of constellations that were viewed as allegorical representations of classical Greek heroes, heroines, and monsters. These images formed the backbone of constellation maps that appeared in stunningly beautiful star atlases of the 17th and 18th Centuries.  But telescopic and scientific needs called for more accuracy in star placement using finer and finer coordinate systems.  Constellation images became redundant, and they have largely disappeared in today’s modern star atlases.  Dr. Kanas will discuss this history of star mapping using striking images from antiquarian sources.  

What’s in a Map (…and How Do I Get It Out)?

by: Stace Maples

Stace Maples is the Geospatial Manager at The Stanford Geospatial Center where he provides support and collaboration to the Stanford research community in capturing and making sense of the “where” of their work.  An archaeologist by training and a technologist by temperament, he is interested in all aspects of mapping, from the aerial imaging of archaeological sites using kites and balloons, to the development of platforms for the gathering of volunteer geographic information. His current collaborations include  Outbreak Responder (a mobile decision support and surveillance platform for responding to cholera outbreaks), Kindred London (a project to map the changes in transportation modes and networks in London from the 16th to the 20th century) and  a project to discover ephemeral nomadic pastoralist settlements in Southern Ethiopia from very recent high-resolution satellite imagery.  

“Libraries are giant hard drives full of data in obsolete data formats (mostly paper).” So says Stace Maples, of the Stanford Geospatial Center, who will discuss how data scientists and researchers look at paper maps as data sources, how they transform that data from paper to pixels and points and what that data can be used for, once transformed. He will highlight several Free and Open resources that can be used by anyone to transform old maps into new data, Public Domain historical datasets, as well as resources for making use of that data.

Early Maps of San Francisco

by: Charles A. Fracchia 


Charles A. Fracchia is a native San Franciscan who was educated in Bay Area schools: the University of San Francisco (B.A., history); University of California, Berkeley (MLS); San Francisco State University (M.A., history); and the Graduate Theological Union/Berkeley (M.A., theology). He spent 25 years in the investment banking and investment advising business, was one of the founders of Rolling Stone Magazine, and taught for many years as a college professor at San Francisco State University, the University of San Francisco, and City College of San Francisco. Fracchia has served on many boards of directors, including both corporate and nonprofit organizations. He has written fourteen books and numerous articles. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Charles Fracchia will discuss the shaping of San Francisco at its earliest days as a civic enterprise and how these maps determined how the city was shaped physically.

The Map Comes First: Crowd-sourcing for an Organic Atlas Narrative 

A Panel Discussion led by: Darin Jensen


Darin Jensen is the founder and Board President of Guerrilla Cartography. For fifteen years he was the Staff Cartographer and Cartography Continuing Lecturer at UC Berkeley. He is currently the Data Visualization Analyst in the Department of Institutional Research and Academic Planning at the UC Office of the President. He has spoken widely on mapping as storytelling and has contributed maps to more than fifty scholarly and creative books, published a creative memoir and three atlases: Mission Possible: A Neighborhood Atlas, Food: An Atlas, and Water: An Atlas.

Guerrilla Cartography formed in 2012, founded on the idea that a new paradigm for cooperative and collaborative knowledge-caching could have a transformative effect on the awareness and dissemination of spatial information. Jensen will discuss the motivations and inspirations for crowdsourcing atlas content and the resulting organically emanated narrative. He will also speak to the challenges and triumphs of Guerrilla