President’s Message: ANZMapS, a new direction.

There can be little doubting the historic nature of the 2009 AGM and conference. For the first time, a conference was held under the unified countenance of members from two long standing cartographic societies. At their 2009 Annual General Meeting in Brisbane on Sunday March 15, the members of the Australian Map Circle voted unanimously to merge with the New Zealand Map Society. The merger resolution also changed the constitution to enable and give immediate effect to the merger. Previously the New Zealand Map Society had voted in favour of the proposal, and is now proceeding with a winding up process.

The merger has been over two years in the making, after careful consideration of the needs of both societies, and following extensive consultation. I’d like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks to all for their considerations of the issues involved, with particular appreciation to past president Michael Ross and retiring business manager John Cain for their work guiding the ‘marriage’.

There can be little doubting the sense of loss that may occur at such times, particularly for New Zealand members in transferring membership across to the new society, and this fact must be acknowledged. It is important to reflect on the history that has led us to this point, and which provide a sense of excitement in, we trust, greater measure. Both the Australian Map Circle and New Zealand Map Society have comprised map producers, users and curators, acting as a medium of communication for all those interested in maps. Together, the AMC and NZ Maps Society have become the Australian and New Zealand Maps Society, spanning the Tasman and with an expanded membership including members across the Pacific region and internationally. In future the new organisation will be known as the “Australian and New Zealand Map Society Inc.”. While the correct acronym is ANZMS, the Executive decided to adopt the name “ANZMapS”. The Executive has already acted to acquire the domain name www.anzmaps.org as the new url for the new Society.

The two societies shared emphasis on maintenance of high standards, and developing the skills and status of people working with map collections are areas in particular that the current committee wishes to address. In recent years most of us involved in whatever connection with maps, cartography or geographical sciences and libraries, whether as users or producers, in academic, public or private connections, cannot help but notice the pressures on professionals and others to provide evidence of value, indeed to add value. ANZMapS is in a particularly strong position to renew efforts in this area. It was pleasing to see in attendance at the 2009 conference an expanded representation of maps curators, and in particular the representatives of the large state and national curatorships from five states and territories. Their interest and skills in information management and technology are most welcome and we look forward to their involvement and contributions.

Among the challenges facing ANZMapS, renewing membership and attracting younger members while maintaining important instruments such as the annual conference and the Globe, will be a key and ongoing preoccupation for the committee. The creation of a new society provides excellent opportunities for renewed and to welcome new ideas. Readers will note the invitation to contribute a new logo for the merged society, and to give thought to the agenda. I urge you all to take this opportunity to contribute.

This the tenth and final year of the prize. As AMC members will know, it was endowed by Victor and Dorothy Prescott, in memory of the AMC’s Vice-President 1997-98, who passed away on 20 September 1999. My sincere thanks to Dorothy and Victor for the provision of the prize since 2000, which has been both motivator and emblem for the AMC. Though all will be sorry to realise that the last Estelle Canning prize has been awarded, already members have expressed interest in providing a new conference award and perhaps new incentives for scholarship and professional excellence, and the Executive is in the process of developing options to this end.

The title of the conference, “300 Years of Mapping: The past 150 years & next 150 years”, provided good opportunities for contributors to reflect on past achievements, and future challenges. From the opening keynote, provided by Professor William Cartwright, which traced the development of multimedia cartography, papers provided numerous historical insights, while others gave examples of practical design, production of cartographic products and services, at a national level and on much smaller scales.

Conferences such as these cannot proceed without the efforts of a few dedicated individuals, and the involvement of supporters both new of of longstanding. My sincere appreciation for the ‘pro bono’ efforts of the organising committee, Adam Ladhams, Adella Edwards, and John McCormack. I know from experience the time, effort and stresses involved in such enterprises. All who attended the dinner will have enjoyed Mr Bill Kitson’s excellent talk on the surveying and mapping of Queensland. Thanks go to Ruth Gardiner for the field trip to the State Library of Queensland Heritage Collection, and to those involved in the visits to the State Archives, Landcentre and QUT. I also wish to congratulate David Fraser, who was endorsed as the President of the The Mapping Sciences Institute, Australia for the coming year. This shared conference like the several previously, allowed us to renew old acquaintances and brought a unique flavour to the conference, which was a tremendous success.

The conference for 2010, to be held in Adelaide South Australia after an absence of some years, will address environmental themes, under the banner “A climate for mapping”. The conference venue at the State Library of South Australia is booked, and I look forward to meeting with all in Adelaide, April 7-9.

Dr Martin Woods
Canberra