Mappy Hour

The other night, I participated in the North Bay’s first Mappy Hour, a social event designed to bring together GIS and map enthusiasts. The event was hosted by Griffin Map Design in his store/studio in Petaluma, California. We got to talk about maps without having to talk about work  – what a concept!


As a group, we explored interesting things we could do to bring prominence to maps and stories of place. I’m not entirely sure where Mappy Hour will lead us, but where ever it is, I’m sure it will be interesting. The event did get me thinking about how I could incorporate more art into my work.

The group also got a chance to peruse the maps and cartographic fusion with art Griffin Map Design offers for sale. I bought a wonderful print of the State of California that features oak leaves as well as a bag with a bike/world map collage.


We also talked about books. I know, not nearly as exciting as maps, but books about maps? What more could you ask for? I actually have quite a few books on maps. When I have time, I’ll post a few book reviews.

Overall, Mappy Hour was a great opportunity to see how maps can be used in creative ways to communicate information about a place that isn’t easily quantifiable. As GIS professionals and in this digital age, we forget that physical maps and cartographic representations have a long history of playing a key role in not only depicting the places we live in, but shaping our perceptions of them as well.

Bird’s Eye View of San Francisco, c1876 by SF Snow & May. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress. Back when the Golden Gate was just that, a gate with no Golden Gate ‘Bridge’.

Here’s to many more Mappy Hours.