Washington Map Society – WMS

About The Washington Map Society

Founded in 1979, The Washington Map Society is a United States based organization supporting map collecting, and the history, science and art of cartography. The Society (or WMS) has about 400 members drawn from throughout the United States and around the world. About 60% live outside the Washington DC, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia radius, confirming the importance of our journal. Please see the WMS brochure HERE.

Membership gives the Portolan, the WMS E-newsletter, on-line videos of our meetings, on-line access to the entire Portolan archive in .pdf format, and additional features such as private messaging between members. Digital only membership is available.

WMS advances its goals by convening periodic speaker events, organizing field trips, publishing a cartographic journal (The Portolan) three times yearly, and by annually sponsoring the Ristow Prize competition recognizing research achievement in cartographic history.

Our Mission: The Washington Map Society supports and promotes map collecting, cartography, and the study of cartographic history.

We support the mission through meetings, the WMS journal The Portolan, Facebook, and the website.

Underlying this is our conviction that maps are among the most indispensable works in human history. Since earliest days, men have sought methods to make accurate maps, struggling with our earth’s complex science and geography. Good mapping was a highly technical, intellectual challenge to ancient man, and it still is today. It often speaks to us about the map’s long-ago, forgotten maker, his or her skill, devotion, craft and care. At its very finest, mapping reflects some of the world’s most notable works of art.

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