Nick Bauch, Launching Enchanting the Desert, May 16, 2016

Current Events  


ARCS: Asian Representations and Constructions of Space | Talk by Dr. Richard Pegg

Organized by Dan Tuzzeo and with generous support from the Stanford Humanities Center, the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford, and the Stanford Departments of East Asian Languages and Cultures, History, and Religious Studies the Rumsey Map Center will host the Geballe Research Workshop series entitled: Asian Representations and Constructions of Space (ARCS). 

Throughout the academic year ARCS will invite a total of nine scholars from various disciplines to share works in progress concerning geographical, cosmological, and ritual space in historical Asian contexts from ancient and early modern India, China, Japan, and the Himalayas. Speakers will introduce participants to art, architecture, maps, manuscripts, gazetteers, and digital tools that formulate and depict a broad scope of spatial realms.

Talk by Dr. Richard Pegg

Maps and Ships: Maritime Trade in the China Seas form the 16th to 18th Centuries 

Thursday, May 10, 2018. 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM 

Numerous networks of maritime trade were in place in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries in today’s East, South and West China Seas (China Seas). The China Seas maritime trade systems were comprised of a number of smaller overlapping systems, which can all be distinguished but were all intertwined and co-dependent on each other. These systems consisted of port cities that were fluid centers of commerce that typically operated in similar ways with interactions and transactions that were private, unofficial and semi-legal, often independent of regional or national governance, as well as centers of tribute trade. The preferred ship type connecting these port cities was a unique Chinese junk hybrid with several Western innovations. Historical maps of these systems and paintings of these ships are agents that enhance our understanding of how these systems functioned.

Dr. Richard A. Pegg (PhD, East Asian Art History, Columbia University) is director and curator of Asian art for the MacLean Collection in Chicago. He has published and lectured widely on the visual and martial arts of Asia. His recent books include Cartographic Traditions in East Asian Maps, Passion for Form: Selections of Southeast Asian Art from the MacLean Collection, and The MacLean Collection: Chinese Ritual BronzesFor more and to register, visit this page.


Talk by Molly Roy | “But don’t we know where everything is?”: How to Map the Rest of It 


On May 24, 2018, The David Rumsey Map Center will host a talk with Molly Roy titled But don’t we know where everything is?”: How to Map the Rest of It.

Doors open: 8.45 am

Talk by Molly Roy: 9.00 am

When Molly Roy introduces herself as a cartographer, she is often met with the question “But haven’t we already mapped everything?” or “Don’t we already know where everything is?” In a world where we are constantly surrounded by maps, telling us where to go, what to buy and what to call the places in which we live, Roy (founder of M. Roy Cartography, 2011) seeks to unearth those spatial stories that have gone untold, that are lesser known, that have been buried by the powers that be, and that are more imaginative and creative in nature. She will demonstrate how a person can be a cartographer in a modern age of web mapping and will be presenting her recent works, as head cartographer of Rebecca Solnit’s Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas, as co-founder of Guerrilla Cartography and editor of its recently published Water: An Atlas, and as a collaborator and map maker on many social, historical, and environmental grassroots mapping projects. Explore the past works of M. Roy Cartography at

The talk is free but requires advance registration. Please register here.


Data Storytelling with Thematic Maps: The Design Genius of Charles Joseph Minard

From Carte coton...1858 et 1861, Minard, Charles Joseph.

On May 24, 2018 The David Rumsey Map Center will host a talk with RJ Andrews titled Data Storytelling with Thematic Maps: The Design Genius of Charles Joseph Minard

Doors open: 3.15

Viewing maps, browsing the Center's Exhibit: 3.30 pm to 4 pm

Talk by R.J. Andrews: 4 pm

Data storyteller R.J. Andrews gives a design critique to the thematic maps of French mapping pioneer Charles Joseph Minard. Minard is most famous for his Napoleonic Russian campaign map, but his catalog is deep. Elements and flourishes will be highlighted across Minard's work that are still relevant to how we understand our world today. Along the way, we will get a better sense of who Minard was, and how he came to become the master of the flow map.

R.J. Andrews is a data storyteller and creator of Info We Trust. His bold style – often described as creative arts meets data science – is a striking lesson in how to use design and science to humanize complexity. Explore R.J.'s interactive history of data visualization at

The talk is free but requires advance registration. Please register here.


Call for Papers: Conference on 'Mapping the Global Imaginary, 1500-1900'

February 14-15, 2019


From Abissinorum sive Pretiosi Joannis imperiu, Mercator, Gerard, 1613.

Maps have long been used to bring imaginary places to life, from Thomas More's Utopia to J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth. But the role of the imagination in mapping extends well beyond the depiction of fantasy realms. This conference—co-organized by the Global History and Culture Centre at the University of Warwick and the History Department of Stanford University—is designed to showcase research and facilitate conversation about the role of the imagination in the cartographic enterprise writ large. 

Presentations will ideally focus on a handful of particular maps, drawing chiefly on

examples made between 1500 and 1900. Possible themes for exploration include:

- Mapping utopias and dystopias

- Projections of power and competing border claims

- Recidivist cartography

- Maps of alternative futures; maps of alternative pasts

- Topographies of the unknown (uncharted territories)

- Imagining populations, nations, and civilizations

- The fabulous; the monstrous

For more information including abstract submission guidelines click here.


David Rumsey Map Center Use Guidelines 

Past Events

  • April 24th, 2018, Understanding Ice: The James B. Case Memorial Symposium. For More information please visit this page.
  • April 5th, 2018, California Map Society Annual Talks and Essay Competition Winner. Men, Myths, and Maps by Imre Demhardt; and Enlightened cartography: Mapping Imperial Russia by Ken Neff.
    For more information visit this page.
  • March 15th, 2018, Exemplars of Cartography through maps of the Holy Lands. For more information explore the digital collection in Seachworks.
  • March 5th, 2018, Student Activism at Stanford: Map Launch. For more information explore the Activism@Stanford exhibit.
  • February 23, 2018, Making the World Go 'Round: How Urbano Monte Created his Map of 1587. For more information visit this page.
  • December 7, 2017, Petr Pridal Talk: Old Maps Online, GIS, and Cutting-Edge Technology. For more please visit this page.
  • November 15, 2017, GIS Day. For more, please visit this page.
  • Asian Representations and Constructions of Space
  • March 15, 2018, Visualizing Time and Space through Foreign Eyes in Medieval China: From the Śārdūlakarṇāvadāna to Amoghavajra’s Xiuyao jing. Form More information visit this page.
  • February 12, 2018, Illuminating the World before 1492: China, the Islamic World, and the Cross-Cultural Mapping of Asia; for more information visit this page.

  • October 12, 3pm-5pm; Eric Huntington (Postdoctoral Fellow, Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford): "Frames of Scale and Geo-Spatial Transformations in the Buddhist Maṇḍala”. For more, visit this page.
  • October 26, 10am-12pm; Jon Felt (Assistant Professor of History, Brigham Young University): "The Empire and the Ecumene: Regionalism After the Han Empire" For more, visit this page.
  • November 27, 10am-12pm; a Joint session with Kären Wigen (Professor of History, Stanford University) and D. Max Moerman (Professor of Asian & Middle Eastern Cultures, Barnard College, Columbia University): "Imagining 'Asia': Foreign and Native Worldviews in Constructions of Early Modern Japanese Cartography”. For more, please visit this page.
  • November 10, 2017, Time in Space: Representing Time in Maps.  For further information, visit this website.Barry Lawrence Ruderman Conference on Cartography, October 19-21, 2017. For more more information, go to the website here.
  • May 20th, 2017, 8.30 am - 9 pm: California Map Society Meeting (One Day Conference, including map talks): Registration and fees. Please visit this page for details.
  • May 4th, 2017, 6 pm: Essay Competition Winner + Richard Brown and Paul Cohen Talk: Free, but registration required. Please Visit this page for details.