Dear Website Visitor,

Welcome to the IMCoS website

IMPORTANT NOTICE - PLEASE NOTE: We will shortly be releasing a brand new website, looking very different and with a lot more maps.  The new website is still under development, but will be released by 15th July, and when we do there may be a gap of a day or so when our site is unavailable; if you experience this, please try to access the site a couple of days later.  We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Please also note that we will be unable to accept payments via PayPal until our new web site is up and running. Please contact the Membership Secretary at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  in order to pay during this time.

If you are currently a member and visiting our website we hope you like the new layout and improved features. Log in with your User Name and Password. Refer to Frequently Asked Questions if you are not sure what to do.

If you are not already a member of IMCoS then we are delighted that you have surfed into our area. Please continue to read about the International Map Collectors’ Society, a group catering to anybody with an interest in maps and charts, and take time to explore the site and find out about our activities. Although IMCoS originates from the

United Kingdom (it was founded in 1980 in London) we have National Representatives in a great number of countries and and are far from limiting ourselves to English-speaking countries.

Our IMCoS Journal is published four times a year under the Editorship of Ljiljana Ortolja-Baird. The Journal is one of the benefits you would enjoy should you decide to become a Member of IMCoS. Rather than trying to lure you into subscribing, I would much prefer, if you would delve into our website a little further, to see for yourself whether you might feel at home in our Society. Perhaps I can draw your attention to the Events 2016 pages, where you will find a list of our up-and-coming events. Miscellany keeps you up to date with what has been happening in other areas.


Apart from publishing the Journal, we have our International Symposium each year in a different country.  

We are excited that planning and registration for the next symposium is well under way. In October 2016 we will be in Chicago, USA and will help to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the internationally famous Nebenzahl Lectures and spend time at the Chicago International Map Fair

24–30 October 2016, Chicago

• 34th IMCoS International Symposium

• 50th Anniversary Nebenzahl Lectures

• Chicago International Map Fair

There are planned field trips to several exhibitions and map collections, including an all-day excursion to the American Geographical Society Library at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the MacLean Collection in Green Oaks, Illinois’. The Preliminary Program can be found on our Events 2016 page.

Also make a note in your diaries: the 2017 Symposium will take place in Hamburg, Germany, from 8th to 12th October with a 3/4 day post-symposium tour. Watch this space for more details.

Otherwise our first events in 2016 will be an exciting excursion to Durham, England in April and the regular London Map Fair in June. Our popular Collectors' Evening has now moved to September - see Events 2016 for more details.

A number of our IMCoS representatives arrange for visits in their area; London is the place to be in June each year, when our June Weekend is held, featuring the Annual General Meeting, the Annual Dinner, and the Malcolm Young Lectures. The weekend is planned to coincide with the London Map Fair and the Book Fair at Olympia in Hammersmith, London.

You will find more information on this website on most of the topics mentioned above. A small part of the available information is reserved for “Members Only” and can only be accessed by existing members, using their password.

Our Membership comprises academics, map dealers, institutions such as libraries and museums, and - for the most part - of cartophiles, suffering from a potentially contagious disease, called love of maps. Whether your love is for small maps, big maps, local maps, international maps, cheap or expensive, is not the point. The point is that if you would like to talk, learn and share knowledge about maps, you are well advised to look up the page on the website that enables you to become an IMCoS Member.

This year we are especially honoured that Peter Barber, OBE, has accepted to become our new President - see article below.

Yours sincerely,

Hans D. Kok

Hans Kok, IMCoS Chairman.


Meet your new President

The Executive Committee of IMCoS is delighted to announce that the President’s chair, after sitting vacant for several years, has finally been filled. Peter Barber has accepted the invitation to be our new President and we look forward to his participation in IMCoS’ future. Peter is a household name to cartophiles. Until summer this year, when he retired, Peter was Head of Map Collections at the British Library, a position he held for fourteen years, during which time he was responsible for curating, with Tom Harper, Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art. This memorable 2010 exhibition boasted an astonishing footfall and critical success, in fact, according to the British Library Annual report, it received ‘the highest [visitor] rating the Library has ever achieved’. (according to British Library Thirty-eighth Annual Report and Accounts 2010/11. p. 11.) The exhibition is just one of many achievements Peter realised during his time at the Library, a career which began in the Department of Manuscripts in 1975.

His unique eye for items of cartographic significance has resulted in some spectacular acquisitions for the Library, grand and modest. Among the grand is one of the Library’s most important purchases: the Mercator Atlas of Europe, a composite atlas which contains not only examples of Mercator’s separate-issue wall maps, which are rare enough in themselves, but also the only known manuscript maps in Mercator’s own hand. Some of the printed maps bear annotations in Mercator’s handwriting.

Other acquisitions are less grand but reflect Peter’s understanding of their value for future scholarship: he is particularly pleased with the ‘Down Survey’ of 1655 by William Petty, the first cadastral survey of any European country; the archive of correspondence of printer and game manufacturer Waddington relating to their production of escape maps; and the archives of map and atlas publisher George Philip and Son, originally destined to a refuse skip.

And then, of course, there are the books he has written – The map book (2005), London: A history of maps (2012), exhibition catalogues for Magnificent maps (2010) and Lie of the land: The secret life of maps (2001) – not to mention the numerous chapters, essays and articles that he has contributed to various publications. We can be sure there will be more titles to come from this prolific pen.

Peter shares with many Society members the same collecting spirit. He describes it as omnivorous – collecting from several streams of interest. His map collection, however, is small, and those he does own are related primarily to his family history in Eastern Europe. The terms of his position in the British Library map department predicated that he did not privately collect, as it would present a professional conflict of interest.

In preparing for my meeting with Peter I had a quick look online to see what had been written about him that was in the public domain. Little did I expect to find him listed in the International Movie Database (IMDb). He has appeared in and been a consultant on numerous television documentaries: Shakespeare: The King’s man; Maps: Power, plunder & possession; The beauty of maps;

Medieval lives; Map makers; The man behind the Da Vinci Code. Peter has lent his cartographic expertise broadly, and his contributions are noted in many instances globally, whether as advisor, facilitator, author, council member, speaker, society fellow, etc. The list is long, and as Hans Kok noted in this issue of the Chairman’s letter ‘his friendliness in helping people is legendary’.

Peter was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his services to Cartography and Topography.

This is a brief snapshot of Peter who, I am sure you will agree, will be a tremendous asset to the Society and who we are privileged to have as our new President.