Event Debrief: Maptime PHL meetup

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What: A Maptime PHL Event- What’s the deal with hand drawn maps?

When: Monday, November 10th, 2014

Where: The Classroom at Indy Hall

Hosted By: Jon Tehrani and Patrick Hammons

Expected Guests (Actual): 18 (17)


MaptimePHL is a meetup for people of all skill levels and backgrounds who have an interest in maps. Find more information about our group here on our hackpad.

The main goal of this night was to get people drawing hand drawn maps, and through this bringing people together to have fun and interact face to face. Since learning is a large part of our mission, as well as accessible meetings for people of all skill levels, the event started with a brief presentation about why hand drawn maps are important and a run through of a few case studies.

Following the presentation people started drawing maps. The activity specifically focused on a specific type of hand drawn map known as whirlwind tour map, where one picks 6-8 spots they would recommend if a tourist had 5 hours to visit a city. On an underlying level, this activity gave people a chance to share some of their personal favorite spots in the city which helped us all get to know each other better as people.

We finished with a show and tell for anyone who wanted to share their work.



6:00 – Doors Opened

6:05 – Pizza Arrived

6:30 – Event Started

6:30-6:45 – Individual Introductions

6:45-7 – Presentation


7-8:15 – Activity

8:15-8:30 – Clean Up

8:30 – Event Ends

Set Up:

The classroom space was already configured perfectly for the event. Set-Up essentially consisted of turning on the projector, setting out pizzas plates and water. We learned this the hard way at our first meetup, either set the deadbolt so the front door is unlocked or have someone waiting in the gallery space to greet guests. Signs help too.

Food and Drink:

  • 6 pizzas (which was more than needed, nobody took more than 2 slices)
  • Water carafe I filled a few times throughout the night.


No volunteers technically, unless you count the work Patrick and I put into organizing the event. Although, MaptimePHL is admittedly a labor of love. Also, I should acknowledge the contributions of Indy Hall members Lauren Ancona and Mjumbe Poe who helped with the cleanup process since I had to frantically sprint to catch a train.


We promoted the event through our group’s meetup page, as well as twitter account. This was our 6th ever meetup and the expectation was already set that our group meets every other Monday evening so people were expecting some sort of gathering as well.

Good Things:

  • People showed up and seemed to have a good time
  • Maptime was fun!
  • Since so many of us spend our days in front of screens making digital maps, the change of pace with an analog activity was very welcome. A statement I heard a few times throughout the night was “I can’t remember the last time I drew a map by hand”
  • One of our members felt so comfortable with the group and the space that he brought his wife and 8 year old daughter to the meeting, since he felt she would really enjoy making hand drawn maps.
  • The supplies we needed (colored pencils, markers, pencils, paper) were readily available in the arts n’ crafts closet. Sean Martorana, Amanda Thomas, and Michael Norcross gave me a tour and were very encouraging/welcoming with ensuring our group had access to the supplies we needed.

Things We Would Change:

  • People created individual maps on 8.5 x 11 sheets of printer paper, so when it was time to share with the group the details were tough to see from across the room. Wish I had the presence of mind to set up some sort of projector or a better way to display the awesome results of everyone’s work.
  • Write a GroupBuzz post in the week leading up to the meeting. The activity here is one many in the IH community would have enjoyed, not just map enthusiasts.