Distinguished Professor of Geography
Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 1969
Geographic information (technology, policy, and societal role), history of cartography in the 20th century (esp. innovation and intellectual property), map design, environmental mapping
GEO 314 Hazardous Geographic Environments
GEO 381 Cartographic Design
Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor of Geography at the Maxwell School at
Syracuse University. His current research focuses on the history of cartography
in the twentieth century, in particular, a biography of John Byron Plato (1876-1966), inventor of the Clock System, a clever strategy for giving farmers a "real address" akin to the street addresses of city dwellers. He has also written extensively on the
use of maps for surveillance and as analytical and persuasive tools in
environmental science, journalism, politics, and public administration. His
teaches classes on map design, environmental cartography, and graduate-level
authored 20 books, including How to Lie
with Maps; Air Apparent: How
Meteorologists Learned to Map, Predict, and Dramatize Weather; Bushmanders and Bullwinkles: How Politicians
Manipulate Electronic Maps and Census Data to Win Elections; Spying with Maps: Surveillance Technologies
and the Future of Privacy; Rhumb
Lines and Map Wars: A Social History of the Mercator Projection; From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How
Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame; Coast
Lines: How Mapmakers Frame the World and Chart Environmental Change; No Dig, No Fly, No Go: How Maps Restrict and
Control; Lake Effect: Tales of Large
Lakes, Arctic Winds, and Recurrent Snows; Adventures in Academic Cartography: A Memoir; Patents and Cartographic Inventions: A New Perspective for Map History; and Connections and Content: Reflections on Networks and the History of Cartography.
the first general textbook on computer-assisted cartography (Prentice-Hall,
1982) and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1984. An early invention now
known as the Monmonier Algorithm is an important research tool for geographic
studies in linguistics and genetics. He has been editor of The American Cartographer and president of the American
Cartographic Association, and he has published numerous papers on map design,
automated map analysis, cartographic generalization, the history of
cartography, statistical graphics, and mass communications. Other
areas of expertise reflected in his various writings include extreme weather,
flood mapping, sea-level rise, map projections, political redistricting, and racially offensive or otherwise
controversial geographic names.
served on advisory panels for the National Research Council and the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, and was editor of Cartography in the Twentieth Century, published in April 2015 by
the University of Chicago Press as Volume Six of the History of Cartography series. For diverse contributions to
cartography, he was awarded the American Geographical Society’s O. M. Miller
Medal in 2001, the Pennsylvania State University’s Charles L. Hosler Alumni
Scholar Medal in 2007, and the German Cartographic Society’s Mercator Medal in
2009. In 2016 he was inducted into URISA's GIS Hall of Fame.
BOOKS (since 2004)
and Content: Reflections on Networks and the History of Cartography (Redlands, CA: Esri Press,
Lie with Maps, 3rd ed., revised and expanded (Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 2018).
Patents and Cartographic
Inventions: A New Perspective for Map History [In the series Palgrave Studies in the History of
Science and Technology] (New York and London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).
Adventures in Academic Cartography: A Memoir
(Syracuse, NY: Bar Scale Press; Amazon, 2016).
Cartography in the Twentieth Century [volume 6
of the History of Cartography] (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
Lake Effect: Tales of Large Lakes, Arctic Winds, and Recurrent Snows
(Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2012).
No Dig, No Fly, No Go: How Maps Restrict and Control
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010).
Coast Lines: How Mapmakers Frame the World and Chart Environmental Change
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008).
From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow:
How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
Lines and Map Wars: A Social History of the Mercator Projection
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004).
ADDITIONAL RECENT WRITINGS (since 2010)
“Motives for Patenting a Map Projection: Did Fame Trump Fortune?” Cartographic Journal, 55. 2 (May 2018):
Hopes.” Chapter 40
in Alexander J. Kent and Peter Vujakovic, eds., The Routledge Handbook on Mapping and Cartography (London:
Routledge, 2018), pp. 539–47.
“Cartography: History.” In Douglas Richardson, Noel Castree, Michael F. Goodchild, Audrey Kobayashi, Weidong Liu, and Richard A. Marston, eds., The International Encyclopedia of Geography (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2017), 12 pp. DOI: 10.1002/9781118786352.wbieg0359.
“Innovation and Inertia in Statistical Mapping in
Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century America.” In Miles A. Kimball and Charles
Kostelnick, eds., Visible Numbers: Essays on the History of Statistical
Graphics (Farnham, U.K.: Ashgate, 2016), pp. 107–26.
“Twentieth-Century Themes for Progressive Map
Collections.” Cartographic Perspectives, no. 81 (2016): 38–43.
Seventeen entries in Cartography
in the Twentieth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015):
“Agricultural Adjustment Administration (U.S.),” 30–31 / “Atlas: Facsimile
Atlas,” 90–92 / “Canada Geographic Information System,” 189–90 / “Cartographic
Duplicity in the German Democratic Republic,” 197–200 / “Census Mapping” [with
information from Robert Marx], 207–12 / “Coastal Mapping,” 235–39 / “Electronic
Cartography: Conferences on Computer-aided Mapping in North America and
Europe,” 386–87 / “Electronic Cartography: Display Hardware,” 370–71 /
“Facilities Map,” 424–25 / “Geographical Mapping,” 521–24 / “Landscape
Architecture and Cartography,” 758–60 / “Mercator Projection,” 870–72 / “Metric
System,” 877–78 / “Miller, O(sborn) M(aitland),” 977–78 / “Paper” [co-authored
with John H. Cameron], 1048–49 / “Remote Sensing: Data Handling and Information
Extraction from Remotely Sensed Imagery” [co-authored with Gerald Kinn],
1288–94 / “Styles, Cartographic,” 1471–73.
“Graphic Narratives for Emergency Mapping” In Graham A.
Tobin and Burrell E. Montz, eds., Evolving Approaches to Understanding
Natural Hazards (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing,
2015), pp. 169–77.
Konformität, Maßstab und Kontroverse” [Mercator’s projection: conformality,
scale, and controversy]. In Ute Schneider and Stefan Brakensiek, eds., Gerhard
Mercator: Wissenschaft und Wissenstransfer. (Darmstadt, Germany:
Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2015), pp. 231–45.
“The Cartographic Discovery of the Great
Lakes Snowbelts.” In History of Cartography, Lecture Notes in Geoinformation
and Cartography [History of Cartography: International Symposium of
the ICA, 2012], eds. Elri Liebenberg, Peter Collier, and Zsolt Gyozo Torok.
(Berlin and Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag. 2014), pp. 235–49.
"Maps that say “No!”—the Rise of
Prohibitive Cartography." In Todd W. Kenreich, ed., Geography and
Social Justice in the Classroom (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 26–39.
"History, Jargon, Privacy, and Multiple Vulnerabilities,"
50.2 (May 2013): 171-74.
"Borrowed Borders: Cartographic Leverage from Empires to Zip Codes,"
Glimpse: the art + science of seeing
, no. 8 (Autumn 2011): 14-21.
"Hubris Came before the Times Atlas's Fall,"
(18 October 2011), online at
"Maps as Graphic Propaganda for Public Health," in David Serlin, ed.,
Imagining Illness: Public Health and Visual Culture
(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), 108-25.
"Reflection Essay: 'Strategies for the Visualization of Geographic Time-Series Data'," in Martin Dodge, ed.,
Classics in Cartography: Reflections on Influential Articles from Cartographica
(London: John Wiley & Sons, 2011), 71-79.
Divide and Exploit,"
60.1 (2010): 3
"I Know Where You Are Right Now,"
207.2767 (July 3, 2010), 30-31.
1998—, Distinguished Professor of Geography
1979-98, Professor of Geography
1973-79, Associate Professor of Geography
1970-73, Assistant Professor [State University of New York at Albany]
1969-70, Assistant Professor [University of Rhode Island]
Research Grants and Awards
Science Foundation, funded by the Geography and the Spatial Sciences (GSS)
Program and the Science, Technology and Society Program (STS), sponsor award
no. 1461551, “Patents, Cartographic Inventors, and a New Perspective for Map
History,” 1 August 2015 to 31 January 2018, $68,363. One product of this
research, a book titled “Patents and Cartographic Inventors: A New Perspective
on Map History,” will be published in 2017.
Delmas Foundation, grant to support a research assistant for Volume Six of the
History of Cartography, May 2011 to May 2012, $12,000.
National Science Foundation, funded by the
Science and Society Program and the Geography and Regional Science Program, No.
SES-0749687, “Collaborative Research: History of Cartography in the Twentieth
Century,” 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2013, $355,130.
Recent Invited Lectures
“Patents and Plato: Map-related Patents in
General, and One Clever Inventor in Particular,” on April 12, 2018, at the
Library of Congress, in Washington, DC, at the monthly meeting of the
Washington Map Society.
“The Four Shorelines of Coastal Cartography,” on May 2, 2017,
in Boston, MA, at the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public
Library, in the lecture series Regions and Seasons: Mapping Climate through
History, presented in partnership with the Boston Map Society.
“Cartography in the Twentieth Century: Revolutions, Stories, and
Inventions,” on November 17, 2015, in Burlington, VT, at the University of
Vermont, in the Dan and Carole Burack President’s Distinguished Lecture Series.
"Geographic Names: Roles, Rhetoric, and
Resistance,” on September 18, 2015, in Washington, DC, at the U.S. Library of
Congress, as keynote address at the symposium Traditions and Transitions:
Celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.
"The Twentieth Century as an Era in Map History: Tipping Point or Merely Distinctive?" on May 15, 2014, in Washington, DC, as keynote speaker for the conference "From Terra to Terabytes: The History of 20th Century Cartography and Beyond," 15-16 May, sponsored by the Philip Lee Phillips Map Society of the Library of Congress.
"Coastal Cartography's Four Shorelines: From Christopher Columbus to Hurricane Sandy," on April 4, 2014, in Stony Brook, NY, at Stony Brook University, as guest speaker in the Humanities for the Environment series, at the Humanities Institute.
"Designing the Political Cartography of the Oceans," on February 21, 2014, in Cambridge, MA, at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, for The Ocean Turn: An Advanced Landscape Infrastructure Seminar.
"The 'Critical Turn' in Cartography: New Direction or Unsafe Lane Change," on October 4, 2013, in Passau, Germany, as an invited paper in a special session on critical cartography, at Deutscher Geographentag 2013.
"Persuasive Cartography: Using Maps to Influence Opinion and Control Behavior," on August 5, 2013, at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, NH, as a public lecture co-sponsored by Dartmouth Digital Humanities and the Department of Geography.
"Innovation and Inertia in Thematic Mapping: Examples from Atmospheric and Census Cartography," on October 21, 2012, in Princeton, NJ, as opening lecture for "First X, Then Y, Now Z," an exhibit on the history of thematic mapping at Princeton University's Firestone Library.
"Mercator's Projection: Milestone, Steppingstone, and Millstone," on September 14, 2012, as the tenth Douglas Clay Ridgeley Distinguished Lecturer, in the Department of Geography-Geology at Illinois State University, Normal, IL.
"The Mercator Projection and Its Impact, Adoption, Controversy, and Survival from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day," on April 27, 2012, in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, as keynote speaker at the conference "Mercator Revisited: Cartography in the Age of Discovery," sponsored by Universiteit Gent and the International Cartographic Association.
"Mercator's World Map: Contribution and Controversy," on March 10, 2012, inNew York City, for the New York Map Society and the New York Public Library, Mid-Manhattan Branch.
"Mercator's Projection: Conformality, Scale, and Controversy," on March 1, 2012, in Essen, Germany, as keynote speaker at the conference Gerhard Mercator: Wissenschaft und Wissenstransfer [Gerard Mercator: Science and Knowledge Transfer], sponsored by Stiftung Mercator [the Mercator Foundation], Germany's third largest private foundation.
"Air Apparent: Rotating Storms, Lake-Effect Snow, and Two Hundred Years of Meteorological Cartography," on November 4, 2011, in Hamilton, NY, in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Colloquium Series, Colgate University"The Cartographic Recognition of the Great Lakes Snowbelts," on March 23, 2011, in Ithaca, NY, at the 19th U.S.-Canadian Great Lakes Operational Meteorology Workshop; sponsored by NOAA, Environment Canada, and Cornell University.
"Fear and Loathing in Geopolitics: Cartographies of Pretension and Persuasion," on November 12, 2010, in Williamsburg, VA, in the Geopolitics Fall Lecture Series, sponsored by the Reves Center for International Studies and the Department of Government at the College of William and Mary.