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American Association of Geographers Recognizes Mark Monmonier with Lifetime Achievement Honor

January 17, 2023

American Association of Geographers

Monmonier, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Geography and the Environment, was recognized for ‘outstanding contributions.’

Mark Monmonier, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Geography and the Environment, has received the American Association of Geographers’ Lifetime Achievement Honor.

Mark Monmonier

On its website, the association credits Monmonier with “outstanding contributions to geographic research, most notably in the fields of cartography and geographic communication” as well as an “extensive record of distinctive leadership at national and international levels.”

Monmonier retired in May 2021, wrapping up a nearly 50-year career with the Maxwell School. His lengthy curriculum vitae includes a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1984, editing the National Science Foundation-supported encyclopedia “Cartography in the Twentieth Century” (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2015) and publishing papers on everything from map design to automated map analysis to mass communication. 

In addition, Monmonier has served on advisory panels for the National Research Council and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has received numerous honors, including the American Geographical Society’s O. M. Miller Medal in 2001, and the German Cartographic Society’s Mercator Medal in 2009. In 2016 he was inducted into the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association's GIS Hall of Fame. And, on the eve of his retirement, Monmonier received the Chancellor’s Citation Award for Lifetime Achievement, which recognizes those at Syracuse University who have made extraordinary contributions to the undergraduate experience and research excellence, fostered innovation and supported student veterans.

Monmonier has authored more than 20 books, including the first general textbook on computer-assisted cartography (Prentice-Hall, 1982) and “How to Lie with Maps” which in December 2020 was named one of the “eight essential books for geographers” by Geographical Magazine, the National Geographic of the United Kingdom.

His latest book, titled, “Clock & Compass: How John Byron Plato Gave Farmers a Real Address,” tells the story of its namesake, who attended a pioneer Denver vocational high school, became a farmer in his mid-30s, and patented several inventions including the “Clock System,” which assigned addresses to rural residences without house numbers.

Like Plato, Monmonier is regarded as an inventor. What has become known as the “Monmonier Algorithm”—based on an article he published in 1973, the same year he joined Maxwell—is an important research tool for geographic studies in linguistics and genetics. 

The American Association of Geographers announced its annual award recipients on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. Monmonier is among four recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Honor.

Published in the Spring 2023 issue of the Maxwell Perspective

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