A History of Twentieth Century American Academic Cartography

Robert McMaster, Susanna McMaster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The academic discipline of cartography is a twentieth-century phenomenon. From its incipient roots in landscape representation in geology and the mapping of socio-economic data in geography, it grew into its own sub-discipline with graduate programs, research paradigms, and a scientific literature of its own. It came close to establishing a national center for cartography in the late 1960s. After rather sporadic activity before World War II, the period from 1946 to 1986 saw the building of major graduate programs at the universities of Wisconsin, Kansas, and Washington. Other programs were created, often with the doctoral students from those three. At the end of the twentieth century, cartography underwent significant changes in relation to the emerging discipline of geographic information science. The future for academic cartography is less certain, as graduate programs adjust the balances among the many components of mapping science, including cartography, geovisualization, GI science, GIS systems, spatial analysis/statistics, and remote sensing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-321
Number of pages17
JournalCartography and Geographic Information Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
An important factor in the development of cartographic instruction at Wisconsin was associated with the awarding of severalNational Defense Education ActFellowshipsin the 1960sto support graduate work in cartography. Each fellowship, which included a generous three-year stipend and a grant to support the development of the cartography instructional program, attracted some of the very best graduate students who, upon completing their Ph.D.s, created their own undergraduate and graduate programs in cartography.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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