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Fraser Taylor is awarded the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal

Fraser Taylor

Fraser Taylor during his acceptance speech at ICC 2013

Fraser Taylor and Georg Gartner

Fraser Taylor and Georg Gartner

At the ICC 2013 in Dresden, the Carl Mannerfelt gold medal was awarded to Fraser Tayor. Read the laudation by Bill Cartwright, Immediate Past-President of ICA, below:

I first met Professor Taylor when he was President of the International Cartographic Association (ICA), at one of the early International Cartographic Conferences that I attended. I was involved in research in the application of interactive multimedia to cartography and the visualization of geography, an area that Professor Taylor championed in the international cartographic and geographic communities. His enthusiasm about contributing to international scientific communities was, and is, infectious and his encouragement to participate in research and development was extremely supportive to young and experienced scientists alike. This introduction to scholarly work in cartography and geography set me on a path of participation and collaboration with the International Cartographic Association and with international cartographic and geographical communities, a path that I continue to follow today.

Professor Taylor is Distinguished Research Professor of Geography and Environmental Science, and in International Affairs and Director of the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre, Carleton University, Canada. He has the immediate past Chair of the International Steering Committee for Global Mapping (ISCGM), an international project by world national mapping agencies of the to produce a 1:1 million digital map of the world to support environmental and sustainable development decision-making, for the past decade. This work supports international collaboration and decision-making by ensuring that appropriate, current and timely geospatial information is available.

In 2008 Professor Taylor was elected Fellow to the Social Sciences Division of the Academy of Social Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2009 he was appointed to the United Nations Expert Group on Geospatial Information Management and to the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Global Advisory Council. Also in 2009, he was elected Chair, Technical Committee III, Geospatial Data Collection, Management and Dissemination, Ninth United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for the Americas. In 2010 he was presented with the Distinguished Service Award by the Canadian Association of African Studies.

He has contributed to regional cartographic and geographical activities, particularly the application of geomatics to socioeconomic development in a national and international context with special reference to the Canadian North, Africa, Latin America, China and Antarctica. He has also advanced regional and rural development theory and practice with special emphasis on sustainable development and indigenous development strategies in Africa and Latin America. In 2006 he was nominated by the Permanent Committee on GIS Infrastructure for Asia and the Pacific and accepted by the UN Conference Secretariat, for the position of Vice Chairman, Technical Committee 3 of the United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Pacific. He was also Head of the Canadian Delegation at this conference. As well, he has been active in Africa – as a member, International Cartographic Association Working Group on Mapping Africa for Africans and Antarctica – in 2000 he was appointed a member of the International Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) Working Group for Geodesy and Geographic Information, now entitled SCAR Group of Experts on Geospatial Information.

In the International Cartographic Association he was elected Vice-President in 1984, and then President in 1987. He was again elected President for a further 4-year term of office in 1991. In August 1999, to recognise his outstanding contributions to the Association, Professor Taylor was elected an Honorary Fellow of the International Cartographic Association. As well, Professor Taylor represented the ICA on Joint Boards. In 1989 he was elected President of the International Union for Surveys and Mapping and in 2004 he was appointed a member of the Joint Board of the Geospatial Information Societies (JBGIS).

In Canada Professor Taylor is an esteemed contributor to cartographic and geographical societies. In 1978, and again in 1979 he was elected President of the Canadian Cartographic Association. In 1999 he was appointed Co-Chair of the National Atlas Advisory Committee by Natural Resources Canada. And, in 2006 he received the Award of Distinction for exceptional scholarly contributions to cartography by the Canadian Cartographic Association. He has been active in many areas of research in Canada, receiving funding for a “Living” Cybercartographic Atlas of Indigenous Artifacts and Knowledge from The Inukshuk Fund in 2007 and a Research Initiative Grant from the SSHRC in 2002 for the Cybercartography and the New Economy project. In 2012 he was awarded the Royal Canadian Geographic Society and 3M Canada Canadian Award for Environmental Innovation.

As well as these activities, Professor Taylor has undertaken research and development and published in areas where his expertise is internationally recognised, namely:

  • The theory and practice of cybercartography;
  • Electronic atlases, interactive cartographic systems and visualization;
  • The preservation and archiving of geospatial data;
  • Mapping for the blind and visually impaired; and
  • Canada’s international policies towards developing nations.

He has published extensively and presented in many fora on these topics. As well, he was appointed member of Advisory Board for Volume Six of the History of Cartography Series, University of Chicago Press, as Series Editor of the book Series entitled Modern Cartography published by Elsevier Science and Editor, Progress in Contemporary Cartography Series, Wiley & Sons. He has also edited and co-edited two editions of publications related to Cybercartography Theory and Practice.

Professor Taylor has made significant contributions and undertaken leadership roles in cartography and geography, both internationally and in Canada. Professor Taylor works tirelessly in research, teaching, publishing and outreach programmes. He is respected globally for his rigorous research, quality publications and enthusiastic approach to furthering scientific knowledge related to cartography and geography.

The Carl Mannerelt Medal Recognises excellence in scholarship and research in Cartography and GI Science. It is awarded Ob Merita Egregia (acquired) by extraordinary merits. The award of the Carl Mannerfelt Medal formally acknowledges Professor Taylor’s achievements, his effort in the international cartographic research and professional communities and his contributions to humanity.

Category: General News

Ferjan Ormeling is awarded the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal

Ferjan Ormeling and William Cartwright at ICC 2009

Ferjan Ormeling and William Cartwright at ICC 2009

The Carl Mannerfelt gold medal of ICA is awarded rarely, to cartographers of outstanding merit who have made significant contributions of an original nature to the field of cartography; it is awarded only on rare occasions in order to emphasise its distinction.

Professor Dr Ferjan Ormeling of the Netherlands matches this requirement, by his tireless efforts to promote and develop the discipline of cartography, alongside his excellent service to the International Cartographic Association.

The research and educational interests of Professor Ormeling have matched his commitment to ICA, and it is to these topics we must direct our attention.  His original contributions have addressed a range of cartographic enquiries and thought, starting with his early PhD work on the important topic of toponymy.  Professor Ormeling has continued this work to the present day: he is the vice chair of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names, and has been convenor of its Working Group on Training Courses in Toponymy.  In this capacity he has travelled the world on a volunteer basis, meeting, educating, and directing local cartographic practitioners and decision makers; and has organised courses in countries from Algeria to Indonesia.

His educational activities have included practical studies of cartographic education in fields such as animated mapping, but most importantly his jointly authored textbook (with Professor Kraak), Cartography: Visualization of Spatial Data, now in its third edition.  He also co-chaired the ICA’s Commission on Education and Training for 12 years, and presented many workshops and publications on education.

His educational interests have supported strong research work also in the field of historical cartography; his specialisation in East Indies mapping has resulted in a number of extremely impressive large-format, academically-informed graphic works, but he has also studied the historical development of atlases closer to home – primarily his old school friend the famous Bos Atlas, used by every Dutch schoolchild.  Again, the ICA Commission on the History of Cartography has benefitted from his sound support, particularly in the form of educational workshops.

Professor Ormeling has extended his incisive approach to cartographic thinking to newly emerging fields such as geovisualisation, data quality, media mapping, and environmental and planning mapping.

This extensive academic and research career has led to the publication of approximately 450 items with his name as author.  Such a volume and quality of work, coupled with his support for ICA as Commission chair, national representative and Secretary General for 8 years, makes Ferjan Ormeling a worthy recipient of our highest honour, the Carl Mannerfelt gold medal.

Category: General News

Jack Dangermond is awarded the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal

Jack Dangermond

Jack Dangermond

Jack Dangermond is a unique outstanding promoter of cartography, mapping and geography. His products created with strong confidence in the power of cartography and geography have influenced hundreds of government officials, private companies and millions of everyday users including pupils and students from basic schools to technical schools and universities all over the world. He is able to bridge the gap between research ideas and intentions of cartographers on one side, and real practical needs of users from many different fields on the other side.

Jack Dangermond is the founder and president of ESRI. Founded in 1969 and headquartered in Redlands, California, ESRI is widely recognized as the technical and market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, pioneering innovative solutions for working with spatial data on the desktop, across the enterprise, in the field, and on the Web. ESRI has the largest GIS software install base in the world with more than one million users in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide. He fostered the growth of ESRI from a small research group to an organization of over 3,100 employees, known internationally for GIS software development, training, and services. Jack holds six honorary doctorates: California Polytechnic University-Pomona, State University of New York at Buffalo, University of West Hungary, City University in London, University of Redlands in California, and Ferris State University in Michigan.

Jack Dangermond supports development of new cartographic tools in cartographic generalization and cartographic visualization, creation of digital atlases and approaches promoting cartography in many various areas of human activities from crises management situations to the issues of healthy geography. He is a supporter of distributing and sharing knowledge and creation of capacity building through fundamental projects on the United Nations level – such as Global Mapping – providing opportunities for young users to become a part of the development of cartography by means of grants devoted to application of cartographic and geographic approaches in solving problems of the contemporary world.

Jack Dangermond helped to highlight and make globally visible one of the most successful ICA ideas by publishing – together with the ICA – the best drawings from Barbara Petchenik Contest in a book called “Children Map the World: Selection from the Barbara Petchenik Children’s World Map Competition”.

He promotes the ICA and cartography in general, and stresses the role of cartography in solving global problems. He supports projects highlighting cartographic and geographic science potentials in the process of designing information/knowledge-based society on a global scale. He supports ideas of ICA by creating new widely-known series of cartographic publications, and has published several very influential books, such as Imhoff’s “Three-Dimensional Representation of the Relief”. He still continues in publishing contemporary cartographic books helping to share the latest ideas of cartographers from all over the world.

Similarly as Joel Morrisson and David Rhind have been pioneers of the new era of digital cartography, Jack Dangermond is a pioneer of the delimitation and definition of the role of cartography and geographic information in the realization of the Global Millennium Goals and in the creation of an Information/Knowledge–based Society.

For his outstanding contribution to cartography and geographic information science Jack Dangermond is honored with the highest award of ICA – the Mannerfelt Gold Medal.

Category: General News

Ernst Spiess is awarded the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal

Ernst Spiess

Ernst Spiess

Ernst Spiess, former head of the Institute of Cartography at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland, was a student of Eduard Imhof. A chartered surveyor, he was a personal assistant to Professor Imhof, worked in the topography and photogrammetry section of the Swiss Federal Office of Topography in Berne and succeeded Professor Imhof on the faculty at ETH, where he remained until his retirement in 1996.

Ernst Spiess was the founding Chair of the ICA Commission on Cartographic Technologies and was awarded the ICA Honorary Fellowship in 1995.  He is an Honorary Member of the Swiss Society of Cartography which he served twice as president, as well as president of the organizing committee of the international congress of cartography in Interlaken in 1996.  He was also president of the Swiss Society of Photogrammetry.  He has represented Switzerland at UN Congresses on geographic names and was member of the German-Speaking Commission on Geographic Names.  He was a collaborator of the Schweizer Mittelschulatlas and has been and still is editor-in-chief of the new Schweizer Weltatlas, which was awarded the ICA prize in 1997.

In 1959 Ernst Spiess participated in a Swiss Expedition to the Panta Mountains in Peru, from which an outstanding topographic relief map–including a breathtaking cliff representation–resulted.  In 1974, he introduced at the Institute one of the first digital cartographic computer systems, which became a basic tool for advanced scientific work on map production, thematic cartography, and map projections.  The adaptation and extension of Bertin’s “Graphical Semiology” to modern thematic cartography is one of his most important contributions.  He has always regarded the application of theoretical work as equal in importance to theory, and he has been a highly effective communicator and teacher of both.

For an outstanding career in cartography that has included contributions in topographic mapping, atlas production, technological advancement, and as an effective teacher and researcher, the International Cartographic Association awards Professor Ernst Spiess its highest honor, the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal.

Category: General News

David Rhind is awarded the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal

Professor David Rhind, Vice Chancellor at City University in London, occupies a unique position in the world of cartography and geographic information.  He was the first academic to become the Director General of Ordnance Survey of Britain, where he was instrumental in replacing analogue cartography with digital, which served as an inspiration for other countries as well as other entities within Britain.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (Britain’s National Academy of Sciences) and he is an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy (Britain’s National Academy of Social Sciences and Humanities). Has received the CBE award from the Queen and several honorary doctorates for his work as a geographer and cartographer.  He remains active in research and publishing and is the author (with three colleagues) of one of the world’s best-selling textbooks in the field, Geographic Information Systems and Science.

Professor Rhind currently chairs the UK Statistics Commission, which advises Parliament and the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) on whether Britain’s official statistics are trustworthy.  It influences the allocation of many billions of pounds each year.

A former Vice President of ICA, Professor Rhind has been active in the field for many years, and he has served on numerous committees and boards.  He has been associated with various academic institutions in the past including Birkbeck College, University of London, and the University of Durham.  He also served as Head of the Applications Section in the forward-looking Experimental Cartography Unit, RCA.  He has been a visiting fellow at both ITC in the Netherlands and Australian National University.

He is well known internationally as well as within Britain and has served on numerous boards and committees, but he is also a keen thinker within the field, in recent years concentrating on the position and role of cartography in the Information (or Knowledge-Based) Society, especially in the topics of self financing, financial models and the harmonization of the GI and IT fields.

For his outstanding contributions to cartography and geographic information systems and his expansive role in the broader context of the field, for his productive publication record, and his seminal thinking within the field, the International Cartographic Association awards Vice Chancellor David Rhind its highest honors, the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal.

Category: General News

Chen Shupeng is awarded the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal

Chen Shupeng

Chen Shupeng

Professor Chen Shupeng is the honorary director of the Institute of Remote Sensing Applications of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). He was the first director of the State Key Lab of Resources and Environment Information Systems. Professor Chen initialized in China the research in such geo-sciences fields as automated cartography, remote sensing applications and geographic information systems (GIS). He accomplished his four-volume Probe in Geo-sciences and has supervised more than 50 graduate students at the Ph.D. and MSc levels. He is now advocating research in geographic information science.

He is also the chief expert of the pilot project Mechanism and Transformation of Remote Sensing Information (1998) granted by the National Natural Science Foundation.

He has published more than 20 books, atlases, and dictionaries, which have won him 27 prizes of various sorts, such as the National Award, Distinguished Contribution in China (1991), Special Golden Award for Environmental Science (1993), Geo-science Award, Liang-He li Foundation of Hong Kong (1996), and the Miller Cartographic Award, The American Geographic Society (1998).

Professor Chen held the full membership of the Committee of Geographic Data Acquisition of the International Geographic Union (1984-1991) and was a full member of the Committee on Geographic Modelling (1996-2000). As an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (1980-), the Third World Academy of Sciences (1992-) and International Eurasian Academy of Sciences (1995-), and a member of editorial boards of three international GIS journals, he significantly strengthened international academic cooperation and exchange between China and the world.

For his national leadership, his years of distinguished service, and his outstanding contributions to cartography, Professor Chen Shupeng is awarded the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal.

Category: General News

Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal awarded to Joel Morrison

Dr. Joel Morrison is currently Professor of Geography and Director of the Center for Mapping at Ohio State University. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, in 1968, his M.Sc. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, in 1964, and his B.A. from Miami University, Oxford, OH, in 1962.

He served as an ICA Vice-President for a number of years and as ICA President from 1984-1987, continuing on the ICA Executive as Past President for four years, as well. He was the recipient of an ICA Honorary Fellowship in 1991, was a member of the Board of Directors of the International Union of Surveying and Mapping, a U.S. representative to the ICA Commission on Cartographic Communication, Chair of the United States Board of Geographic Names, and President of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping and chair of its Cartography Division, which he was instrumental in changing to the American Cartographic Association (now Cartography and Geographic Information Society). He was one of the organizers of the Cartography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) and recently was the AAG Treasurer. In 1999, he was awarded the Anderson Medal, the highest honour of the AAG Applied Geography Specialty Group which was bestowed in recognition of highly distinguished service to the profession of geography.

His distinguished employment career includes service in major government agencies, including Assistant Division Chief for Research in the National Mapping Division of the United States Geological Survey, and Chief of the Geography Division of the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition, he taught for many years at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he educated and inspired numerous cartography and geography students and served as chair of Department of Geography.

Dr. Morrison is the one of the long-time co-authors of Elements of Cartography, the classic English-language resource in cartography. It provides a solid conceptual foundation in the basic principles of cartography while introducing the technological advances, which have greatly altered modern cartographic techniques. He has been associate editor and senior consultant to Goode’s World Atlas, and his innovative and stimulating articles have appeared in professional journals worldwide, and his thought-provoking presentations are always on the forefront of developments in the field.

For his leadership in cartography, for his positive influence on mapping and related programs in the United States and other countries, and for his outstanding commitment to the profession of cartography, Dr. Joel L. Morrison is awarded the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal.

Category: General News

Jacques Bertin is awarded the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal

Jacques Bertin in 1971

Jacques Bertin in 1971

The work ‘Semiologie Graphique’ published in 1967 by Professor Jacques Bertin has touched more than a generation of cartographers. Training in map design throughout the world discusses Jacques Bertin’s ideas. The book has been translated into several languages, and Jacques Bertin’s ideas are present in all introductory cartography books today. The ICA is proud to recognize Professor Jacques Bertin for his outstanding contribution to the field of cartography by awarding him its highest honour, the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal.

Category: General News

Carl Mannerfelt is awarded the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal

Carl M:son Mannerfelt

Carl M:son Mannerfelt

Carl M:son Mannerfelt was born in Goteborg, Sweden on April 10, 1913. His father was Mans Mannerfelt, a captain in the Swedish army. In 1939 he married Ebba Ekman. They have one daughter and three sons.

At school Carl Mannerfelt showed much promise as a sportsman and was a frequent winner in athletics. He held various Swedish school records in hurdle racing and later even became the Swedish and Nordic academic champion in this sport. He was (and still is) an excellent skier.

He matriculated in Stockholm in 1933 and in 1938 he graduated (BA) at the Stockholm University (geography, geology, mineralogy and meteorology). In 1940 he passed his final university examination in geography. Between 1935 and 1945 he made various field and air photo surveys of the Swedish and Norwegian mountain regions. In 1936 he was a member of the Swedish-Islandic Vatnajökull expedition under Professor Hans Ahlmann, who studied glaciers as indicators of long-term climatological changes. In 1942 Carl Mannerfelt was employed as map editor at Generalstabens Litografiska Anstalt, Esselte, and there he immediately started to improve and rationalise production techniques, as well as to modernise Swedish map design. He had an excellent ability to visualise geographic phenomena, which was also evident in his photography.

Carl Mannerfelt graduated in 1945 with his Ph.D. dissertation: Some Glaciomorphological Forms and their Evidence as to the Downwasting of the Inland Ice in Swedish and Norwegian mountain terrain. This learned essay contained many new ideas and was illustrated by high-quality maps, photos and, for the first time in Sweden, by anaglyph photo-maps and pictures.

While employed as a cartographer at Esselte he was also Assistant-Professor in the Department of Geography at the Stockholm University. For one year (1947) during the absence of Professor Ahlmann, he was Head of that Department. In 1949 he was appointed Director of the Cartographic Division at Esselte. In this function he was responsible for the production of school-atlases, wall maps, world atlases, historical atlases, route maps for airline passengers, tourist maps and road atlases.

Mannerfelt had a lifelong involvement with geography. For 40 years he was active on the board of the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography (1943–1983) and was its president three times, 1960-62, 1974-76, 1979-80. For eight years he was a member of the board of the Swedish Cartographic Society and its president from 1955-60.

Carl Mannerfelt’s geographic and cartographic commitments naturally included much travel outside Sweden, always with his wife Ebba. This charming and active couple make friends easily, generously receiving them in their home at Djursholm outside Stockholm.

Inspired by the turbulent development of cartography and the multitude of technological innovations, Carl Mannerfelt invited a number of foreign colleagues; most of them engaged in practical map production, to a meeting at Tollare, Stockholm: the Esselte Conference on Applied Cartography, July 27-August 2, 1956. Thirty-six experts from 12 countries accepted his invitation. They were brought together to discuss developments in cartography and reproduction techniques.

At the end of the successful meeting Mannerfelt introduced the idea of more permanent contact between cartographic experts in the form of an international cartographic association. The concept was well received. With his Swiss, American, West German and French colleagues Mannerfelt gradually succeeded in converting the idea into a reality. Although the road was not easy he took each hurdle in his stride. In 1959 the ICA was founded in Bern.

In 1962 Mannerfelt left the Esselte Cartographic Division and became Managing Director of the Stockholm Division of the organisation. Two years later, he was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the whole Esselte Group with 7500 employees. After 10 years of executive work, he advanced in 1974 to Chairman of the Board of Directors. At the age of seventy (1983) he officially retired from Esselte. He could then look back on 40 years of continuous development of the firm. From a small printing, bookbinding and publishing company, Esselte had grown into an international group with about 17 000 employees in 22 countries, engaged in a broad range of information-handling activities, including publishing and cartography.

Even after 1962, Mannerfelt followed the development of cartography and the growth of the ICA with great interest. This was illustrated by the fact that as initiator of the Association, he gave his name to its highest distinction, the Dr. Carl Mannerfelt Medal. This award was proposed by the ICA and established in 1979 at a reception in Stockholm by the Swedish Academy of Sciences, while the effigies of the great explorers A.E. Nordenskiold and Sven Hedin looked down upon the scene.

In March 1981 in the Town Hall of Stockholm at an annual Swedish cartographic conference, Carl Mannerfelt was awarded the medal carrying his own name. It was presented by President Ormeling, who read the followed citation:

“In recognition of his bold initiative in convening the first international cartographic Conference in 1956, thus bringing together groups of cartographers of different nationalities, and of his vision in proposing an international body of professionals in cartography. In acknowledgement of his perseverance in pursuing this vision and establishing an international cartographic association, thus creating new opportunities for research and education, raising the status of cartography and contributing to a growing awareness of its professional identity and hence to a new “joie de vivre” for many individuals.

In appreciation of his efforts in breaking the barriers of controversies and differences and thus uniting cartographers of different political and cultural backgrounds.”

Further reading: Obituary for Carl Mannerfelt

Category: General News

Arthur H. Robinson is awarded the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal

Biography of Prof Robinson generously supplied by the US National Committee for ICA

Arthur H. Robinson

Arthur H. Robinson

Arthur H. Robinson was born January 5, 1915 in Montreal, Canada, of American parents. His early education was in Northfield, Minnesota and later in Oxford, Ohio, where his father was Professor of History. In his early teens during his father’s two sabbaticals he lived in England, and attended the Friend’s School Saffron Walden for one year.

He entered Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, in 1932 and obtained the degree of Bachelor of Arts in January 1936, with a major in history and a minor in geography. After graduating, he served six months as secretary to a member of the Ohio Board of Liquor Control, but in August 1936 he decided to enter graduate school. He obtained a graduate teaching assistantship in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, studying under Professors V.C. Finch, G.T. Trewartha and J.R. Whitaker. His interest in cartography was kindled during this period when he had the first (and only) course in cartography from Professor Finch and a field mapping course from Professor Trewartha. He was granted a Master of Arts degree in 1938.

In the same year he began work toward the Ph.D. degree in the Department of Geography at The Ohio State University, Columbus, studying primarily under Professors G.H. Smith and R. Peattie. His minor field was geomorphology in the Department of Geology.

Opening reception at the 9th Conference, University of Maryland, 1978. From left to right, Dr. and Mrs. de Henseler (UN), Professor and Mrs. Robinson, Vice-President Bartholomew

Opening reception at the 9th Conference, University of Maryland, 1978. From left to right, Dr. and Mrs. de Henseler (UN), Professor and Mrs. Robinson, Vice-President Bartholomew

On December 23, 1938, he married Mary Elizabeth Coffin. They have two children: Stephen M. and Patricia A., born respectively in 1942 and 1948. While pursuing his graduate studies at Ohio State University, he began doing free lance cartographic work, such as for R. Peattie’s Geography in Human Destiny (1940) and for Scott, Foresman and Company, publishers of This Useful World (1941), and the Our World series.

He completed his qualifying examinations for the Ph.D. in the spring of 1941 and planned to begin work on a dissertation in September, but chance interfered. Professor R. Hartshorne, newly appointed Chief of the Geography Division of Colonel Wm. Donovan’s agency, Coordinator of Information (later to become the Office of Strategic Services, OSS), happened to stay overnight with R. Peattie while en route to Washington, DC. Hartshorne was looking for a geographer-cartographer and Peattie recommended Robinson. In October of 1941, Robinson went to Washington and some months later was named Chief of the Cartography Section of the Geography Division. In a subsequent reorganisation of the Research and Analysis Branch of the OSS, a Map Division was created with Robinson as its Chief. It consisted of four sections, Cartography, Map Intelligence, Topographic Models and Photography. In addition to serving the needs of the OSS, especially the Research and Analysis Branch, the Map Division, OSS, prepared most of the strategic maps for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and prepared the base materials for the daily situation maps for the Operations Division of the War Department.

The Map Division, primarily Map Intelligence and Cartography, had overseas offices in the principal theaters. Robinson served as the Chief Map Officer for the American delegation at the two Allied Quebec Conferences and the Cairo Conference. While in the OSS he was commissioned Captain and rose to Major in the Army of the United States.

In the summer of 1945 Robinson accepted the offer of an assistant professorship in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and began his teaching duties in January of 1946. Meanwhile he had changed his plans for a dissertation and proposed a new topic having to do with cartographic methodology. It was approved and the degree was awarded by Ohio State in 1947. The dissertation was revised and became his first book, The Look of Maps, an Examination of Cartographic Design (1952), published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

During his 35 years in the Department of Geography, he taught physical geography and established the instructional program in cartography. Through his efforts a mapmaking establishment was formed, growing from a small organisation in the late 40s to become the official University of Wisconsin Cartographic Laboratory in 1966. He also led the drive which culminated in the University offering Bachelors and Masters degrees in Cartography. He retired from teaching and was granted emeritus status in 1980.

The first edition of his Elements of Cartography (John Wiley and Sons) was published in 1953. The fifth edition (with R.D. Sale, J.L. Morrison and P.C. Muehrcke) was issued in 1985. Altogether he is the author or co-author of 16 books and monographs, including The Look of Maps, Elements of Cartography (5 editions), Fundamentals of Physical Geography (3 editions), Elements of Geography (2 editions), The Fidelity of Isopleth Maps, Dot Area Symbols in Cartography, The Atlas of Wisconsin, The Nature of Maps, Early Thematic Mapping in the History of Cartography, more than 50 professional articles, and numerous maps in books, editorials, reviews, encyclopedia articles, etc.

He has been active professionally, both in cartography and geography. He served as President of the International Cartographic Association (1972-76), was a member of Commissions II and IV and is currently a member of the Commission on the History of Cartography for which he is serving as co-editor of the Glossary of Cartographic Innovations Prior to 1900. In the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping he served on the Board of Directors, was Chairman of the Cartographic Division and was editor of The American Cartographer during its first three years. He was President of the Association of American Geographers (1963-64). He was instrumental in the establishment of the Office of the State Cartographer in Wisconsin and served as first Chairman of the Committee on State Cartography.

Professor Robinson has received numerous honors and awards, including the United States Army – Legion of Merit (1946); Association of American Geographers -Citation for Meritorious Contributions (1953); Geographic Society of Chicago – Distinguished Service Award (1959) and the Helen Culver Gold Medal (1983); Guggenheim Foundation – Research Fellowships (1964 and 1978); American Congress on Surveying and Mapping – Earle J. Fennell Award (1977), Honorary Member (1978), and Cartography Division Award for Meritorious Service (1979); University of Wisconsin, named Lawrence Martin Professor of Cartography (1967) and its map collection was named the Arthur H. Robinson Map Library (1982). He is the recipient of two honorary degrees: Miami University – Doctor of Letters (1966) and The Ohio State University – Doctor of Science (1984).


On 25 February 1981 during a special session of the ACSM Spring Convention in Washington DC Arthur Robinson was presented the highest ICA distinction: the Carl Mannerfelt Medal. During the ceremony President Ormeling addressed the meeting as follows:

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, Speaking on behalf of the International Cartographic Association I would like first of all to express my appreciation for the gesture of the American Congress of Surveying and Mapping in granting me the opportunity to mount this platform. The more so as this presentation will take place, though for reasons of an altruistic nature, upon the explicit initiative of the ICA itself.

The reason of this intrusion is the decision of the Executive Committee of our Association, upon recommendation of its Committee for the Selection of Award Recipients to pay tribute in public to an American scientist who is internationally esteemed for his promotion of the discipline of cartography.

No location was considered to be better suited for this ceremony than the home country of the scientist concerned, i.e. his national professional environment, thus enabling colleagues and friends to attend the presentation and to rejoice in the tribute paid to their compatriot. Further no occasion was thought to be more suitable for the ceremony than an ACSM convention, where, contrary to the situation in most other parts of the world, the collective surveying and mapping community in all its diversity and unity participates.

The distinction that will be presented is a medal, a bronze medal – only photogrammetrists could afford gold – and bears the name of the Swedish scientist Dr. Carl M:son Mannerfelt, who initiated the International Cartographic Association in the fifties. The medal was established during a meeting of the Executive Committee in the Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm where the inspiring portraits of great explorers such as Nordenskjold and Sven Hedin were looking down upon us. So far the medal was only presented to the Swiss cartographer Eduard Imhof, who was the first president of our Association.

After this background description of the present ceremony it is time to unveil the identity of its beneficiary, Dr. Arthur Howard Robinson, Lawrence Martin Professor in Cartography at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Honorary Member of the American Congress of Surveying and Mapping and recipient of many American distinctions.

In the records of the International Cartographic Association, Dr. Robinson’s name is highly recognised for his valuable contribution to the development of the discipline of cartography. There are three distinct sectors of cartographic activity in which he has distinguished himself:

1. Scientific research, 2. Education and 3. Management

In the scientific sector Dr. Robinson repeatedly emphasises the central core of cartography i.e. the presentation of spatial data. His message is that amidst the dramatic technological modifications of the map production process, the fact should not be overlooked that maps are utilitarian, that they are communication devices i.e. instruments for understanding and communicating environmental data. Fully realising that map making continues to depend heavily on technology, he emphasises that the functions of technical operations have to be considered in relation to the main objective of the map. His concern for the function of communicating environmental data has resulted in a long series of research publications and masters and doctoral theses on communication and perception in cartography. These publications have led to better insight of practical information transmission and at the same time to a better understanding of the nature of maps. Almost needless to say that Dr. Robinson in this field is considered an authority of international reputation.

In his search for a general theory of cartography, Dr. Robinson became further deeply involved in the study of the history of cartography, particularly of thematic cartography, in which field he discovered that many of our current methods have a long and interesting history. It is no exaggeration to state that Dr. Robinson is the dean of the historians of cartography in North America if not of the Western World.

In the field of education Dr. Robinson’s name stands for a combination of a precise command of language and subject matter. He has the gift to explain complicated problems in simple, lucid words. Undoubtedly this talent has also contributed to the success of the cartographic curriculum at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, which developed under his guidance into one of the leading centres of cartographic education in the Western World, and where many students from overseas have been enrolled under Robinson’s supervision. The same teaching talent underlies the success of the textbook Elements of Cartography, undoubtedly one of Robinson’s most valuable contributions to international cartography. The book first came out in 1953, since then with great regularity, every 8-9 years new editions have appeared. The present fourth edition was written in collaboration with Dr. Morrison and Mr. Sale. It is a rare privilege in the publishing world to be an author of a textbook on an ever changing subject such as cartography which after almost 30 years is still in great demand. It is a hallmark of the capacity of the main author Dr. Robinson to keep abreast with the technological innovations and to merge them into a textbook which still serves as a guide par excellence for a growing population of cartography students in the English speaking world.

In the field of management special mention should be made of Dr. Robinson’s contributions to the International Cartographic Association, of which he was President from 1972 to 1976. He was a fine President. Upon his initiative, an ICA Publications Committee was created, which has successfully started a series of ICA Publications since then. It was under his presidency that the Commissions were properly organised for specific time periods with well-defined terms of reference. Also during his Presidency the so called Third World Strategy of the Association was adopted, which resulted in a series of seminars held in developing countries. Undoubtedly his scientific authority contributed much to maintain order and discipline in the Association which, due to diverging political structures and interests of its member countries, is not always easy, particularly not in an Association devoted to a subject such as cartography.

Further the international cartographic community has greatly benefited from Dr. Robinson’s initiative in establishing The American Cartographer in the early seventies. Under his editorship and later under that of Dr. Judy Olson the journal with its well-balanced selection of articles, reports and reviews, rapidly became one of the leading bulletins in the western world comparable only with a few sophisticated publications such as the British, Canadian and West German sister journals.

The ICA Committee for the Selection of Award Recipients in reviewing Dr. Robinson’s curriculum vitae and publications had to overcome one particular problem. It discovered that the distinguished professor started his career long ago in the thirties as secretary of the Ohio Board of Liquor Control, which made him rather suspicious in the eyes of some, and overzealous in the eyes of others. The fact that Dr. and Mrs. Robinson at mature age settled on biblical ground in Wisconson in the township of Mount Horeb (Hebrew for Mount Sinai), reconciled the conflicting opinions in the Committee.

Dr. Robinson, it is said that a prophet is not honoured in his own country. From the very fact that an impressive number of awards and honours have been bestowed upon you in the past in your home country, it follows that either this rule does not apply to you or the qualification of prophet does not fit you, which I am sure you will appreciate most. However, for your friends in the international cartographic community your word stands for wise and philosophical understanding and as such has a prophetic connotation.

As a token of the deep appreciation of the International Cartographic Association for your promotion of the profession, I am honoured to present you the Dr. Carl Mannerfelt Medal, the highest distinction we have, it bears the inscription in Latin “Ob Merita Egregia” which means “Acquired by Extraordinary Merits”.

Before presenting you the distinction I may finally read the citation of the Medal Committee which once more underlines our appreciation.

“In recognition of his scholarly contributions to the theory and development of cartography and of his leadership in cartographic education and research, in particular in the fields of the History of Cartography, Communication and Perception in Cartography, as reflected by the long series of his research publications and of those Master and Doctoral theses produced under his supervision, which have greatly contributed to the recognition of cartography as a profession in its own right and to the formation of a new generation of academically educated cartographers who are now dispersed over the world further stimulating progress in the profession.”


Further reading: Obituary for Mr. Robinson

Category: General News