Wisconsin Geospatial News

History of Cartography Project receives NSF grant for continued work

The University of Wisconsin’s History of Cartography Project has been awarded a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation to study the origins and development of modern cartography. The research will facilitate preparation of Cartography in the Nineteenth Century, Volume Five of the groundbreaking History of Cartography series.

UW Senior Scientist Dr. Matthew Edney serves as the principal investigator for the NSF award and, as director of the History of Cartography Project, provides intellectual oversight for the series. He explains, “The intellectual merit of this NSF-funded research rests on the distinctive character of mapping activities in the 1800s. This is when the modern concept of cartography as the science of the measurement of the world first originated and when the character of modern spatial rationality was established.”

The History of Cartography Project is a unique, international research and publishing venture, dedicated to promoting a deeper understanding of cartography among scholars and the general public alike. The first three volumes of the series are available in print and are freely available online at http://www.press.uchicago.edu/books/HOC/. The final three volumes will be published in print, as e-books, and online. Volume Six (Twentieth Century) will appear in spring 2015, publication of Volume Four (Enlightenment) is expected in 2018, and Volume Five (Nineteenth Century) will complete the series in 2021.

While the NSF grant will go a long way toward advancing work on Volume Five, the History of Cartography Project is also seeking private support. The Project hopes to raise $120,000 from private donors over the next two years. This would not only provide direct support for work on the series, it would also encourage another federal sponsor—the National Endowment for the Humanities—to provide matching funds as part of a pending proposal. For more information or to make a gift, visit: