About the SCO

The role of the office

The State Cartographer’s Office (SCO) is Wisconsin’s resource for information about maps, cartography, geographic information systems (GIS), land information systems (LIS), and geospatial technology. We support the state’s geospatial community through presentations and educational workshops, technical consulting, print and digital publications, Web-based catalogs and data services, and information about events, jobs and emerging trends.

The SCO provides services to a diverse array of mapping and geospatial data producers and consumers in Wisconsin. This includes helping the general public find and understand map resources through our free online and phone services.

The SCO also serves as a liaison between professionals in government, education, non-profits and the private sector, helping to expand the adoption and effective use of geospatial technology and methods in these sectors.

Coordination efforts

We maintain close ties to geospatial communities in other states and nationally to stay abreast of current trends and policies. The SCO is a longstanding member of NSGIC (the National States Geographic Information Council) and WLIA (the Wisconsin Land Information Association) with staff serving as officers and committee representatives. We also collaborate on statewide initiatives with the Wisconsin Geographic Information Officer, state agencies, and statewide associations.

The State Cartographer serves as an ex officio member of Wisconsin Land Information Council and the Wisconsin Geographic Names Council.

Website and publications

The SCO website provides information and tools for geospatial professionals and the general public, including the latest news and information on geospatial jobs and events.

Our website features a number of online applications that provide access to geospatial data, including:

The SCO’s educational mission is further enhanced through our publications, which include informational brochures, manuals, reports, and professional articles.

The “Wisconsin Idea”

As a unit within the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the SCO promotes the transfer of technologies and ideas developed by faculty and staff of the University of Wisconsin system.

As such the office embodies the “Wisconsin Idea”, a principle embraced by the University of Wisconsin system that holds that education should influence people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom, and that knowledge and expertise within the University should enhance the quality of life for all citizens of the state.

Science Hall
Science Hall at UW-Madison,
home of the SCO.

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OUR MISSION is to foster the development of Wisconsin’s geospatial community by facilitating the creation and exchange of geospatial data, services, and information, and promoting their use in support of education, innovation, and delivery of services to the state’s citizens.

OUR MISSION EMBODIES THE WISCONSIN IDEA, the principle that education should influence people’s lives beyond the classroom, and that knowledge and expertise within the University of Wisconsin should enhance the quality of life for all citizens of the state.


OUR VISION is a Wisconsin geospatial community that is well‐informed, supported, and collaborative, and that operates on complete, up‐to‐date, integrated information for effective analysis and service delivery.

Recent Annual Reports

Strategic Plan

Last updated: October 16, 2023