Mark Monmonier


My Current Projects
Continues the Patents Project by examining the life and impact of the inventor of the Clock System map and rural directory.
“What if I told you that behind every great map is a network and behind every great network is a map?”
Fully updated for the digital age, which offers new opportunities for cartographic mischief, deception, and propaganda
“Thoroughly researched, well written, and richly illustrated with original patent drawings.” – Judith Tyner
“a milestone in the historical study of twentieth-century cartography” – Journal of Historical Geography
“His irrepressible wit shines . . .” – Imago Mundi
“unexpectedly engrossing . . . overcomes all Weather Channel wonkery as a charmingly executed slice of Americana.” – Publishers Weekly
“Well written, engaging, mildly provocative, quirky at times.” – H-Net Reviews in the Humanities & Social Sciences
“An informative and entertaining read on climate change via the science of cartography.” – Weatherwise
“Engaging . . . a trove of giggle-inducing lore.” – Publishers Weekly
“A rewarding study of mapmaking and the uses of maps.” – Scientific American
“Engaging, even-handed introduction to the dark side of mapping technology.” – Physical Science Digest
“An artful and a funny book, which like any good map packs plenty in a little space.” – Scientific American
“Clever title, rewarding book.” – Scientific American
How maps help people avoid and officials plan for disasters.
Encyclopedia Entry
Article in The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology (2017).
Scholarly Screeds
Published on (11 January 2016) and (13 January 2016), DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.3332.7126.
Published on and, 17 January 2016, DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1235.5605.
Glimpse: the art + science of seeing, no. 8 (Autumn 2011): 14-21.
Weiner Schriften zur Geographie und Kartographie [Institut für Geographie und Regionalforschung der Universität Wien], 2004

"an authoritative but really amusing book" --Chicago Tribune

University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Critics' Comments:

"a humorous, informative and perceptive appraisal of a key source of information that most of us have always taken for granted." – Toronto Globe and Mail

"will leave you much better defended against cheap atlases, shoddy journalism, unscrupulous advertisers, predatory special-interest groups, and others who may use or abuse maps at your expense." – Christian Science Monitor

"This unusual book shows how cartographers distort the information they present—accidentally and deliberately." – Los Angeles Times

"a useful guide to a subject most people probably take too much for granted. It shows how map makers translate abstract data into eye-catching cartograms, as they are called. It combats cartographic illiteracy. It fights cartophobia. It may even teach you to find your way. For that alone it seems worthwhile." – New York Times

"witty examination of how and why maps lie. . . . conveys an important message about how statistics of any kind can be manipulated. But it also communicates much of the challenge, aesthetic appeal, and sheer fun of maps." – Wilson Library Bulletin

"What Huff did for statistics, Monmonier has done for cartography." – Whole Earth Review

"wonderfully entertaining and informative book. . . . His presentation is articulate, his illustrations informative and enlightening, and his research dauntingly thorough." – The WorldPaper

"This book is an informative and entertaining look at cartography – the art and science of making maps. . . . Unlike many dry textbooks it is full of both real and contrived examples of maps that distort the underlying data." – American Statistician

"The prose is clear, easy to read, and sparkles with erudite humor." – Geographical Review

"His eleven-step guide to how land developers lie on the maps they send to local planning commissions should be required reading for anyone who has ever worried about the effects of a new subdivision somewhere nearby." – The Public Historian

"offers a cheery set of instructions for distorting maps—and thereby spotting distortion in the maps of others." – Washington City Paper

"Altogether an engaging volume." – Geographical Journal

"[Monmonier] has a sharp critical eye, but his primary purpose is constructive – he wants to make better maps and have us use maps more intelligently. He writes well about the history of maps because he can easily put himself in the mind of the map-maker and see things much as they saw them. His first thought is for practical problems; his admiration is for elegant solutions." – Visual Studies

Foreign-language editions

French (1993)

Japanese (1995)

German (1996)

Korean (1998)

Czech (2000)

Chinese (2012)