Ive selected most of my cartography books as well as a few others
of related interest. Most of them are too old to delve into computer cartography
with any validity. Some of these books may have newer editions Ive
The parts of each book that talk about pre-desktop-publishing graphic
arts are still good on theory, you just need to adapt the principles to
whatever program you use to farm pixels.
Suggestions for additions to this list are welcome!
The opinions expressed in the annotations below are just that.
Elements of Cartography
Robinson, A. H., and Sale, R. D., 3rd edition, John Wiley & Sons,
New York, 1969
The fundamental textbook for cartographers. The current 6th edition
covers everything except current computer technology (as a reviewer on
amazon.com reported). Everything in this book forms a solid understanding
of the making of maps.
Principles of Thematic Map Design
Dent, B. P., Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass., 1985
An excellent textbook which makes a good companion to the Elements
of Cartography. Strong in traditional graphic arts, with numerous examples
of map design.
Muehrcke, P. C., 2nd edition, JP Publications, Madison, Wisc., 1986
This book is as much about making maps as using them. Extensive coverage
and illustration of many aspects of maps and related information. This
is a must-have book. Amazon.com lists a 3rd edition (1992).
Cartographic Design and Production
Keates, J. S., Longman Group, London, 1973
Older British book is strong on photoreproduction and printing processes
used in mapmaking. With the advent of digital, printing technology has
changed significantly, and it is very important for mapmakers to thoroughly
understand the printing process, whether old or new. Amazon.com lists
a 2nd edition (July 1989).
Greenhood, D., University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1964
Originally published in 1944, this nuts and bolts examination of cartographys
major themes covers essentials such as coordinates, scale, shape and distance,
content, compilation and projections; with excellent black & white
line drawings. Amazon.com lists a 1973 edition.
Mapping for Field Scientists
Ritchie, W. et al, A.S. Barnes & Co., Cranbury, N. J., 1977
Basically a short course in mapmaking from ground and aerial survey
through cartographic presentation.
Maps and Diagrams
Monkhouse, F. J. and Wilkinson, H. R., Methun & Co., London, 1963
A reference book for statistical cartography. Amazon.com lists a 3rd
Maps for America
Thompson, M. M., 2nd edition, U.S. Geological Survey, Washington, DC,
This is a thorough why and how of topographic and other maps that the
USGS publishes. As the function and methods of the USGS change, this book
becomes more historical. Amazon.com lists a revised edition (1988).
How Topographic Maps are Made
Tennessee Valley Authority, 6th edition, 1984
Great 1950s style in this informative 26 p. booklet.
How to Lie with Maps
Monmonier, M. S., University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1991
Like its namesake, How to Lie with Statistics, this book shows how
maps can be manipulated to have a bias and therefore persuade. Because
a map cannot show everything, it will have an inherent bias, therefore
it is up to you to figure it out. This book belongs right next to Trust
Us, We're Experts: How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles With Your
Future by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber. Amazon.com lists a 2nd edition
Drawing the Line: Tales of Maps and Cartocontroversy
Monmonier, M. S., Henry Holt & Co., New York, 1995
Mr. Monmonier investigates cartocontroversy, and most satisfyingly,
shreds the Peters projection. Clear and concise writing illustrate geo/cartographic
issues both current and historic, building on the concepts of How to Lie
with Maps. Much more focused that The Power of Maps below.
The Power of Maps
Wood, D., Guilford Press, New York, 1992
Mr. Wood delves into the inherent bias of maps and mapmakers. He covers
a lot of topics, with the central idea that maps are tools but not perfect
ones. An entertaining read (and rant), especially when he frequently drops
in an ellipsis...for emphasis. I think Mr. Wood likes the Peters projection.
Things Maps Dont Tell Us
Lobeck, A. K., University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1993
Explanations of map content (and non-content).
Why in the World: Adventures in Geography
Demko, G. J., Doubleday, New York, 1992
A tour of the world through the eyes of the former director of the
U.S. Office of the Geographer. Especially strong in geopolitcal issues.
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
Tufte, E. R., Graphics Press, Cheshire, Conn., 1983, 1990, 1997
The defining books about mastering what is relevant in a graphic illustration,
and what isnt. Dont hide the data is one of the
basic premises. The books themselves are visually pleasing and clear,
and the multitude of illustrations are beautiful as well. This series
is similar in its survey of various graphic styles to Southworths
Maps (below). If Mr. Tufte puts out another one, I propose the title be:
Qualitative Descriptions Made Visible.
How to Draw Charts and Diagrams
Robertson, B., North Light Books, Cincinnati, 1988
Not specifically about mapmaking, but how to incorporate maps into
graphic arts creatively. The stylings are bold and kind of 1960s
and 1970s. I suppose this book is somewhat the antithesis of Edward
Pricing and Ethical Guidelines
Graphic Artists Guild, 7th edition, Graphic Artists Guild, New York, 1991
For the self-employed cartographer (or the head of a firm) this book
is about everything that cartographic texts dont cover: the business.
You wont be drawing maps for a living if you dont know how
much to charge, how to deal with contracts and legal issues, or what involves
a professional relationship. Amazon.com lists a 10th edition (2001).
The Graphic Designers Handbook
The Mac Designers Handbook
Campbell, A., Running Press, Philadelphia, 1983, 1992
Similar books which provide illustrated examples of techniques of graphic
arts, and graphic arts as produced on a Mac. Complete with color charts,
glossaries and extensive illustrations. The information about printing
processes is invaluable in Graphic. I would recommend a newer edition
of the Mac book. (not listed on Amazon)
Adams, J. M., and Faux, D. D., 2nd edition, Breton Publishers, North Scituate,
Standard textbook, although older, is important to mapmakers for an
essential understanding of printing. Amazon.com lists a 5th edition (2001)
which covers digital technology in printing.
Maps: A Visual Survey and Design Guide
Southworth, M. and Southworth, S., New York Graphics Society, New York,
One of the very best map history books because it includes much modern
mapmaking and map-related imagery ignored by most. It is a sourcebook
for expanding map design horizons. A must-have for a mapmakers library.
A pity it seems out of print.
The Map Catalog
Makeower, J., Ed, Vintage Books, New York, 1986
Old but still useful survey of all the different kinds of maps available.
I doubt that the source addresses included are valid. Amazon.com lists
a 3rd edition (1992).
Wilford, J. N., Vintage Books, New York, 1982
A thoroughly enjoyable, and informative history of mapmaking and the
people who did it. The focus for the first part of the book is on explorers
and how maps were one of the results of their work. Later on, Mr. Wilford
examines modern cartography. Amazon.com lists a revised edition (2001).
Maps and Man
Thrower, N. J. W., Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1972
A historical review of maps and mapmaking focussing on cartographic
The Mapping of America
Schwartz, S. I., and Ehrenberg, R. E., Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1980
A huge tome tracing mostly the early history of mapping the United
States. Amazon.com lists a revised edition (2001).
The History of Topographical Maps: Symbols, Pictures and Surveys
Harvey, P. D. A., Thames and Hudson, London, 1980
An interesting history of the roots of terrain representation.
Maps and Map-Makers
Tooley, R. V., Crown Publishers, New York, 1982
Survey of historic maps from the earliest times to the nineteenth century.
Five Centuries of Map Printing
Woodward, D., Ed, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1975
I love books about how-to. As I sit every day in front of the computers
I long for some physical contact in the process. Scribing and darkroom
work provided that back in the 1970s and 1980s. This book
gets into woodcut, copperplate, lithography and other processes. Ive
been thinking about clay tablets lately....
Solving and Reference
The Universal Traveler
Koberg, D, and Bagnall, J., Crisp Publications, Los Altos, Calif, 1991
A soft-systems guide to creativity, problem solving and the process
of reaching goals. I used this book in my brief stint in architecture
school, and have found useful when confronted with sticky design and process
problems. The original edition in the early 1970s had the best illustrations.
Press, F., and Siever, R., W. H. Freeman & Co., 1974
One of the coolest textbooks ever. Nice layout, good illustrations
and clear writing make understandable geologic processes which shape our
geography. Now called Understanding Earth, it is in its 3rd edition
New York Public Library, Websters New World, New York, 1989
All sorts of useful information. Amazon.com lists a 4th edition (2002).
Many choices here, including Goodes World Atlas, National
Geographic atlases, Rand McNally, and DeLorme amongst
hundreds more. Be aware that these are copyrighted works.
Foreign language dictionaries