Matthew H. Edney:
About Me ...

I am an academically trained geographer, currently with two positions:

1. Osher Professor in the History of Cartography, University of Southern Maine. I work within the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education (Portland Campus).

For more information about OML, check out

2. Director, History of Cartography Project, University of Wisconsin–Madison. (My official title at UW, in which I rejoice, is “senior scientist.”) I began directing the Project in 2005 and am primarily responsible for maintaining funding for 4 full- and part-time staff members and 3–5 graduate and undergraduate assistants. I also edited, together with Mary Pedley, Cartography in the European Enlightenment (2019), volume 4 of The History of Cartography.

For more information about the Project, especially about donating to help us complete the series, visit

My interests are varied and complex, but basically I'm a fan of maps and mapping, and always have been. I have a special liking for surveying instruments and techniques (my initial plan, ca. 20-years-old, was to become a land surveyor). I have also lived in the eighteenth century, as it were, for many years.

But what really moves me is to discern patterns in historical data, patterns that can be used to reveal insights into mapping processes. This is what has moved me to develop a processual approach to mapping and its history. Such an approach is by no means new, being central to science and technology studies, histories of language, book history, and so on. I do argue, though, that it's application to map studies permits us to get away from a host of misconceptions and outright myths that otherwise undermine all map scholars, not only map historians.

You can see more details in a complete bibliography of my work, classified by topic.