Sterling Quinn

Department of Geography, Central Washington University

Dr. Sterling Quinn studies the ways that digital maps are created and used by society, with a special interest in crowdsourced maps such as OpenStreetMap. He teaches a variety of cartography and GIS-related courses at CWU.

Dr. Quinn’s research has combined themes of geovisual analytics and critical cartography to examine the many unique interests and roles held by OpenStreetMap contributors. As part of this work, he built the online tool Crowd Lens for OpenStreetMap, allowing an interactive exploration of the crowd behind OpenStreetMap in a variety of places. He is currently working on studying the ways that disputes over place names and boundaries are represented in mass-produced online maps, both in the commercial and crowdsourced sectors.

Dr. Quinn has taught numerous courses in the Penn State University online geospatial programs. In 2015 he received the GeoForAll Global Educator of the Year Award for his work authoring the online course Open Web Mapping. He is also an alumnus of the Summer Doctoral Programme at the Oxford Internet Institute. Prior to his full-time academic career, Dr. Quinn worked as a GIS software product engineer at Esri, specializing in web mapping technologies.

Dr. Quinn holds a PhD in geography from Penn State University (2016), an MGIS from Penn State (2009), and a BS in GIS from Brigham Young University (2005). His full CV and list of publications are visible at

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