The American Geographical Society to Award the O.M. Miller Medal to Dr. Cynthia Brewer


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Description: The O.M. Miller Cartographic Medal, awarded by the American Geographical Society (AGS), is

one of several prestigious honors given by the Society. Cynthia Brewer, Professor of Geography at

Pennsylvania State University, will receive the medal on November 22nd at the AGS Fall Symposium,

“Geography 2050: Borders and a Borderless World,” to be held on November 21st and 22nd at Columbia


[New York City, NY] – [October 24, 2019] — The American Geographical Society (AGS) has announced that Dr. Cynthia

Brewer, Professor of Geography at Pennsylvania State University, has been selected to receive the O.M. Miller

Cartographic Medal. The medal will be presented on November 22nd, 2019, during the Honors & Awards ceremony, at

the annual AGS Fall Symposium, “Geography 2050: Borders and a Borderless World,” to be held at Columbia University.

Established in 1968, the O.M. Miller Cartographic Medal acknowledges outstanding contributions in the field of

cartography or geodesy. It was named for Osborn Maitland Miller, who brought forth new map projections, original survey

methods and instrumentation, and pioneered developments in aerial photography, photogrammetry, and new cartographic


Dr. Cynthia Brewer chairs the Geography Department at Pennsylvania State University, where she has been a member of

the faculty since 1994. Her research and teaching focus is cartographic design, an area that she has made a significant

impact in with her ColorBrewer online tool for selecting map color schemes. She has authored more than 30

peer-reviewed articles and 60 additional publications and cartographic design resources, generating more than 4,000

citations. Dr. Brewer has also authored four books, including the popular “Designing Better Maps,” with a 2nd edition

published in 2016.

“When your name or brand becomes the default for your area, you know you're at the top of your field. Cynthia Brewer

has that claim,” noted Dr. Deborah Popper, Chair of the AGS Honors & Awards Committee. “Anyone putting together a

digital map is likely to turn to ColorBrewer to select the color palette for their categories. Dr. Brewer combines a

tremendous aesthetic sensibility with an equally powerful cartographic one. Her work is widely cited and widely used,”

added Popper.

Dr. Brewer was an affiliate faculty member at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Center of Excellence for Geospatial

Information Science (CEGIS), and in 2013 she received the Henry Gannett Award for Exceptional Contributions to

Topographic Mapping from the USGS. She is also recognized as a distinguished teacher and received the College of

Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) Mitchell Award for Innovative Teaching in 2005. Prior to joining Penn State, Dr. Brewer

held teaching positions at San Diego State University and the University of California at Santa Barbara. She earned her

doctorate in geography with an emphasis in cartography from Michigan State University in 1991, supervised by Dr. Judy

M. Olson. Her research interests are map design, color theory in cartography, topographic map design, multiscale

mapping, and atlas design, many of which she applied in creating ColorBrewer, a project that itself grew out of her work

overseeing the atlas that accompanied the U.S. Census in 2000.

Explore more: Professional Development

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