GIS Quotes

Filed in GIS Learning by on October 22, 2012
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Looking for a memorable GIS quote? Listed here is a growing collection of interesting and notable quotes relating to GIS, cartography, maps, and geography.

GIS Quotes

“The early days of GIS were very lonely. No-one knew what it meant.”

Roger Tomlinson, Father of GIS

“The application of GIS is limited only by the imagination of those who use it”.

Jack Dangermond, Esri

“GIS is a form of digital mapping technology.  Kind of like Google Earth, but better.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Government Technology Conference’s 2008 Conference on California’s Future.

Digital mapping is about to change our world by documenting the real world, then integrating the information into our computers, phones, and lifestyles. Roll over, Mason and Dixon: spurred by space photography, global satellite position- ing, mobile phones, search engines and new ways of marketing information for the World Wide Web, the ancient art of cartography is now on the cutting edge.

Levy, S. 2004. A future with nowhere to hide? Newsweek 143(23):78

Cartography Quotes

The good cartographer is both a scientist and an artist. He must have a thorough knowledge of his subject and model, the Earth…. He must have the ability to generalize intelligently and to make a right selection of the features to show. These are represented by means of lines or colors; and the effective use of lines or colors requires more than knowledge of the subject – it requires artistic judgement.

Erwin Josephus Raisz (1893 – 1968)

“The foremost cartographers of the land have prepared this for you; it’s a map of the area that you’ll be traversing.”

[Blackadder opens it up and sees it is blank]

“They’ll be very grateful if you could just fill it in as you go along.”

Blackadder II, British Comedy set in Elizabethan times.  From the episode called “Potato”  

Maps Quotes

A map is the greatest of all epic poems. Its lines and colors show the realization of great dreams.

Gilbert H. Grosvenor, Editor of National Geographic (1903- 1954)

A number of astronauts, and then all of us who saw the photography from space, marveled at how much the Florida peninsula, meandering Mississippi, the islands of Britain, and the boot of Italy resembled the maps everyone had grown up with. We had taken it for granted that maps were faithful reflections of reality; but we were somehow amazed when reality turned out to be true to the maps.

John Noble Wilford, The Mapmakers

“I’ve always been fascinated by maps and cartography. A map tells you where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going — in a sense it’s three tenses in one.”

Peter Greenaway, Welsh film director in an interview for Film Comment, May/June 1990

“When our maps do not fit the territory, when we act as if our inferences are factual knowledge, we prepare ourselves for a world that isn’t there. If this happens often enough, the inevitable result is frustration and an ever-increasing tendency to warp the territory to fit our maps. We see what we want to see, and the more we see it, the more likely we are to reinforce this distorted perception, in the familiar circular and spiral feedback pattern.”

Professor Harry L. Weinberg, 1959 in Levels of Knowing and Existence: Studies in General Semantics

“I am told there are people who do not care for maps, and I find it hard to believe.”

Robert Louis Stevenson, The Art of Writing on Treasure Island

“Maps are like campfires – everyone gathers around them, because they allow people to understand complex issues at a glance, and find agreement about how to help the land.”

Sonoma Ecology Center  

Spatial Arrangements Quotes

“Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things.”

Tobler’s First Law of Geography

Knowing where things are, and why, is essential to rational decision making

Jack Dangermond, Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI)

Geography Quotes

“Geography is just physics slowed down, with a couple of trees stuck in it.”

Terry Pratchett in The Last Continent

“Geographers never get lost. They just do accidental field work.”

 Nicholas Chrisman, Professor of Geomatic Sciences, Université Laval

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  1. Pablo Perez from Chile says:

    I’ve put this Quote in my book of Geographer.

    “If into a journey to a mountain on the star´s direction, the traveller is too much absorved by the troubles of climbing, has a problem to forget which is the star that guides”

    ANTOINE DE SAINT EXUPÉRY

    In spanish.

    “Si al franquear una montaña en la dirección de una estrella, el viajero se deja absorber demasiado por los problemas de la escalada, se arriesga a olvidar cual es la estrella que lo guía”

    ANTOINE DE SAINT EXUPÉRY

  2. Bill A'Hearn says:

    I discovered this quote while reading Don Quixote. I just added it to my work email signature block.

    Bill A’Hearn

    “Journey all over the universe in a map, without the expense and fatigue of traveling, without suffering the inconveniences of heat, cold, hunger, and thirst.”

    Miguel de Cervantes (1547 – 1616) Spanish novelist and dramatist. Don Quixote

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