Charting the Unknown: How Computer Mapping at Harvard Became GIS

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ESRI Press, 2006 - Computers - 218 pages
"Charting the Unknown: How Computer Mapping at Harvard Became GIS tells how early programming ventures like SYMAP, SYMVU, POLYVRT, and others culminated in ODYSSEY, the prototype for modern GIS software. Author Nick Chrisman, who joined the Harvard Laboratory in the early 1970s and was there for ten years, carefully documents how Howard Fisher, a retired Chicago architect, started the Lab with grant money from the Ford Foundation in the mid-1960s. Over the next twenty-six years - through cycles of decline and rebound, and various crises of direction - the Lab was a magnet for some of the world's most inventive and innovative young computer programmers and mapmakers. Many, like Chrisman, have since become leaders in GIS-related education, research, and software engineering." "Illustrated with numerous maps, drawings, diagrams, and photos, Charting the Unknown's twelve chapters are supplemented with a CD that contains three historic short films showing animated visualization. In addition, the CD contains videotaped interviews and a speech featuring some of the Lab's key figures, including Allan Schmidt, former executive director of the Lab; Eric Teicholz, founder and president of Graphic Systems; Jack Dangermond, founder and president of ESRI; Scott Morehouse, director of software development at ESRI; as well as the author." "Charting the Unknown is an important historical record for GIS researchers and programmers interested not only in technical details but also larger institutional issues. It also relates an engaging story for "GIS generalists" interested in learning more about their shared culture and heritage in the ever-evolving field of spatial analysis and computer mapping."--BOOK JACKET.

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A pictorial history of the expansion of
June 1973

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About the author (2006)

Nick Chrisman is an alumnus of the Harvard Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis, the designer of POLYVRT, and a co-designer of ODYSSEY. He is the author of Exploring Geographic Information, a professor in geomatic sciences at Universit 9 Laval, and the scientific director of the GEOIDE network. He lives in Montreal, Quebec.

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