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October 29, 2019
The American Geographical Society to Award the O.M. Miller Medal to Dr. Cynthia Brewer

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 University.

New York City, NY— 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 techniques.

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.

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