Michael Peterson



You will notice from the book and atlas projects that are described on these pages that my major area of interest is the use of technology in mapping. My first computer map was produced in 1976 by using graph paper to encode over 1,200 x,y coordinates and entering these numbers into a teletype machine connected to a remote computer. I purchased my first personal computer in 1985. It was a Macintosh with 512 KB of memory and a single 400 KB floppy drive. I added a 20 MB hard-drive the following year and spent the next several years demonstrating how interaction could be integrated with the presentation and analysis of maps.

I began writing my first book in the early 1990s, largely inspired by the possibilities of interactive computers. The book Interactive and Animated Cartography appeared in 1995. I have been writing and editing books and atlases ever since.

I can't explain why I like to present geographic information in the form of words, pictures and maps. There is an element of discovery involved. The animations of air traffic, for example, depict landscapes of flights that have never been seen before. Early explorers discovered new areas of the world. With the help of technology, modern cartographers find new aspects of the world to map.

Photography has always interested me as well because so much can be conveyed in a single picture. Although, as you can see from my Photography page, it is the combination of pictures with words that I find particularly intriguing. A good caption can bring life to a picture and give it meaning.

International collaboration in research is also important to me. I chair a commission of the International Cartographic Association entitled Maps and the Internet and work closely with colleagues around the world. Academia in the US, suffering from monolingualism, has become far too parochial.

I also enjoy presenting workshops because it represents a more direct way of information exchange. The immediate feedback, as in a classroom, is refreshing compared to the slow response from a book. I guess that's one of the reasons that I like teaching so much - I can see how students react.


In Brief

Animated Atlas of Air Traffic
A fascinating collection of air traffic animations.

Maps and the Internet
"With this splendid volume comes a further direction for us to follow." ~ IMCOS, Spring 2004

The Online Method to World Regional Geography
Integrating the Web in a college-level world regional geography course.

Interactive and Animated Cartography
"Peterson argues persuasively that in the future mapping will integrate GIS, remote sensing, and computer graphic techniques with multimedia software and Internet information capabilities.." ~ Cartography & Geographic Information Systems

Omaha Urban Atlas 2002
From the location of theaters to the landscape of Omaha politics, this colorful atlas presents an informative snapshot of the city of Omaha, Nebraska.

The Automated Display of Maps and Images from the Web
A system is described that displays and updates weather maps for public display.

Multimedia Cartography
The explosive development of interactive multimedia products on CD-ROM and the Internet, via the WWW, has generated immense interest in this field.

Interactive and Animated Cartography
This book explores an innovative technology that can free mapping from the expediency of static images and afford through, fully engaging cartographic treatments of geography, history, and earth science. ~ Mark Monmonier