© 2017

Patents and Cartographic Inventions

A New Perspective for Map History


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Mark Monmonier
    Pages 1-23
  3. Mark Monmonier
    Pages 25-62
  4. Mark Monmonier
    Pages 63-103
  5. Mark Monmonier
    Pages 105-135
  6. Mark Monmonier
    Pages 137-177
  7. Mark Monmonier
    Pages 179-217
  8. Mark Monmonier
    Pages 219-253
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 255-267

About this book


This book explores the US patent system, which helped practical minded innovators establish intellectual property rights and fulfill the need for achievement that motivates inventors and scholars alike. In this sense, the patent system was a parallel literature: a vetting institution similar to the conventional academic-scientific-technical journal insofar as the patent examiner was both editor and peer reviewer, while the patent attorney was a co-author or ghost writer. In probing evolving notions of novelty, non-obviousness, and cumulative innovation, Mark Monmonier examines rural address guides, folding schemes, world map projections, diverse improvements of the terrestrial globe, mechanical route-following machines that anticipated the GPS navigator, and the early electrical you-are-here mall map, which opened the way for digital cartography and provided fodder for patent trolls, who treat the patent largely as a license to litigate. 


Geography Cartography Geographic Information Map Innovation Map Patents US Cartography US Maps Cartographic Techniques Cartographic Devices History of Science and Technology History of Geography Digital Cartography Intellectual Property Science and Technology Studies

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public AffairsSyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA

About the authors

Mark Monmonier is Distinguished Professor of Geography at Syracuse University. For numerous papers on digital cartography and the history of cartography as well as 19 books, including How to Lie with Maps, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Geographical Society’s O. M. Miller Medal, and the German Cartographic Society’s Mercator Medal. 

Bibliographic information


“Monmonier’s book provides a much-needed, in-depth, and deeply researched analysis of cartographic patents. Patents and Cartographic Inventions: A New Perspective for Map History is recommended for those interested in understanding how cartographic innovations have developed over the past century and a half.” (John J. Swab, Cartographic Perspectives, Issue 90, 2018)