Welcome to Geog 486: Cartography and Visualization!
Hi Everyone! My name is Fritz Kessler, I’m an associate teaching professor in the department of Geography and the instructor for this course. I am a graduate of Penn State myself – I completed my M.S. degree in Geography in the resident program at University Park in 1991. My first exposure to "computer mapping" was during my time at Penn State using Aldus Freehand. For my thesis, I developed an expert system to select map projections using Fortran. My PhD was completed at the University of Kansas in 1999. For my dissertation, I developed data exploration software called the U-Boat Narrative (UBN). This software explored the geography of the U-boat conflict of World War II through maps, graphics, statistics, and narratives.
My teaching interests include all things related to cartography, map projections/datums/coordinate systems, spatial analysis, statistics, and medical geography.
Before coming to Penn State, I was a professor and chair at Frostburg State University where I taught a range of geography courses. Some of these courses included: Fundamentals of Cartography, Geographic Visualization, Cartometrics, Advanced Cartography, Boundary Surveying, Data Handling, Research Methods, and GIS. Prior to my academic career, I worked as a cartographer for the USGS Water Resources Division in Towson, MD, a systems analyst for Intergraph Corporation in Huntsville, AL, and a cartographer for R. R. Donnelley and Sons, in Lancaster, PA. I also was a map librarian for the T. R. Smith Map Library at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS (one of my favorite job positions). I also do free-lance cartography. Two of my noted publications include Thematic Cartography and GeoVisualization and Working with Map Projections: A Guide to their Selection.
As you might imagine, I’m looking forward to talking maps with you this semester!
Though my schedule keeps me quite busy, when I’m not working, I enjoy racing bicycles, playing my banjo/guitar/mandolin with others, and reading books on a variety of topics.
I look forward to learning from all of you!