Fritz C. Kessler

Fritz Kessler

Contact Information

Mailing Address:
2217 Earth & Engineering Sciences Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802

Physical Office Address:
435 Earth & Engineering Sciences Building

(814) 863-1508 (The country code for the United States is 1)



Hello, I'm Fritz Kessler. I am a Senior Research Associate in the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute. I also hold a position in the Geography Department as an Associate Professor. My primary duties involve teaching several online courses through the Masters of Geographic Information Systems (MGIS) Program, conducting research in cartography, and participating in academic and professional service activities.


PhD in Geography, emphasis in cartography and geographical visualization, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 1999.

Dissertation Topic: The U-Boat Narrative: A Computer-Based Exploration of the 1939-1945 U-boat Conflict.

Advisor: Terry Slocum

MS in Geography, emphasis in cartography, map projections, and expert system design, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 1991.

Thesis Topic: MaPSS: An Expert System Designed to Assist a User in the Selection of a Suitable Map Projection.

Advisor: Alan MacEachren

BS in Geography, emphasis in cartography, minors in Mathematics and History, Ohio University, Athens, OH, 1988.

Advisor: Huberts B

Current CV: Click here

Employment History

Prior to joining Penn State full time I was Professor and Chair at Frostburg State University for 16 years. For those of you not familiar with Frostburg it is a small town (only five traffic lights) in western Maryland at the extreme eastern edge of the Appalachian Plateau. During my many years of teaching, I have taught various courses include mostly cartography oriented courses such as Fundamentals of Cartography, Applied Design in the Mapping Sciences, Geographic Visualization, Surveying, and Cartometrics. Closely associated with these courses are Spatial Analysis, Research Methods in Geography, and Introduction to GIS. I also have taught Introduction to Physical Geography and The Geography of Infectious Diseases. So, my academic plate carries with it a considerable buffet of palatable entrees.

Aside from my academic career, I have had considerable experience in many different facets of cartography. I worked as a Cartographic Technician at the United States Geologic Survey where I prepared maps and scientific illustrations for research scientists in the Water Resources Division. I was a Systems Analyst for Intergraph Corp. where I performed various programming duties in C. I was a Cartographer for R. R. Donnelley and Sons (which was absorbed by MapQuest). I was employed with the Kansas Geological Survey where I produced maps of aquifers, soils, and geology (back in the days of command line driven ArcIn fo workstation). One of my more favorite positions was a map librarian with the T. R. Smith Map Library at the University of Kansas.

Research Interests

My publications and research interests have mainly focused on map projections. For instance, I am currently working on the fourth edition of Thematic Cartography and Geovisualization where my contributions include three chapters on map projections and one chapter on web-based mapping. This co-authored work covers a considerable range of cartographic topics from map design to virtual and mixed environments. I have several publications and ongoing research related to map projections. A current project involves examining the explosion of pseduocylindric map projections that appeared in early 20th Century world atlases. I co-authored a chapter titled "Map Projections and the Internet" for an upcoming book published by the International Cartographic Association on map projections and an authored chapter on projections appearing in the International Encyclopedia on Human Geography and contribute d to the text Mapping America.

I am active in the service to the cartographic community in the following capacities. I currently am a member of the Cartographic and Geographic Information Science Board of Directors, an Editorial Board member of peer-reviewed open access journal Cartographic Perspectives (where I am also serve a s the Section Editor of "Views on Cartographic Education"), and Vice-President Elect in the North American Cartographic and Information Society.

Selected Publications

Slocum, Terry, McMaster, Robert, Kessler, Fritz, and Howard, Hugh, 2009. Thematic Cartography and Geovisualization. 3rd ed., Prentice Hall Upper Saddle River: NJ.

2017. Kessler, Fritz and Slocum, Terry. “Is the Map Losing its Power? A Survey of the Map's Changing Role in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers,” in Changing World Language Map, Ed. Stanley Brunn. (Forthcoming)

2017. Kessler, F. C., Battersby, S. E., Finn, M. P., & Clarke, K. C. Map Projections and the Internet (L. Usery & M. Lapaine, Eds.). In Choosing a Map Projection (pp. 117-148). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

2015. Slocum, Terry and Kessler, Fritz. “Thematic Mapping,” in the History of Cartography Project: Cartography in the Twentieth Century, ed. Mark Monmonier. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Invited)

2014. Ricker, Britta, Schuurman, Nadine, and Kessler, Fritz. Implications of Smartphone usage on Privacy and Spatial Cognition: Academic Literature and Public Perceptions. GeoJournal. DOI 10.1007/s10708-014-9568-4.

2012. Battersby, Sarah and Kessler, Fritz. “Cues for Interpreting Distortion in Map Projections.” Journal of Geography, 111(3):93-101.

2011. Kessler, Fritz. “Volunteered Geographic Information: A Bicycling Enthusiast Perspective.” Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 38(3): 258-268.

2011. Kessler, Fritz and Slocum, Terry. “Analysis of Thematic Maps Published in Two Geographical Journals in the Twentieth Century.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 101(2):292-317.

2004. Slocum, T., R. Sluter, F. Kessler , and S. Yoder. “A Qualitative Evaluation of MapTime.” Cartographica 39(3):43 – 68.

2002. “Focus Groups as a Means of Qualitatively Assessing the U-Boat Narrative.” Cartographica 37(4):33 – 60.

2001. Slocum, T., S. Yoder , F. Kessler, and R. Sluter. “MapTime: Software for Visualizing Spatiotemporal Data Associated with Point Locations.” Cartographica. 37(1):15 – 31.

2000. “A Visual Basic Algorithm for the Winkel Tripel Projection.” Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 27(2):177 – 183.


  • GEOG 361: Maps and Map Construction (A resident course taught through the Geography Department)
  • GEOG 464: Advanced Spatial Analysis (A resident course taught through the Geography Department)
  • GEOG 486: Cartography and GeoVisualization (an online course)
  • GEOG 583: Geospatial Analysis and System Design (an online course)
  • GEOG 586: Geographic Information Analysis (an online course)
  • GEOG 597G: Challenges in Geospatial Analytics
  • GEOG 597K: Map Projections for GIS Professionals