Cartographer, Professor, Head of Department

Cindy Brewer, Professor of Geography, has been a member of the Penn State faculty since 1994. Her research and teaching focus is cartographic design. She has authored more than 30 peer-reviewed articles and 60 additional publications and cartographic design resources, generating more than 4,000 citations.

Brewer has authored four books, including the popular Designing Better Maps with a 2nd edition published in 2016. She 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 especially well known for her ColorBrewer online tool for selecting map color schemes, and she was scientific program chair for the International Cartographic Conference for the ICA in 2017. Brewer’s research interests include cartographic communication and visualization, map design, color theory, atlas production, multi-scale mapping, and topographic map series.

Prior to joining Penn State, Brewer was an assistant professor of geography at San Diego State University and a visiting lecturer at the University of California at Santa Barbara while she was a doctoral student. She earned her doctorate in geography with emphasis in cartography from Michigan State University in 1991, supervised by Dr. Judy M. Olson.


Sequential color on autumn leaves