How Advances in Computer Mapping Shaped the Early Days of GIS

When you dig into the history of mapping, it’s remarkable how certain things come about. If you zoom in far enough, you discover seemingly coincidental occurrences that ended up playing pivotal roles in the development of digital maps and the product we now call “GIS.” It’s interesting to see how these connections mesh together when you zoom back out.

Take the database, for example: did Herman Hollerith (who we’ll talk about later in this article) think when he was sitting on a train in the late 1800s watching conductors…