In Memory

Waldo Tobler

A memorial gathering and reception took place on May 25th, 2018 on UCSB campus. Please click here to watch a recording of the event.

See also:


For an especially nice obituary, see   which concludes: “In his memory, read a good book, look at a map, listen to some beautiful music, kiss your loved ones, take a hike, learn a new language, and stay curious about the world around you.”

The following is from Wikipedia – for further information, please click here

Waldo Tobler (born 1930, died February 20, 2018), was an American-Swiss geographer and cartographer. Tobler's idea that "Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things"  is referred to as the "first law of geography." He has proposed a second law as well: "The phenomenon external to an area of interest affects what goes on inside".  Tobler was an active Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara Department of Geography until his death.

Well known for his publications, he formulated the "first law of geography" in 1970 while producing a computer movie, and is the inventor of novel and unusual map projections, among which was the first derivation of the partial differential equations for area cartograms. He also invented a method for smooth two-dimensional mass-preserving areal data redistribution. In 1989, the American Geographical Society awarded Tobler with the Osborn Maitland Miller Medal.

Tobler has been involved recently in building a global, latitude-longitude oriented, demographic information base with resolution two orders of magnitude better than was previously available. He also had been examining the development of smooth finite element and categorical pycnophylactic geographic information reallocation models.