Professor Nicholas Chrisman


RMIT Honorary

School /
Work Unit

School of Science

Contact Details

No Phone


City campus


Science, Engineering and Health

Nicholas Chrisman


  • 1979-82: University of Bristol (England), Ph.D. in geography
  • 1968-72: University of Massachusetts–Amherst, B.A., magna cum laude, geography.
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialty: 40 year experience; output: 2 books; over 100 scientific articles (over 65 reviewed outlets); h-index: 27 (27 works with over 27 citations)

Industry experience

  • 2013- : Professor and Discipline Head, Geospatial Sciences, RMIT University
  • 2005-12: Professeur titulaire, Université Laval, Sciences géomatiques
  • 2005-12: Scientific Director, Réseau GEOIDE Network
  • 1987-2004: University of Washington, Department of Geography
  • 1982-87: University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • 1972-82: Lab for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis, Harvard University


  • 2011-13: Member, Panel on Developing Science, Technology, and Innovation Indicators for the Future, National Research Council (USA)
  • 2009-11: Member (Board of Directors), Centre of Excellence for Integrated Resource Management (now Tecterra), Alberta
  • 2008-9: Member, Working Group on National Mapping Strategy, GeoConnections
  • 1997-99: Member, Mapping Sciences Committee, National Research Council (USA)

Research overview

At Université Laval

  • 2005-12: GEOIDE Network Phases III and IV, Networks of Centres of Excellence, Scientific Director, 3,500,000$CAD/ year; 1.3M$/year non-NCE cash contributions
  • 2008-12: Situating geographic information analysis: Retrospective case studies, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, PI, 25000$CAD /year

At University of Washington

  • 1998-01: Social Construction of GIS, National Science Foundation, PI, $84,000
  • 1988-91: Modelling Error in Overlaid Categorical Maps, National Science Foundation, Principal Investigator. $80,000

At University of Wisconsin

  • 1983-87: Dane County Land Records Project, cooperative project [with others] $150,000

At Harvard Laboratory for Computer Graphics

  • 1974-77: Topological Information Systems for Urban and Environmental Research, National Science Foundation, Computer Science Division, [named coPI] $230,000


Nicholas has an h-index of 29 on Google Scholar.

Recent peer-reviewed works

  • Panel on developing science, technology, and innovation indicators for the future (2013). “Capturing Change in Science, Technology, and Innovation: Improving Indicators to Inform Policy”. Litan, R., Wyckoff, A. and Fealing K. editors. National Academies Press, Washington DC. 
  • Samani, N, Delavar, M, Chrisman N. (2013) “Modelling Spatio-Temporal Relevancy in Urban Context-Aware Pervasive Systems using Voronoi Continuous Range Query and Multi-Interval Algebra”, Journal of Mobile Information Systems, 9(x) in press.
  • Samani, N, Delavar, M, Chrisman N. (2013) “Spatial Relevancy Algorithm for Context-aware Systems (SRACS) in Urban Traffic Networks using Dynamic Range Neighbour Query and Directed Interval Algebra”, Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments, in press.
  • Chrisman, N.R. (2012) “A deflationary approach to fundamental principles in GIScience”, In Harvey, F. (ed.) “Are there fundamental principles in Geographic Information Science?
  • Devillers, R, Stein, A, Bédard, Y, Chrisman, N., Fisher, P, Shi, W. (2010) “30 years of research on spatial data quality – Achievements, failure and opportunities”. Transactions in GIS 14 (4) 387-400, DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9671.2010.01224.x
  • Chrisman, N.R. (2007) “Living inside networks of knowledge”, ArcNews, Fall. Reprinted in Getis, A. ed. (2008) Essays on Geography and GIS, ESRI Press, 25-35.
  • Poore, Barbara and Chrisman, N.R. (2006) “Order from Noise: Towards a social theory of information”, Annals AAG 96(3) 508-523.
  • Chrisman, N.R. (2006) “Charting the Unknown: How computer mapping at Harvard became GIS”. ESRI Press. 240 pp.
  • Chrisman, N.R. (2005) “Full Circle: More than just Social Implications of GIS”. Cartographica 40(4) 23-35.
  • Chrisman, N.R. (2005) “Communities of Scholars: Places of Leverage in the History of Automated Cartography”. Cartography and Geographic Information Science 35(4) 425-433. (3)
  • Chrisman, N.R. (2005) “Full Circle: More than just Social Implications of GIS”. in Harvey, F. (special issue editor) Cartographica 40(4) 23-35. (51 citations)
  • Chrisman, N.R. (2005) “Traitement de la qualité: perspective historique”. Chapitre 2, p. 25-35 in Devillers, R. & Jeansoulin, R. (eds.) Qualité de l’information géographique, Hèrmes. Also issued in English as “Fundamentals of Spatial Data Quality”.
  • Chrisman, N.R. (2004) “Les SIG: un processus historique: Passé comme point d’appui vers le futur”. Chapter 1, p. 25-54 in Roche, S. and Caron, C. (editors), Aspects organisationneles des SIG. Hèrmes.
  • Harvey, Francis, and Chrisman, N. (2004) “The Imbrications of Geography and Technology: The Social Construction of Geographic Information Systems”. Chapter 4, pp. 65-80 in S. Brunn, S. Cutter & J. W. Harrington Jr. (editors), Geography and Technology. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • Chrisman, N.R. (2001) “Exploring Geographic Information Systems”. John Wiley. 270 pp.
  • Sismondo, Sergio and Chrisman, N. (2001) “Deflationary metaphysics and the natures of maps”, Philosophy of Science 68(3), Supplement: S38-S49.