Ian Muehlen­haus fell in love with maps grow­ing up in Duluth, Min­nesota. Dur­ing the long, dark win­ters of his child­hood he perused atlases and day­dreamed about dis­tant, warmer lands. He went on to earn his M.Sc. in Geog­ra­phy at Penn State Uni­ver­sity in 2002 and his Ph.D. in Geog­ra­phy at the Uni­ver­sity of Min­nesota in 2010. Today, he is for­tu­nate enough to study maps for a liv­ing as an Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­sity of Wis­con­sin – La Crosse.

Ian’s research on maps has been pub­lished in a vari­ety of jour­nals, includ­ing The Car­to­graphic Jour­nal, Car­tog­ra­phy and Geo­graph­i­cal Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence (CaGIS), Car­to­graph­ica, and Car­to­graphic Per­spec­tives. He is the Coor­di­na­tor of the annual CaGIS Map Com­pe­ti­tion and a for­mer co-chair of the Stu­dent Dynamic Map Com­pe­ti­tion for the North Amer­i­can Car­to­graphic Infor­ma­tion Soci­ety (NACIS). Ian has also acted as the Chair of the Car­tog­ra­phy Spe­cialty Group of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­i­can Geo­g­ra­phers and is cur­rently an Edi­to­r­ial Board Mem­ber of Car­to­graphic Per­spec­tives and a Map Reviewer for the Jour­nal of Maps. He has worked as a con­sul­tant for the National Geo­graphic Soci­ety and National Endow­ment for the Arts, and been invited to lec­ture on effec­tive map design at the NASA God­dard Space Flight Cen­ter.

Ian’s map inter­ests are myr­iad, although all tend to come back to map aes­thet­ics and pur­pose­ful design. Beyond Web map­ping, the focus of Ian’s research is on sys­tem­at­i­cally design­ing maps for more effec­tive infor­ma­tion recall, lik­a­bil­ity, and per­sua­sive­ness. More recently Ian has become inter­ested in the schol­ar­ship of teach­ing and learn­ing (SoTL). Web Car­tog­ra­phy was an attempt to write a book that was extremely approach­able to a wide audi­ence and so easy to read “my grandma could learn how to design effec­tive maps from it.” He is also increas­ingly involved in cre­at­ing geog­ra­phy and map­mak­ing resources for K-12 educators.

Dur­ing the aca­d­e­mic year Ian resides in La Crosse, Wis­con­sin, with his wife (fel­low car­tog­ra­pher, Bir­git Muehlen­haus), two daugh­ters, and their Wheaten Ter­rier. In the sum­mer, he and his fam­ily are often found in Ger­many, France, and Hun­gary vis­it­ing fam­ily and friends. More infor­ma­tion can be found about Ian at www.ian.muehlenhaus.com or on Twit­ter @iMuehlenhaus.

Ian loves spread­ing the word about maps and map design! If you would like to have Ian come speak in your neck of the woods, please inquire via email.
Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 2010
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Web map design, persuasive mapping, affective mapping, marketing maps, geopolitics, Central European Geography
Personal Interests
crime novels, sci-fi movies, board games