I've been informed by my employer of a new policy where I am not to put my name on maps. I've always put my name on my maps in the past and have never run across this policy. Is it uncommon in the industry to add the map author's name to maps?

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    Well, there may be times when one could be glad their name isn't on a certain map... Like maybe it doesn't represent their style. A lot of map readers are cartographers.
    – SaultDon
    Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 21:46
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    That sounds down-right un-American, or at least un-Amerigoan. Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 21:55

3 Answers 3


It is not uncommon, as the map can be considered company property (both intellectual and artistic property) as opposed to an individual's work. Some cartographers circumvent this by hiding their name/initials/signature in a feature on the map. This is accomplished by using a slightly different color, and/or stylizing the signature to look like part of the symbology. There are probably other methods as well. It's very easy to do the slightly different color "trick" with GIS.

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    Several cartographers at the Ordnance Survey confessed to me that they would occasionally form their initials from tree symbols and so on. I'd love to see an OS map from the 70s where they had done this, because they weren't forthcoming with which map sheets they had done it on... Commented Dec 23, 2011 at 10:59
  • The company I worked at before had a policy of writing the following @2010 - Company Name - GIS Analyst - Version 5 - 13/5/2010 in small font in the bottom right corner of the map
    – dassouki
    Commented Dec 23, 2011 at 14:16
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    If you want to "hide" your name, initials, etc in the map/data, you might consider some of the tricks mentioned in: How can we protect GIS data? Commented Dec 26, 2011 at 6:27

I just took over as the sole GIS analyst where I work. The GIS guy before me put his name on all the maps he made, but I decided to leave my name off all the maps I design from now on.

I think putting your name on a map (if you work for an organization) is a little bit tacky, and cheapens the map for your employer. I think this is especially true if your publishing authoritative data (vs. some unique design).

Just my take on it.

  • I'd agree. If you're taking their money then it's their property and you have no right to a final say. Of course, if you're a start-up consultant or company owner you get to choose, and I think it probably would be a good thing in that case. Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 0:46
  • Yeah. But I think putting your name on a map is poor, regardless. A company name is probably ok. But think. would you want the guy who works on the assembly line at the ford factories name legibly written on the body of your car? But a Ford symbol or "Ford" would be ok. Make sense?
    – Thad
    Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 17:57
  • I'm part of a small GIS shop in a large state agency. We agreed on a standard, fine-print note for all of our maps: "Spatial analysis and cartography by the office of..." Since there are four people in our office which belongs to a bureau which belongs to a division, we agreed it's all the credit we need AND it allows our audience to direct questions about our maps straight to the source without getting bounced around in the all-to-common game of bureaucratic apathy pinball. Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 3:27
  • @Thad: I agree that a big, distracting signature is tacky, but I think names or at least initials hidden in the fine print are good. Lots of new suitcoats have a little note in a pocket with the initials of the tailor. Signatures inside a case. Some people argue that not putting initials on work is poor -- it shows that the author didn't care about the work, the author is embarrassed by it and don't want to be associated with it, etc.
    – David Cary
    Commented Jan 22, 2013 at 21:24

OK, it's a fictional example, but what about Slartibartfast who had a penchant for signing his name in glaciers?!

Seems there are some hidden signatures in Google Earth too.

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