Barry J Kronenfeld
Associate Professor
Department of Geology and Geography
Eastern Illinois University



Geographic Information Scientist

A Fish out of Mountains

I hail from New Hampshire, a state famous for a giant stone face that fell from a mountain into a lake. We also claim an independent streak that derives mostly from our refusal to associate ourselves with Boston, Massachusetts. (My hometown of Londonderry was closer to Boston than Charleston is to Champaign. This is what happens when you divide space up into little pieces, rivalries invariably form.)

Emerging from the mountainous east onto the glaciated plains of the midwest, the world opened up but something was missing... mountains! What to do? Then I remembered that maps have the power to reform our concepts of place. Translation: a map can make a small hill look like a mountain! So now I make up for the loss of topography through creative cartography.

Crazy Maps

Perhaps it is my New Hampshire born indepence streak, but I like to explore map forms that other people consider to be a bit... strange. Fuzzy maps - maps without borders but with infinite shades of gradation - got me my Ph.D. from Buffalo, New York. Later I made maps on basketballs, some to scale and some not. A map of just North America on a spherical object? Sure, why not! And now I spend my time making population cartograms, those oddly deformed maps that show up only in election years (but they're really useful for epidemiology too!). By the time you read this, I'll probably be working on some other outlandish map form that you've never heard of. The act of creating maps helps me to re-imagine the world, and I hope it does for you too.

The Measure of Earth

It's not just maps, though. We also understand the world through numbers and graphs. (Or do we? How far is it from I57 to SR130? What does that even mean?) So I teach courses in how to quantify geography, and in my spare time I make up different ways to create numbers from maps. To what degree do restaurants co-locate with gas stations? How bendy is a river, and at what scale? These questions keep me up at night.

Juggling it All

It's a lot to think about, a lot of different concepts to juggle in one's head. So in my spare time, I also like to... juggle! It keeps me sane, and it's not as difficult as it looks. Just takes a little practice, like riding a bike. OK, like riding a bike with one wheel while balancing a soccer ball on your head. Still, that's not so bad is it? Give it a try!

I teach courses in GIS, cartography, quantitative geography and the geography of Asia in the Department of Geology and Geography.

Courses Taught Recently (or to be taught soon)

The following are projects with output such as code or online maps. EIU students have helped with many of these projects. If you are interested in working on a project please contact me.

COViz (COVID-19 Open Visualization Project)

Animated symbol cartograms of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the USA, Canada and Europe.

Lake Charleston Trail Maps

Printable maps of hiking trails around Lake Charleston.

Polyline Hausdorff

Python implementation of the Hausdorff distance between polylines. The Hausdorff distance is the largest gap between two features.

Cartogram Studio

Free windows application for computer-assisted construction of continuous cartograms.


A collection of line simplification algorithms in pure python code.

Recent Publications

Kronenfeld, BJ, LV Stanislawksi, BP Buttenfield and T Brockmeyer. 2020. Simplification of polylines by segment collapse: minimizing areal displacement while preserving area. International Journal of Cartography, 6(1):22-46. DOI: 10.1080/23729333.2019.1631535

Kronenfeld, BJ and J Deng. 2019. Between the lines: Measuring areal displacement in line simplification. Advances in Cartography and GIScience, International Cartography Association, 1(9), 8pp. DOI: 10.5194/ica-adv-1-9-2019

Kronenfeld, BJ and DW Wong. 2017. Visualizing statistical significance of disease clusters using cartograms. International Journal of Health Geographics, 16:19. DOI: 10.1186/s12942-017-0093-9 (open access)

Kronenfeld, BJ. 2017. Manual construction of continuous cartograms through mesh transformation. Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 45(1):76-94. DOI: 10.1080/15230406.2016.1270775

Sun, M, DW Wong and BJ Kronenfeld. 2017. A Heuristic multi-criteria classification approach incorporating data quality information for choropleth mapping. Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 44(3):1-13. DOI: 10.1080/15230406.2016.1145072

Kronenfeld, BJ and TF Leslie. 2015. Restricted random labeling: Testing for between-group interaction after controlling for joint population and within-group spatial structure. Journal of Geographical Systems, 17(1):1-28. DOI: 10.1007/s10109-014-0206-y

Kronenfeld, BJ. 2015. Validating the historical record: a relative distance test and correction formula for selection bias in presettlement land surveys. Ecography, 38(1):41-53. DOI: 10.1111/ecog.00617

Sun, M, DW Wong and BJ Kronenfeld. 2015. A classification method for choropleth maps incorporating data reliability information. Professional Geographer, 67(1):72-83. DOI: 10.1080/00330124.2014.888627

Donahoe, SB, DC Parker, BJ Kronenfeld and PJ Balint. 2014. Integrating micro-scale timbering events and decision-making into landscape models using logistic and multilevel regression. Forest Science, vol. 60, no. 5 (Oct.), pp. 962-972. DOI: 10.5849/forsci.13-061

Sun, M, BJ Kronenfeld and DW Wong. 2013. Cartographic techniques for communicating class separability: enhanced choropleth maps of median household income, Iowa. Journal of Maps, 9(1):43-49.DOI: 10.1080/17445647.2013.768183

Recent Conference Abstracts and Presentations

Yoo, K-I and BJ Kronenfeld. 2020. An evaluation of COVID-19 dashboards from cartographic and epidemiological perspectives. AutoCarto 2020 Proceedings. (extended abstract) (slides) (video)

Deng, J, BJ Kronenfeld, B Buttenfield and L Stanislawski. 2019. Alternate definitions of linear and areal displacement between polylines – The plot thickens. ICC 2019 Workshop on Abstraction, Scale and Perception, Tokyo, Japan (3pp). (abstract)

Stanislawski, L, B Buttenfield, BJ Kronenfeld and E Shavers. 2019. Scale-specific metrics for adaptive generalization and geomorphic classification of stream features. ICC 2019 Workshop on Abstraction, Scale and Perception, Tokyo, Japan (9pp).(abstract)

Kronenfeld, BJ, B Oladipupo, AM Nawa, R Manchakkai and D Viertel. 2019. Towards an Atlas of Gerrymandering. Web map and poster submission to the Avenza Map Competition, American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, Washington D.C., April 5th, 2019. (poster)