Harvard Lab for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis
The Harvard Lab for Computer Graphics (reorganized as the Harvard Lab for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis in 1968) was one of several sites in the early development of GIS where seminal innovations in the processing and display of geographically referenced data took place. Many of the present generation of GIS professionals first experienced computer cartography through the widely distributed automated mapping application SYMAP, completed at the lab in 1966. SYMAP was widely generalizable and drew from mathematical cartography in producing isoline, choropleth, and proximal maps using a standard line printer as an output device. Since Harvard had no departmental geography at the time, the initial focus of the lab was directed toward the needs of landscape architects, urban and regional planners, and resource managers and early GIS applications revolved around those disciplines.
The Harvard Lab for Computer Graphics was an important early moment in the development of what has evolved in GIS over the past four decades. The contributions of the lab included the training of many creative students and researchers who left the lab to make greater advances elsewhere.