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the website of Graham Fisher

Mary Spence MBE & Sparrow Publishing

Mary Spence MBE, acclaimed cartographer and proprietor of Sparrow Publishing

Who she and what it?

Mary is one of the UK's leading cartographers and enjoys an international reputation for map making excellence, working across all platforms from digital data to field research. 


A Chartered Geographer and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, she is also both Past President and Honorary Fellow of the British Cartographic Society.


Originating from north of the border, Mary holds a degree in Geography from Aberdeen University and a post-graduate degree in Cartography from Glasgow University and has since worked alongside a variety of organisations both civilian and military, accruing numerous awards along the way. She was invested with an MBE for services to cartographic design in 2004.


Mary is an accomplished author; her latest book Cartography; an introduction (with Giles Darkes) is now in its second edition and available through this site (see Books).


In addition to her cartographic duties Mary is also proprietor of Sparrow Publishing, in which she focusses principally on specialist works and is sole publisher for G. Fisher Enterprises.


For enquiries on any aspect of Mary Spence MBE or Sparrow, she can be reached via the Contact section or direct on sparrowpublishing@mac.com 


Declaration of interest

If you haven't already guessed, Graham Fisher and Mary Spence are 'an item' and, together with various cats and dogs, share a home and offices on the Welsh borders where their closest neighbours are sheep on one side and an Inn on the other. So now you know.

More about Sparrow and Mary Spence MBE (chronological order, latest at top) ...

Women and GIS

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In April 2018 ESRI Press published a book called Women and GIS: Mapping Their Stories. 


This tells the tales of how 23 women applied themselves and overcame obstacles, using maps, analysis and GIS to contribute to their professions and the world. Sharing the experience of their childhoods, the mis-starts and challenges they faced, and the lessons they learned, each story is a celebration of a woman’s unique path and of the perseverance and hard work it takes to achieve success. Women and GIS: Mapping Their Stories can serve as mentors to motivate readers who are developing their own life stories and inspire their potential in a new way. 

They include a Columbian field scientist who helped restore habitats for 45 threatened bird species in the Andes, a former Girl Scout whose love of Orangutans helped convince major food organisation to stop sourcing an unsustainable ingredient and an environmental scientist who developed drones for research and humanitarian purposes.

Mary’s inclusion relates the tale of a young girl growing up on an isolated croft in Scotland who left it all behind in pursuit of a dream that led to her becoming one of the UK's foremost authorities on designing and making maps; and all whilst she simultaneously raised a family and maintained a home.


Quotable quote:

Mary says: ‘The achievements of the women in this book beggar belief and leave me in awe at what is possible for women of all ages to achieve. To be ranked alongside them within the same pages is a great honour and I am much indebted to those who saw fit to select me. It would be wonderful to think that my legacy would be as an inspiration to other females to go release their potential.’

For the full Women and GIS extract, click  here (with acknowldgemenst to Esri Press) ...

Shaping the world

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We unexpectedly came across this on the internet in late February 2018 and, with due acknowledgement to the site concerned, are delighted to reproduce it as unsolicited testimonial.


The Women Who Shaped The World is an article by The Future Mapping Company that records their 'Top 10 Female Cartographers of All Time'.


The selection is an eclectic one covering a period from antiquity to the modern cartographic era. Click on the link below and take a look who comes in at number 9. We're very proud of 'our Mary', even the more so because of all these amazing women who have helped shaped the world, she is the only one who is  actually still alive!  To learn more, click here