Ian McHarg (1920 − 1981) – Founder of Map Overlay Technique (Especially for GATE-Geospatial 2022)

Get top class preparation for competitive exams right from your home: get questions, notes, tests, video lectures and more- for all subjects of your exam.

Examrace Books on Mapping, GIS, and Remote Sensing prepares you throughly for a wide range of practical applications.

His Journey

  • Scottish landscape architect & regional planner
  • Professor of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania from 1954 - 2001
  • He wrote Design with Nature in 1969 (focused on ecological planning) – Concepts in this book were used to develop GIS
  • He published his autobiography A Quest for Life in 1996
  • Received Japan Prize in City Planning in 2000
Ian McHarg Gave the Map Overlay Technique. He Focussed on th …


  • Industrial centers filled with pollution were the major focus area for Ian
  • He felt that aim for mass production created a so called sterile environment which is devoid of aesthetic beauty
  • His focus area was landscape principle of aesthetics
  • In his journey to create a balance between the economic activities and natural landscape he laid the idea of optimal land use map
  • His optimal land use map was based on his pioneering idea of map overlays
  • His overlay idea explained highlighting intrinsic natural features (flood zones, wetlands, woody vegetation stands, slopes, drainages, aquifer recharge zones, areas under cultivation) and man-made features
  • His idea was to provide each asset a value based on the societal input
  • He did a path breaking research on Richmond Parkway (Staten Island, 1968)

Map Layering Concept

Ian propounded 4M concept, where each M signifies:

  • M: Measurement
  • M: Mapping
  • M: Monitoring
  • M: Modelling

Developed by: