Beck, Gordon

Map Specialist
Telephone Extension: 
Room Number: 
Mills Memorial Library, L-102/B
E-mail ( 
Areas of Interest/Research Interests: 

Military cartography with a specialization in WWI trench maps and aerial photography.


Responsible for the acquisition, organisation, preservation, digitization and dissemination of geographic information housed in the University Library's, Lloyd Reeds Map Collection.

Publications & Presentations: 




  • Vimy Ridge: Building 'Deep' Maps with Artefacts of the Great War. CARTO 2017, Simon Fraser U.
  • Digitally Mapping the First World War. Canadian Military History Colloquium, Wilfrid Laurier U, 2017.
  • Back to the Front 100 Years Later: Retracing the steps of A.R. Thompson using WWI trench maps. Ruthven Park National Historic Site, 2016.
  • Lens over Lens: The development & use of aerial photography in WWI. National Gallery of Canada, 2014.
  • Bleeding into the Margins: The evolution of cartography in WWI. Lager Lecture Series, McMaster U, 2014.

Guest Lecturer:

  • Anthropology 4EE3: Archaeologies of the Present
  • Art 3PD3: New Directions in Painting and Drawing
  • Arts & Science 3BB3: Technology and Society II
  • Biology 3EI3: Environmental Indicators
  • Biology 4YY3: Ecology & Management of Coastal Waters
  • Civ Tech 3CS3: Contaminated Site Management
  • Earth Science S2AA3: Earth Explorers
  • Environmental Science 1G03: Earth and the Environment
  • Environmental Science 4EA3: Environmental Assessments
  • Geography 1HA3: Human Geographies, Society & Culture
  • Geography 1HB3: Human Geographies, City & Economy
  • Geography 2RM3: Mapping Our World
  • Geography 3GI3: Advanced Raster GIS
  • History 2A03/Peace Studies 2F03: Modern Middle Eastern Studies
  • History 2HI3: Historical Inquiry
  • History 4CE3: Early Canadian History
  • Human 2DH3: Introduction to the Digital Humanities
Projects & Committees: 


  • ACMLA (Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives)
  • Charles Close Society for the Study of Ordnance Survey Maps (U.K.)
  • Defence Surveyors' Association (U.K.)


  • Currently working with staff of McMaster’s Museum of Art on an exhibit of the Napoleonic era cartography of the Honourable Robert Clifford, planned for May-September 2018.
  • Digitization Projects: WWI (1,500 maps + 600 aerial photos), WWII (3,000 maps), Korean War (200 maps)
  • CANADIGM Souterraine Project. Canadian Corps Tunnel Art, Vimy Centre Exhibit, France, 2017.
  • 'Ace Academy' free, educational app. Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, 2016.
  • Giant Floor Map of  Vimy Ridge. Canadian Geographic Magazine, educational branch, 2015-2016.
  • 'Walking the Western Front.' Toronto Star daily column by Katie Daubs and Richard Lautens, April-May 2014.
  • Chasseaud Acquisition. 900 WWI trench maps from the private collection of the world's leading expert on Great War cartography, 2009.
  • Vimy Ridge Heritage Minute. Historica Canada, 2005.


McMaster University President's Award for Outstanding Service, 2014