Waldo R. Tobler

American geographer

Waldo Rudolph Tobler (1930 – February 20, 2018)[1] was an American geographer and cartographer. He was born in Portland, Oregon.

Waldo Tobler in front of the Newberry Library. Chicago, November 2007

Tobler's idea that "Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things" [2] is called as the "first law of geography." He has proposed a second law as well: "The phenomenon external to an area of interest affects what goes on inside".[3]

Tobler was an active Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara Department of Geography until his death.

Tobler died in Santa Barbara, California on February 20, 2018 at the age of 87.


  1. "Waldo R. Tobler". Archived from the original on 2020-04-04. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  2. Tobler W. R. (1970) "A Computer Movie Simulating Urban Growth in the Detroit Region", Economic Geography, 46(Supplement): 234-240
  3. Linear pycnophylatic reallocation—Comment on a paper by D. Martin. International Journal of Geographical Information Science 13 (1): 85–90