The CUISD Glacier Folio Project

Recognizing that the dramatic loss of glacial land-ice is rapidly increasing and that this loss greatly affects environmental and social ecosystems, this project seeks to document in an accessible, graphic format the changes now occurring to some of the iconic glaciers of earth. The Glacier Folio Project looked at a wide variety of representational strategies that are now used for recording ice field conditions, and set out to develop a clear, uniform cartography method that presents an accessible and visually compelling tool for communicating this ice loss. Using line denotation, the drawings orient the diminishing size of the glaciers throughout the past century by overlaying data sets to form one comprehensive image. As a pilot project, the CUISD selected eight examples including glaciers from mid-latitude Europe, mid and upper latitude sites in North America, and equatorial glaciers in South America.  The case study glaciers were selected for their importance to society–as water supplies–and for the clarity of change that has been recorded over an extended period of time.  The Glacier Folio Project envisions cataloguing one hundred key glaciers, a resource that will be made available in an on-line Cooper Union archive and ultimately through the production of a fine art lithographic folio. Future areas of study will include Himalayan glaciers, Patagonian Glaciers and the key ice field of equatorial Africa.


  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.