Pierre-Gilles Chanlaire (1758-1817) was a French geographer and cartographer and a pioneer of statistical research. The period of his childhood and studies remains obscure. It is known that his father was councellor to the king and, according to sources dating from 1780, Chanlaire possessed the title of squire (écuyer) and was also a lawyer by the Supreme Court of France. Apparently, the outbreak of the French Revolution made Chanlaire turn to Geography. From 1803 to 1808 he directed the course of geometry at the topographical service of the land registry. In 1808 he started publishing the two-volume "Description topographique et statistique de la France" (Topographical and statistical description of France), which was completed in 1810.
Chanlaire wrote several important geographic and statistic studies, and collaborated with other scientists in several works. He drew detailed maps of France and other European countries such as Portugal, Spain, Poland, Germany, Britain, Italy and others. He also created a world political and geophysical Atlas, from antiquity to modern times, and an Atlas showing war zones in the East, Rhine river, Belgium etc. Some of his maps have been coloured over.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou