Charles S. ReVelle

March 26, 1938 – August 10, 2005

Brief Biography

Charles S. ReVelle was a Johns Hopkins University professor who is remembered as the creator of location analysis. As a student at Cornell University, ReVelle studied chemical engineering, receiving his PhD in sanitary engineering. He taught in Cornell’s Department of Environmental Systems Engineering prior to joining the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at Hopkins. His interests evolved into environmental systems analysis, addressing such problems as water resource management. ReVelle was eventually made a full professor in the university’s Program in Systems Analysis and Economics for Public Decision.

ReVelle published an influential article on central facilities location in a 1970 issue of Geographic Analysis. This paper, co-authored with Ralph Swain, helped secure the foundation of location analysis and led to a series of real-world application opportunities. ReVelle’s models in the 1970s were used by the City of Baltimore to determine the closure of surplus fire stations. This work also led to smarter forestry policies as ReVelle devised a mathematical model to strike a balance between cost-effective timbers harvesting while also protecting delicate forest species. ReVelle was an active collaborator, having co-authored publications with over one hundred different individuals.

The author of several books, ReVelle’s corpus of works demonstrates a career devotion to environmental issues. In 1992, he and his wife, Penelope, co-authored Global Environment: Securing a Sustainable Future. To the ReVelles, concern for the environment was commitment made by many peoples in many places. Global Environment outlined the history of that commitment and what could be done in the immediate and long-term future. In his later career, ReVelle began applying his models and operations research methodologies to problems in history, ranging from the location of legions in the Roman Empire to twentieth century arms control.

In 1996, ReVelle was jointly awarded the first ever Lifetime Achievement in Location Analysis Award of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences’ (INFORMS) Section on Location Analysis (SOLA).  In 2005, he died of lymphoma at sixty-one years old. Three years later, SOLA established the Chuck ReVelle Rising Star Award. The honor recognizes an individual within eight years of receiving their PhD who has made a significant contribution to location analysis research and displays the potential to continue to do so.

Other Biographies

Church R. L., Current J. R., & Daskin M. S. (2009) Introduction: In tribute to Dr. Charles S. ReVelle. Geographical Analysis, 41(1): 3-8. (link


Cornell University, BChE 1961

Cornell University, PhD 1967 (Mathematics Genealogy


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

  • Location Analysis
Application Areas
  • Emergency Services


New York Times (2005) Chrarles S. ReVelle, 67, Expert on Choosing the Perfect Site, Is Dead. August 25. (link

The JHU Gazette (2005) Engineer Charles ReVelle, 67, Creator of Location Analysis. August 22. (link

The Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering Magazine (2005) Prolific Researcher, Gifted Professor: Charles S. ReVelle. Accessed June 29, 2018. (link

Awards and Honors

Lifetime Achievement in Location Analysis Award 1996

Selected Publications

Joeres E., Kirby W., & ReVelle C. (1969) The linear decision rule in reservoir management and design: 1, development of the stochastic model. Water Resources Research, 5(4): 767-777.

ReVelle C. & Swain R. W. (1970) Central facilities location. Geographical Analysis, 2(1): 30-42.

Bergman L., ReVelle C., Swain R. & Toregas C. (1971) The location of emergency service facilities. Operations Research, 19(6): 1363-1373.

Hogan K. & ReVelle C. (1986) Concepts and applications of backup coverage. Management Science, 32(11): 1434-1444.

Hogan K. & ReVelle C. (1989) The maximum availability location problem. Transportation Science, 23(3): 192-200.

Cohon J., ReVelle C., & Shobrys D. (1991) Simultaneous siting and routing in the disposal of hazardous wastes. Transportation Science, 25(2): 138-145.

ReVelle C. & ReVelle P. (1992) Global Environment: Securing a Sustainable Future. Jones & Bartlett: Burlington, MA. 

ReVelle C., Whitlatch E. E., & Wright J. R. (1996) Civil and Environmental Systems Engineering.  Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference: Englewood Cliffs: NJ. 

McGarity A. E. & ReVelle C., eds. (1997) Design and Operations of Civil Environmental Engineering Systems. John Wiley & Sons: New York. 

Eiselt H. A. & ReVelle C. (2005) Location analysis: A synthesis and survey. European Journal of Operational Research, 165(1): 1-19.

Additional Resources

INFORMS Community. Section on Location Analysis Award: Chuck ReVelle Rising Star Award. Accessed May 28, 2015. (link