The award, the highest honor the association can bestow, recognizes an individual’s lifelong contributions and long-standing commitment to the geospatial industry.
Arizona - The
Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) announced today that
Dr. Roger Tomlinson of Ottawa, Ontario, has been given GITA's 2010 Lifetime
Achievement Award. The award, the highest honor the association can bestow,
recognizes an individual’s lifelong contributions and long-standing commitment
to the geospatial industry. The presentation was made during GITA’s Annual
Conference 30, held April 25-29, 2010, at the Phoenix Convention Center in
Dr. Tomlinson, a native of Cambridge, England, is
recognized as the primary originator of modern computerized Geographic
Information Systems (GIS), and has been touted as the "father of GIS".
He attended the University of Nottingham in England and
Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada, receiving separate undergraduate
degrees in geography and geology, respectively.
He received a Masters degree in geography from McGill University in
Montreal,where he specialized in the glacial geomorphology of Labrador. He
received his Doctorate from University College in
Dr. Tomlinson's early private sector career included
managing the computer mapping division at Spartan Air Services in Ottawa,
Ontario and then working with the Government of Canada, first as a consultant
and later as a director of regional planning systems with the Department of
Forestry and Rural Development.
It was during his tenure with the federal government in
the 1960s that Dr. Tomlinson initiated, planned and directed the development of
the Canada Geographic Information System, the first computerized GIS in the
From the 1970s to present, Dr. Tomlinson has worked in
geographic consulting and research for a variety of private sector, government
and non-profit organizations, largely through his Ottawa-based company,
Tomlinson Associates Ltd., which has branches with consulting geographers in
Canada, the United States, and Australia.
He served as Chairman of the International Geographical
Union GIS Commission for 12 years, during which time he pioneered the concepts
of worldwide geographical data availability as Chairman of the IGU Global
Database Planning Project in 1988. He is a past president of the Canadian
Association of Geographers and a recipient of their rare award for Service to
the Profession. Included among his many
international awards are the Association of American Geographers’ James R.
Anderson Medal of Honor for Applied Geography in 1995 and the first Robert T.
Aangeenbrug Distinguished Career Award in 2005. Dr. Tomlinson is an Honorary
Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and winner of their Murchison Award for
the Development of Geographic Information Systems. In 1996 he was awarded the
GIS World Lifetime Achievement Award and he was the first recipient of the ESRI
Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.
His academic recognition includes being made a fellow of
University College London and receiving honorary Doctorates of Science from the
University of Nottingham, Acadia University, and McGill University. He was
awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and was
awarded the Order of Canada by the Governor General for "changing the face of
geography as a discipline."
GITA Executive Director Robert M. Samborski, noting that
Dr. Tomlinson’s professorial duties at the University of Guanajuato, Mexico
precluded his appearance in Phoenix, said, “GITA is honored to have Dr. Roger
Tomlinson among the recipients of the association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Unquestionably, his early and continuing contributions to the geospatial
industry, academia and government are without peer. It’s accurate to say that without Roger
Tomlinson’s extensive body of work, many of us would not be doing what we do
For more information about GITA’s Awards Program, visit gita.org/about-gita/awards_program/index.asp, call 303-337-0513, or
Roger Tomlinson Named Recipient of GITA's 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award
June 7, 2010