GIS Persona

The first post of this new page is dedicated to one of the most important, maybe, GIS persona in the history of GIS :  
Dr. Roger Tomlinson (photo)

Screenshot Sample  Roger F. Tomlinson, (17 November 1933 – 9 February 2014) was an English geographer and the primary originator of modern computerized geographic information systems (GIS), and has been acknowledged as the "Father of GIS."[Source: 1] .
It was Dr. Roger F. Tomlinson who first coined the term Geographic Information System (GIS) [Source: 2]. He created the first computerized geographic information system in the 1960s while working for the Canadian government. Tomlinson has had a distinguished career as a pioneer in GIS and developed Tomlinson Associates Ltd., which provides geographic consulting services. For 12 years, he was chairman of the International Geographical Union GIS Commission. He was also president of the Canadian Association of Geographers and most recently was recipient of the prestigious Alexander Graham Bell Medal, awarded only once before by the National Geographic Society. Tomlinson was also the author of Thinking About GIS: Geographic Information System Planning for Managers, one of the most widely read books on the subject.
After his military service, Dr. Tomlinson attended the University of Nottingham and Acadia University for two separate undergraduate degrees in geography and geology, respectively [Source: 1]. He received a Masters degree in geography from McGill University where he specialized in the glacial geomorphology of Labrador. His Doctoral thesis at University College London was titled: The application of electronic computing methods and techniques to the storage, compilation, and assessment of mapped data.
Dr. Tomlinson's early career included serving as an assistant professor at Acadia, working as the manager of the computer mapping division at Spartan Air Services in Ottawa, Ontario (following his studies at McGill), and work 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.
Tomlinson narrates the story of how he became this distinguished person [Source 3]:  In the early 1960s he was working as a photo interpreter for Spartan Air Services in Canada.  They had a contract to identify the best location for a tree plantation in Kenya.  They turned to their young geographer Tomlinson and asked him to develop a methodology.  He tried various manual methods for overlaying various environmental, cultural, and economic variables, but all were too costly.  He turned to computers and found the solution.  Subsequently he sold this approach to the Canada Land Inventory that had the responsibility of using data to assist the government in its land use planning activities.  His GIS approach reduced the task from three years and eight million Canadian dollars to several weeks and two million dollars.
This and continuing contributions led the Canadian government to give him its highest civilian award, the Order of Canada, in 2001.  Text for that award reads, “he pioneered its uses worldwide to collect, manage, and manipulate geographical data, changing the face of geography as a discipline.”

No comments: