Department of Geography Hosts Father of Geographic Information Science

Michael Goodchild, emeritus professor of geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will deliver the Department of Geography’s annual Hammond Lecture on February 12 at UT.

Goodchild will speak on “Space, Place, and GIS” in the Lindsay Young Auditorium of John C. Hodges Library. A reception will be held at 3:00 p.m., and the presentation will follow at 3:40 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Goodchild is considered by many to be the father of geographic information science, also known as GIS. He is also widely credited with coining the term volunteered geographic information, which is spatial data that has been contributed for free by volunteers. His research interests focus on geographic information science, spatial analysis, and uncertainty in geographic data.

Goodchild will explain that modern technology uses concepts of latitude, longitude, and measurements of distance to describe the geographic world. On the other hand, humans think of the geographic world in terms of places and their associations. He will discuss the possibility of “palatial” technology that will combine the two different concepts of geography to fill the gap and help people share geographic knowledge more naturally.

“It is truly a great honor to have someone of Michael Goodchild’s reputation visit UT and the Department of Geography,” said Derek Alderman, head of the Department of Geography. “GIS has emerged as an important innovation, not just within the discipline of geography, but across the social and natural sciences and the digital humanities.”

In addition to his lecture, Goodchild will also meet with and mentor graduate and undergraduate students and faculty members during his visit. Together they will brainstorm the future of geographic information science and Goodchild will assist in the ongoing efforts to enhance the UT GIS program.