November 17, 1933|
|Alma mater||University of Nottingham, Acadia University, McGill University, University College London|
|Awards||Order of Canada, Alexander Graham Bell Medal of the National Geographic Society, Gold Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Murchison Award of the Royal Geographical Society , honorary Doctorate of Science University of Nottingham, honorary Doctorate of Science Acadia University, honorary Doctorate of Science McGill University, honorary Doctorate of Science University of Lethbridge|
Roger F. Tomlinson, CM (born 17 November 1933) is an English geographer and the primary originator of modern computerized geographic information systems (GIS), and has been acknowledged as the "father of GIS".
After his military service, Dr. Tomlinson attended the University of Nottingham and Acadia University for two separate undergraduate degrees in geography and geology respectively. 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.
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 world.
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 of consulting geographers in Canada, the United States, and Australia.
He was Chairman of the International Geographical Union GIS Commission for 12 years. 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. The Association of American Geographers in the United States awarded him the James R. Anderson Medal of Honor for Applied Geography in 1995 and he was the first recipient of the 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 for a lifetime of work with GIS, and he was the first recipient of the ESRI Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.
More recently, he was made a fellow of University College London and received honorary Doctorates of Science from the University of Nottingham, Acadia University, McGill University, and the University of Lethbridge. 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."
- Greiner, Lynn (December 17, 2007). "Putting Canada on the map: Father of digitized mapping recounts how a stroke of luck led him to develop the world's first geographic information system". The Globe and Mail.
- David Braun (July 13, 2010"Nat Geo awards Alexander Graham Bell Medals to GIS pioneers". National Geographic Society. Retrieved June 22, 2011.).
- Interview with Dr. Tomlinson in ESRI News Fall 2001 issue
- Announcement from McGill University granting Dr. Tomlinson an honorary Doctor of Science degree at the May 31, 2006 convocation.