Jack Dangermond head of ESRI, the world’s largest GIS software company, presented the AGI Education keynote at UCL on Monday 7th June. The talk entitled “Some Developments in GIS” focussed on current innovations in GIS software and on the direction in which the field is heading. He acknowledged the instrumental role that UCL has played in the development of GIS with, for example, one of the first GIS PhD theses, written by Roger Tomlinson and supervised by Peter Wood, originating from the Department of Geography. Jack also gave credit to Carl Steinitz, a former lecturer of his and now visiting professor in the Bartlett School of Architecture, for instrumental input into his academic development.
The Department of Geography was the first outside of North America to be awarded “ESRI Development Center” status and has been working closely with the company. Each year the Development Center awards its Outstanding Student of the Year prize. This year, I had the honour of being awarded his certificate from Jack Dangermond after the lecture. Jack was interested in my research, having already searched for the spatial distribution of ‘Dangermond’s’ using the UCL Department of Geography’s WorldNames database.
Jack was in the UK to be awarded the prestigious Founder’s Medal from the Royal Geographical Society. During his acceptance speech he spoke of what GIS has already achieved and its growing potential to improve people’s lives throughout the world.