Dr. Roger Tomlinson Memorial Lecture

In memoriam of the Father of GIS, Geospatial World Forum is proud to host Dr. Roger Tomlinson Memorial Lecture, this year to be delivered by Prof. Josef Strobl, Head of Geoinformatics Department, University of Salzburg, Austria.

Prof. Josef Strobl

Head of Geoinformatics Department
University of Salzburg

Instituted by
In partnership with
Geospatial Media & Communications

Lecture Summary - Live Geography

Roger Tomlinson ‚made Geography digital‘, and was instrumental in creating early GIS. Today GIS serve as ‚digital macroscopes‘ on our societies, environment and economies, while initially primarily supporting map production and limited analyses. In these early days ‚digitization‘ of workflows was paramount, a mindset today sometimes standing in the way of integrated digital processes.

Then arrived the internet, establishing a triangle defining geospatial applications connecting the vertices of thematic domains - computing - connectivity. GIS changed from digitizing the past to digitally managing the present, assisted by sensors providing a live view of the planet. The resulting data streams are an opportunity as well as a challenge for GIS exploring current dynamics instead of past records, with live data supporting our decisions in daily life and beyond. One example: we used to conduct a census every 10 years, now we have a continuous view of population distributions through smart phone positioning.

Temporal dynamics not only connect the past with the present, but also facilitate the development of alternative futures or scenarios. Geography is changing from exploring the world in a static state towards the understanding of dynamic systems: not only climate is changing, but pretty much everything else, too. Roger Tomlinson contributed key elements to getting us started down this path, and it is exciting to explore where we are going!