Professor Emeritus Michael Goodchild


Professor Michael Goodchild, “the Father of Geographical Information Science” and recipient of the “Nobel Prize for Geography,” officially retired after 43 years of academic excellence and research and became Professor Emeritus on July 1, 2012. Mike holds the distinction of having won the most prestigious awards, having written the most scholarly publications, having garnered the greatest dollar amount of research grants, and having logged the largest number of work-related travel miles in the history of the UCSB Department of Geography—and, quite possibly, any other Department of Geography. He’s also a heck of a nice guy.

It would be gilding the lily to summarize Mike’s many accomplishments here. Suffice it to say that he was yet again in the national news just last week, being quoted on the subject of the latest technology in mapping and tracking emergencies in relation to the use of Volunteered Geographic Information in disaster situations such as the current and devastating wildfires in Colorado and neighboring states.

Mike will be moving to his new home in Seattle, WA later this year but will continue to mentor his graduate students and, needless to say, to add to his list of awards, publications, research grants, and, of course, travel miles related to the discipline of Geography. “For many of us, Mike is known simply as a caring, humble, and selfless colleague and research mentor. There are thousands of GIScientists worldwide who would like to… ‘be like Mike.’ Therefore, please join us in offering our congratulations to Michael F. Goodchild for his original and long-standing contributions to the field of GIScience” (Art Getis–from Mike’s citation upon receipt of the UCGIS Research Award in 2010).

Editor’s note: To download the PowerPoint presentation used to honor Professor Goodchild at the reception and roast held for him on May 25, 2012, click here. The presentation is the result of collaborative efforts on the part of Karen Doehner, Laura Harrison, Don Janelle, Val Noronha, Bill Norrington, and several other friends of Geography and admirers of Mike. Photos of Mike’s retirement celebration can be found here.

Article by Bill Norrington

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Mike out standing in his field (from the PowerPoint presentation and roast in his honor)

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Goodchild steals Royal Geographical Society’s Founder’s Medal! Previously stolen by David Livingstone (1855), Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1963), and David Attenborough (1985); Ibid.

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“Me help beatify a Cambridge man? Quite impossible…they are all headed to the other place.” (Derek Ford, Mike’s Ph.D. Adviser; Ibid.)