Esri president Jack Dangermond has been honored with the Patron's Medal by the United Kingdom's Royal Geographical Society (RGS). In the official announcement, RGS declared that Dangermond "received the award for his extensive work promoting geographical science through the development of geographic information systems. He is one of the greatest advocates for geography and its key role in understanding and responding to many of the challenges of the 21st century."
Founded in 1830, RGS was granted a royal charter by Queen Victoria in 1859 and continues to enjoy royal patronage under Queen Elizabeth II. British commentator Michael Palin is the current president of the Royal Geographical Society.
The Patron's Medal was established in 1839 for "the encouragement and promotion of geographical science and discovery." Each award is officially recognized and approved by the ruling monarch.
Upon receiving the award, Dangermond said, "I am honored to be a recipient of the Royal Geographical Society's Patron's Medal and join its group of explorers and geographic scientists. I have worked in the scientific field of computational geography for more than 40 years. During that time, the use of GIS-based analytic methodology has increased exponentially and is now implemented in numerous applications ranging from monitoring climate change to optimizing soil amendments for improved crop yield. The technology is also commonly used by first responders for natural and man-made disasters.
"I believe that as we expand the use of this technology on the Web, people throughout the world will better understand how our actions generate interrelated patterns and processes that affect us all. This insight will spur the age of applied geography and be used as a foundation for a greater understanding of ourselves and our planet, providing the incentive for positive change. I accept this award on behalf of my colleagues and, more importantly, our users, who are leveraging geographic knowledge to expand our perception of the dynamics that shape our world."
Past honorees of the Patron's Medal include David Livingstone, Roald Amundsen, Edmund Hillary, and Richard Leakey. The society is a key supporter of many famous expeditions, including those of Charles Darwin, the evolutionary biologist, and Robert Scott's Antarctic explorations. In addition, it sponsors geographic research, education, conferences, and workshops.
Added Dangermond, "Mapmakers have systematically recorded our increased understanding of the world for more than 2,300 years. With the development of GIS technology, we now have the tools to perform detailed analysis of both physical and human geographies that can help us provide a better stewardship of the planet."
Dangermond is recognized not only as a pioneer in spatial analysis methods but also as one of the most influential people in GIS. He takes a leadership role in national and global initiatives to facilitate standards for data access and sharing across agencies and organizations. He is personally committed to applying GIS methods to advance sustainable communities and has led initiatives to donate software to environmental, educational, and nongovernmental organizations around the world.
Dangermond received a master of science degree in landscape architecture from the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, and has been awarded several honorary doctorates.
Among the many honors he has received in recent years are the Carl Mannerfelt Medal from the International Cartographic Association, the Distinguished Public Service Award for Outstanding Contributions to National and International Affairs from the U.S. Department of State, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Geospatial Information & Technology Association. At the recent Esri International User Conference, both Dangermond and Roger Tomlinson received Alexander Graham Bell medals from Gilbert M. Grosvenor, chairman of the National Geographic Society, for extraordinary achievement in geographic research.