Esri Chief Scientist Receives Honors

Dawn Wright, Association of American Geographers Presidential Achievement Award

February 29, 2012

Esri Chief Scientist Dawn J. Wright Receives AAG Presidential Achievement Award

Redlands, California—Esri chief scientist Dawn J. Wright, PhD, has received the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Presidential Achievement Award. Presented at the AAG annual meeting on February 28, 2012, the award recognizes Wright's outstanding work as a scientist, researcher, author, and advocate for marine conservation and for her contributions to geographic science.

"Dawn Wright is a researcher of exceptional achievement whose work highlights the remarkable breadth and diversity of contemporary geography," said AAG president Audrey L. Kobayashi. "Wright's work to build geospatial technology standards for ocean mapping has enabled the scientific community to share information and collaborate on research projects. She has championed geographic information systems for marine research that are laying the groundwork for more sustainable ocean resources policies. The AAG Presidential Achievement Award affirms the benefit her efforts have brought to geographic science."

As chief scientist, Wright leads Esri's natural sciences efforts and drives the company's ocean and science initiatives. She is also a professor of geography and oceanography at Oregon State University, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a fellow of Stanford University's Aldo Leopold Leadership Program in science communication. Her research interests include geographic information science; marine geography; benthic terrain and habitat characterization; and the processing and interpretation of high-resolution bathymetry, video, and underwater photographic images. Wright received her doctorate in physical geography and marine geology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

"Dr. Wright's strong background in geographic information science and expertise in GIS [geographic information systems] have enabled her to bring greater perspective to scientists throughout the world who map and analyze terrains, ecosystems, and habitats," said Jack Dangermond, Esri president, “The AAG has been a force in promoting technology for geographic science. By honoring a capable scientist who is also skilled in geospatial systems affirms the association’s commitment to a community that is expanding its approaches to research and analysis.”

AAG is a nonprofit scientific and educational society founded in 1904. For more than 100 years, AAG has contributed to the advancement of geography. Its members, from more than 60 countries, share interests in the theory, methods, and practice of geography, which they cultivate through the AAG's annual meeting. The AAG Presidential Achievement Award was established by the AAG Council to recognize individuals who have made long-standing and distinguished contributions to the discipline of geography.

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