Michael F. Goodchild is Emeritus Professor of Geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is also Distinguished Chair Professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Research Professor at Arizona State University, and holds many other affiliate, adjunct, and honorary positions at universities around the world. Until his retirement in June 2012 he was Jack and Laura Dangermond Professor of Geography, and Director of UCSB’s Center for Spatial Studies. He received his BA degree from Cambridge University in Physics in 1965 and his PhD in geography from McMaster University in 1969, and has received five honorary doctorates. He was elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and Foreign Member of the Royal Society of Canada in 2002, member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2006, and Foreign Member of the Royal Society and Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy in 2010; and in 2007 he received the Prix Vautrin Lud. He was editor of Geographical Analysis between 1987 and 1990 and editor of the Methods, Models, and Geographic Information Sciences section of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers from 2000 to 2006. He has published over 15 books and 550 articles.

Research Interests

As a geographer my research focuses on the nature of geographic information and fundamental problems of measurement, description, and analysis of phenomena on the surface of Earth. Geography is an ancient discipline, but the study of geographic information has been reinvigorated by the advent of remote-sensing satellites, geographic information systems, and the ability to measure location directly through the Global Positioning System. Much of my recent research has been on the problem of uncertainty in geographic information: its measurement, modeling, and visualization. The problem of uncertainty has emerged as a major issue because it is impossible to capture the full complexity of Earth's surface in a digital representation and impossible to measure location perfectly. I use spatial statistical models to understand the impacts of uncertainty on the widespread applications of geographic information. My research also includes digital libraries and problems associated with search, retrieval, and use of geographic information over the Internet; the potential for novel kinds of fieldwork enabled by fully mobile, wirelessly connected, and even wearable information technology; and the role of geographic information technologies in science and policy making.

Membership Type


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Primary Section

Section 64: Human Environmental Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 34: Computer and Information Sciences