2012 Distinguished Career Award Recipient – E. Lynn Usery

E. Lynn Usery

Director, Center of Excellence for Geospatial Information Science, U.S. Geological Survey

Dr. Usery is a Research Physical Scientist and Director of the Center of Excellence for Geospatial Information Science (CEGIS) with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Previously, he was professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Georgia. Presently, he is also an Adjunct Professor with the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Dr. Usery is highly thought of for the key role that he played in establishing CEGIS. He was instrumental in developing the mission and scope of CEGIS focusing on research that would further the mission of the USGS National Geospatial Program. After only five years of existence, The National Map was produced and users were provided web access to a broad range of geospatial information. A key characteristic of the CEGIS program is its integration of the government and academic research communities. Because of Lynn’s background in both arenas, he is able to provide an environment that enables collaboration between university research teams and a government-based national mapping agency. While at USGS, Dr. Usery has also developed a publication strategy and a multi-discipline rating for government scientists. Along these lines, in 2009 he received an award from the USGS for developing a multi-media set of presentation materials commemorating the USGS’ “125 years of topographic mapping.”

Dr. Usery was also highly successful while serving as a professor at UW-Madison and the University of Georgia. At Georgia, he served as the Graduate Coordinator and Undergraduate Advisor for the GIScience Certificate Programs, where he received Development Awards and Learning Grants related to technology-enhanced education in GIScience. He has supervised dozens of Ph.D. dissertations and masters’ theses in addition to serving on more than 50 Ph.D. and Masters’ advisory committees. His research interests include theoretical investigations and practical applications in GIScience, cartography, and remote sensing, including analyses of spatial resolution as it applies to environmental models; integration and generalization of digital geospatial data models in a GIS-based map rendering environment; and automated methods and improved data modeling paradigms associated with feature extraction from images. Dr. Usery was instrumental in developing a framework allowing for the representation of attributes and relationships for multiple dimensions of geographic phenomena. This model removed the necessity of viewing spatial attributes, such as location, as the fundamental basis of geography and helped establish the concept that spatial location is only one of many attributes of a particular geographic feature.  Dr. Usery’s research continues to advance theoretical GIScience by investigating geospatial ontologies and semantics, data models, data integration, and grid computing for spatial data.  An indication of his success in the publication arena is that he was bestowed with the ASPRS Presidential Citation Award in 2011 and the ASPRS’ Best Scientific Paper in Remote Sensing in 2002.

Those who are involved in public service may know him best for his extensive involvement in this arena.  He is a long-time, active member of CaGIS. His contributions to the society led to his election in 2006 as a Fellow of CaGIS and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM). He is a past-president of CaGIS and served as editor of the journal, Cartography and Geographic Information Science.  In 2006, Lynn was elected to serve as Chair of the U.S. National Committee to the International Cartographic Association (ICA) and continues to serve in that capacity and as Vice-Chair of the Commission on Map Projections and as Chair of the Technology Outreach Working Group.  Presently, he is Chair of the Local Organizing Committee and Conference Director for the 2017 International Cartographic Conference to be held in Washington, D.C. This conference would not be in the United States without Dr. Usery tireless leadership effort.

Dr. Usery has also served as president of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS). UCGIS elected Lynn as a Fellow in 2010, one of only three worldwide. In addition, he served UCGIS as Chair of the Research Committee and as editor of the 400 page book “A Research Agenda for Geographic Information Science.”


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