On GIS Day, Esri Canada President Alex Miller presented Dr. Bob Maher with the Roger F. Tomlinson Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of his many achievements in expanding the use of geographic information system (GIS) technology. Dr. Maher established a world-class training program for GIS programmers at the College of Geographic Sciences (COGS) in Nova Scotia, where he was Senior Research Scientist responsible for the Applied Geomatics program.
The award recognizes individuals for their outstanding achievement and contribution to the GIS community during their career and was created as a tribute to Dr. Roger F. Tomlinson O.C., a visionary Canadian geographer who conceived and developed GIS and became known as the ‘father of GIS’.
“Bob has always known that geography is central to understanding our world and he trained hundreds of people to use the lens of geography to understand problems. The intensive training program he created at COGS has helped the college become recognized as the gold standard for teaching of GIS. The program has significantly contributed to Canada’s rich pool of highly qualified GIS professionals,” says Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada.
“GIS is central to addressing the significant environmental degradation that the world faces today and I am proud to have trained people who are all around the world, using GIS to help address it,” says Dr. Bob Maher.
Dr. Maher has also taught far beyond Canada’s borders. He has conducted intensive GIS training courses in China, Indonesia and Zimbabwe, all for international aid agencies. At various universities, he also taught Applied Mathematics, Quantitative Methods and Computer Mapping, Biogeography, Scientific Computer Programming and Computer Graphics, in addition to GIS.
He is also an innovator who has worked as an applied research scientist for over 25 years. In Nova Scotia, Dr. Maher led a team who developed one of the first PC-based GIS digitizing systems. In Alberta, his team developed a PC-based integration of image processing and GIS.
When Dr. Maher worked as a senior manager in the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), he was responsible for all aspects of GIS education and technical and management training at over 60 locations. In consultation with MNR technical staff, he produced a framework for corporate GIS training. He established partnerships with colleges, universities and the private sector. His work at MNR represented one of the most extensive and complex implementations of GIS technology in Canadian government.
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