Milestone-Proposal talk:The First Geographic Information System (GIS) developed in 1962-1968

Revision as of 19:13, 22 March 2021 by Juan Carlos (talk | contribs) (support this proposal -- ~~~~: new section)

Advocates and reviewers will post their comments below. In addition, any IEEE member can sign in with their ETHW login (different from IEEE Single Sign On) and comment on the milestone proposal's accuracy or completeness as a form of public review.

Introduction and next steps -- Mislav Grgic (talk) 22:24, 15 January 2021 (UTC)

Dear Milestone Proposer,

I am a member of the IEEE History Committee and I will be the Advocate for this proposal. As Advocate, it is my responsibility to help you bring this proposal to a successful vote by the History Committee. At least two external expert reviews are required before I can recommend this proposal to the Committee.

I will begin compiling a list of possible reviewers. If you have names that you can recommend, please forward them to me.

Mislav Grgic
IEEE History Committee

Assessment by First Reviewer -- Mislav Grgic (talk) 17:52, 16 February 2021 (UTC)

Below is the first review from Professor Mike Ballard, M.A., Geospatial Science; Information and Communications Technology – Applications and Programming, Algonquin College, 1385 Woodroffe Ave., Ottawa, Ontario K2G 1V8, CANADA


Thank you for your invitation to provide an external expert review.

Review of the Proposal "IEEE Milestone Proposal Docket #:2020-13, GIS":

I have reviewed the proposal for “The First Geographic Information System (GIS) developed in 1962-1968”. The proposal is accurate and appropriate.

I have only these two minor editorial comments:

Under What is the Historical Significance …

“The existing geographical data was not centralized, sufficiently systematized, stored uniformly or easily made available.” – At the time, geographic information was not “data” the way we mean data today. Management of geographic information was through the use of analog maps and aerial photography. The innovation proposed by Dr. Tomlinson was to convert traditional analog maps into computer data. Before the CGIS we did not use the term “geographical data”. It is appropriate to credit Tomlinson with the idea that maps could be treated like data in computers.

Under What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed …

“manual processing of geographical data was slow,” – again, geographic information was not called “data” at the time, as it was primarily analog hand-drawn maps and aerial photography, used to make printing plates for publication. Any reference to systems for managing geographic information prior to CGIS should not be called “data”, but geographic information or geographic knowledge, or maps.


Re: Assessment by First Reviewer -- B djokic (talk) 04:31, 2 March 2021 (UTC)

As per two editorial comments by the First Reviewer, changes have been made accordingly in the proposal, in the section "What is the historical significance of the work" (a new sentence has been added: "The innovation envisioned and implemented by Dr. Tomlinson was to convert traditional analog maps and aerial photography into computer data and to treat these as computer data.") and in the section "What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?" ("geographical data" has been replaced by "geographical information").

Assessment by Second Reviewer -- Mislav Grgic (talk) 18:08, 16 February 2021 (UTC)

The second review of this Milestone proposal is from Mr. Jack Dangermond, President of Esri, 380 New York Street, Redlands, California 92373-8100, USA. Esri - Environmental Systems Research Institute (founded in 1969) is an international supplier of geographic information system (GIS) software, web GIS and geodatabase management applications.



Comment -- Polismpp1125 (talk) 00:37, 1 March 2021 (UTC)

Given the comment on "data" of the first reviewer, should the citation be changed?

Re: Comment -- B djokic (talk) 04:24, 2 March 2021 (UTC)

As per the comment, the citation has been updated to reflect the First Reviewer's comment on "data". Since at the time geographic information was not "data" the way we mean data today, "data" in the citation has been replaced by "information" in its first occurrence. As the last sentence implies the contemporary point of view, it was appropriate to leave geographic "data" in its second occurrence. In addition, the word "information" is already used close by in the same sentence.

Use of Dr. Roger Tomlinson's name in the Milestone citation -- Mislav Grgic (talk) 08:29, 7 March 2021 (UTC)

As a Milestone advocate, I would like to comment on the use of Dr. Roger Tomlinson's name in the Milestone citation. I have been in direct contact with the proposer of this Milestone and we agreed that the use of Dr. Tomlinson's name in the citation is fully justified and essential for this milestone. I would like to invite the proposer to post here his comments and argument(s) in support of this conclusion we have mutually reached.

Re: Use of Dr. Roger Tomlinson's name in the Milestone citation -- B djokic (talk) 01:00, 10 March 2021 (UTC)

The purpose of this IEEE Milestone is to commemorate and celebrate both the first Geographic Information System (GIS) using computer technology and its creator, Dr. Roger Tomlinson. Dr. Tomlinson initiated this original idea in the 1960s, devised it in all relevant aspects, and managed to implement it at the time when many professionals and staff who worked under his guidance did not fully understand his vision. The relevant publications that came out in the course of this development bear his name as the sole author. Moreover, he is widely recognized as the "father of GIS", and his generous sharing of his knowledge and vision has been appreciated by anyone who had a chance to collaborate with him. Dr. Tomlinson passed away in 2014; there is no one, individual or organization, to dispute or take advantage of mentioning his name in the citation on the milestone plaque. The breadth and significance of his accomplishment are such that they justify the inclusion of Dr. Tomlinson’s name in the citation and on the plaque. In this case, the creation and its creator are inseparable.

Re: Re: Use of Dr. Roger Tomlinson's name in the Milestone citation -- Bberg (talk) 17:44, 16 March 2021 (UTC)

I concur with the inclusion of Dr. Tomlinson's name based on these arguments. Inclusion of "father of GIS" in the citation would give great support for this, and the word "computerize" in place of "computer technology" reads a bit better. Thus, I propose changing to first 2 sentences to:

The first Geographic Information System (GIS) was developed in the 1960s at Ottawa's Canadian Department of Forestry and Rural Development by Dr. Roger Tomlinson, the "father of GIS."  Tomlinson computerized the collection, storage, analysis, management and visualization of Canada Land Inventory information.

This reduces the total word count from 71 to 70 as well.

Brian Berg

My support of this proposal -- John Vardalas (talk) 20:47, 18 March 2021 (UTC)

I support this proposal.

support this proposal -- Juan Carlos (talk) 19:13, 22 March 2021 (UTC)

although i'm not familiar with this subject, I consider this proposal worthy of becoming a milestone, given the opinions included in the page and the argumentation of the proposal itself. I'm not quite sure about the inclusion of the name of the project leader.