Roger Tomlinson Biography
(Father of GIS)
Birthday: November 17, 1933 (Scorpio)
Born In: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Roger Tomlinson was an English geographer commonly referred to as the "father of GIS." He was the one who created the first computerized geographic information system in the 1960s and coined the term geographic information system (GIS). His pioneering work paved the way for the development of further technologies in satellite mapping and global positioning system (GPS). It also set the pace for cartographic innovations like Google Maps. Born in Cambridge, England, to a father who had served as a Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot in the First World War, he too became a pilot like his father and served in the Royal Air Force for a few years. He travelled widely during his military service with kindled in him a love for geography. Following his discharge he proceeded to study geography at the University of Nottingham and won a scholarship from McGill University to undertake a master’s degree in glacial geomorphology which necessitated his move to Canada. His initial career included a stint as the manager of the computer mapping division at Spartan Air Services in Ottawa following which he started working for the Government of Canada. It was during this time that he conceptualized and directed the development of the Canada Geographic Information System, the first computerized GIS in the world.