UCGIS Awards

Research  |  Education  |  Carolyn Merry Mentoring | Service

The UCGIS Awards Program identifies and honors members of our geospatial community who have extraordinary records of accomplishments, including service to the mission of UCGIS. Scholars worldwide can be nominated for any of these awards, but the nominations themselves can only come from individuals affiliated with current UCGIS member institutions.  

Our Research Award is given to an individual who has made a particularly outstanding research contribution to geographic information science. This may include an outstanding peer-reviewed research work, or series of works, though other modes of expression will be considered, including patents, software packages, and non-refereed publications. This award is not for life-time achievement, but instead for a particular research product made at any time prior to the award year. 

UCGIS Research Award Recipients

Serge Rey
Hanan Samet
Hanan Samet
Frederico Fonseca


UCGIS Education Awards

UCGIS offers two education awards, for Lifetime Achievement Award and for Innovation, that alternate biennially. The Call for Nominations for the UCGIS 2021 Lifetime Achievement in GIScience Education Award can be found here (pdf).

The UCGIS Lifetime Achievement in GIScience Education Award (offered in odd years) is intended to recognize a career of professional contributions of both national and international significance to GIScience education. Such contributions may be reflected in (but not limited to):

  • Demonstrated excellence in GIScience instruction and pedagogy via traditional, formal, informal as well as new educational delivery methods
  • Enhancing public awareness of GIScience
  • Mentoring of students who pursue careers in GIScience related professions
  • Leadership in GIScience curriculum and learning materials development (e.g. textbooks, websites, and learning technology)
  • Publications or other markers of significant scholarship concerned with GIScience education
  • Leadership in the development of GIScience education policy

Recipients of the UCGIS Lifetime Achievement in GIScience Education Award (formerly known as the UCGIS Education Award):

Joseph Kerski
Ken Foote
William Huxhold
Karen Kemp


The UCGIS Innovation in GIScience Education Award was first offered in 2020, and will continue to be offered in even years. The award was designed for individuals who have contributed outstanding innovations to GIScience education. The award is intended to recognize innovative contributions of both national and international significance to GIScience education. GIS education innovations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Implementing new ways to be inclusive and equitable in GIS Education, including access to geospatial technologies, including desktop, cloud, or high-performance computing.
  • Developing innovative learning techniques (online and/or in classrooms or beyond).
  • Enabling students to analyze new types of geospatial data or use emerging geospatial technologies (for example, mining geospatial content in social media, using cyberinfrastructure, or collecting data using drones).
  • Developing opportunities that enable students to create rapid turn-around results to meet pressing community needs (e.g., developing protocols and strategies that allow students to quickly assist non-profit organizations or government entities in local emergencies)
  • Creating curricula or coursework that embed opportunities for GIS students to participate in finding solutions to global crises (e.g., disease outbreaks, refugee crises, UN Sustainable Environment Goals, or Wicked Problems).
  • Equipping GIS students to effectively disseminate authoritative geospatial scientific findings regarding complex societal issues (e.g., through training in science communication or visualization).

Recipients of the UCGIS Innovation in GIScience Education Award:

Global GIScience Education Community Wins Innovation Award 
GIScience Education Community  
2020, post-COVID


 Carolyn Merry Mentoring Award


The Carolyn Merry Mentoring Award is given to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional mentoring abilities and practices. Dr. Carolyn Merry, a professor emerita of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering at The Ohio State University, embodied the spirit of a mentor by sharing her wisdom and experience with colleagues, particularly junior scholars, as a scientist, educator, and academic leader. In addition to leadership roles as department chair at her university and president of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), she served from 2002 to 2004 on the executive committee of UCGIS. While UCGIS President, Carolyn’s leadership style reflected her strengths as a mentor. During and after meetings, she was known for her engagement with participants and careful listening during every conversation.

The goal of the Carolyn Marry Mentoring Award is to recognize her commitment to mentoring and the investment of others who share this philosophy.  The call for nominations for the 2021 Carolyn Merry Mentoring Award can be found here (pdf). 


UCGIS Carolyn Merry Mentoring Award Recipients

Nina Lam LSU

Nina Lam


Budhu Bhaduri

Budhu Bhaduri


Keith Clarke

Keith Clarke


Guido Cervone

Guido Cervone


Sara McLafferty UIUC

Sara McLafferty



Beth King



UCGIS Service Awards

The Service Award, first established by the UCGIS Board of Directors in 2014, recognizes individuals who have significantly contributed to the growth, development and ongoing success of the organization. This Award is made only at the discretion of the UCGIS President. 

UCGIS Service Award Recipients

Tim Nyerges

Timothy Nyerges 



Laxmi Ramasubramanian



Diana Sinton

Diana S. Sinton