David J. Cowen

David Cowen

Dr. David Cowen is recognized as a Fellow of the UCGIS in recognition of his sustained and effective contributions to the field of Geographic Information Systems and Science. Professor Cowen’s contributions in the areas of GIS applications, education, research, government service, and commercial development have had a deep and long-lasting impact upon both geography and GIScience, and on the ways in which GIS is viewed by society. In addition to a distinguished academic career at the University of South Carolina, Professor Cowen has worked for more than three decades to demonstrate how geographic concepts and GIS can substantially increase the effectiveness of many activities in the public sector.

Dr. David Cowen received his B.A. (1966) and M.A. (1971) in Geography from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and his Ph.D. in Geography from The Ohio State University in 1971. Currently, Dr. Cowen is Distinguished Professor Emeritus and is a former chair of the Department of Geography at the University of South Carolina. While an active faculty member, he started one of the first academic GIS programs, and advised 14 Ph.D. and 47 master’s students to completion of their degrees. Professor Cowen also directed the college computer center for 22 years, and served as interim university vice president for computing for an eight month period. In addition to his university activities, Dr. Cowen is the current Chair of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee. He also chaired the Mapping Science Committee of the National Research Council for six years, and is a member of the NRC Board on Earth Sciences and Resources and he recently chaired the NRC Study Committee “Land Parcel Databases: A National Vision”. Professor Cowen served as the first elected president of the AAG GISS specialty group, and ran the group’sits central office for more than 20 years. He was one of the cofounders of UCGIS. He has also served as the President of the Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS)

Over the years, Dr. Cowen has received many awards for his work. These include an ESRI Lifetime Achievement Award, the State of South Carolina Governor ’s Information Resource Council Distinguished Service Award, election as a Fellow of the American Congress on Survey and Mapping and appointment as a National Associate of the National Academies of Science; this honorary title is bestowed upon people who have exhibited an "extraordinary dedication" to the work of the National Academies. This February, Dr. Cowen will also receive the 2012 Robert T. Aangeenbrug Distinguished Career Award sponsored by the AAG Geographic Information Science and Systems Specialty Group. His recognition as a Fellow of the UCGIS is well deserved.


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