2014 Distinguished Career Award Recipient - A. Jon Kimerling

Dr. Kimerling received his BA from the University of Washington in 1972 and his MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1973 and 1976, respectively; it is noteworthy that it took him only one year to complete the Master’s degree and three years to complete the PhD, graduating with the PhD at the age of 26! Dr. Kimerling spent the rest of his career at Oregon State University, although he also held visiting professorships at the University of Wisconsin, what is now Curtin University of Technology in Australia, and the University of Redlands.


In the research realm, Dr. Kimerling is widely known for his work in both basic and applied research. In the basic realm, he has done research in a variety of areas, including equal-value gray scales, map projections, color specification, terrain visualization, dot mapping, and global grid systems. He has authored more than 30 refereed journal articles and book chapters, and co-edited the web book Discrete Global Grids with Michael Goodchild. His research has been supported by more than three million dollars in grants from numerous funding agencies including NSF, NASA, EPA, USDA, and DOD.  In recognition of his contributions to basic research, he received the Milton Harris Award in Basic Research from OSU in 1996.


In the applied research realm, Dr. Kimerling has been involved in several map production efforts. He was co-editor of several editions of the Atlas of the Pacific Northwest, was co-author of the Atlas of Oregon Wildlife and was the lead author of the Atlas of the Interior Columbia River Basin


In the teaching realm, Dr. Kimerling has served on approximately 275 MA and PhD committees; he has been the lead advisor on 10 PhD and 56 Master’s committees. It is not surprising that students speak highly of his teaching. In her nomination statement, Aileen Buckley noted his use of humor and obvious enthusiasm, and his humaneness. The latter is well illustrated by a graduate seminar that she took with him – she stated: “How like him to offer the course at his home in the evenings accompanied by a meal-his students are people to him, but he still manages to demand their respect and assure their productivity.” Dr. Kimerling’s skills as a teacher are reflected by the awards that he has received from OSU: the Loyd Carter Award for Outstanding and Inspirational Teaching in Science, and the Olaf Boedtker Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising.  Further reflecting his importance as an educator, he was co-author of the sixth edition of the Elements of Cartography, often considered the “bible” of American Cartography. More recently, he has been the lead author of the widely used introductory cartography book Map Use: Reading, Analysis, and Interpretation, now in its seventh edition.


In the service realm, Dr. Kimerling has been active at a variety of levels. He served as Editor of The American Cartographer, as President of the American Cartographic Association, which was a precursor to the present Cartography and Geographic Information society, and as Chair of the U.S. National Committee for the International Cartographic Association. He was responsible for spearheading the change in our journal name from the American Cartographer to Cartography and Geographic Information Systems. More recently, he was one of the co-editors of Cartography in the Twentieth Century, volume 6 of the prestigious History of Cartography series.