From a nationwide call for nominations, Professor Harlan Onsrud of the University of Maine was among six individuals to be honored as a Fellow by the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS). UCGIS is a non profit organization of seventy universities and other research institutions dedicated to expanding and strengthening geographic information science.
The award announcement permanently maintained on the UCGIS web site reads as follows:
Harlan J. Onsrud has been a leader in research and education on the legal, ethical, and institutional issues surrounding spatial information since the 1980s. Professor Onsrud was instrumental in the establishment of the UCGIS. He participated in the founding meeting in Boulder, Colorado, and took the lead in drafting the original UCGIS bylaws. Harlan then served as the first Chair of the UCGIS Policy and Legislation Committee and played a key role in the planning of early UCGIS Congressional Breakfast events. He also served as President of the UCGIS. Professor Onsrud convened the second UCGIS Summer Assembly, a very successful meeting held in Bar Harbor, Maine, that focused on UCGIS Education Priorities.
Professor Onsrud is a member of the Department of Spatial Information Science and Engineering at the University of Maine, where he has taught and conducted research for much of his career. Harlan is a multitalented and transdisciplinary figure, a licensed engineer, land surveyor and attorney as well as an information science professor. Harlan Onsrud earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and his Juris Doctor (J. D.) degree, all at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Professor Onsrud’s research focuses on the analysis of legal, ethical, and institutional issues affecting the creation and use of digital databases and the assessment of the social impacts of spatial technologies. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Federal Geographic Data Committee, and the U.S. Department of Education. Professor Onsrud teaches courses in Information Systems Law, Information Ethics, Cadastral and Land Information Systems, and Research Ethics.
Harlan Onsrud’s commitment to data sharing and open intellectual property principles have led him to take on a number of leadership and service roles in national and international organizations. He has served as President and currently serves as Executive Director of the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association (GSDI). He is a former Chair of the U.S. National Committee (USNC) on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) of the National Research Council and former chair of the Socieconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) Working Group for CIESIN at Columbia University. He chaired a U.S. National Research Council Study on the Licensing of Spatial Data and has participated in numerous other NAS studies — he is a lifetime National Associate of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences. Selected for the Fulbright Specialists program roster, he most recently received Fulbright funding for an extended visit at the University of Melbourne in Australia. He was also a leading figure in transitioning the Journal of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association to an open electronic and print journal and served as Editor-in-Chief through that transition.
For his contributions to Geographic Information Science, both in general and especially in the context of information policy, and for his tireless service to UCGIS, Harlan J. Onsrud is very deserving of the honor of being appointed as a Fellow of UCGIS.
Others honored at the Spring 2011 meeting and their current or former affiliations include Dr. William J. Craig, University of Minnesota, Dr. Jerome E. Dobson, University of Kansas, Dr. Michael F. Goodchild, University of California Santa Barbara, Dr. Karen K. Kemp, University of Southern California, and Dr. Duane F. Marble, Ohio State University.