More About the Author
Jerry Dobson is an innovator and popular writer and speaker in the fields of geography and geographic information science. He is happiest at the ends of the earth, the cutting edge of technology, and the forefront of science. He has been called a pioneer of the geographic information revolution and holds two lifetime achievement awards from professional societies in that booming field. He was president of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science and has been president of the American Geographical Society--America's oldest geographic association--for more than a decade. He is a professor of geography at the University of Kansas and a Jefferson Science Fellow with the National Academies and U. S. Department of State. He previously served as a distinguished research and development staff member at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and later as senior scientist in the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues at the U.S. Department of State.
Jerry has published more than 200 professional articles, editorials, and reports on geographic information systems (GIS), continental drift, coastal change analysis, and human evolution. For 14 years he had his own regular column in GIS World/Geoworld magazine. He led the development of the current world standard for estimating populations-at-risk in disasters of all kinds and the current world standard for cartographic representation of land mines and minefields. His work on plate tectonics has been compared to that of Alfred Wegener who made the final case for continental drift, but he says it's more like the commonsense of Abraham Ortelius who first proposed the theory in 1596. His Geographical Review paper exploring the role of iodine in human evolution was reported worldwide by the New York Times, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, Sonntags Zeitung, Der Spiegel, Discovery Channel Online, and other news media. He coined the term "geoslavery" to warn the world about abuses of geographic information technology employed for human tracking.
Jerry has conducted fieldwork throughout North America--especially Alaska, Mexico, and the Adirondack Mountains of New York--plus many remote places in Africa, South America, the Middle East, Central and East Asia, and Australia. His career took him to Liberia during the chaotic reign of Samuel Doe, to the remote borders of Ecuador and Peru where he led a team evaluating new technology for mapping minefields without walking on them, to war-torn Eritrea and Bosnia-Herzegovina where he updated population estimates after the fighting there, and to Jordan and Kuwait where he rushed to improve population estimates just three weeks before the U. S. attack on neighboring Iraq. While at the State Department, Jerry worked to improve population estimates for Haiti and Pakistan, dealt with the BP Gulf oil spill, and championed new means of countering America's devastating geographic ignorance of foreign people and places.
Jerry has presided over six "globesigning" ceremonies honoring firsts in exploration and world records in aviation. In a tradition that started in the 1920s, the American Geographical Society's Fliers and Explorers Globe has been signed by more than 80 of the greatest explorers and aviators of the 20th Century, including Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Wiley Post, Robert Peary, Roald Amundsen, Sir Edmund Hillary, and John Glenn. Since 2000, Jerry has hosted 18 globesignings including such luminaries as astronauts Neil Armstrong and Bill Anders and deep sea divers Don Walsh and Sylvia Earle. In 2012, he took the priceless globe to Russia for signings by cosmonauts Valentina Tereshkova and Alexei Leonov, where he followed president Vladimir Putin at the podium.
Jerry and Gwen grew up near Canton, GA. They first met at the age of five and have been in love most of the time since, now married for 45 years. They have two sons, Eric and Craig, whose families are the highlight of their lives.
Professor Jerome E. "Jerry" Dobson holds a doctorate in geography from the University of Tennessee and masters and bachelors in geography from the University of Georgia.