Ron Eastman

Awarded Year: 
2007
Award Type: 
Research Award
Award Information: 

The University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. J. Ronald Eastman, School of Geography, Clark University, as the recipient of the 2007 UCGIS Research Award for the innovative and well-recognized research contributions embodied within the IDRISI GIS software.

The UCGIS Research Award is given to the creator(s) of a particularly outstanding research contribution to Geographic Information Science recognized in 2006. The main criterion for choosing the awardee is the impact of the research achievement on the theory and/or practice of GIScience, or on research using GIS, or on Geographic Information Technology. Nominations are taken from any of the 70+ UCGIS institutional members each year. A committee of five well-recognized UCGIS scholars, representing many UCGIS disciplines evaluates nominations.

The IDRISI software embodies many basic advances in GIScience. Software in some cases is the outcome of (often) painstaking research. Many of the concepts and techniques embedded within certain software are based on research products (i.e., basic research work) in and of themselves, and IDRISI is one of the best examples of such a research product. The software is an expression of a method-driven research product, and putting it to use shows it is an applied research product, as it has been used in many research projects.

The raster-based IDRISI GIS and image processing software is used by over 50,000 registered users around the world. Professor Eastman is dedicated to expanding the theoretical foundations of GIScience, applying GIS to pressing global challenges, and transferring technology to the developing world. IDRISI has long offered research advances well before they were implemented in other GIS packages. Some of these advances for which published articles accompany the developments in software include the following:

  • Fuzzy systems logic in spatial decision support systems
  • Land use / land cover change modeling
  • Biodiversity and conservation
  • Global change
  • Model Validation tools
  • Classifiers for image processing software
  • Uncertainty management in GIS and image classification
  • Spatio-temporal dynamic modeling

The IDRISI system, having developed over a twenty-five year period continues to be a "cutting edge" platform. IDRISI has been available to researchers and practitioners alike for over twenty years and enabled many to explore cutting edge research ideas. In a way this is a "research infrastructure" product. Such research products are highly praised by national funding agencies worldwide.

Members of the evaluation committee remarked about the evidence that has amassed about the impact of the IDRISI product. The nomination letter identified many refereed articles related to the software, and those ideas embedded within the software are the principal reasons why IDRISI is worthy of this award. The UCGIS Research Award is for the "research product" not the person per se. But of course, Ron Eastman is the researcher most closely associated with the product, and thus he is very deserving of this award.

The award will be presented at the UCGIS 2007 Summer Assembly in Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, June 26 – June 28, 2007.

UCGIS congratulates Ron Eastman!