00:01And now I want to take a few minutes on behalf of the National Geographic Society...
00:05...to honor the inspiration and the inventiveness that brings us GIS technology.
00:14I'm excited because this is a big day in the history of National Geographic's 123-year history, and I hope you'll enjoy sharing it.
00:27In 1980, we created the Alexander Graham Bell Medal, designated to honor research and geography.
00:37Along with the Hubbard Medal given for exploration, discovery, and research...
00:43...the Bell Medal is the highest honor National Geographic bestows.
00:49Alexander Graham Bell is remembered for the telephone, as a teacher of the deaf...
00:55...and for contributions to manned flight, and for many other inventions and such roles.
01:03But his innovation that is closest to my heart, which has defined my career, is what he coinvented, you might say...
01:14...with his father-in-law and a young man who would become his son-in-law, Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor.
01:21GHG, my grandfather, described Bell as "a daring original thinker with a mind that tirelessly questioned and probed."
01:32Bell supported the National Geographic Society financially in its infancy, when it otherwise would never have survived.
01:41He never considered abandoning the struggling enterprise, and why?
01:46Because he had that inventor's confidence of vision because he felt that the public would support a geographic magazine...
01:56...and so long as it captured the world's wonder and the spirit of those who inhabit the planet earth.
02:04The Bell Medal is a rare honor, and giving it today to Roger Tomlinson...
02:11...we recognize the profound impact that the invention and application of the GIS has made on the study of geography.
02:19GIS has broadened our ability to articulate what geography is all about.
02:27The wisdom available to us through GIS as textured nuance vision...
02:33...has benefited humankind tremendously and will continue to do so.
02:40The first recipients of the Bell Medal, the only ones as a matter of fact before today...
02:47...were Bradford and Barbara Washburn for their exploration, measurement, and meticulous mapping of the Grand Canyon.
02:56The Washburns would also go on to portray Mt. Everest in detail as it had never been done before.
03:06The Washburns were really quite extraordinary people.
03:11When they decided to get married, they gave a lot of thought to what they would do on their honeymoon...
03:16...and where they would go, and they chose Mt. McKinley...
03:20...and they decided that they would hike and climb around Mt. McKinley and enjoy themselves.
03:30It's interesting, because one day Barbara and Brad Washburn found themselves on the summit of Mt. McKinley.
03:42She was the first woman ever to summit Mt. McKinley, and she was on her honeymoon.
03:48Now if there are any young guys out there planning a honeymoon, you're going to find that one hard to top.
03:56Barbara Washburn's words resonate today as we present Roger Tomlinson with the Bell Medal...
04:02...and I quote, "In a world where all the great geographical discoveries seem to have been made...
04:08...one wonders what is still left to explore. Although it is true that the big things have been discovered...
04:16...today's thrills lie in deepening and understanding of those same places.
04:24The simple search for more of the truth about our world is just as important today...
04:31...as it was in the days of ancient Egypt or Columbus or Peary."
04:39And the words of the late Brad Washburn, who lived to 96, also summed up Roger Tomlinson's approach...
04:47...and I quote, "Both explorers and inventors like to work at the pioneer fringe, the cutting edge of knowledge.
04:58They are unhappy with the status quo. They are restless.
05:01They want to expand the frontiers of knowledge and in so doing, they want to broaden our horizons, improve the quality of life.
05:11We have the joy of sharing natural beauty and scientific information with others in ways that makes this sharing as vivid as possible."
05:24In presenting this award, we honor the qualities that we find in the great innovators.
05:30In the wide field of geography, Roger Tomlinson is certainly such a person.
05:36And, Roger, will you please join me on stage.
05:50Sir, this is indeed a pleasure. And you would like to say some words.
05:54I would indeed.
05:55Would you like to go here or here? Either way. OK.
06:04First of all, thank you to the National Geographic Society.
06:09At times like this, a suitable quote, I think, is appropriate and I found one that says...
06:17..."Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds."
06:27I may be given credit for having blazed the trail in GIS, but when I look at the subsequent development...
06:38...I feel the credit is due to others rather than just myself.
06:46That quote is from Alexander Graham Bell and is appropriate...
06:53...and delightful that his great grandson is giving me this award today. Thank you.
06:59Thank you, sir.
07:10And, Roger, just as the invention of the telescope through new opportunities for exploration of astronomy...
07:22...just as the microscope allowed us to complete the makeup of planets, biology, and chemistry...
07:29...your inventiveness has provided humanity with the power to see and analyze the earth and its systems in ways never before possible.
07:40You were a budget-constrained young geographer grappling with the boundaries of your job...
07:47...given a task that would have required funding and staffing that weren't available.
07:54With necessity as the mother of invention, you employed computers in a novel way and brought us GIS.
08:05The innovation not only assured your job and a career, it expanded the practice of geography and guaranteed you a place in history.
08:16I thank you for making geographers out of people who don't even know they're geographers.
08:22Through your innovation, you provided the means through which people can better understand and better use the living spaces we share.
08:31And now, finally, I am mindful that you and Bell shared a common heritage.
08:41Yes, we [unintelligible].
08:45You're both tied to Canada. And so now I would like to present this medal to you.
08:55It's a great pleasure, sir.
08:56Very handsome. Thank you very much.
08:58Thank you very much.
09:06It's right behind me.
09:17If you can't read it, I'll read it.
09:19To Roger Tomlinson, the father of geographic information systems for transforming the field of geography...
09:26...through the development of GIS technology...
09:29...and for the dynamic cultivation of the field of geographic information science for over four decades. July 12, 2010.
09:39And, sir, I thank you very much.
09:41Thank you, again.
09:54But wait. There is more.
09:59Bell was also known for his freshness of vision, his contagious spirit, and his scrupulous concern for truth.
10:09He had unquestionable hopefulness and the thirst for knowledge as well as an inexhaustible capacity for wonder.
10:22One of his greatest inspirations was to enliven geography, to draw the public into it...
10:28...and to present it invitingly, engagingly, and usefully.
10:35Bell rejected dry geography.
10:38He saw geography as a connective tool encompassing all life...
10:45...its connections to the earth's feature including human systems at play...
10:50...he defined geography broadly, as I quote, "The world and all that's in it."
10:59And not surprisingly, that's the motto that I have followed for 56 years at National Geographic...
11:06...and I have never regretted adopting it.
11:10The connection between Bell's philosophy and Jack Dangermond's mission couldn't be clearer.
11:18Will you please join me, Jack, on the stage.
11:32Thank you sir.
11:37Bell would have been amazed, I'm sure, at the numerous innovations of GIS...
11:42...that today allow the public to routinely interact with geography in such dynamic and personalized ways...
11:50...as the students showed us a few minutes ago.
11:53Jack, your technological advances of GIS have allowed us to look at our world with greater clarity.
12:00Your nurturing of GIS and your inspired zeal on its behalf has brought a greater understanding of the earth to the millions...
12:09...just as we have started interacting with the earth in ways that make that understanding so urgent.
12:19Jack, you have resurrected the discipline of a geography, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
12:41And I would like to read the description on Jack Dangermond's medal.
12:46To Jack Dangermond for transforming the field of geography and by recognizing the fundamental potential of GIS technology...
12:54...bringing the use of geographic information to virtually every field of human endeavor in every corner of the globe.
13:03July 12, 2010.
13:08Jack, you wholeheartedly deserve this recognition.
13:15That's the least we could do, my friend. [unintelligible] fantastic.
13:19Thank you very much. Here it is. Thank you.
13:29And thank you, everyone, for your interest and attention.
13:33I hope you will continue your own geographic exploration and innovations and continue to enjoy this fantastic event.
13:43Thank you very much.
13:53Thank you, Gil. Thank you very much.
13:56I accept that medal on behalf of you, the people who actually have done it. It was easy.
14:03Thank you, Gil.
National Geographic Society Bell Medals
- Recorded: Jul 12th, 2010
- Runtime: 14:05
- Views: 17092
- Published: Aug 25th, 2010
- Night Mode (Off)Automatically dim the web site while the video is playing. A few seconds after you start watching the video and stop moving your mouse, your screen will dim. You can auto save this option if you login.
- HTML5 Video (Off) Play videos using HTML5 Video instead of flash. A modern web browser is required to view videos using HTML5.