Our Mission

To benefit society by promoting the development and realization of Digital Earth

John Wilson

United States

University of Southern California

Dr. John P. Wilson is Professor of Sociology and Spatial Sciences in the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California (USC) where he directs the Spatial Sciences Institute as well as the Wilson Map Lab. He also holds appointments as Professor in the School of Architecture, in the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Department of Preventive Medicine, and in the Viterbi School of Engineering’s Departments of Computer Science and Civil and Environmental Engineering. 


From 1998 to 2001 and 2007 to 2010 he was Chair of the Department of Geography at USC, and from 1992 to 1997 he was Professor of Geography in the Department of Earth Sciences, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Science, and Founding Director of the Geographic Information and Analysis Center (GIAC) at Montana State University (MSU). His early career was as Assistant Professor (1984-1990) and then Associate Professor of Geography (1990- 1994) with appointments in Plant and Soil Science at MSU. 


He founded GIAC at MSU in 1989 and the GIS Research Laboratory, GIST Graduate Programs, and Spatial Sciences Institute at USC in 1997, 2007 and 2010, respectively. He has held several visiting appointments in environmental studies, geography, and planning at the Australian National University, University of Canterbury, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Utrecht, University of Waikato, and most recently, in the Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He founded the journal Transactions in GIS published by Wiley-Blackwell in 1996, and has served as Editorin-Chief since its inception. He currently serves on the editorial boards of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers Review of Books, Geo-Spatial Information Science, the International Journal of Disaster Response and Emergency Management, the ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, and Open Geospatial Data, Software, & Standards. He has previously served on the editorial boards of Applied Geography (1992- 2001) and the Annals of the Association of American Geographers (2006-2009). He has chaired the Applied Geography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers (1989-1991) and the Research Committee of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) (2002-2005). He also served on the Board of Directors (2003-2006) and as President of UCGIS from 2006 to 2007. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for the UCGIS GIST Body of Knowledge project and is an active participant in the UNIGIS International Network, a worldwide consortium of universities focused on online geographic information science academic programs. 


His research focuses on the modeling of coupled human and environmental systems and makes extensive use of GIS, spatial analysis, and computer models. He has published numerous books and articles on these topics, including Environmental Applications of Digital Terrain Modeling (Wiley, 2018) and two edited volumes, Terrain Analysis: Principles and Applications (Wiley, 2000) and the Handbook of Geographic Information Science (Blackwell, 2008). Much of this work is collaborative with the goal of improving our understanding of the factors linking people, their environments, and their health. The work of his lab group can be seen athttp://johnwilson.usc.edu/. He has received numerous honors for his research and teaching, the most recent his election as a Fellow of the UCGIS (2014) and his receipt of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Chinese Professionals in Geographic Information Science (2016) and the GIS Education Award by the UCGIS (2019). He also received a Mellon Award for Excellence in Mentoring from the Center for Excellence in Teaching at USC (2005) and the Albert S. Raubenheimer Outstanding Faculty Award for his research, teaching, and service contributions in Dornsife College at USC (2004).

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