Timeline of Milestones


  • College of California chartered


  • Berkeley site of College of California dedicated


  • College of California became University of California, with Berkeley the first campus


  • An existing Santa Barbara city normal school became Santa Barbara State Normal School of Manual Arts and Home Economics


  • The name was shortened to Santa Barbara State Normal School


  • The school changed from a 2-year to a 4-year program and was renamed the Santa Barbara State Teachers College


  • With academic diversification that included liberal arts degrees, the word “Teachers” was dropped from the name, so the institution was called Santa Barbara State College


  • Santa Barbara State College became a campus of UC; Geography classes offered by faculty in various departments


  • College moved from Santa Barbara (Riviera and Mesa) campuses to the old WWII marine base on Goleta Point


  • Santa Barbara designated a general campus; renamed University of California Santa Barbara


  • Geography Program begun under the direction of the Dean of College of Letters and Science


  • Berl Golomb hired and started building Geography Program; (separated 1971)


  • Geography had two full-time instructors and offered five classes


  • Geography minor established; 12 classes offered


  • Geography major established in February; first BA granted in June


  • John “Jack” Estes hired and taught Air Photo Interpretation (died 2001)
  • Program offered five lower division and 32 upper division courses; eight faculty and two full-time researchers were on board


  • Program diminishes in faculty (down to five) and class offerings (only three lower division and 20 upper division). Jack Estes gathered research team for remote sensing


  • Biogeography offered for the first time


  • Geography freed from control of Dean to become an official Department; Cartography offered for the first time
  • David Simonett hired and given position of the first Department Chair, though wasn’t on campus until 1975 (died 1990); Alan Strahler hired (separated 1982); Christopher Clayton hired (separated 1980); Jeff Dozier hired (transferred to Bren 1997)
  • David Simonett chair July 1974 to June 1980


  • Terence Smith hired


  • Reginald Golledge hired; Waldo Tobler hired (retired 1994)


  • Remote Sensing Research Unit used VICAR-IBIS software, supported by Engineering Department, on huge computers (the VAX 1145, initally, then a VAX 1170) for image processing
  • Geography granted first master’s degree


  • Remote Sensing Research Unit added digital/optical film scanner and film writers to VAX system, enabling digital image input and output, and generating Geography’s first color images: sample 1, sample 2


  • Richard Church hired
  • Estimated year the first ArcInfo license purchased from ESRI
  • Reginald Golledge chair, July 1980 to June 1984
  • Extramural research funds reach $650,000 annually, largely for Estes’ remote sensing research; Ph.D. in Geography approved


  • Raymond Smith hired (retired 1994, but continues research within Institute for Computational Earth System Science – ICESS)


  • First $1 million year in research funding; Department establishes its own computer center; Geography granted first Ph.D.; Waldo Tobler elected to National Academy of Sciences and hiked to the top of Mt Whitney
  • Joel Michealsen hired; Barbara Buttenfield hired (separated 1984); Helen Couclelis hired


  • Frank Davis hired (transferred to Bren School of Environmental Science and Management 2000); Patrick Harker hired (separated 1984); Julia Allen-Jones hired (separated 1991)


  • Richard Church chair, July 1984 to 1988
  • Remote Sensing Research Unit first began using ERDAS software to do remote sensing image processing and GIS; an IBM PC (8088) was used, which had a 20 MB hard drive and ran at 88KHz


  • Luc Anselin hired (separated 1994)


  • David Simonett elected Honorary Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Jeff Dozier elected Honorary Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences


  • Hugo Loaiciga hired; Michael Goodchild hired
  • Ray Smith chair, July 1988 to June 1991
  • Jeff Dozier and Ray Smith reorganized the earth science component of an organized research unit named Computer Systems Laboratory (started in 1972 under Engineering) into the Computer Systems Laboratory/Center for Remote Sensing and Environmental Optics (CSL/CRSEO), which in 1995 was renamed Institute for Computational Earth System Science (ICESS); Ray Smith was first Director (1988-1996); Catherine Gautier became Director in 1996; Dave Siegel appointed Director in 2002
  • Reginald Golledge founds Research Unit on Spatial Cognition and Choice (RUSCC)
  • National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA) founded initially with an NSF award and continues under a memorandum between UCSB, the University of Maine, and the University at Buffalo
  • Waldo Tobler received honorary doctorate from University of Zurich, Switzerland


  • Catherine Gautier hired; David Siegel hired; David Lanter hired (separated 1994)
  • Reginald Golledge elected as Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science


  • Joint Ph.D. program with San Diego State University started
  • Jack Estes chair, July 1991 to June 1992
  • Leal Mertes and Libe Washburn hired
  • Jeff Dozier elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union


  • Joel Michaelsen chair July 1992 to December 1997
  • Dan Montello and Jim Proctor hired


  • Jeff Dozier receives NASA Public Service Medal


  • Dar Roberts hired


  • Diamond-Graham ranks UCSB’s Geography #1 for the number of citations/awards for a given department or program divided by the number of program faculty
  • National Research Council ranks UCSB’s Geography #4 in nation based upon reputation by peer review
  • Oliver Chadwick hired; Tommy Dickey hired
  • Carl Sundbeck, SBCC professor, hired to teach Geography 3A & B


  • Keith Clarke hired


  • Varenius (research project) funded by NSF until 2001


  • Michael Goodchild chair, January 1998 to December 2000
  • Stuart Sweeney hired


  • CSISS founded as a result of an NSF award that runs through 2004
  • Descartes Lab for undergraduate education in GIS opened
  • Helen Couclelis receives Honorary Doctorate, Utrecht University, the Netherlands


  • Reginald Golledge elected President of AAG
  • Reginald Golledge awarded Australia-International Medal, Institute of Australian Geographers
  • Sara Fabrikant hired


  • Keith Clarke chair, January 2001 to July 2006.
  • UCSB Administration promises Geography 25,000 square feet of space in Ellison Hall so that most of the scattered Geographers can come under one roof.
  • Keith Clarke elected President of CaGIS
  • Reginald Golledge receives Honorary LLD from Simon Fraser University (Canada)
  • Reginald Golledge receives Honorary Ph.D. from Gotebord University (Sweden)
  • Phaedon Kyriakidis hired
  • Geography Department developed new “Vision Statement”
  • Jack Estes receives NASA Public Service Medal posthumously


  • Michael Goodchild elected to National Academy of Sciences, selected for membership in the Royal Society of Canada, chosen for University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) Educator of the Year Award
  • Hugo Loaiciga received a 2002 Service to the Profession Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Environmental and Water Resources Institute for his “longstanding contributions to research and technical activities” of the two groups.
  • Ray Smith received Jerlov Award in recognition of his contribution made to the advancement of knowledge of the nature and consequences of light in the ocean
  • Reginald Golledge received University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) 2002 Research Award
  • UCSB Geography faculty averaged $487,000 in extramural funds per faculty member for the year 2002. This amount leads the whole Science Division at UCSB, $150,000 over the nearest rival (Physics)


  • Michael Goodchild selected by peers to give UCSB Faculty Research Lecture
  • Keith Clarke selected as UCGIS Educator of the Year
  • Catherine Gautier awarded Goddard Space Flight Center’s annual Teamwork Award for her work on the AIRS science team that is part of the Aqua Project
  • Christopher Still hired
  • Michael Goodchild chosen for Royal Geographical Society’s Founder’s Medal


  • Mo Lovegreen hired as MSO (the top staff person), only the second MSO ever employed by the Geography Department. She replaces Meryl Wieder, who retired after 36 years of service to UCSB
  • Keith Clarke elected as American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) Fellow for his contributions to ACSM and the professions of Cartography and GIS
  • Geography celebrates its 30th anniversary as an autonomous department; the Department’s Time Capsule is installed and will be opened on the Department’s Centennial in 2074
  • Reginald Golledge elected to serve on the Decade of Behavior’s National Advisory Committee


  • Reginald Golledge elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Hallie Eakin hired
  • Keith Clarke receives the U.S. Geological Survey’s John Wesley Powell Award
  • Jeff Dozier receives the William T. Pecora Award


  • Tommy Dickey elected AGU Fellow
  • Keith Clarke appointed Chair of NAS Mapping Sciences Committee
  • Mike Goodchild receives Robert T. Aangeenbrug Distinguished Career Award
  • Reginald Golledge selected as UCSB Outstanding Graduate Mentor
  • Keith Clarke receives UK Leverhulme Trust award and Fulbright Distinguished Scholarship
  • Mike Goodchild Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Joel Michaelsen Elected Chair of the UCSB Academic Senate
  • Oliver Chadwick became Department Chair, July 2006
  • Martin Raubal hired
  • Keith Clarke appointed to the National Geographic Committee on Research and Exploration
  • Ray Smith receives the R.J. Russell Award


  • Oliver Chadwick selected as Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America
  • Reginald Golledge received the Lifetime Achievement Honors of the Association of American Geographers
  • Mike Goodchild received the Geospatial Information and Technology Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Mike Goodchild received the Prix Vautrin Lud, considered the Nobel Prize of Geography
  • Hugo Loaiciga elected Fellow of ASCE
  • Ed Keller, Professor of Earth Science and of Environmental Studies, became Affiliated Faculty


  • David Carr invited to the ATHGO International 5th Annual Global Forum on Global Warming and Climate Change 2007
    as a Nobel Peace Prize VIP honoree member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • Michael Goodchild became director of spatial@ucsb, a multimillion dollar, interdisciplinary research center
    devoted to spatial thinking
  • Kostas Goulias became joint Editor-in-Chief of the journal “Transportation Letters: The International Journal
    of Transportation Research”
  • Hugo Loaiciga selected by the Water Resources Planning and Management Division of the American Society
    of Civil Engineers as the recipient of the Julian Hinds Award
  • Martin Raubal won the Best Paper of 2007 award for an article written for the International Society for
    Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Journal
  • Martin Raubal won the International Society for
    Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Journal’s U.V. Helava
    Award for best paper in 4 years
  • Hallie Eakin left the department
  • Dar Roberts received UCSB Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award
  • Leila M. Vespoli de Carvalho, Jennifer King, and Joseph McFadden hired
  • Tommy Dickey selected as Secretary of the Navy/Chief of Naval Operations Chair of Oceanographic Sciences
  • Libe Washburn appointed Chair of the UCSB Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science
  • Oliver Chadwick and David Siegel elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Reg Golledge selected to receive the 2008 Enhancing Diversity Award of the Association of American Geographers


  • Don Janelle selected to receive the Ronald F. Abler Honors for Distinguished Service of the Association of American Geographers
  • David Siegel elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union
  • Reg Golledge selected as UCSB Faculty Research Lecturer for 2009
  • Reg Golledge elected a Fellow of the Regional Science Association International
  • Rick Church elected a Fellow of the Regional Science Association International
  • Reg Golledge passed away on May 29, aged 71
  • Dar Roberts became Department Chair, September 2009
  • Rick Church and Frank Davis (Affiliated Faculty) elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science


  • The Center of Excellence for Geospatial Information Science named its new Beowulf computing cluster
    after Professor Mike Goodchild to acknowledge his coining of the term geographic information science
  • Goodchild Receives the 2010 UCGIS Research Award
  • Goodchild Elected Foreign Member of the British Royal Society
  • Terry Smith retires, becomes Emeritus
  • The Jack and Laura Dangermond Endowed Chair in Geography is established; Mike Goodchild is appointed for a 2 year term
  • Frank Davis heads new report for the NRC Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan
  • The 2010 NRC Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs rates UCSB Geography as number one in the nation at best
    or number six at the very least, depending upon the weights given to the assorted criteria used
  • Rick Church appointed Associate Dean of the Division of Mathematical, Life, and Physical Sciences (MLPS),
    part of the UCSB College of Letters and Science


  • Gautier elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Goodchild awarded University Consortium of Geographical Information Science Fellow status
  • UCSB Geography awarded Education/Capacity Building for Geospatial Technology Citation by GIS Development, one
    of just six international awards given by GIS Development at the Geospatial World Forum 2011
  • Oliver Chadwick and John Melack (affiliated faculty) elected Fellows of the AGU
  • Peter Alagona, Professor of History and of Environmental Studies, made Affiliate
  • Krzysztof Janowicz hired
  • Martin Raubal left (ETH Zurich)


  • Rick Church elected to the Board of Directors of the Western Regional Science Association
  • Stuart Sweeney Appointed Director of ISBER
  • Michael Goodchild retires, becomes Emeritus
  • Rick Church received the Lifetime Achievement Award, Section on Location Analysis of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS)
  • Chris Still left (Oregon State University, Corvalis)


  • Keith Clarke chaired the National Research Council’s “Committee on the Future U.S. Workforce for Geospatial Intelligence” which produced a report for the NGA, titled “Future U.S. Workforce for Geospatial Intelligence”
  • Keith Clarke appointed by the Secretary of the Interior as 1 of 13 members of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC), which provides recommendations on federal geospatial policy and management issues and advice on development of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).
  • Dar Roberts awarded the Outstanding Contributions Award in Remote Sensing by the Remote Sensing Specialty Group of the AAG
  • Rick Church awarded the UCSB 2012-2013 Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award
  • Catherine Gautier retires, becomes Emerita
  • Charles Jones hired
  • Krzysztof Janowicz awarded a Regents Junior Faculty Fellowship
  • Krzysztof Janowicz awarded a Hellman Family Faculty Fellowship
  • Werner Kuhn hired as Director of the Center for Spatial Studies and holder of the Dangermond Chair for GIScience


  • Professor Emeritus Donald G. Janelle retires; awarded the title of Researcher Emeritus by Chancellor Yang
  • Keith Clarke awarded the 2013 Distinguished Career Award by the Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS)
  • Rick Church selected for the 2014 UCGIS Research Award for his highly-cited “Maximal Covering Location Problem” paper and relevant fundamental contribution to GIScience
  • Waldo Tobler received the 2014 Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology
  • Geography celebrates its 40th anniversary as an autonomous department
  • Susan Cassels hired
  • Timothy DeVries hired
  • Bodo Bookhagen left (University of Potsdam)
  • Dan Montello became Department Chair July 2014
  • Joel Michaelsen given the Alumni Association’s Chuck Graver University Service Award for exceptional leadership and service
  • Krzysztof Janowicz wins the Harold J. Plous Memorial Award
  • David López-Carr named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science


  • Rick Church selected to be President of the North American Regional Science Council (NARSC) for 2015
  • Assistant Professor Jeffrey Hoelle of Anthropology becomes an Affiliate Professor of Geography
  • Keith Clarke is the recipient of the 2014-15 Academic Senate Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award
  • Phaedon Kyriakidis left the department
  • Helen Couclelis retires, becomes Emerita
  • Alan Murray hired
  • Tommy Dickey awarded the UCSB 2015-16 Distinguished Teaching Award
  • Susan Cassels awarded a Regents Junior Faculty Fellowship
  • Timothy DeVries awarded a Regents Junior Faculty Fellowship
  • Alan Murray received the Walter Isard Award for Scholarly Achievement


  • Tommy Dickey retires, becomes Emeritus
  • Kelly Caylor, Elizabeth Chrastil, Vena Chu, Qinghua Ding, Nicholas Nidzieko hired
  • Dar Roberts named fellow of the American Geophysical Union
  • Susan Cassels awarded a Hellman Faculty Fellowship
  • Timothy DeVries awarded a Hellman Faculty Fellowship
  • Hugo Loaiciga received the Arid Lands Hydraulic Engineering Award
  • Emeritus Waldo Tobler inducted into the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) GIS Hall of Fame
  • Assistant Professor Jia-Ching Chen of Global Studies becomes an Affiliate Professor of Geography


  • David Lopez-Carr received the PSG Research Excellence Award
  • Alan Murray received the Distinguished Scholar Award with the Regional Development and Planning Specialty group
  • Stuart Sweeney named Department Chair July 2017
  • Alan Murray named Department Vice Chair and Graduate Advisor July 2017
  • Vena Chu named Department Undergraduate Advisor
  • Krzysztof Janowicz named Co-Director of the Center for Spatial Studies