Michael F. Goodchild, professor of geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been awarded a gold Founder's Medal by Britain's Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers). The organization, founded in 1830, is the official British society for geography and geographers.
The award was first presented in 1831 by King William IV. The citation states that the medal is for the encouragement and promotion of geographical science and discovery. Goodchild's medal was approved by Queen Elizabeth II.
With a membership of approximately 13,300, the society is the largest geographical society in Europe, and one of the largest in the world. The society supports research, education and training, together with the wider public understanding and enjoyment of geography.
Goodchild's main research interests are urban and economic geography, geographic information systems, and spatial analysis. He received his B. A. in physics from the University of Cambridge in 1965, and his Ph.D. in geography from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario in 1969. He was a visiting professor at UCSB in the late 70s and late 80s and joined the faculty as a professor in 1989. Goodchild has published extensively and won over two dozen awards. He was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2002, and named a foreign fellow of the Royal Society of Canada that same year. In 2002, he was also named educator of the year by the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science.