Roger Tomlinson, Father of GIS

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System Design Strategies (select here for table of contents)
1. System Design Process 2. GIS Software Technology 3. Software Performance 4. Server Software Performance
5. GIS Data Administration 6. Network Communications 7. GIS Product Architecture 8. Platform Performance
9. Information Security 10. Performance Management 11. System Implementation 12. City of Rome
A1. Capacity Planning Tool B1. Windows Memory Management Preface (Executive Summary) SDSwiki What's New


This page is provided by Dave Peters in memory of a very dear friend, Roger Tomlinson.
Roger Tomlinson, the father of computerized cartography


Dr. Roger Frank Tomlinson, OC - “Father of GIS”
17 Nov 33 – 07 Feb 14

Dr. Tomlinson was a visionary geographer known worldwide. He was recently promoted to Officer of the Order of Canada. He has received numerous prestigious international awards but above all he treasured the professional associations and genuine friendships he made around the globe. Especially dear to him was his friendship with the Esri family. He was generous and loyal, a gentle giant, and will be deeply missed. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Lila (nee Blanchard), two sons, Ward (Caroline) and Christopher (Tanya), a daughter Frances (Douglas), and four grandchildren Christian, Benjamin, Ava, and Aaron Roger.


Roger Tomlinson was a wonderful friend and scholar. He was a giant of a man, both in heart and stature, with a clear vision for GIS and a passion for technical excellence. He was a true visionary whose contributions helped the world understand how GIS technology could be used to empower organizations and build a better planet.

Planning and Managing a GIS

Twenty-one years ago Roger persuaded Jack Dangermond to share a preconference seminar on Planning and Managing a GIS, to be held the weekend prior to the Esri International User Conference in Palm Springs, California. Roger’s vision was to share with the GIS community his experience in planning and managing successful GIS operations. I was invited to participate in the second day of this first seminar to share best practices for GIS system design. Over the years it has been my pleasure to work with Roger in updating his seminar, which he insisted stay relevant with current technology. For the past several years I had the honor to present Roger’s Planning and Managing a GIS seminar at the Esri International User Conference preconference in San Diego, California with Roger’s participation. Roger was fully engaged each year with reviewing the progress of GIS technology and updating his seminar for the next conference – his Planning and Managing a GIS seminar was the most popular Esri preconference session for over twenty years running.

Thinking about GIS

In 2003 Roger authored the first edition of his book on Thinking about GIS, Geographic Information Systems Planning for Managers, including a chapter we shared together on platform sizing. Thinking about GIS was a best seller ever since its first publication. His Thinking about GIS third Edition was published in five different languages worldwide, including English, Russian, Spanish, Chinese, and Polish. Roger recently authored the fifth edition of Thinking about GIS published by Esri Press in 2013.

Building a GIS

In 2006 Roger encouraged Jack to have me author an Esri Press book on System Design Strategies. The first edition of Building a GIS, System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers was published by Esri Press in 2008. A second edition of Building a GIS was published in 2012. Developing and sharing our system architecture design methodology would not have been possible without the vision and encouragement of Roger Tomlinson.

My life was clearly touched by Roger Tomlinson. Roger was not only the father of GIS for me, but was also a close friend and mentor as we worked together for many years to promote his vision and passion for GIS technology. Roger would want us to carry on his vision, to share the benefits of GIS, help organizations build and maintain successful GIS operations, and continue to deliver a geographic world that would make him proud.

System Design Strategies (select here for table of contents)
1. System Design Process 2. GIS Software Technology 3. Software Performance 4. Server Software Performance
5. GIS Data Administration 6. Network Communications 7. GIS Product Architecture 8. Platform Performance
9. Information Security 10. Performance Management 11. System Implementation 12. City of Rome
A1. Capacity Planning Tool B1. Windows Memory Management Preface (Executive Summary) SDSwiki What's New


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System Design Strategies 26th edition - An Esri ® Technical Reference Document • 2009 (final PDF release)