University of Ottawa
















Barry Wellar Named Distinguished Geomatics Scientist of LAGGISS

OTTAWA , November 30, 2005,   University of Ottawa. —   Dr. Barry Wellar, former Professor of Geography, University of Ottawa, past president of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) and Anderson Medal winner has been named Distinguished Geomatics Scientist, Laboratory for Applied Geomatics and GIS Science (LAGGISS) at the University.

The appointment of the award-winning geographer as Distinguished Geomatics Scientist is seen by the Lab’s Director, Dr. Michael Sawada, as a major addition to the teaching and research Laboratory.

“We are absolutely delighted by his decision to continue his affiliation with the University of Ottawa and LAGGISS”, said Prof. Sawada.

“Dr. Wellar is internationally recognized for his 40-year record of research, teaching and applications leadership in the fields of remote sensing, land use mapping, software evaluation, and decision support systems for both government agencies and private enterprise He undertook pioneering research for NASA in the use of satellite technology in the 1960s while a graduate student at Northwestern University, he was a key researcher on numerous information system projects for more than three decades, and just last month he was working with LAGGISS on a wireless broadband internet services paper using the latest algorithms for locating communications towers in the remote regions of Canada.”

“That is an amazing research record, and we expect the Lab to benefit greatly from his extraordinary ability to use geomatics and geographic information systems to demonstrate how geography matters to so many aspects of our natural and human worlds.”

“We also believe his involvement in the Lab will be a major factor in enhancing the Lab’s visibility. He is a past president of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, and has received numerous awards, including the Anderson Medal in Applied Geography from the Association of American Geographers, and the Canadian Association of Geographers Award for Geography in the Service of Government or Business. His continuing role as a leading thinker in geomatics, transportation and urban development means a higher profile for the Lab and the University of Ottawa.”

According to Prof. Sawada, Dr. Wellar’s appointment also has special meaning for graduate students associated with the Lab.

“We are in the process of creating a University funded virtual library of his publications, which will be an open resource for students and researchers everywhere. However, this appointment means that our students will have direct access to an acclaimed scholar and practitioner in one of the most rapidly growing applied technology fields in universities, governments, and   business”, said Prof. Sawada.

In celebration of Dr. Wellar's appointment, four graduate prizes, funded by AutoCarto 6 were named in his honor and awarded on GIS Day 2005 at the University of Ottawa (   During a ceremony on November 16 th that included a keynote speech by Alex Miller, President of ESRI Canada Inc, Prof. Wellar graciously presented the first of these annual prizes to Daniel Cossette who received the Barry Wellar Award for Outstanding Technical Achievements in Geomatics, Samuel Herold who received the Barry Wellar Award for Outstanding Master's Thesis Proposal, Zoran Reljic who received the Barry Wellar Award for Outstanding Conference Presentation, and finally Ms. Melanie Zahab who received the Barry Wellar Award for Outstanding Methodological Achievementsin Geomatics for her research that applies geomatics to classical archeology.

“Professor Wellar taught research methods courses for more than 25 years, he’s been principal investigator for many research contracts, he has extensive consulting experience, his courses and workshops have been widely copied, and he has more than 500 publications and conference presentations to his credit. Having a person with those credentials helping to direct research projects gives our graduate students access to expertise that is available at very few other universities", said Prof. Sawada.

About the University of Ottawa

Founded in 1848, the University of Ottawa has grown to become the largest bilingual university in the country, the fourth-largest university in Ontario and one of the National Capital's largest employers. The University of Ottawa, a research-intensive institution, employs approximately 3,000 staff and has more than 30,000 full- and part-time students. It also pumps more than $1 billion annually into the provincial economy.


LAGGISS forms a nexus for new applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) science and geomatics within the physical, social and environmental and health sciences. The laboratory is situated within the bilingual Department of Geography at the University of Ottawa. With private and public research partners, the transdisciplinary laboratory supports original applications of GIS and geomatics to pure and applied climate change, environmental, social, economic, and population health research on continental, national and regional scales. LAGGISS was constructed with funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Ontario Innovation Trust (OIT) and major contributions from the Faculty of Arts, University of Ottawa among others.



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© 2005 LAGGISS