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Ronald Briggs

Ronald Briggs

Professor Emeritus of Geography and Geospatial Information Sciences
GR 3.820
Ronald Briggs's Webpage

Professional Preparation

Ph.D. - Geography
The Ohio State University - 1972
M.A. - Geography
The Ohio State University - 1969
B.A. - Geography
University of Southampton, Southampton, England - 1966

Research Areas

Research Interests

Geographic information systems and the role of information technology in the public sector. Regional economic and demographic development, particularly the role of technological change in communications and transportation infrastructure.


(with Yan Li). An Automated System for Image-to-Vector Georeferencing Cartography and Geographic Information Society Journal, in press for October, 2012 2012 - Publication
(with Yan Li) Automatic Extraction of Roads from High Resolution Aerial and Satellite Images with Heavy Noise. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology 54. July 2009. 7 pages. Available at: 2009 - Publication
(with Yan Li). Automated Georeferencing Based on Topological Point Pattern Matching. Proceedings of AutoCarto 2006, Vancouver, WA June 2006. Available at: 2006 - Publication
(with Fang Qiu and K. Woller) Modeling Urban Population Growth from Remotely Sensed Imagery and TIGER GIS Road Data Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing, Vol. 69, No. 9, Sept. 2003, pp. 1031-1042. 2003 - Publication
(with James Stamm) Change Detection in Digital Orthophotos Proceedings, GIS/LIS1998, November, 1998. Reprinted in GIM (Geomatics International Magazine), Vol. 13, No. 4 April 1999, pp. 44-47. 1999 - Publication
From Las Colinas to the Telecom Corridor: An Essay on Edge City Development in the Dallas/Fort Worth Region in Donald Lyons and Paul Hudak Geographical Perspectives on the Texas Region Washington, D.C.: Association of American Geographers, 1997, pp. 17-24. 1997 - Publication
A Consortium Approach to Framework Data Development: The Dallas/Fort Worth Example Final Report for Contract Number 1434-HQ-96-AG-01628, US Geological Survey, October, 1997 1997 - Publication
Establishing A National Geospatial Data Clearinghouse Node for the Dallas/Fort Worth Region, Final Report for Cooperative Agreement Number 1434-95-A-01419, US Geological Survey, January, 1997 1997 - Publication


Distinguished Professor
Henan University [2010–2018]
Professor Emeritus
University of Texas at Dallas [2008–Present]
Acting Executive Director
Bruton Center for Development Studies [1997–1998]
Professor and Program Head
University of Texas at Dallas [1995–2008]
Executive Director
North Texas GIS Consortium [1995–2000]
Bruton Center for Development Studies [1995–1998]
Executive Director
University of Texas at Dallas [1991–1995]
University of Texas at Dallas [1986–2008]
University of Texas at Dallas [1982–1990]
Director of Graduate Studies
University of Texas at Dallas [1982–2018]

Additional Information


Dr. Ronald Briggs is Professor Emeritus of Geography and Geospatial Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas and a Certified GIS Professional (GISP).  From 1995 until his retirement in 2008 he established, directed and taught in the Geospatial Information Sciences program. Prior to this he served as Executive Director for Information Resources (1991-1995) and Director of Academic Computing (1982-1991) for the university. He received his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in 1972 and was a faculty member at UT-Austin from 1970 to 1976 before joining the UT-Dallas faculty. His major academic interests concern geographic information systems (GIS), especially applied to the management of urban infrastructure. He was the founder of the Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (1995), the Master of Science in Geographic Information Sciences (1998), and the Doctor of Philosophy in Geospatial  Information Sciences (2005)  programs at UT Dallas.

His research has been funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency  (for the development of a GIS-based model for the location of Waste-to-Energy conversion facilities), by the US Geological Survey as a part of that agency’s National Spatial Data Infrastructure initiative, by the National Science Foundation (including studies of adoption of computerized control in the manufacturing industry and its impact on regional development), by the US Department of Transportation (including a major study of the impact of the Interstate Highway System on development in non-metropolitan areas), and by a number of state and local agencies. He has published over fifty articles, book chapters and reports.

His leadership role in the  North Texas GIS Consortium (the functions of which are now performed by the  North Central Texas Council of Governments) laid the foundation for the Dallas Fort Worth region’s  digital ortho imagery and digital landbase using  geographic information systems (GIS) technologies. This included one of the first cooperative, metropolitan-wide digital orthoimagery acquisitions in the nation in 1994-95 and again in 1997. These activities were conducted in conjunction with the Bruton Center, which he chaired from 1995 to 1998. He continues to serve on the North Texas GIS Coordinating Council. 

During the period from 1982 to 1995 when he directed computing and communications for the university, he oversaw the transformation of the information technology environment from a remote entry, punch-card based system into a modern, network-based environment, including the establishment of one the first Internet connections into the Dallas/Fort Worth region in 1987. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Research and Educational Networking (better known as “BITNET,” a predecessor to the Internet in the academic community), was a member of the University of Texas System Information Technology Council (1982-1995), and served on the committee which drafted the first State of Texas Strategic Plan for Information Resources Management in 1990.  

Although formerly retired from UT-Dallas since 2008, he continues to be active in the field serving on Ph.D. dissertation committees, conducting cooperative research with students (his most recent work is in press for  Cartography and Geographic Information Society Journal, October 2012), reviewing manuscripts for journals, serving as distinguished professor at Henan University, Kaifeng, China, as a member of several advisory committees including the Texoma Council of Governments GIS Advisory Committee and the North Texas (Dallas-Fort Worth) GIS  Coordinating Council, and providing expert witness/consultant services on GIS, remote sensing and photogrammetry for patent  litigation.

Professional Activities

Professional Organizations:  Geospatial Information & Technology Association, Association of American Geographers, Urban and Regional Information Systems Association.

Expert Witness/Legal Consultant (in the area of geographic information systems):  Aon Benfield Global, Inc. v. Guy Carpenter and Company Civil Action No. 11-cv-3529 PKC (S.D. NY), for Defendant. Pictometry International Corporation v. Geospan Corporation, Civil Action 11-CV-1423 JRT/LIB, for Defendant. Geospan Corporation v. Pictometry International Corporation, Civil Action No. 08-CV-00816 ADM-JSM (D. of Minnesota), for Plaintiff. SourceProse Corporation v. Fidelity National Financial, Inc. et al., Civil Action No. 2:04-cv-00265-TJW (E.D. Tex.), for Plaintiff.

Consultancies:  Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, Washington, DC; Gibson, Dunn &  Crutcher, LLP, New York, NY; Maslon, Edelman, Borman & Brand, LLP, Minneapolis, MN;Slater and Matsil, LLC, Dallas, TX; US Geological Survey; Texas Instruments, Inc.; Collin County Community College District; Dallas County Community College System; North Central Texas Council of Governments; Marketing Information  Data Systems, Inc.; Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin; J. Walter Thompson, Inc.; Republic of Texas Corporation; Dallas Public Library; Council for Advanced Transportation Studies, University of Texas at Austin; Texas Department of Highways and Public Transportation; Texas Department of Community Affairs; Texas Department of Human Resources; Governor’s (Texas) Office of Educational Research and Planning.

Manuscript Review:  National Science Foundation, American Sociological Review, Annals of the Association of  American Geographers, Demography, The Professional Geographer, Economic Geography, International Regional Science Review, Transportation Research Record, Social Science Quarterly,

Appointed and Elected Positions: Delegate, University  Consortium for Geographic Information Sciences, (1998-2008); Executive Director, North Texas GIS Consortium, (1997-99); President, Southwest Division, Association of  American Geographers, (1981-1982); Secretary-'Treasurer, Southwest Division, Association of American Geographers (1980-1981); Executive Committee, Southwest Social Science Association (1981-1982); Associate Editor, Social Science Quarterly (1979-90); Program Chairman and Executive Committee member, Texas Economic and Demographic Association, Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter (1981-84).

Conference Organization: Category Co-chair for Earth and Space Sciences, Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Fort Worth, Texas, May, 1998; Local Arrangements Committee, Fort Worth meetings, Association of American Geographers April, 1997; Geography Program Committee member, Southwest Social  Science Association, annual meetings, San Antonio, Texas, March, 1982; Organization Committee Member, Fall Meetings, Southwest Division, Association of American Geographers, Austin, Texas, October 1981; Geography program chairman, Southwest Social Science Association, annual meetings, Dallas, Texas, March 1981; Organization Committee member, Regional Conference for Census Data Users, Arlington, Texas, February, 1981; Manager and Organizer, Convention Placement Service, annual meetings, Association of American Geographers, San Antonio, Texas, (1982); Local Arrangements Committee, San Antonio meetings, Association of American Geographers, San Antonio, Texas, April 1982;  Organization Committee member, Second Southwest Conference on Mobility Programs for the Transportation Disadvantaged, Houston, Texas, August, 1978.

Major University Committees at UT Dallas: Information Resources Security, Planning and Policy Committee (chair, 2005-2007), Committee on Qualifications (1997-1999), Information Resources Policy and Planning Advisory Committee (1997-1999), Committee on Information Resources (1992-1995), Faculty Advisory Council for Academic Computing (1984-1992 ), Committee on Research (1979-1981) Academic Council (1977-1979; 1995-1996), Academic Senate (1977-1981; 1995-1996), Committee on Qualifications (1977-1979), Committee on Faculty Standing and Conduct (1976-1979), Chairman, Social Science Dean Search Committee (1977-1978 and 1986-1987), Social Science Personnel Review Committee (1977-1981), Social Science Graduate Studies Committee (1977-1981).

Major University Committees at UT Austin:  Council for Advanced Transportation  Studies (1972-1974), University Council on Teacher Education (1973-1975), Faculty Council, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (1975-1976), Advisory Committee on the Social Science Computer Laboratory.

Public Appointments/Elected Offices
  • Member, GIS Advisory Committee, Texoma Council of Governments, 2011-
  • Member, Texoma Technical Enterprise Council, Denison TX,  2010-
  • Member, North Texas GIS  Coordinating Council, 1999-.
  • Executive Committee, North Central Texas Consortium for Transportation Research 1997-2000.
  • Co-chair for Earth and Space Sciences, Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Fort Worth, Texas  May, 1998.
  • Chair, Executive Committee, North TexasGIS Consortium, 1997-98
  • Member, Board of Directors, Corporation for Research and Educational Networking (“BITNET”) 1992-1995.
  • Member, Universityof TexasSystem Information Technology Council, 1982-1995.
  • Member, State Strategic Plan Advisory Committee, Texas Department of Information Resources, 1989-1990.
  • Director, North Texas Region, Texas State Data Center, 1985-1990.
  • Member, Regional Data Center Advisory Committee, North Central Texas Council of Governments, 1986-1988.
  • Member, Committee of the Future, Subcommittee on Regional Data and Services, North Central Texas Council of Governments, 1984-1986.
  • Chairman and Contact Person, Austin Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area Census Tract Committee, U.S.Bureau of the Census, 1974-976.
  • Member, Transportation Task Force, Capital Area Planning Council, Austin, Texas, 1975-'1976.

News Articles

U. T. Dallas to Offer Ph.D. Degree in Geospatial Information Sciences
RICHARDSON, Texas (Feb. 9, 2005) – The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) next fall will begin offering one of the nation’s first Ph.D. degrees in geospatial information sciences (GIS) – an important, fast-growing new field that melds data collection, mapmaking and spatial analysis.

The new degree program, approved late last month by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, will expand an existing, well-respected GIS program at UTD that offers both an M.S. degree and graduate certificate in the field. In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of the program, the Ph.D. degree will be offered jointly by three of the university’s schools – the School of Social Sciences, the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.