Biographical Sketch for Dr. Richard D. Wright
Dr. Richard D. Wright is Emeritus Professor of Geography and Past Co-Director of the Center for Earth Systems Analysis Research at San Diego State University. Dr. Wright holds a Ph.D in Geography from the University of Kansas(1967), an M.A. in Geography from Indiana University(1961), and a B.A. in Geology from Indiana University(1960). He is a specialist on geographic information systems(GIS), cartographic visualization, and coastal watershed analysis. He has been a consultant to private industry and public agencies on a variety of mapping and geographic information systems projects. During the past fifteen years he has been engaged in GIS education and the use of GIS in land use and water quality modeling. He is an expert on the human and technical issues involved in the acquisition and integration of geographic data across the U.S.-Mexico border. He has edited a volume of a journal on cross-border applications of GIS for solving environmental problems, co-produced a large poster of the Tijuana River Watershed that was distributed widely along the border, supervised the GIS and cartography for the San Diego-Tijuana International Border Area Planning Atlas, and directed the development of the Tijuana River Watershed Atlas, the first of its kind along the U.S.-Mexico border. Since 1987, he has been the PI or Co-PI of 85 awards, grants, and contracts from federal, state, and local agencies that have resulted in more than 100 research papers and professional presentations on GIS and related topics.
Dr. Wright has chaired the United States-Mexico Transboundary Resource Inventory Program, the Education Committee of the United States University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, the California Geographic Information Association, the California Planning Commissioners Association, the Water Conservation Garden Authority, and the San Diego Area Wastewater Management District. He has also served on numerous other boards and commissions including the Research and Technical Advisory Committee of the California Geographic Information Task Force, the San Diego County Planning Commission, the San Diego County Growth Management Task Force, the Otay Water District Board of Directors, the GIS/LIS National Steering Committee, the Association of American Geographers National Council, the Advisory Board of bd Systems, Inc., the International Geographic Information Foundation Board, the San Diego Ocean Foundation Board, the Research Committee of the San Diego Museum of Natural History, and the Tijuana River Watershed Binational Flood Warning System. Currently, he is a member of the California Regional Water Quality Control Board-San Diego Section, the Research Committee of the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Tijuana River Watershed Binational Watershed Advisory Committee, the San Dieguito River Watershed Management Plan Technical Advisory Committee, and the Jamul-Dulzura Community Planning Group.
In recognition of his research on the use of GIS for helping to solve environmental problems in the U.S.-Mexico border region, Dr. Wright has received significant awards from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, the Phi Beta Delta International Honor Society, the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, the governors of California and Baja California, the County of San Diego, the California Geographic Information Association, and the President of San Diego State University. For his outstanding scholarship and public service he received the James R. Anderson Medal of Honor in Applied Geography for 2001. In 2003 he was honored as a Clean Water Champion by the County of San Diego. In 2005 he received a San Diego State Alumni Award of Distinction and the Loogootee, Indiana High School Outstanding Alumnus Award for his outstanding scholarship and extensive service to the university and community. One of the Department of Geography's teaching laboratories has been named the Richard D. Wright Spatial Analysis Laboratory in his honor.