WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Missouri State University-West Plains will host the 2017 American Association of Geographers (AAG) annual meeting of the West Lakes Division Oct. 19-21 at the West Plains Civic Center.
“The American Association of Geographers is a nonprofit scientific and educational society founded in 1904,” said Dr. Rajiv Thakur, assistant professor of geosciences at Missouri State-West Plains and chair of the AAG’s West Lakes Division. “For more than 100 years, the AAG has contributed to the advancement of geography, not just in the United States but world wide.”
Many geography faculty and students from schools in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas and California are expected to attend, he added. The annual meetings of the AAG’s West Lakes Region provide a platform for teachers, researchers, students, geospatial professionals and policy makers to share recent developments in the discipline and display how their perspectives and tools are being used by educators, businesses, researchers and policy makers to address a wide range of scientific problems and societal needs, Thakur said.
Keynote sessions include a presentation by Dr. Daniel Sui, arts and sciences distinguished professor and professor of geography, public affairs, public health and urban/regional planning at Ohio State University; and Dr. Julie Cidell, associate professor in the department of geography and geographic information science at the University of Illinois-Urbana.
Sui, who will speak at noon Oct. 20, will discuss the topic “Does geography have its own reproducibility crisis? Thoughts on making geographic research more robust and reliable.” Since July 2016, Sui has been on an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) assignment to serve as the division director for Social and Economic Sciences (SES) at the U.S. National Science Foundation.
Cidell will speak at 6 p.m. Oct. 20. She is currently AAG treasurer and was an editorial board member of “The Professional Geographer” and “Journal of Transport Geography.”
Highlights of the conference include a pre-conference field trip to Branson led by Thakur and post-conference field trip to the North Fork River led by Missouri State University Distinguished Professor of Geography Dr. Robert Pavlowsky.
The annual meeting also will feature a giant traveling map of Missouri on loan from the Missouri Geographic Alliance, Thakur said. The 21-by-17-foot map will be displayed at the civic center Oct. 16-20 for viewing by area school students and teachers, as well as faculty and students from Missouri State-West Plains and community members.
“The map is a fantastic tool to get youth and educators to share and think about places and regions, and to appreciate interactions and interconnections,” Thakur said.
This is the first time in 25 years the AAG’s West Lakes Division has met in Missouri, Thakur pointed out. The University of Missouri hosted the group in 1992 in Columbia, and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville played host to the organization in St. Louis in 1972.
For more information about the conference or viewing the map, contact Thakur at RajivThakur@MissouriState.edu or visit www.wp.missouristate.edu/aag/.