Mounting an Expedition to the Future
Fall 2014


The world of 2050 will be radically different. It is not at all clear how we will get there from here or how we should navigate through the uncharted waters of the future. Climate change, urbanization, rapid expansion of the Internet and the availability and use of information, the continued evolution of human identity, and changing modes of commerce, cooperation, and conflict from local to global scales are just some of the many trends influencing the future. Each poses many challenges and opportunities for how we perceive and shape our world’s geography now and in coming decades.

To help lay the foundation for exploring these local, regional and global challenges—and the investments in technology, data, laws, policies, and capacities needed to improve our ability to navigate through them—the American Geographical Society is collaborating with the Earth Institute, Columbia University to organize an “Expedition to the Future.”

Topics and Speakers

Morning Session
Population, Identity, and Well Being

Professor Deborah Balk, Associate Director, CUNY Institute for Demographic Research

Professor Alexander Murphy, Professor, University of Oregon

Ms. Margaret Elizabeth Kruk, Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management, Columbia University

Climate, Risk, and Opportunity

Dr. D. James Baker, Director, Global Carbon Measurement Program, William J. Clinton Foundation

Mr. Francis Ghesquiere, Head of Global Facility for Disaster Reduction & Recovery, World Bank

Professor Lawson Brigham, Distinguished Professor of Geography, University of Alaska

Future Energy Landscape

Mr. Niel Golightly, Vice President, Shell Oil

Mr. James Scrivener, President and CEO, National Solar

Professor Michael Bradshaw, Professor of Global Energy, University of Warwick

Afternoon Session

Mr. Robert Cardillo, Director, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The Future Geography of the Internet of Things

Dr. Michael Botts, President, Botts Innovative Research

The God’s Eye View

Mr. Brian McClendon, Vice President, Google

Mr. Robbie Schingler, Co-Founder, Planet Labs

Mr. Anthony Quartararo, President and CEO, Spatial Networks

Mr. Abe Usher, Chief Technology Officer, HumanGeo

Mr. Josh Campbell, Vice President, Boundless

Creating an Investment Roadmap

Barbara Ryan, Secretariat Director, Group on Earth Observations

Matthew O'Connell, Director, USGIF


Welcome to Geography 2050
Dr. Christopher Tucker
Board Member, AGS
Geography's Future
Dr. Jerry Dobson
AGS President
Prof. Alexander Murphy
University of Oregon
Ms. Mary Elizabeth Kruk
Columbia University
Prof. Deborah Balk
Institute for Demographic Research
Climate Change
Dr. D. James Baker
Clinton Climate Initiative