David William Rhind

Professor David William Rhind, CBE, FRS, FBA, is a British geographer and expert on geographic information systems (GIS). He was Vice-Chancellor of City University, London until July 2007.

Rhind graduated in geography and geology from the University of Bristol in 1965[1] and received a PhD in geomorphology from the University of Edinburgh in 1969.

Rhind held academic posts at Edinburgh, the Royal College of Art and Durham, before becoming a professor of geography at the University of London in 1982. In this position he was a major contributor to the Chorley Committee, the UK Government committee of enquiry "Handling of Geographical Information", which reported in 1987. He subsequently became Director General of Ordnance Survey, overseeing the completion of the digitisation of the last of its paper maps.

Work on GIS led to the awarding of a DSc from the University of London in 1991. Rhind has also received honorary doctorates from universities including Bristol, Loughborough, Southampton, Kingston, Durham, London Metropolitan, Royal Holloway, Edinburgh University and City University London. In 2002 Rhind was elected both a Fellow of the Royal Society (the British National Academy of Sciences) and an honorary Fellow of the British Academy (the equivalent body for the social sciences and humanities). He was the first geographer elected to the Royal Society for nearly 50 years and is almost unique in also being a Fellow of the British Academy.[2]

Rhind has held many other posts including chairing the Statistics Commission[3] and the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's Socio-economic Committee,[3] and membership of the court of directors for the Bank of England.[4] In 2000, he gained a CBE for services to Geographical and Social Sciences.[5]

He has published several books on Geography and the Earth Sciences.

Academic and other posts


  • Data banking of drift borehole records for the Edinburgh area, Rhind D. & Sissons, J.B., HMSO, 1971.
  • Geology of Durham County ; The buried valley of the lower Tweed, Newcastle upon Tyne : Natural History Society of Northumberland, Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne, 1972.
  • Computer mapping of drift lithology from borehole records, Rhind D.W., HMSO, 1973, ISBN 0-11-880609-2
  • People in Durham : a census atlas, Dewdney J.C. & Rhind D. (Eds), University of Durham, 1975, ISBN 0-900974-38-9.
  • Contemporary cartography, Rhind D., London : Institute of British Geographers, 1977.
  • Geographical networks and automatic data processing, Cox N.J. & Rhind D., University of Durham, Dept. of Geography, 1978.
  • Making a national atlas of population by computer, Rhind D.W. & Evans I.S., Census Research Unit, Department of Geography, Univ. of Durham, 1978.
  • Land Use, Rhind D. & Hudson R., Methuen, 1980 ISBN 0-416-71780-2.
  • A Census user's handbook, Rhind D.W., Methuen, 1983, ISBN 0-416-30510-5
  • Cartographic and remote-sensing digital databases in the United Kingdom, Finch S. & Rhind D.,British Library Research and Development Dept., 1987, ISBN 0-7123-3106-9
  • Handling Geographic Information: Report of the Committee of Enquiry chaired by Lord Chorley, Department of the Environment, HMSO, 1987, ISBN 0-11-752015-2
  • Cartography, Past, Present, and Future: A Festschrift for F.J. Ormeling, Rhind D.W. & Taylor D.R.F., Elsevier Applied Science for International Cartographic Assoc, 1989, ISBN 1-85166-336-3
  • Environmental monitoring and prediction, Rhind D., London : South-east Regional Research Laboratory, University of London, c 1990.
  • Geographical Information Systems: Principles and Applications (known in GIS circles as the Big Book), Maguire, D. J. Goodchild, M. F. & Rhind, D. W., The Geoinformation Group, Harlow, 1991 ISBN 0-582-05661-6
  • Understanding GIS: The ARC/INFO method, Rhind D.W., ESRI, 1992 (6th Ed), ISBN 1-879102-07-2
  • Postcodes : the new geography, Raper J., Rhind D. & Shepherd J., Longman, 1992, ISBN 0-582-09270-1
  • Statistics, maps, information and money, Manchester Statistical Society, 1994, ISBN 0-85336-127-4
  • Framework for the World, Rhind D.W. (Ed), Cambridge, GeoInformation International, 1997, ISBN 0-470-24440-2
  • Geographical Information Systems: Principles, Techniques, Applications and Management (aka the Big Book 2), Longley P.A., Goodchild, M. F., Maguire, D. J. & Rhind, D. W. (eds), Wiley, 1999 ISBN 0-471-32182-6
  • Geographic Information Systems and Science, Longley P.A, Goodchild M.F, Maguire D.J. & Rhind D.W., John Wiley & Sons, 2001, ISBN 0-471-89275-0


Academic offices
Preceded by
Raoul Franklin
Vice-Chancellor, City University, London
Succeeded by
Malcolm Gillies

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