AGS Symposium 2014

Geography 2050:  Mounting an Expedition to the Future

A multi-year strategic dialog

on the vital trends that will reshape our nation and our planet.


Hosted by the Earth Institute, Columbia University

In the historic Low Library at 116th Street and Broadway, New York City

The world of 2050 will be radically different. It is not at all clear how we will get there from here and what we can do to 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 collaborated with the Earth Institute, Columbia University to organize an “Expedition to the Future.”

The one-day event, held at Columbia’s Low Library in Manhattan, offered an opportunity for thought leaders in industry, government, the social sector, and academia to come together to think about collectively exploring the future, and to examine how geography, geographic thinking, and geospatial data and technologies will enable this new age of exploration.

The topics included:

  • Populations, Shifting Identity, and Well Being 

  • Climate, Risk and Opportunity

  • The Future Energy Landscape

  • The Emerging Geography of the Internet of Things 

  • The God's Eye View
  • Investment, Law and Policy

    For photos from the event including our speakers, the medal ceremony, and the historic Low Library, visit our Facebook Album !


    The crowd listens to the opening remarks from Symposium Chair Christopher Tucker.