American Association of Geographers

The American Association of Geographers (AAG) is a non-profit scientific and educational society aimed at advancing the understanding, study, and importance of geography and related fields. Its headquarters is located in Washington, D.C. The organization was founded on December 29, 1904, in Philadelphia, as the Association of American Geographers,[1] with the American Society of Professional Geographers later amalgamating into it in December 1948 in Madison, Wisconsin.[2] As of 2020, the association has more than 10,000 members,[3] from nearly 100 countries.[4] AAG members are geographers and related professionals who work in the public, private, and academic sectors.

American Association of Geographers
Official logo of the American Association of Geographers
AAG headquarters in Washington, D.C.
AAG headquarters in Washington, D.C.
FormationDecember 29, 1904; 116 years ago (1904-12-29)
Founded atPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
HeadquartersWashington, D.C., United States
Membership (2020)
Amy Lobben
Executive Director
Gary Langham
Formerly called
Association of American Geographers
The exhibit hall at an AAG Annual Meeting
Field trip at one of the AAG Annual Meetings, to the USGS Rock Core Research Center.
Sign at the AAG Annual Meeting illustrating a few of the partnerships that AAG has had over its long history.

In 2016, AAG President Sarah Witham Bednarz Ph.D announced in the AAG Newsletter: "Effective January 1, 2016, the AAG will begin to operate under the name "American Association of Geographers," rather than "Association of American Geographers... in an effort to re-think our systems of representation to acknowledge our growing internationalism."[5] Spearheaded under the presidency of geography professor Eric Sheppard (UCLA, formerly University of Minnesota), the name change reflects the US-based organization's diversity and inclusion of non-American members and participants.[6]


The Annals of the American Association of Geographers[7] and The Professional Geographer are the association's flagship journals. Additional journals published by the organization include the AAG Review of Books, Geohumanities, and African Geographical Review. The AAG also publishes a monthly newsletter[2] that contains reflections on programs and issues of concern in society of a geographic nature, a jobs column, and accomplishments and innovations of AAG members. The AAG additionally publishes the Guide to Geography Programs in the Americas, a description of programs in higher education in North and South America that offer a geography degree, a geography certificate program, and/or geography courses.[8] Another publication is Earth Interactions.

Specialty groupsEdit

The AAG has over 77 specialty or affinity groups, voluntary associations of AAG members who share interests in regions or topics.[9] Specialty groups have long provided a way for geographers with specific interests to collaborate and communicate, including organizing and sponsoring sessions at the annual meeting as well as granting awards to their members. The AAG also offers Knowledge Communities, a set of online tools for collaboration.

Annual meetingsEdit

Since its founding in 1904, the AAG has held an annual meeting for the geography community.[10] In recent years, this conference has attracted between 7,000 and 9,000 attendees.[11] The annual meeting offers upwards of 4,000 papers and presentations on topics as diverse as soil moisture,[10] climate change,[12] population dynamics, political instability, sustainable agriculture, natural hazards, urban landscapes, geography and militarism,[13] and technologies such as geographic information systems. Hands-on workshops on methods and technological tools are an important part of these meetings. The annual meetings also offer an extensive exhibit hall featuring publishers, technology companies, universities, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. Field trips are offered in the diverse locations that these conferences are held.

The Annual Meetings are held in February, March, or April each year for four to five days. In recent years, the meetings have been held in Denver (2020), DC (2019), New Orleans (2018), Boston (2017), San Francisco (2016), Chicago (2015), Tampa (2014),[13] Los Angeles (2013), New York (2012), and Seattle (2011).

The AAG also sponsors fall meetings based within each regional divisions of the organization. These regional divisions are groupings of several states in the United States, such as "Great Plains/Rocky Mountains" and "West Lakes".


To effectively advance geography in society requires partnerships. The AAG has a long history of fruitful partnerships with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private industry. These include the National Council for Geographic Education, the United States Geological Survey, the National Institutes of Health, the American Geosciences Institute[14] and others.


The James R. Anderson Medal of Honor (the Anderson Medal) is awarded by the AAG Applied Geography Specialty Group to recognise highly distinguished service to the profession of geography in the field of industry, government, literature, education, research, service to the profession, or public service. It is named for James R. Anderson, the former chief geographer of the U.S. Geological Survey.[15]

AAG also issues an annual award to a university geography program that is helping advance the field of geography.[16][17]


died during his tenure

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ Preston Everett James; Geoffrey J. Martin (1978). The Association of American Geographers, the first seventy-five years, 1904-1979. The Association.
  2. ^ a b Geoffrey J. Martin (2015). American Geography and Geographers: Toward Geographical Science. Oxford University Press. p. 1025. ISBN 978-0-19-533602-3.
  3. ^ "Corporate Membership Overview". American Association of Geographers. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  4. ^ "About AAG". American Association of Geographers. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  5. ^ "New Year, New Name, New Proposal". 7 January 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-01-13. Retrieved 2016-01-21.
  6. ^ Sheppard, Eric (2013). "An American Association of Geographers?". AAG Newsletter. doi:10.14433/2013.0008. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Annals of the American Association of Geographers". Internet Archive.
  8. ^ "Guide to Geography Programs in the Americas". AAG. AAG. Archived from the original on 2018-02-13. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  9. ^ "Specialty Groups|AAG. Archived 2012-08-13 at WebCite "AAG" Accessed 4 April 2017
  10. ^ a b "UC geographers develop a system to track the dynamics of drought". University of Cincinnati. AAAS, the science society. April 8, 2014.
  11. ^ "2016 San Francisco Highlights" Archived 2017-04-05 at the Wayback Machine "AAG"
  12. ^ "UC geographers present research on climate change, day laborers and more at national conference". AAAS, the science society. February 20, 2012.
  13. ^ a b Sheppard, Eric; Tyner, James (October 1, 2016). "Forum on Geography and Militarism: An Introduction". Annals of the American Association of Geographers. 106 (3): 503–505. doi:10.1080/24694452.2015.1131141.
  14. ^ "AGI Member Societies". american geosciences institute. Archived from the original on 2018-09-19. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  15. ^ "Anderson Medal". Association of American Geographers. Archived from the original on 2015-09-06. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  16. ^ "Geography and environmental studies named national finalist for AAG program excellence award". University of Colorado.
  17. ^ "ASU faculty, alumni to be recognized by American Association of Geographers". Arizona State University. April 11, 2018.
  18. ^ "Handbook of the Association of American Geographers" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-03-18. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
  19. ^ "Letter from Sarah Bednarz" (PDF). New Mexico State University. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-05-05. Retrieved 2 October 2018.

Further readingEdit

  • James, Preston E.; Martin, Geoffrey J. (1978), The Association of American Geographers: The first seventy-five years, 1904-1979, Easton: AAG

External linksEdit