"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."

From T. S. Eliot, Little Gidding (No. 4 of "Four Quartets")

Dr. John M. Morgan, III ("Jay") is a professor of Geography and Environmental Planning at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland. A graduate of the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (1965), Dr. Morgan received his B.A. (1969) and M.A. (1973) from Towson University. He earned his Ph.D. (1980) from the University of Maryland. His primary teaching and research interests include geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing and digital image processing, homeland security and emergency management, outdoor recreation planning and management, military geography, and the geography of Alaska.

Dr. Morgan served as a cadet in the two-year Army ROTC program at the Johns Hopkins University and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers in 1969. While on active duty, he completed the Engineer Officer Basic and Topographic Engineer Officer courses at the U.S. Army Engineer School, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and then served as a Geographic Officer with the 139th Engineer Detachment (Terrain), 656th Engineer Battalion (Topographic) (Army), U.S. Army, Europe in Schwetzingen, Germany (1970-72). The battalion's mission was to provide "accurate, current mapping and geographic documentation" to United States and allied forces in Europe during the Cold War. The 139th Engineer Detachment (Terrain) supported that mission by producing strategic and tactical terrain studies, urban area studies, lines of communications studies, and geological, surface drainage, and river studies. Upon completion of his overseas tour of duty he served in the U.S. Army Reserve and was honorably discharged in 1975 at the rank of Captain.

Jay worked for nearly 13 years with state and local government planning agencies in Maryland. His GIS experience includes serving with the Maryland Department of Planning as the first systems analyst/programmer (1974-77) for the Maryland Automated Geographic Information System (MAGI), one of the nation's first successful statewide GIS. He also served as head of the Information Systems Section of the Baltimore County Office of Planning and Zoning (1977-84) where he was responsible for developing a GIS for the County's planning office that was used in the preparation of the 1979 Baltimore County Master Plan, for developing and maintaining various computer databases for the planning office, for preparing annual census tract population estimates for the County, and for coordinating the County's efforts related to the 1980 census.

Dr. Morgan became a full-time faculty member in the Department of Geography and Environmental Planning at Towson University in 1984. Since then, he has taught a variety of courses including Introduction to Physical Geography, Introduction to Geographic Information Systems, GIS Applications, Computer Mapping, Principles of Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing, Outdoor Recreation Planning and Management, Advanced Digital Image Processing, and graduate seminars on GIS, remote sensing and digital image processing, homeland security and emergency management, and outdoor recreation planning and management topics. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Dr. Morgan founded the Center for Geographic Information Sciences in 1992 and served as its director until 2005. During this period, he was the principal investigator on nearly $13 million of contracts and grants with government agencies and businesses including a $2.5 million NASA/Raytheon/Synergy contract and a $1 million U.S. Department of Homeland Security Information Technology and Evaluation Program (ITEP) grant. Dr. Morgan was also responsible for the development of the Emergency Management Mapping Application (EMMA), a Web-based GIS that serves as the "common operating picture" for Maryland's emergency management and homeland security efforts. Under his direction, CGIS grew from a staff of one full-time and one part-time (student) employee to a staff of forty employees, thirty-five of whom were full-time (contractual) employees hired to support an annual budget of $3 million. Dr. Morgan voluntarily resigned as CGIS Director in September, 2005 to return to his teaching position in the Department of Geography and Environmental Planning. He was subsequently named Director Emeritus of CGIS and Director of the Department's new Geospatial Research and Education Laboratory. In 2010, Dr. Morgan was awarded the Wilson H. Elkins Professorship of the University System of Maryland. For his Elkins Professorship project, he developed a Web mapping application known as Maryland safeMAP to provide geospatial information to Maryland residents in the event of an emergency.

Dr. Morgan organized twenty-five annual Geographic Information Sciences conferences at Towson University during the period from 1988 to 2012. He also organized three national conferences on GIS education, organized one regional conference on land use and land cover mapping, and hosted the All Hazards Consortium Regional GIS Workshop. Since 1984, Dr. Morgan has had nineteen papers and reports published, conducted over 100 presentations at various conferences, conducted more than 125 workshops on various GIS and remote sensing topics, and organized 14 Alaska travel/study tours.

Jay has received numerous awards during his career. He was the recipient of the Distinguiahed Geographer Award of the Pennsylvania Geographical Society (2013), the Outstanding Service Award of AmericaView (2013), the Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to GIS in Maryland (2012), the first Esri Mid-Atlantic User Group GIS Community Service Award (2011), the Wilson H. Elkins Professorship of the University System of Maryland (2010), the Dean's Recognition Award of the Towson University Alumni Association (2007), the ESRI Award for Contributions to Geographic Sciences (2003), the Award for Outstanding Contribution to GIS in Maryland (2002), the Towson University Graduate Faculty Teaching Award (1994), the Educator of the Year Award of the Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association (1990), the Presidential Award of the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association (1985), and the Creative Conservation Award of the Old Line Chapter of the Soil Conservation Society of America (1981). He received a Commendation from the Baltimore County Council (1980) for his work on concilmanic redistricting. At the 10th Annual Towson University GIS Conference (1997), Dr. Morgan received a Governor's Citation from Maryland Governor Parris N. Glendenning. The citation read:

"... in recognition of your outstanding service to Maryland and its citizens through educational opportunities in geography that emphasize innovation in the development and use of geographic information systems (GIS) technologies; your leadership has helped the furtherance of programs that provide local governments and the State with the geographic technologies and data vital to the implementation of the Neighborhood Conservation and Smart Growth Initiatives ... ."

At the 20th Annual Towson University GIS Conference (2007), Dr. Morgan received a Governor's Citation from Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. The citation read:

"... in recognition of the celebration of 20 years of the Towson University Geographic Information Sciences Conference ... with deep appreciation for your tireless efforts to promote the use of GIS within state and local governments to maximize the efficiencies of agencies and to facilitate its use in decision making to help increase the quality of life for the citizens of Maryland ... ."

Dr. Morgan consults with government agencies and businesses on geospatial technologies, serves as Towson University's representative to the Maryland Space Grant Consortium Program Committee, serves as principal investigator for the MarylandView Consortium (AmericaView, Inc.), is currently writing a book on geospatial technologies, and was president of the GIS Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers (1994-95). He is also a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, the Association of American Geographers, the Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the National Council for Geographic Education, the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, and Gamma Theta Upsilon (International Geographical Honor Society).

Dr. Morgan and his wife, Barbara (Bobby) Fleury, live in the White Marsh area of Baltimore County with their dog, Mercy, and their cat, Millie. Bobby is a GIS Specialist with the Montgomery County Department of Planning in Silver Spring. Jay's son, John, is a Survey Crew Chief with the Towson-based firm Wallace, Montgomery & Associates LLP. His grandson, Zachary, is a survey instrtument operator with Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson.

  Back to top

Send email to with questions or comments about this Web site.