Lifetime Achievement Award 2011
Don Luman came to ISGS following academic careers at Illinois State University and Northern Illinois University, and a brief stint at the Natural History Survey, where he had already established himself as an internationally recognized expert in remote sensing. He has carried this expertise to the ISGS and has added tools to his “toolbox” in response to an ever-changing digital world. Luman arrived just as geologists were beginning to use digital methods for geologic mapping. Luman has worked tirelessly to ensure that the highest quality geospatial data available were acquired and used with our geologic maps. He has been a leader in securing funding for the acquisition of aerial photography for the state of Illinois and for the production and distribution of multiple years of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Digital Orthophoto Quarter Quadrangles. Last year, Luman completed a decade-long project of digital reproduction and distribution of historical aerial photographs for the entire state. This has proved invaluable in identifying predevelopment landscape features and associated geologic attributes. He also produced several statewide maps, including land cover and surface topography maps of Illinois. Luman‘s knowledge and expertise in the field of remote sensing have been crucial to the resulting quality of imagery and geospatial data that have been produced and made available to ISGS and other agencies in Illinois. His most recent contribution in the area of acquisition, processing, and distribution of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) has been an outstanding effort to bring this incredibly detailed data to Illinois.
Luman has had a keen interest in and knowledge of USGS topographic maps, which have been the base for quadrangle geologic map publications for decades. He has followed the development of USGS geospatial data products—including Digital Elevation Models, Digital Raster Graphics, Digital Line Graphs, and Raster Feature Separates—as they have changed over time. Luman has collaborated with USGS liaisons to acquire or create the highest quality base maps for map production. His continual attention to these products has been an invaluable contribution to the availability of high-quality base maps for the ISGS Quadrangle Geologic Mapping Program.
Luman has never hesitated to share his expertise with his colleagues in support of their mapping and research. He has also been an incredible resource to many student interns who have worked in the geologic mapping program. Luman’s high level of professionalism, strong connections with people in state and national agencies, tireless work effort, creativity and success in securing funding for research and projects, and determination to provide information to staff, students, other agencies, and the public have greatly benefited the ISGS and the people of the state of Illinois.
Luman’s award reads, in recognition of your advocacy for and coordination of the acquisition and dissemination of remote sensing data for the benefit of the people of Illinois.
In addition to the plaque, Luman’s name was added to the permanent plaque in the Natural Resources Building and he received a monetary award to be used for work purposes.