American Association of Geographers

American Association of Geographers
Official logo of the American Association of Geographers
Formation 1904
Derek Alderman
Key people
Douglas Richardson
Website Official website

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 are located at 1710 16th St NW, Washington, D.C. The organization was founded on 29 December 1904 in Philadelphia as the Association of American Geographers, with the American Society of Professional Geographers later amalgamating into it on 29 December 1948 in Madison, Wisconsin. Currently, the association has more than 10,000 members from over 60 countries. AAG members are geographers and related professionals who work in the public, private, and academic sectors.

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."[1] 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.


The Annals of the American Association of Geographers 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 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. Another publication is Earth Interactions.

Specialty groups

The AAG has over 60 specialty or affinity groups, voluntary associations of AAG members who share interests in regions or topics.[2] 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 meetings

For over a century, the AAG has held an annual meeting for the geography community. In recent years, this conference has attracted between 7,000 and 9,000 attendees.[3] The annual meeting offers upwards of 4,000 papers and presentations on topics as diverse as soil moisture, climate change, population dynamics, political instability, sustainable agriculture, natural hazards, urban landscapes, 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 Boston (2017), San Francisco (2016), Chicago (2015), Tampa (2014), 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, 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.[4]


died during his tenure

See also



  1. "New Year, New Name, New Proposal". 7 January 2016.
  2. "Specialty Groups|AAG. "AAG" Accessed 4 April 2017
  3. "2016 San Francisco Highlights" "AAG"
  4. "Anderson Medal". Association of American Geographers. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  5. "Handbook of the Association of American Geographers" (PDF).

Further reading

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