Educated in geography and town planning at Liverpool University Professor Masser received his PhD in 1975 and was awarded a LittD in 1993 by the same University for his contributions to the fields of planning methods, information management and comparative planning. These three interests feature prominently in his research activities. From 1986-1991 he was national coordinator of United Kingdom Economic and Social Research Council’s Regional Research Laboratory initiative and he co-directed the European Science Foundation’s GISDATA scientific programme from 1992 to 1997. His publications include seventeen books and 300 contributions to conference proceedings, books and major journals. The most recent of his books, ‘GIS Worlds: creating spatial data infrastructures’ was published by ESRI Press in spring 2005. Ian Masser retired from the position of Professor of Urban Planning at ITC in September 2002 after four and a half years service. Prior to that he was Professor of Town and Regional Planning at the University of Sheffield for nearly 20 years. He currently holds the positions of Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Geographical Sciences at the University of Utrecht, the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London and the Centre for Spatial Data Infrastructures and Land Administration at the University of Melbourne. He was the Founder Chairman of the Association of Geographic Information Laboratories in Europe (AGILE) from 1998 to 1999, President of the European Umbrella Organisation for Geographic Information (EUROGI) from 1999 to 2003 and President of the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association from September 2002 to February 2004. Ian Masser has held visiting positions at universities in Australia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Iraq, Japan, Malaysia, Switzerland and the United States and at government research centres in Korea and Malaysia. He has also acted as advisor to a large number of national and international agencies including the European Commission, Eurostat, OECD, UNCRD and the World Bank.