Fred Broome

1940 - 2006

Fred Broome, born February 18, 1940, a longtime employee of the Geography Division at the U.S. Census Bureau, passed away quietly from cancer on December 2, 2006, near his home in Augusta, West Virginia. Broome was the U.S. government’s first employee with the title of “Computer Mapping Specialist” and was relied upon for his expertise in geospatial techniques. He played key roles in developing the address coding guidelines of the 1960s, the GBF/DIME program of the 1970s, assisted in creating TIGER in the 1980s, helped develop the Bureau’s automated cartographic system, formulated the concept of map image metafile (MIM) language, and played a substantial role in the development of the GPS and imagery update techniques currently in use.

Broome served the Census Bureau in several roles throughout his tenure, including as Chief, Mapping Operations Branch; Chief, Geospatial Research and Standards Staff; and lastly as Chief, National Geographics Partnership Team, Geography Division. He retired from the Census Bureau in 2003 after retiring from the U.S. Army Reserves as a lieutenant colonel in 2000.

Broome also played a key role on the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) where he was devoted to building the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) and where he also served as Chair of the Subcommittee on Cultural and Demographic Data. Broome provided technical support to the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health for an important study of breast cancer on Long Island. Broome taught GIS for the Center for Disease Control’s Maternal and Child Health conferences and also served as an adjunct faculty member for the Department of Geography at the University of Maryland and for George Mason University, where he taught automated cartography and GIS.

Frederick Roland Broome (Necrology). 2007. AAG Newsletter 42(2): 20.