AAG for Everyone —

A Guide to Our Annual Meeting



Welcome to the American Association of Geographers' Annual Meeting. You will be joined by fellow geographers, GIS specialists, environmental scientists, and other leaders for the latest in research and applications in geography, sustainability, and GIScience.

The 2021 Annual Meeting will be held online from Wednesday, April 7 - Sunday, April 11, 2021, and will feature nearly 3,000 presentations, posters, workshops, and field trips by leading scholars, experts, and researchers.

The Annual Meeting of the AAG is quite possibly the largest geography conference in the world. This year, 4,331 geographers will come together from the U.S., Canada, and nearly 60 other countries for five days of intensive programming: paper presentations, panels, workshops, and networking events. With thousands of different papers and presentations scheduled throughout the conference, you’ll find no shortage of activities that reflect your specific interests within the field of geography.

Resources to Help You Thrive

A special feature of this year’s meeting is the enhanced Meridian Space, featuring sessions, workshops, and informal gatherings aimed at supporting the professional development and well-being of our members and attendees. Meridian Space events will be available on our meeting platform to all registrants. Register now for AAG 2021.

First Time Attending, or Need a Refresher?

Make plans to attend the Newcomers Meeting at 8 a.m. (Pacific Time) on Wednesday, April 7.

About the Meeting

Session types

Sessions are generally 75 minutes long.

  • Plenary: Several plenaries featuring highly distinguished speakers are hosted by the AAG. Some specialty groups organize topical plenary talks, which are listed along with regular sessions. 
  • Paper sessions: For most paper sessions, each presenter speaks for 10-15 minutes. Lightning paper sessions are larger groups (typically 10 to 14) of very short presentations that provide the audience with rapid and intensive overview of research and allow for more in-depth discussion among presenters and the audience. They feature a 25- to 45-minute interactive roundtable discussion following presentations. 
  • Panel sessions: Participants in panel sessions examine a topic briefly, without formal presentations, and then engage in a discussion with Q&A from the audience. 
  • Poster sessions: Poster sessions exhibit for informal browsing with opportunities for discussion with poster authors. In guided poster sessions, presenters give brief talks about their posters. Afterwards, attendees can get a closer look and ask questions.

Presentation platform:

  • All sessions will take place in the Zoom meeting platform. Session organizers, presenters, and chairs will be designated co-hosts of the meeting that is associated with the session. All ZOOM features will be available to use. For poster sessions, we recommend that you create breakout rooms for each poster presenter to allow attendees to visit the presentations that they wish to discuss.
  • Each ZOOM meeting will have a closed captioning option provided in English via Automatic Speech Recognition
  • Presentations may be given live, or pre-recorded. If you opt to pre-record your presentation you will need to play the recording during your session.  

Session Recording and Opting Out

AAG's virtual annual meeting is using a platform that automates recording and offers attendees the option of viewing recorded sessions for a 30-day period.

In response to member concerns about privacy and intellectual property rights, AAG has put clearer opt-out options in place. We are actively looking to switch to an opt-in approach for future meetings.
For the 2021 meeting, we want to work with all of our presenters and participants to make these options as easy as possible.
Three ways to opt out:

  • If you are an organizer. You will have co-host privileges that enable you to control recording during your session. Our sessions are also staffed by audiovisual (AV) technicians. We ask you to arrive 15 minutes early to your session so you can work with the AV technician to ensure that your host privileges are in place and that the recording is paused when you begin.
  • If you are a presenter. Presenters will also have co-hosting privileges so that they can pause recording when they present. It is best to arrive 15 minutes early to ensure that everything is set up correctly. We encourage you to make sure your session organizer knows that you will pause recording during your presentation.
  • If you were recorded or could not successfully opt out. Please contact meeting@aag.org and we will remove the archived video recording of the session from the website.

The viewing period will be 30 days after the conclusion to the meeting, and it will only be available to meeting registrants. Presenters retain all ownership rights, including copyright, patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property of content uploaded to these sites.
  After the 30-day period, AAG will only retain or share the recording with the express permission of participants; or, in rare cases where harassment has been reported, if the recording is a substantive source of information for the complaint. In these cases, AAG reserves the right to retain it for the purpose of investigation.

Engage with AAG’s 70+ Specialty and Affinity Groups

Even if you are not yet a member, consider attending a specialty/affinity group business meeting. Although these are not informational sessions, they offer the chance to learn more about the group’s activities and to meet others who share your research interests. If you are a student, you’ll be interested to know that most groups have student representatives on their boards of directors, making specialty group membership an excellent stepping stone to develop your professional network and gain leadership experience. 

As a member of AAG, you can join listservs and AAG Knowledge Communities to receive announcements about other social activities and events. For questions about joining, contact membership@aag.org

Field Trips and Workshops

AAG offers many opportunities to learn, network—and even to experience Seattle virtually. All field trips and workshops are free to meeting participants. Learn more .

Guidance for Presenters

Thank you for presenting at the annual meeting! Your work is the foundation of ours. Here are tips for a successful presentation experience. Get the TOOLKIT!

You can access the meeting through our Final Program Platform and join your room as a co-host. We suggest you arrive about 15 minutes early. You will have all available functionality as found in any ZOOM meeting room. Functionality includes but is not limited to: screen sharing, polls, breakout rooms and pausing and/or stopping the recording of the session. 

There will be a technician available during your session in the event of any technical issues. Our technicians will be assigned at a 1-technician to 3-session ratio. 

Share your pronouns. And ask! Make space for all of our gender identities by telling people what pronouns they should use for you, and don’t be shy about asking. Be careful not to ask for “preferred” pronouns; instead, just ask for pronouns. Specify your pronouns when you meet your panelists, on your “nameplate” where your name is listed, and on any slides containing your name.

Prepare handouts, digital copies of your paper or presentation, or other follow-up items for participants who want to know more. Some presenters also make their slide decks available. 

Anticipate the needs of attendees with disabilities. Create a file that you can share with descriptions of your slides and visuals for visually impaired attendees. Follow these tips from Washington College for designing graphics to suit neurodiversity. Make a transcript of your talk available for attendees. Be mindful of special effects and films that might strobe or distract too much with high-stimulus elements. Give content advisories before presenting subject matter containing violence, graphic imagery, discussion of suicide or substance abuse.

Guidance for Session Organizers

We’ve assembled guidelines for creating an academically productive and comfortable environment for all of your session attendees. 

  • Well before your session, plan activities to encourage interaction, such as brief polls, use of the breakout room function, pauses for questions and discussion, or the like. Attention is hard to sustain in a purely virtual environment, and interactions will help. Remind your presenters to prepare their materials with an awareness of accessibility (see resources in the Guidance for Presenters section). 
  • Appoint a chat moderator to field questions and help the chat go smoothly during your session. Ideally, this is someone other than a presenter, but we have seen this duty shared about presenters. Having a chat moderator is one of the most important things you can do to assure that discussion and questions remain productive and collegial.
  • Arrive early enough to give yourself and your presenters a chance to get familiar with the environment. Our virtual meeting rooms will open 15 minutes in advance only for organizers and presenters.
  • If you have opted out of recording the session, check that you have co-host privileges and let your technician know so that you can pause recording during the session.
  • If your session will be recorded, doublecheck with all of your presenters to make sure they know the session will be recorded and that they have the ability as co-hosts to pause recording during their own presentation.
  • Greet your attendees as they enter, though not necessarily by name (unless you know them). Let your attendees know that you see them arriving.
  • Introduce yourself using your pronouns, and encourage your participants to do the same. You can change your “badge” on Zoom to include your pronouns. Please do not say “preferred pronouns.” Just “your pronouns.”
  • Please announce the following at the beginning of the session: “AAG is recording sessions unless an organizer notes otherwise. We make these recordings available only to session attendees for 30 days. You have the right to turn off your camera and be unidentified during this session. By clicking the three dots in the corner of the Zoom image, you can delete or change your name if you do not want to be identified in a recording. We’d also like to remind attendees not to record or take screen captures during the presentation without explicit permission from the presenters.” 
  • Please also show this slide about AAG’s anti-harassment policy at the beginning of your session, and share the link to it in the chat so that attendees can access the link contained in the slide.

AAG Regional Divisions and Councilors

AAG members who live in U.S. states; Puerto Rico; Washington, D.C.; and parts of Canada automatically become members of their respective AAG Regional Division. There are nine regional divisions of the AAG, each with their own governance and annual activities. The AAG Regional Divisions offer an additional space for AAG members to connect, get involved in the AAG, and share their scholarship. To find out which AAG Regional Division is yours, or for more information on the divisions, visit this website. If you are an international member who would like to be involved in the AAG Regional Divisions, some Regional Divisions offer individual memberships including the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers, the Southeast Division of the AAG, and New England-St. Lawrence Valley. 

Regional, International, and Student Councilors. Each AAG Regional Division is represented on the AAG Council by a Regional Division Councilor. Elected for three year terms, the Regional Division Councilors connect with local members while assisting at the AAG national office. Meet your AAG Regional Division Councilors here

International Members are represented to AAG Council by the International Councilor. Students have additional representation to the AAG Council from the Student Councilor. More about the AAG Council can be found here

Join several of our Regional Divisions for meet-ups:
East Meets West: Southeast/Pacific Coast Joint Regional Division Mixer April 9, 3:05 - 4:20 PM PDT. Meet members of AAG’s Regional Divisions from two coasts at this collaborative event. Organized by Michael Pretes (APCG Chair) and Lynn Resler (SEDAAG Chair)

Professional, Government-focused, and Academic Geographers: Getting to Know the MAD Regional Division, April 7, 12:30 - 1:25 PM PDT. Get acquainted with the Mid-Atlantic Region’s history of membership by a diverse and collegial mix of professional and academic geographers who work in a variety of government positions, organizations, universities, colleges and HBCUs throughout DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. Organized by Jeremy Tasch and Andrea Presotto.

Join members of the West Lakes AAG Regional Division for a conversation about virtual field trips, April 7, 11:10 AM - 12:25 PM PDT Have you incorporated virtual field trips into your geography classes? What are the successes of virtual field trips? What are the pitfalls? All are welcome. Organized by Stacey Brown.

Jobs and Careers

Join us at AAG’s Jobs & Careers Center, an online hub that provides a central location for attendees to interact and learn more about careers and professional development for geographers. “Stop by” for a schedule of activities and information about careers and professional development activities that will occur throughout the meeting. The AAG 2021 Jobs & Careers Center is sponsored by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.


We are grateful to the sponsors of AAG 2021 for a their support:


Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, sponsor of AAG’s Jobs and Careers Center

US Geological Survey


The AAG Annual Meeting provides a dynamic forum for industry leaders to showcase the most recent trends in geographic ideas and technologies. Many exhibitors sponsor meeting events, activities, or workshops, and support student initiatives and competitions such as the annual World Geography Bowl. 

Visit the booths of tech companies, government agencies, academic programs, and major publishers. Take advantage of discounts on books and journals, demonstrations, informal classes, and book receptions throughout the annual meeting.

AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships
Avenza Systems
Boston University, Department of Earth & Environment
Bristol University Press and Policy Press
Department of Geography, The University of Hong Kong
Forrest T Jones & Company
GIS Certification Institute
Macmillan Learning
MIT Press
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Race, Ethnicity, and Place Conference
Routledge (Taylor & Francis)
Rowman & Littlefield
Springer Nature
Temple University
U.S. Census Bureau
Universit of California Press
University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS)
University of Minnesota Press
University of Nebraska Press
University of Toronto Press
University of Wyoming/ WyGISC
US Geological Survey


AAG is committed to creating universal access to its annual meeting, broadly defined to recognize and respond to the intersections of identity and ability, specifically with regard to gender, race, age, stage of life, sexual preference, as well as ability or disability. As AAG has shifted to a virtual meeting in 2021, new considerations and needs present themselves to assure online accessibility. In 2021, we are committed to setting and meeting expectations for attendee access, well being, and safety during virtual events and interactions at the annual meeting. Please read further for information on our approach.

  • In keeping with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), AAG will work to ensure communication access at all sessions, including automatic captioning of our sessions.
  • Session organizers and presenters are also given specific guidance for facilitating visual and aural access to their sessions and for incorporating neurodiverse approaches to their presentations.
  • Recordings, transcripts, and chat logs of sessions will be available to registered participants after the Annual Meeting for a period of 30 days.

An accommodation request form is available here. If possible, please make accommodations requests no later than one month prior to the meeting. This provides both the AAG and its vendors lead time for ensuring optimal access, e.g. contracting with sign language interpreters. Please direct all queries to accessibility@aag.org.

Resources for Inclusion and Respect

AAG is committed to creating and supporting a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment at all of its events, including online events and separately sponsored social gatherings that are part of AAG activities. AAG has also made changes to its Standing Rules that specifically address and establish consequences for dishonorable, unethical, or unprofessional conduct by an Association member in relation to the Association or its activities, or to the professional role of the Association member beyond AAG-sponsored functions. 

AAG’s policies and practices for inclusion and respect support our mission of serving the geography profession, by helping to ensure a robust academic environment in which dialogue, debate, and dissent are supported in a professional culture that is free from harassment, bullying, and discrimination. If you would like to help AAG continue to strengthen these policies, contact us at gaia@aag.org

AAG Practices for Inclusion and Respect

Although some of our policies were written for the in-person meeting, the essential framework of our approach remains in place, with modifications to accommodate a virtual meeting environment. Visit this page to learn more about your rights if you experience harassment, as well as how to recognize and confront harassment if you are a bystander. If you need to correspond with the advocate during the Annual Meeting, email Advocate@aag.org.

NOTE: If you have been harassed or witnessed harassment and need to correspond with the advocate during the Annual Meeting, email Advocate@aag.org.

Sessions Promoting Well-Being & Preventing Harassment

The following sessions are offered by the Mental Health Affinity Group and Anti-Harassment Task Force

The Mental Health Affinity Group has compiled a set of resources on mental health for students and faculty. New resources are added periodically. Find the folder of resources here.

Racial Justice and Diversity

AAG’s annual meeting offers an important opportunity to gather, reflect, and progress toward making geography a more inclusive and equitable discipline. Through sharing of scholarship on the social and spatial foundations and consequences of racism, violence, and inequality; as well as through AAG-sponsored programming to address the barriers and challenges to racial equity and inclusiveness within AAG and the discipline itself, we seek to broaden and support a diverse community of geographers and GIS practitioners. 

Among the many sessions relevant to social justice at AAG 2021, here is a sampling that address issues of racial justice and diversity in the discipline:

JEDI Is Listening: Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Geography, a Listening Session, April 8, 1:30 PM - 2:45 PM PDT

More than Mentoring: Towards a More Just and Equitable Geography, April 8, 11:10 AM -12:25 PM PDT

Building Inclusive Communities and Diverse Departments, Supporting Women in Geography 8th Annual Panel, April 8, 4:40 - 5:55 PM PDT

Refusing Neoliberal Diversity Work in the Imperial University, April 8, 3:05 PM PDT

Increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in Biogeography, April 10, 4:40 PM PDT

Gender Equity and LGBT2QIA+ Inclusiveness

AAG has implemented expectations for attendees and presenters to recognize and support all members, inclusive of all gender and sexual identities. Specifically,

  • AAG supports full gender diversity at all of our events. 
  • AAG provides information about how to use correct pronouns in attendees’ registration information, as well as online throughout the meeting. All attendees, AAG staff, leadership, presenters, and session organizers at the annual meeting should identify our gender pronouns in our nameplate for meetings and wherever we can alter our name (e.g., on Zoom, go to Preferences and change your name to “Chris Cohen, they/them”).
  • Presenters and organizers should set the norm for this open acknowledgement of diversity, by incorporating correct gender pronouns into their introductions. 
  • Attendees and presenters should carry their awareness of gender and sexual diversity into their participation in the annual meeting, from their prepared remarks to casual comments. If you are unsure how to begin, find out more at the Trans*Awareness Project, especially these tips, and see this guidance from The Trans*Ally Workbook (available for a very small cost from Think Again). 
Learn more about AAG Queer and Trans Specialty Group sponsored sessions

A Child-Friendly AAG 2021

Although CAMP AAG is on hiatus until our next in-person meeting, we remain committed to supporting parents who are attending AAG 2021. AAG supports a fully inclusive experience of our annual meeting and an acknowledgement of the disproportionate burden of care experienced by parents and family caregivers. 

We welcome the presence of children and other family members in any generation at our virtual meeting, in keeping with the reality that we are a guest in your homes for this event. All session organizers are directed to acknowledge and accommodate the presence of presenters’ family members during sessions.

Tips on Social Media

Follow this link to find information on using social media during the AAG Annual Meeting.

AAG’s Photo/Video Policy

Photography, Videography and Audio Recordings in Sessions

Photos, videos or audio recordings may not be taken by participants during paper or poster presentations without the permission of the presenter. Any participant doing so without permission will be asked to leave the conference. 

AAG Photo and Video Release

AAG works to safeguard the privacy of its attendees, while also working to document the community of geographers we serve. We document both the candid and formal aspects of our events with images, photos and/or videos, primarily used to promote similar AAG events in the future, highlight the event and exhibit the capabilities of AAG, and add to the knowledge base for and about the discipline of geography.  

When you register to attend, you consent to AAG’s photographic and videographic documentation and use of images and videos, and release AAG's employees and each and all persons involved from any liability connected with the taking, recording, digitizing, or publication and use of photographs, computer images and/or video. You also waive any right to inspect or approve any photo, video, or audio recording taken by AAG or the person or entity designated to do so by AAG. For the purpose of documentation, all sessions at the AAG Annual Meeting will be recorded and uploaded to the session gallery for viewing later by registered meeting attendees. Presenters and organizers may opt out of having their presentation or session recorded by using the pause button before their presentation or session.

By registering for and attending the meeting, you agree to our above photography/videography terms and conditions.

Privacy Policy for AAG Websites

Your privacy is very important to us, so we have developed these privacy practices to explain how we collect and make use of personal information.