This article talks about the innovative ways GIS is being used to engage citizens by their local governments and to improve government services. It’s a good read.
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On behalf of the NSGIC Board of Directors, it is with great delight that I announce the hiring of Molly Schar as NSGIC’s first executive director.
During the search process, Molly impressed the search committee with not only her extensive background working with government and nonprofit organizations in advocacy, management, and communications roles but also with the creative ideas and enthusiasm she brought to our discussions about NSGIC’s future. I am confident that as you meet Molly in the coming weeks and months, you will also appreciate her warmth and candor, as well as the distinct perspective she brings to our organization.
Nearly two years ago NSGIC embarked on a journey to find our first executive director when I sat down with former NSGIC presidents Kenny Miller and Shelby Johnson by the fireplace at Kenny’s house in Maryland contemplating NSGIC’s future. I recall that during those early discussions we identified the need to better serve our membership, diversify our base by finding ways to grow it and develop a strategy that complements our volunteers’ commitment to NSGIC rather than asking members to do more than they can offer.
In 25 years of NSGIC, our organization has had plenty of success. However, the paradigm has shifted and so we must shift as well. Instead of trying to convince the people we work for that GIS is an essential element to decision making, we are now asked to do more with GIS than ever before. As a result, we have less time to collaborate amongst ourselves and therefore, NSGIC needs a bit more help than our membership can offer.
Not too long ago I was provided a Directions Magazine interview of Past President Bill Johnson from 2004. During that interview, Bill predicted that NSGIC would have an Executive Director within five years.
“Our hope as an organization is that we can continue to expand our financial base to the point where we can afford a full-time Executive Director, and I really believe it will be possible to reach that goal within five years, or perhaps sooner.” Bill Johnson, 2004
Bill was off about seven years but his vision was on point.
Molly began her government career with the National Credit Union Administration in Alexandria, Va., as a public affairs specialist. As a member of the public and congressional affairs office, Molly represented the federal agency and its priorities to a number of different audiences, including national and regional media. From there, Molly moved to the World Council of Credit Unions, where she directed its Washington advocacy efforts before federal agencies and the U.S. Congress. In that role, she served actively as part of the Washington-based Microenterprise Coalition and U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council as legislative committee co-chair.
Molly also worked in Washington as the head of the stewardship team for the development office of the national headquarters of the American Red Cross. There, she directed the execution of advanced strategy for donor retention and growth, focusing on effective donor communications in the complex and fast-paced disaster relief organization.
During a stint on the West Coast, Molly was campaign director of the million-dollar-donation-at-a-time “Women Moving Millions” campaign by the Women’s Funding Network, based in San Francisco. She also served for more than five years as the executive director of a medical association focused on leadership development.
Molly makes her home in New Orleans, La., on the “third coast.” A water lover, Molly has lived on boats in Washington, DC, as well as the Northern California coast. Currently living in a camelback shotgun house in New Orleans’ historic Esplanade Ridge neighborhood, Molly says she doesn’t own a boat on the Gulf Coast … yet.
Please join me in welcoming Molly to NSGIC as she hits the ground running.
Chris Diller, WI
James Knudson passed away at the home he shared with his wife Kimberly on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. Jim was born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia. He studied geology and computer science at West Virginia University earning degrees in both fields. Jim built a career in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) working with private firms and with Pennsylvania government as the Commonwealth’s first Geospatial Coordinator. He also served as the Deputy State Chief Information Officer within the Office of Administration.
NSGIC members knew Jim as both the Pennsylvania State Representative and as a private sector partner. He is shown in the photograph below giving a presentation at the October 2006 Annual Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. Jim was always a step ahead and willing to share his work with others. He embodied the NSGIC spirit, and he will be missed.
NSGIC has been in existence for twenty-five years, and Bill Burgess has been a part of the organization for twenty-three of those years. Earlier this week Bill informed the Board of Directors that he will be stepping down as Washington Liaison for NSGIC.
Bill joined NSGIC in 1993 and served three terms on the NSGIC Board of Directors while employed by the State of Maryland. After 28 years of proud service, he retired as Director of the Watershed Services Unit in the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in 2003. Shortly after retiring, he then joined NSGIC as Washington Liaison and has been with NSGIC ever since.
My first NSGIC experience was in 2006 when I attended the annual conference in Little Rock, AR, and I quickly came to understand the value of Bill Burgess. Over the years, I have been enormously impressed with Bills’ drive and determination to carry the NSGIC mission forward. Bill has always been there for NSGIC and often worked long days and late nights. Whether it was finalizing a contract, working on a report or coordinating some activity Bill was usually at the center of that activity.
With Bill seemingly able to do it all, his shoes will be hard to fill. Bill has been a central figure on every major NSGIC initiative such as the ‘Fifty States Initiative’, ‘Imagery for the Nation’ and the ‘Digital Coast Partnership’ just to name a few. There are just too many things to list. If you ever crossed paths with NSGIC, either at a meeting or some publication, it is safe to say Bill had something to do with it. Bill knows so many people. He has contacts in just about every national geospatial organization, federal agency and in every state.
In Bill’s letter to the Board, he stated, “I am enormously proud of NSGIC’s accomplishments and appreciate the opportunities that the organization has provided to me over the past 23 years as both a volunteer and contractor. I value many of the relationships I’ve made over that period and still firmly believe in NSGIC’s mission.”
The feeling is mutual Bill. NSGIC wishes you all the best in the next chapter of your life.
Yesterday the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation met to ‘markup’ seven bills including the Digital Coast Act of 2015. I’m happy to report that the bill has passed the Committee and it is now available for the full Senate to take it up for a full vote.
The Digital Coast Act of 2015 received only two amendments. One of those amendments (Senator Thune, SD) directs NOAA to “develop[ing] and maintain[ing] a best practices document that sets out the best practices used by the Secretary in carrying out the program and providing such document to the United States Geological Survey, the Corps of Engineers, and other relevant Federal agencies.” This is a strong indication that Senator Thune understands the value of constituent-driven programs like Digital Coast. This is exactly why NSGIC strongly supports and advocates for Digital Coast.
NSGIC is a charter member of the Digital Coast Partnership. Together, we work to improve and promote NOAA’s Digital Coast. Our goal is to provide improved data, tools, and training to Federal, state and local coastal managers to improve management practices and coastal resiliency. We dedicate significant staff resources to the Digital Coast Partnership and at each of the NSGIC Conferences, we hold a Coastal Caucus meeting to help inform our members about the latest geospatial initiatives affecting the nation’s coasts.
NSGIC and the other members of the Partnership have actively worked with MAPPS, an association of photogrammetry, mapping and geospatial firms, to help promote legislation that will authorize the Digital Coast Program. Bills have been introduced in the previous three sessions of Congress. The bill’s sponsor Senator Baldwin (WI) introduced S. 2325 in the 114th Congress, and Representative Ruppersberger (MD) introduced the companion bill HR 4738.
NSGIC strongly supports the passage of S. 2325 and will work with the other Digital Coast Partners and MAPPS to help enable this valuable Federal program. To learn more about the entire legislative process, click here.
Chris Diller (WI)
The National Information Sharing Consortium Board of Directors has selected Kenny Ratliff as the NISC’s first Executive Director. Mr. Ratliff brings nearly two decades of experience to the NISC, with excellent skills in partnership building, collaboration, and information sharing. As Executive Director, he will work with the Board of Directors to advance the NISC’s mission and lead the organization with fundraising, strategic planning, and business development efforts.
NSGIC members know Kenny from his previous service to the Commonwealth of Kentucky as GIS Manager in the Department of Military Affairs, and as the Director of the Kentucky Division of Geographic Information. To view the full announcement, click here.
NSGIC believes that a nationwide digital map layer of all addressed locations will be one of the most impactful map information resources. Success with the proposed National Address Database (NAD) will serve as the basis for hundreds of applications, from directing emergency response to fueling business analytics to improving government and commercial services.
This spring, NSGIC drafted a set of basic requirements for the federal-level orchestration of the NAD by, an as-yet-unselected lead agency. The document urges careful and thorough consideration of the strengths and weakness of candidate agencies. The lead agency tasked to implement and manage the NAD must be able to commit to a well-funded effort that sustains a current, complete and open product of all addresses. NSGIC also recommends that all parties interested in the NAD, keep it simple so we can quickly facilitate its development.
As can happen with joint efforts, the NAD initiative could become mired in ever increasing detail and complexity. Focusing on the most basic public safety use cases, in alignment with emerging standards from NENA (the national, association for 9-1-1 service providers), provides the best path forward. Allowing the NAD to be subjected to ever-increasing requirements will likely ensure its failure, which would be a national disgrace.
The NSGIC NAD requirements document was presented as a lightning talk at the April meeting of the FGDC’s National Geospatial Advisory Committee by NSGIC President-Elect, Bert Granberg.
This article summarizes a speech in which Jack Dangermond weighs in on how GIS can help make better decisions for the future. Good food for thought!
The National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) is announcing that it is seeking qualified candidates to fulfill the role of Executive Director for the organization. The Executive Director Position details are included in the Position Description.
The council has operated for 25 years under the guidance of a Board of Directors and association management firms and supporting contractors. Over these years the council has been a force in the advocacy for a national spatial data structure. The Board of Directors has determined that in order to achieve the organization goals the council needs a full time director focused on the development of the organization. This will strengthen the council so that it develops the resources to meet its objectives.
The council President has appointed a team of members to guide the selection process which begins with this announcement. Prospective candidates should carefully read the position description and respond with cover letter and resume. In your cover letter please address your passion for the NSGIC mission and your long-term leadership for the organization. The selection process requires prospective candidates respond to a written exam. If there is any reason you may be unable to complete the exam in the required time frame please let us know.
This position announcement will remain open until April 8, 2016.
Please send your candidacy documents to:
Fred Stringfellow [ email@example.com ]
This is a very interesting article about AmigoCloud, a new company who appears to offer an alternate approach to GIS for government users. I found the last point about the format open data is made available most noteworthy, and it should be kept in mind for the NAD.
The web application described here developed for the city of Chicago sounds very user friendly and worth checking out…
As we look to close out 2015, I’d like to take a few moments to reflect on all the outstanding work NSGIC has engaged in during the past year. It is inspiring to witness, no doubt. I thought I would take a moment to share some of my reflections with you.
2015 was a year of new direction for NSGIC. We are entering our 25th year and I’m excited and proud to be leading the organization into the next phase. We have moved past the concept that GIS and geospatial data are “nice to have” they are now a “need to have”. All NSGIC members, both past and present, have something to do with that. While I know all of you would never take a moment and pat yourself on the back, I think you deserve to do just that. NSGIC should be proud.
A great deal of thought and deliberation took place all year long on the strategic direction of the organization. Just a few weeks ago the Board approved the creation of a search committee, and in 2016 NSGIC will likely hire our first Executive Director. I’m very excited about this as it will increase our ability to grow as an organization. More members and more attendance mean more expertise. Growth also gives us more flexibility to communicate our advocacy agenda, and to do that with more effectiveness.
The year also seemed to be the “year of the address point.” The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released new rules associated with the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act that now includes mandatory collection of address information by Financial Institutions. This is a big deal because NSGIC provided written comment on address inclusion prior to the new rule change. CFPB is on record that it would consume the National Address Database (NAD) once it is developed.
Speaking of the NAD, USDOT hosted the first-ever summit on addresses back in April that included a variety of organizations from federal, state, local, tribal, private and non-profit. NSGIC was well-represented at that meeting and continues to be a strong force behind ensuring there is progress toward the NAD.
The White House had an opinion on addresses. In October The White House released the Third Open Government National Action Plan for the United States of America in which they called for an Initiative to Launch a Process to Create a Consolidated Public Listing of Every Address in the United States.
MAPPS also had an opinion on addresses and NSGIC 100% supported their recent MAPPS Privacy Best Practices Guidelines (v.2) in which “Data depicting the physical locations of street addresses, without associated personal information” is public information.
Waldo Jaquith of US Open Data keynoted the Midyear Meeting and talked about the value of GIS data inside and outside of government. During his talk Waldo challenged NSGIC to build the NAD ourselves. Waldo’s comments are inspiring and have helped drive NSGIC to solving these issues, which brings me to an important note I’d like to make.
If you are not attending the NSGIC 2016 Midyear you will be missing out. The Midyear is changing structure a bit to be more focused on developing outcomes. I’m excited about this because we are taking some time to break out into “working” sessions to address real problems and hopefully develop solutions to these problems. Be sure to get registered soon. The dates are February 22-25, 2016 at the Annapolis Hotel.
2015 was not just all about addresses. In February the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report titled “GEOSPATIAL DATA Progress Needed on Identifying Expenditures, Building and Utilizing a Data Infrastructure, and Reducing Duplicative Efforts”. Several states participated by giving interviews, example datasets and expenditure results. The overall report put a spotlight on our national geospatial priorities and the need to better identify geospatial expenditures and find ways to reduce duplicative efforts.
At about the same time the GAO report was released, the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) released their first-ever Report Card on the U.S. National Spatial Data Infrastructure. Thirteen national geospatial organizations came together in unison to provide this report. While not failing as a nation the report gave the NSDI an average rating, a “C”. We can certainly do much better.
The report card is an important tool in helping move Senate Bill S.740 ‘Geospatial Data Act of 2015’ through Congress, which was introduced in March. Progress continues and I’m happy to announce that as of last week Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota has signed on as a co-sponsor for the bill. We now have nine sponsors. I’m impressed by your dedication to help write letters and seek other letters of support for the bill. However, there is much work to be done in this area and I once again ask for your help in sending letters. It is never too late. If you need assistance in this area, then please reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org . I’m happy to help.
Terrific and exciting news also took place at the Annual Conference when the membership voted in favor of a MOU between NSGIC and the National Tribal Geographic Information Support Center (NTGISC). I was very happy to sign that MOU on behalf of NSGIC. The relationship between States and Tribes are unique. This MOU allows for more open dialog and opens the door for collaborative efforts to work on important issues. It really opens a communication channel we never had before, and I’m excited to see how this relationship will evolve over time.
Lastly, I want to take a moment to wish each of you and your families a safe and Happy Holidays. I look forward to what 2016 will bring.
Chris Diller, NSGIC President
NPR did this piece about maps and cartography, highlighting the fact that for a map there’s just as much value (if not more) in the reflection of what’s important to the cartographer than their purpose of navigation. I’d love to tour the map collection they reference at the Library of Congress! Perhaps NSGIC could arrange a tour one of these days…
I heard this piece on public radio this morning: