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A Teenage Perspective on NSGIC

My oldest daughter, Megan, just turned 13 years old this week. Megan saw my Midyear badge sitting in a pile and asked if I would get to meet the “real President” after I become President of NSGIC. I told her it didn’t work that way.

She thought the real President should consider what would happen if NSGIC didn’t exist? I pondered the question for about 15 seconds. What if NSGIC didn’t exist? She asked me the implications of our nonexistence and I replied that lives would continue to be in danger. I cited 9-1-1 as an example and talked about the basic principles of addresses and the importance of tying the address to a coordinate. “Like Lat Long?” Way to go Megan!

I explained to her that a mobile 9-1-1 call doesn’t always find the exact location of the mobile phone. Her response was priceless. “Well that is stupid. That sort of defeats the purpose doesn’t it?”

NSGIC is a wise and thoughtful organization, but if you want perspective on something, every once in a while you need to ask a teenager. They tell it like it is.

Chris Diller
NSGI President-Elect.

Mapping Childhood Trauma

This article is highlights the benefit of using GIS to help target HHS programs and initiatives.

UN Resolution on Geospatial

The UN passed its first resolution regarding geospatial data:

Mid-Year Meeting - You Were Missed

Our Mid-Year meeting wrapped up this week, and despite bad weather many of our members made the trek.  My regret for the week is that you were not there.  I missed you.

Shelby Johnson,  Arkansas GIO & NSGIC President

Shelby Johnson, Arkansas GIO & NSGIC President

Our attendees were treated to another good lineup of speakers, federal agencies, sponsor updates, and opportunities to share with each other.  I wrote a quote down from Sandy Dyre of Arizona.  Sandy said, “My benefit at NSGIC is your wisdom.”  Sandy’s pretty wise, and don’t be fooled, she’s a wealth of experience on 9-1-1 geospatial issues.   Diversity is one of my most favorite things about our organization; that and the fact that all of our attendees care so much about GIS coordination in our respective states.

Another big treat was the industry insider information that always seems to unfold at our meetings.  Just when you think you know everything, someone develops new technology, techniques, or systems and our sponsors are the best at teaching us about these important developments.  I won’t try to tell you what all I learned, but to be sure, if you were not there you missed out.

There’s three more things you missed:

I missed you, and hope to see you in Kansas City.


Sentinel-2 is similar to Landsat with additional capabilities

There is an interesting article at about the Sentinel-2 satellite launch scheduled for June 12th.  This ‘bird’ flying out of Europe will provide some continuity with the Landsat mission, but it has additional multispectral bands, a much wider swath, and higher resolution color.

Civic Hackers Improve on MTA Bus Route app

This is timely given our discussions at the mid-year conference on open data and transportation data.

Chrome mapping experiments

While this type of mapping may not be very useful for us at a state level, it is really cool how they’re visualizing the variety of datasets.  My favorite is the world elevation map.

COGO Issues Report Card for the NSDI

NSGIC is a charter member of Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) and, with the twelve other member organizations, we supported the release of the Report Card on the U.S. National Spatial Data Infrastructure. We are hopeful that the Report Card and other impending developments will result in some much needed attention for the issues that have slowed the development of the NSDI. Those issues include the FGDC’s lack of authority over Federal agencies, no clear mandate for building the NSDI, no Congressional oversight, the lack of sufficient stakeholder involvement, and insufficient resourcing to build the NSDI. The report card is one more step toward our nation recognizing the need for a National Spatial Data Infrastructure. You are encouraged to read this document and engage in the dialog that will begin at our Midyear Meeting in Annapolis, Maryland, on February 24th.

UAV flown over Auschwitz

In honor of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, this video is pretty compelling.

US Population Trends

I love these maps that change through time!  This is a neat application showing how US population has changed in states since the late 1700’s.  

DriveDecisions for City Government Open Data

This sounds like a pretty cool application.

NENA works with wireless carriers to enhance locating 911 calls

I came across this article this morning and thought it marks what could be a significant improvement to locating 911 calls indoors.

UAV Innovation Champion

This is a great article on GoPro, a company that may serve as the champion for UAV innovation and eventual regulation.

Palo Alto Uses GIS Permitting App

This is a great example of a user-friendly app to help citizens answer their own questions regarding what things are happening where.

NSGIC President Update

Dear NSGIC Member,

Shelby Johnson,  Arkansas GIO & NSGIC President

Shelby Johnson, Arkansas GIO & NSGIC President

It dawned on me today I have not communicated much with all our members since assuming the Presidential role. I wanted to take a minute to share a few thoughts. Some of these are my way of thinking about how NSGIC works and where we stand. I’ll try to be brief.

Elected Servants
NSGIC has a proven leadership system in place. The organization has a President-Elect, a President and Out-Going President. The result, is a nearly seamless transition from year to year, and the passage of institutional knowledge about the organization works extremely well. I’ve been blessed to serve alongside very capable leadership from Tim DeTroye, Out-Going, to Kenny Miller who is transitioned to Out-Going, and Chris Diller, as President-Elect. The chemistry we have is excellent, and each other plays off our strengths. We talk about NSGIC nearly every day.

NSGIC is led by capable staff at headquarters including Kathy DeMarco, our Association Manager, Diane Schaffer, Director of Meetings, and our DC Liaison, Bill Burgess. On most days, they are operating in the background, and also in the foreground such as when Bill represents NSGIC at formal events.

NSGIC has an outstanding Board of Directors. These servants are the financial steward and the think-tank of the organization. They do monthly Board meetings where they conduct business, and they are so committed that nearly every Monday, they participate in a Leadership briefing where initiatives become results.

NSGIC’s Committee Chairs and Co-Chairs are the gears of the engine. They all have missions and are passionate about serving. They strike a balance between their career job and their volunteer job by leading monthly calls, drafting position papers and shepherding their members. They advise the Board and steer on things that need to get done.

The early years of NSGIC were formative, that’s obvious. But NSGIC’s last decade has been one of influence. On national geospatial activity, NSGIC has been at the table. In several cases NSGIC has led. I would go so far as to say, that State influence on national geospatial policy is at an all-time high.

Curious or Hungry
Here’s an interesting tidbit. NSGIC has nearly 2,300 followers on Twitter which is a very large number compared to our dues paid membership of nearly 400. It makes me think those folks are curious about what we do; or even better, they are hungry for leadership, and understand that NSGIC leads. I may be over inflating our worth but I think it’s the latter.

Connect & Participate
I’d be failing my duty if I did not remind you to participate in our 2015 Mid-Year conference. The call for Abstracts is open and participation is valuable. We are returning to Annapolis, Maryland. The agenda is taking shape and true to our colors there will be focus on national geospatial policy. The details are here:

Thank You
I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve as your President. If you find ways I can serve you better or improve the organization I would sure like to hear from you. Rest-assured the sleeves are rolled up. Things are happening and I will try to do a better job of staying in touch members.