Open Data Leader Waldo Jaquith Heads to 18F

Some of you who attended the 2015 midyear may remember Waldo Jaquith as our keynote speaker.  It appears he’s moving up in the world!

Article on Waldo Jaquith

GovTech Article on New Government Uses for GIS

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.

Introducing Molly Schar as NSGIC Executive Director

MollyScharOn 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.

• Molly Schar on LinkedIn
• Molly Schar on Twitter

Chris Diller, WI
NSGIC President

NSGIC's Continuum of Natural Disasters Project Launch

NSGIC Continuum of Natural DisastersNSGIC is pleased to announce its Continuum of Natural Disasters project which was designed to raise awareness of the nature, type and frequency of federally-declared natural disasters and how geospatial data can improve government efforts to plan for, mitigate and respond to these events.

Project Deliverables:  Three basic products were completed as part of this effort, including a report stressing the value of sharing geospatial data to effectively respond to disasters, a data matrix indicating sources of publicly available geospatial data, and a set of online maps and apps using FEMA’s federally-declared natural disaster data published on the new NSGIC Online Mapping Platform hosted on ArcGIS.

Project Funding:  This material was prepared by the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) with funding assistance from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NSGIC served as a professional services subcontractor to Woolpert, Inc. to develop this content and NSGIC is solely responsible for its content.

Project Resources:  All products may be reached by clicking on the ‘Natural Disasters’ button on the NSGIC Home Page or by going directly to the landing page for this project at  The report has been endorsed by the Association of State Flood Plain Managers (ASFPM), National Association of Counties (NACo), and the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation (NAPSG).  We encourage other organizations to forward these links to their members.

The project deliverables include a written report, data matrix and interactive web map


Most Dangerous Place to Live in America: Natural Disasters

See how safe you are from natural disasters

Time-How Safe am I From

Source: Most Dangerous Place to Live in America: Natural Disasters

June 28-29 State of Resilience Leadership Forum and Community Workshop

The_National_Academies_PressSource: June 28-29 State of Resilience Leadership Forum and Community Workshop

Our Friend Jim Knudson

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.Jmi_Knudson_NSGIC_Annual_Conf_October_2006

DHS S&T Collaboration Community - by IdeaScale


A Crowdsourced Feedback Community hosted by

Source: DHS S&T Collaboration Community – by IdeaScale | Recent

Bill Burgess Steps Down as Washington Liaison for NSGIC

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.

Chris Diller
NSGIC President

Controlling the Rising Cost of Federal Responses to Disaster

RECORDING: House Committee on Transportation

This is a hearing of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management.

Witness List:

  • The Honorable Carlos Curbelo, U.S. Representative, 26th District, Florida
  • The Honorable Joseph L. Nimmich, Deputy Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Ms. Sallie Clark, Commissioner, El Paso County, Colorado; President, National Association of Counties, International Association of Emergency Managers
  • Mr. Brian Koon, Director, Florida Division of Emergency Management; President, National Emergency Management Association
  • Mr. Eric Nelson, Senior Vice President of Catastrophe Risk Management, Travelers Insurance, Build Strong Coalition
  • Mr. Kevin Mickey, GISP, CTT+, Chair, Multihazard Mitigation Council, National Institute of Building Sciences

Digital Coast Act Update - April 28th, 2016

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.

NSGIC President
Chris Diller (WI)

NISC Announces New Executive Director

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.

Seas Are Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 Centuries - The New York Times

Scientists reported Monday that flooding in coastal communities was largely a result of greenhouse gas emissions, and likely to grow worse.

Source: Seas Are Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 Centuries – The New York Times

Temblor Seismic Hazard Rank of Your Location


Temblor ( provides a personal, immediate and credible source of seismic risk understanding and solutions for everyone. Temblor uses the best available public and government data sources and methods, it’s free, and ad-free.

Temblor gives you the seismic hazard rank of your location, and you can see the faults, quakes, landslides, and liquefaction zones around you. Given the construction and size of your home, you learn what the likely cost is for seismic damage.

The National Address Database - Finding the RIGHT Location

Finding The Right Location Paper

NSGIC believes the selection of a steward for the NAD should be driven by these factors

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.


Simple. Powerful. Physical addresses paired with their X/Y map coordinates

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.