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.

Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO)

Utilizing the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit
Thursday, April 14, 2016
1:00pm – 2:30pm (eastern)

The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit provides scientific tools, information, and expertise to help professionals manage their climate-related risks and opportunities, and improve their resilience to extreme events. The site is designed to serve interested citizens, communities, businesses, resource managers, planners, and policy leaders at all levels of government. This interactive webinar will provide background on the Toolkit and lead participants through an activity to demonstrate ways in which they can harness this outstanding resource.

MORE: Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO)

Jack Dangermond Shares Vision of the Future

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!

What Weather Is the Fault of Climate Change?



A new study finds that climate change can be singled out as a factor in some episodes of extreme weather.


Source: What Weather Is the Fault of Climate Change?

Read full Pre-publication Report here – 21852-Prepublication

Hell and High Water

Houston_TXHell and High Water – Houston is the fourth-largest city in the country. It’s home to the nation’s largest refining and petrochemical complex, where billions of gallons of oil and dangerous chemicals are stored. And it’s a sitting duck for the next big hurricane. Learn why Texas isn’t ready.

by Neena Satija and Kiah Collier for The Texas Tribune, and Al Shaw and Jeff Larson for ProPublica,
March 3, 2016

NSGIC Seeks Qualified Candidates for Executive Director Position

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 [ ]

GIS group plans push for national address database, next generation 911 expansion

The president of the National States Geographic Information Council lays out his group’s priorities for the new year.

Source: GIS group plans push for national address database, next generation 911 expansion

DHS HIFLD Open: Open Data for Economic Resiliency

Source: DHS HIFLD Open: Open Data for Economic Resiliency | Esri Insider

Revolutionizing Outdated but Promising Government Mapping Tools

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.