2020 Geospatial Excellence Awards Announced

Eight Awards Presented at NSGIC Virtual Annual Conference

National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) President Karen Rogers (WY) led a celebration of the 2020 Geospatial Excellence Awards during an online reception held this evening in conjunction with the organization’s Virtual Annual Conference.

2020 Geospatial Excellence Awards:

  • Catalyst Awards: for extraordinary effort and/or results in getting things done:
    • AZGeo Geospatial Data Hub
    • King County Information Technology – GIS for Equity & Social Justice Team
    • MassGIS NextGen 9-1-1 Team
    • Minnesota’s Mapping Prejudice Project
    • State of California - GIS
    • Vermont’s Statewide Property Parcel Mapping Project
  • ● Innovator Award: for creatively advancing geospatial technical capabilities or problem solving
    • Elizabeth Curley
  • ● Champion Award: for leadership and support, often at an executive level
    • Dennis Pedersen

“The awards are testimony to the dedicated professionals doing amazing work in states across the country,” says NSGIC President Karen Rogers. “Every recipient is providing value to their GIS community or tools to inform decision makers, which is what it’s all about. The benefits NSGIC members bring to their constituents and leadership cannot be understated, not to mention pushing the envelope of innovation when it comes to location intelligence and data science. It fills me with pride to know how the technology we care so deeply about makes such a difference.”

The AZGeo Geospatial Data Hub is an initiative of the Arizona Geographic Information Council (AGIC) and was developed in partnership with the Arizona State Land Department. AZGeo provides access to online map services, FGDC compliant metadata, geospatial data downloads, and applications which are utilized by municipal, regional state and tribal governments, private companies and the public to support the needs of Arizona’s citizens. Access is free and provides registered users access to ArcGIS Online GIS tools. AZGeo collaborates with a variety of agencies allowing geospatial professionals throughout the state to consolidate their data and applications in a shared site, reducing redundant data and repeated requests for data.

The King County Information Technology – GIS for Equity & Social Justice Team was honored for work on the King County GIS for Equity & Social Justice project to create methodologies and geo-visualization dashboards that would inform and empower stakeholders within the county, as well as regional partners, national collaborators, and the communities impacted. This empowerment would enable stakeholders to apply GIS data, analysis, and visualization related to each phase of a conceptual GIS for Equity and Social Justice lifecycle.

The MassGIS 9-1-1 Team successfully developed and continues to maintain the address records and mapping that are an essential element in Massachusetts’ successful deployment of the statewide Next Generation 9-1-1 Emergency Call Routing System. Besides supporting the needs of the NG9-1-1 System, the statewide mapping of address locations completes the address layer for the state and national spatial data infrastructure; statewide addresses have been submitted to the National Address Database. Thus, maintaining the address and map information has required establishing partnerships with Massachusetts’ 351 cities and towns.

In Minnesota, Mapping Prejudice is mobilizing people of all ages and backgrounds to map racial covenants. Racial covenants are legal clauses in property deeds that barred people who were not white from buying or even occupying certain parcels of land. Mapping Prejudice has developed an innovative methodology to map these covenants while catalyzing community conversations. The result is a digital, interactive map. The process of making that map ‒ and the dataset that undergirds it ‒ has proven a powerful vehicle for social change.

In November of 2019, the State of California was challenged to create a geoportal that would organize and collect California State Agency data in one location. The project was started at the beginning of December 2019 and completed by the 23rd of that month. The State of California GIS team was honored for this excellent effort.

Vermont’s Statewide Property Mapping Project developed a complete and uniform digital parcel dataset for each of the state’s 255 municipalities. As the most frequently accessed spatial data in Vermont, the dataset supports many uses including real property transactions and economic development, the identification of suitable sites for businesses or alternative energy facilities, visualizing financially distressed areas, estimating forest fragmentation, aiding stormwater management, and stopping Medicaid fraud, all while reducing the need to drive to town offices to learn who owns property in the state.

Elizabeth “Beth” Curley is the Technical Lead on the NYS GIS Platforms team responsible for the provisioning of GIS web services. The ShareGIS initiative frees the entire GIS stakeholder community from the burdens and pitfalls of downloading and redundant storage of GIS data. Beth leads the logging and reporting of the services consumption providing ongoing documentation of the importance of the NYS spatial data infrastructure. Logs enlighten the data programs on the characteristics of our customers including software used, frequency of use and popularity of various services. These logs provide metrics showing the use and adoption of the data.

Dennis Pedersen, director of STS-GIS Services for the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration has been working with the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) to collect, process and disseminate accurate lidar data across the state. Dennis’ efforts have led not only to the collection of accurate data, but also to the application of that data for critical issues affecting Tennessee. Agencies at all levels of government are using the data to mitigate floods and wildfires, reclaim abandoned mountaintop coal mines, manage stormwater systems and improve emergency response. Through his vision of teamwork, he has united stakeholders across Tennessee and the country for a common cause—the well-being of the state’s residents, both now and in the future.

To be considered for a Geospatial Excellence Award, candidates must meet at least three of the following:

  • Creates a sustainable partnership or initiative that returns significant benefit from geospatial technology across multiple organizations
  • Documents measured improvement in implementing a state or national spatial data infrastructure
  • Advances the ‘create it once, use it a bunch’ credo for efficiently delivering valued geospatial data and services across a broad enterprise of users
  • Benefits the whole nation through sharing of innovation or establishment of best practices
  • Champions the involvement of all state data infrastructure or national data infrastructure stakeholders
  • Promotes NSGIC’s goal of efficient and effective government through increased, prudent adoption of geospatial technologies