2021 Geospatial Excellence Awards Announced

Ten Awards Presented at NSGIC Hybrid Annual Conference

National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) President Frank Winters (NY) led a celebration of the 2021 Geospatial Excellence Awards during a reception held this evening at the organization's Annual Conference.

2021 Geospatial Excellence Awards:

  • Catalyst Awards: for extraordinary effort and/or results in getting things done:
    • Nebraska's Office of the CIO - GIO Team
    • State of North Carolina Next Generation 9-1-1 Project Team
    • The Wisconsin Department of Health, Bureau of Information Technology Services, GIS Team
    • Indiana Geographic Information Office (GIO)
    • Minnesota Geospatial Advisory Council's 3D Geomatics Committee (3DGeo)
  • Innovator Award: for creatively advancing geospatial technical capabilities or problem solving
    • Nebraska's Office of the CIO - GIO Team
    • State of Minnesota Maps Community of Practice
    • Adam Oestreich
    • NJ Department of Environmental Protection: Bureau of Nuclear Engineering and Bureau of GIS

"I am so proud of the larger NSGIC community, and I celebrate all their accomplishments. I am particularly pleased to celebrate the accomplishments of this year’s Catalyst and Innovation award winners.” NSGIC President, Frank Winters, commented. “In the description of the award categories are the words extraordinary effort, getting things done, and problem solving. Those words are at the core of why I love this community. While our award winners have these in common, the application areas range from enterprise-wide deployments, to 9-1-1 data, to pandemic response, to publicly available data, to agriculture safety, to water quality, to nuclear power safety. The accomplishments of the individuals and teams are remarkable, and what has me really excited is the question: what do we have in store for us next?"

NEGIS is Nebraska's enterprise GIS. NEGIS allows agencies to store all of their geospatial data in one data center. Any agency data that the agencies feel comfortable sharing is stored as a view in an enterprise geodatabase for all agencies to consume. All data in the enterprise geodatabase is shared through NebraskaMap- the state's geospatial clearinghouse. This hard work by Nebraska's Office of the CIO - GIO Team has led to many efficiencies within state government. NEGIS also utilizes Portal for ArcGIS, and all agencies have access to agency and enterprise data that is published to the Portal. Agencies can build their own web applications, such as web maps, mobile collection apps, and dashboards to help meet their business objectives.

North Carolina NextGen 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) rely on a range of GIS data managers, including outside contractors, PSAP, county, or municipal GIS staff, but they all have the same goal – to provide the highest quality GIS data possible to ensure 911 calls are routed to the correct PSAP, saving time and lives in the process. Over the past two years, the State of North Carolina NextGen 9-1-1 Project Team worked closely with these GIS data stewards to ensure that each PSAP met their GIS data due date, even during the pandemic. Demonstrating remarkable progress in challenging times, the NextGen 9-1-1 project team brought PSAP GIS data from 20% i3 ready early in the pandemic to more than 80% in July 2021.

The Wisconsin Department of Health, Bureau of Information Technology Services, GIS Team, has been nominated for their groundbreaking mapping of Wisconsin’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A major national milestone, the GIS Team, became the first state to publish COVID-19 data at the US Census Tract level and other sub-county geography levels, yet retain the privacy rights of individuals.

Since 2008, the Indiana Geographic Information Office (GIO) has been working toward complete statewide datasets for address points, street centerlines, parcels, and administrative boundaries. In 2020, the GIO and partners took new steps to improve the process, including data cleanup and data augmentation. This highly coordinated effort resulted in complete and timely data collection and reduced the time from data collection to dataset delivery from nine months to six weeks. The project included the development of a new updated statewide geocoder using the latest data available and a dashboard to improve project coordination and promotion. For the first time, the four framework data layers were made available for download at both the state and county level and the geocoder was made complete with underlying data and locators, expanding the use and reliability of all of the datasets and derived products. The data are shared with the US Dept of Transportation for the National Address Database, and the data contribute to Indiana’s Census projects and boundary data. The cross-county data sharing allows counties to easily consume homogenized datasets for their emergency services, utilities, and more.

The Minnesota Geospatial Advisory Council's 3D Geomatics Committee (3DGeo) established a roadmap for making statewide lidar and derived products publicly available. They have successfully created momentum in educating stakeholders and collecting data. The hard work of 3DGeo serves as a model for collaboration in promotion and collection of high quality statewide lidar, to create free and open datasets and derivative products, for better understanding of our environment and improving business processes across that state.

The sales tax rate finder for Nebraska has been a benefit to the state of Nebraska. This replaces a look-up table with a visual representation of municipal boundaries and sales tax rates. When the Nebraska Department of Revenue gets an annexation, they forward it to the OCIO team. Nebraska's Office of the CIO - GIO Team does quarterly updates of municipal boundaries for the sales tax application and the service that is hosted by Nebraska. This is a use case for getting one data source being used by multiple agencies and the public. The Department of Motor Vehicles is asking for more information to be added to the application to help automobile dealers calculate the correct amount of sales tax on vehicles sold. This application saves the state $30,000 a year in costs based on the previous contract and increases the accuracy to tax collected for the state of Nebraska.

The Produce Growers Inspection Solution is several maps, apps, and dashboards to help the Nebraska Department of Agriculture do inspections. In this project, Nebraska's Office of the CIO - GIO Team was able to exactly replicate an FDA form (which was a requirement) and also populate a state inspection form. As part of the solution, the team created a dashboard for managers to see the how the inspections for the year are progressing, what they are inspecting, and any issues that are being seen and addressed. The team has had several states, along with Esri, ask them about this application.

The State of Minnesota Maps Community of Practice team is composed of more than 60 staff members across 15 state agencies, educational and public organizations in Minnesota, and Esri employees. Team members have extensive professional experience in geography, cartography, accessibility, and web development. The team created a first-of-its-kind set of online resources, guidance documents, tip cards, accessible color palette style files, and web content for making digital maps accessible at https://mn.gov/mnit/about-mnit/accessibility/maps. In only a few months of going live, the website was accessed by 5,700 unique visitors across 46 states and 37 countries with over 4,000 downloads.

The water quality standards for groundwater and surface water help protect — and allow us to regulate the quality of — water in Washington by setting pollution limits. Water quality standards are the backbone of our regulations and describe how clean lakes, rivers, groundwater, and marine waters need to be for the health of people and other species, and to control pollution. Adam Oestreich made monumental improvements in Washington Department of Ecology’s ability to implement our Clean Water Act responsibilities. Adam coded the complex hierarchy of water quality standards. He utilized network tracing, polygon division, and hydrologic event management on the National Hydrography Dataset to produce usable map layers of water quality standards and associated geographic extents for assessing sediment and water quality that are used for permitting and decision making. These datasets can now be updated by a repeatable process when regulatory rules or hydrography data have changed.

The Radiation Communication & Assessment Portal (RadCAP) is an ArcGIS Online dashboard that revolutionized accident assessment and communication at New Jersey’s nuclear power plant. The citizens of New Jersey are safer because of RadCAP and the work of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection: Bureau of Nuclear Engineering and Bureau of GIS.

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