NSGIC Names Cy Smith to New Policy Role

Seasoned State GIO Tapped to Advance Advocacy Agenda

August 2, 2021

After serving many years as a NSGIC state representative, board member, and board president, Cy Smith has joined NSGIC’s staff team in the newly-created role of Policy Director. In this position, Smith will work with NSGIC leadership to develop, promote, and coordinate strategies that advance states’ geospatial interests linked to federal programs, congressional actions, and related initiatives. The new appointment coincides with Smith’s retirement from state government service in Oregon on Nov. 12, 2021.

“Cy has been an extraordinary contributor to NSGIC and the entire geospatial ecosystem for nearly three decades,” said NSGIC Executive Director Molly Schar. “We are very fortunate to welcome him in this new strategic role as efforts continue to evolve in support of a robust National Spatial Data Infrastructure.”

Smith began his career in statewide GIS coordination in Kansas in 1992. He quickly joined the national discussion about efficient and effective GIS coordination as a member of the original Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Framework Working Group in 1993 and 1994.

In 2000, Smith moved to the State of Oregon to become the State GIS Coordinator, a position that would later become State Geospatial Information Officer. In 2004, Smith led a stakeholder group in resolving the professional boundary dispute between surveyors and GIS professionals in Oregon. The group proposed and helped enact changes to the Oregon land surveying law to permanently resolve that dispute.

By 2008, Smith’s involvement at the national level had escalated. In that year, he served as NSGIC President, helped initiate the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) - going on to serve as its first Chair - and worked with Congressional leaders to develop a geospatial tool to track the investment of federal recovery funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Within the following two years, Smith participated in the development of the Geospatial Technology Competency Model for the US Department of Labor and became President of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA).

Meanwhile, in Oregon, Smith facilitated the development of the RAPTOR common operating picture for first responders, a situational awareness tool used by hundreds of first responders throughout the state and currently administered by Daniel Stoelb (NSGIC’s Geospatial Preparedness Committee Co-Chair) in Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management. He also led the development of the Oregon broadband map from 2012 to 2015 as part of the national FCC broadband mapping program. In 2017, he co-led a legislatively sponsored work group to design and enact authorizing legislation for the Oregon Geographic Information Council to replace its executive order authorization.

Smith was a key figure in the development and passage of the Geospatial Data Act of 2018, working directly with legislative staff of the bill’s sponsors to draft and revise language, as well as with a number of stakeholders individually and as part of coalitions to work through concerns and differences.

Appointed to the FGDC National Geospatial Advisory Committee in 2017, Smith continues to serve actively in that role.

“This is a wonderful and unique opportunity to assist NSGIC and the states,” said Smith. “I’ve been able to work on issues over the years from my position in Oregon that advanced the geospatial interests of the states, but this new position creates a more direct path to support those interests at the national level going forward.”