Congratulations MAGIC Award Winners

By Susan Norton

The MidAmerica GIS Consortium (MAGIC) is a nonprofit educational organization established to foster the applications of geographic information systems (GIS) and related spatial technologies in the mid-continent region. The MAGIC awards, presented biennially at each MidAmerica GIS Symposium, recognize organizations and individuals who have made especially noteworthy contributions to advancing the application of geographic information technologies in middle America. Each of the nine member states determines how it will caucus to establish the nominations in the following categories:

MAGIC Lifetime Special Achievement: A super majority of MAGIC Steering Committee members must vote to recognize a particularly distinguished individual who has contributed to the furthering of the geospatial discipline over a lengthy period of time.

GIS Coordination: Contributions may be through leadership, technical innovation or regional consensus building.

GIS Service: Contributions may be through education, outreach, training, applications and projects or by successfully acquiring grants that benefit their communities.

GIS Innovation: Contributions may be through applications or projects that reflect creative utilization of GIS.
Additionally, best poster and best student poster awards are voted on by attendees of the symposium to recognize outstanding contributions to the content of the symposium.

The following individuals were honored for their innovation and presentation materials at the 2010 MAGIC Symposium: 

MAGIC Lifetime Special Achievement - Tim Haithcoat, Missouri Geographic Information Officer (GIO)
GIS Coordination - John Ellis of the Chickasaw Nation (OK)
GIS Innovation - Chris Bader, Rod Bassler and Paul Moen of the North Dakota State Water Commission (ND)
GIS Service - Jim Giglierano of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IA)
Best Poster - Linda Sibert and Judy Palenske of Saline County (KS)
Best Student Poster - Kathryn Prinslow of Fort Hays State University (KS)

Tim Haithcoat, honored with MAGIC's Lifetime Achievement award, has been the director of the Missouri Spatial Data Information Service (MSDIS) since 1995. MSDIS is the state of Missouri's spatial data retrieval and archival system, operating under the guidance of the Missouri Geographic Information System Advisory Committee (MGISAC). Haithcoat also serves the state and the GIS community as Missouri's geographic information officer (GIO). He is often called upon for his expertise in integrating remote sensing and geographic information technologies. He leads efforts for two national groups - National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) and National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) - to create an architecture for geospatial technologies that can be incorporated within an already developed national information technology architecture. Haithcoat has represented Missouri at NSGIC and is a core group member of the Missouri State Census Data Center. He is a past MAGIC executive committee member and has served as MAGIC consortium chair and treasurer. Haithcoat has also taken leadership roles in the areas of education and outreach and has provided a number of workshops across the region. He can usually be found involved in most any MAGIC effort.

Haithcoat recently reflected on the honor of this award and its impact and benefit to his career and those professionals he strives to serve in his role: "The 'honor' is being recognized among my peers and being able to join the company of those who came before me as lifetime achievement award winners, such as Jim Merchant, Ed Crane and Rick Miller. Probably the biggest benefit to my career development was through the camaraderie of a group of professionals who came together over MAGIC. Working with the team to put together a symposium that provides a service for practitioners at every level is a great and very rewarding challenge.  Through grant funds generated by MAGIC, I have been able to conduct outreach, training, regional workshops, metadata development and many other facets of a geospatial program. Without that support, many of these activities just never would have materialized. I was joking with Ed Crane and stated, 'I guess I can be put out to pasture since my 'lifetime' has been achieved.' He responded with, 'No, you just became a 'lifer' without parole!'"

John Ellis, GIS Coordination awardee, began working with GIS for the Chickasaw Nation in the mid 90s. His was a one-man office for several years. After years of hard work, a geography and statistics section was formed within the Division of Housing in the Chickasaw Nation, which evolved into what is now known as the GeoSpatial Information Department. Ellis has not only created a quality GIS within the Chickasaw Nation, but he continues to teach and give others the opportunities to grow individually and as a team.

Chris Bader, Rod Bassler and Paul Moen, winners of the GIS Innovation award, are with the North Dakota State Water Commission. They developed an integrated GIS/IT data storage and mapping solution to manage the hundreds of thousands of water well records maintained by the agency. Midway through implementation, with half of the software and hardware purchased, they faced a political and budget climate that was not conducive to increased IT spending. To salvage the project, they began investigation of open-source solutions for delivery of the data to their staff through a mapping interface. The trio found that by using PostGIS, MapServer and Apache, in addition to their existing 4D database, they were able to provide a better fit and more open architecture than a purchased solution would have created, saving over $68,000 in server and $80,000 in client infrastructure purchases.

Jim Giglierano, GIS Service awardee, has been a quiet, driving force behind GIS projects in the state of Iowa for over 25 years.  He has continually inspired the Iowa Geographic Information Council (IGIC) with "out of the box" thinking that has kept Iowa on the cutting edge of numerous GIS developments. He assisted in raising over $1 million dollars from numerous public and private agencies in order to pay for two statewide ortho-photo projects. Giglierano led the campaign to get statewide LIDAR coverage, long before the federal government decided to help states fund such projects. In fact, over the last two years, Giglierano has been the major impetus behind almost all external funding for Iowa's major GIS projects. He envisioned and wrote successful U.S. Geological Survey Cap Grant applications in order to conduct a return-on-investment study of GIS for the state of Iowa. Through Giglierano's efforts, an Iowa geographic infrastructure will bring GIS into all of Iowa's 99 counties. He was also instrumental in helping organize the MAGIC Rural GIS Summit programs. He participated in the first summit, held in Missouri in May 2009, and was even more involved at the Iowa Summit in September 2009.

Linda Sibert and Judy Palenske of Saline County, Kansas won the Best Poster award. Their "historic Saline County" map was inspired by a mural on the Saline County sheriff's wall, which was painted by one of the inmates. It displayed some of the history of Saline County along with some of the ghost towns that no longer exist. Sibert and Palenske created a geodatabase of these towns and added old cemeteries, burial plots and pioneer school houses to preserve a very significant piece of Saline County's history. In addition to being the MAGIC award winner, the poster also won the Kansas Association of Mapper's map gallery competition.

Kathryn Prinslow, a graduate student at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas, won the student poster award for "comparing atmospheric plume models using Lagragian and Gaussian algorithms for a simulated bioterrorism attack." This research project compared two atmospheric models using particulates of an aerosolized bio-weapon. She chose the Denver, Colorado area for deployment due to the unique topography and atmosphere. The project demonstrated the best model for simulating a bio-terrorist attack.

For those who missed the 2010 Symposium, you can review the presentation materials.

Published Monday, October 18th, 2010

Written by Susan Norton

Published in


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