2003 Governor's Commendations

Governor Pawlenty presented this year's Minnesota Governor's Commendation awards for GIS at the GIS/LIS Conference in St. Paul, October 10, 2003.

The winners were:

  • The Ramsey County GIS Users Group: The Ramsey County GIS Users Group, (RGIS), is an alliance of current and future users of Geographic Information Systems. Over its nearly 10 year history, the RGIS has grown from two to 22 members and now consists of cities, police and fire departments, school districts, soil and water conservation districts, community neighborhood groups, universities and others. The RGIS helps partner organizations even beyond the immediate membership with geographic data, standards, and technical support. The data that is shared throughout the group has saved tens of thousands of dollars for member organizations and allowed access too many that otherwise would have been prohibited by cost.

  • The Minnesota Environmental Atlas: The Minnesota Environmental Atlas is an electronic “textbook” that was designed with the active involvement of educators and natural resource experts. The Atlas has leveraged more than thirty years of investments in GIS technology and data to bring the benefits of GIS to educators throughout Minnesota. The Atlas complements newly developed curricular material with hundreds of maps and effective analytic tools. The Environmental Atlas software and data CDs were published in January 2003 and have been distributed to more than 120 school districts and 150 government organizations. More than 300 teachers have been trained to use the Atlas, which is currently installed on more than 3,000 computers in Minnesota’s schools.  The Atlas has been praised by many educators, including Dr. Art Spring from St. Joseph who said that the Atlas has begun to “fundamentally change the way environmental education is taught in Minnesota classrooms.” Three organizations integral to the development of the Atlas are being recognized.

Three individuals and their organizations were recognized for their roles in developing the Atlas:

Macalester College, Department of Geography
Carol Gersmehl, Geography Instructor at Macalester College, served as curriculum adviser to the Atlas project. The cornerstone of  the Atlas is linking data to lessons that teachers can use. She coordinated teacher workshops and reviewed lessons. Working with a team of Macalester honors students, she guided the development of data descriptions, lessons and tutorials.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Forestry Division
Dr. Tom Eiber is an original member of the EPIC/Atlas consortium that has long supported the development of effective and efficient tools for applications in the field. Tom has been a driving force developing resource data for the Atlas and sharing the information among all agencies.

Land Management Information Center, Minnesota Department of Administration
Mr. Jim Ramstrom, supervisor of the center’s EPIC development team, developed the vision for the Atlas, secured grant funding and provided data development, technical design and programming for the Atlas.