2019 URISA Exemplary Systems in Government Award Recipients Announced

Des Plaines, IL (July 24, 2019) -- URISA Is pleased to announce the recipients of 2019 Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIG) Awards. Since 1980, URISA's ESIG Awards have recognized extraordinary achievements in the use of geospatial information technology that have improved the delivery and quality of government services. The award competition is open to all public agencies at the federal, state/provincial, regional and local levels. Applications were submitted in the Enterprise System and Single Process System categories.

This year, a total of 28 entries were received – 20 in the Enterprise System category and 8 in the Single Process System category.  A team of 14 volunteer reviewers, chaired by Dr. Gary Hunter, conducted detailed assessments of the 28 entries a total of 117 times.  In Round 1 of the assessment process, every entry was reviewed by three independent assessors who each scored it out of 50 on the basis of five award criteria.  Of these, 11 high-scoring entries were selected to progress to Round 2 of the assessments where they were then reviewed a further three times.  The average of the six assessment scores for each Round 2 entry was then calculated and used to determine the winners and close runners-up.

In 2019, an unusual situation arose with equal scores occurring for the winning entries in both award categories.

ENTERPRISE SYSTEM CATEGORY - Systems in this category are outstanding, working examples of using information systems technology in a multi-department environment as part of an integrated process. These systems exemplify effective use of technology yielding widespread improvements in the process(es) and/or service(s) involved and/or cost savings to the organization.

This year, there are two exemplary system winners and one distinguished system to be awarded in this category.  The system summaries shown below have been taken directly from reviewers comments.

The 2019 Enterprise System Category Winners are:

"Land Information Management System (LIMS)”.  Submitted by Nadine Clah GISP, IT Analyst/GIS Coordinator, Navajo Housing Authority, Arizona.

System Summary: This housing project includes a centralized secure GIS, a state-of-art data center, a document management system, a routing system and an asset management system. Also created were management tools, reporting dashboards, field data collection tools and an interactive web portal.  So this once quite modest housing GIS project has subsequently grown in popularity within the NHA to the extent that it now supports the entire Navajo nation administration across three states and 27,000 square miles.  Clearly, it was the use of the LIMS to act as an authoritative source of parcel information that gave them the platform to use it as an all-encompassing land management tool.  Thus the unintended results from the original design were very impressive.  Vacant houses can now be quickly identified, sewerage ponds are no longer built on floodplains, and new homes are not constructed where natural hazards occur.  In turn, the NHA demonstrated to HUD that by leveraging the power of the LIMS, they could more efficiently manage their assets and resources which resulted in the receipt of additional grant funding that paid for the cost of the LIMS.  The efficiencies are truly staggering when you see the physical constraints of the area and that the system they were previously using had not been modernized in over 50 years!  

“Streamlining a City-wide Process for Optimal Small Cell Site Locations: A Collaborative Approach".  Submitted by Eva Cancino, GIS Coordinator, City of Naperville, Illinois.

System Summary: This project is an impressive and creative use of technology by the City of Naperville to streamline both data maintenance and workflows in order to manage the deployment of 5G small cell wireless infrastructure within their jurisdiction. It represents an excellent response to a new mandate to provide prompt services to the telecommunications private sector while also minimizing duplicate work.  The implementation is highly exemplary due to the use of agile project management practices in a GIS context, in addition to tight deadlines mandated by legislation, many users, and complex processes.  It was implemented in an unusually rapid timeframe and had many difficult requirements, such as interacting with outside agencies, and a wide range of user skills and needs.  The project represents a highly effective response to a State mandate where city staff were challenged to come up with an effective solution.  The amount of cooperation needed was extreme and this system built trust between all parties.  This project is a great example of how 5G will impact local government and could be a great ‘how to’ example for other jurisdictions to follow.

Distinguished Enterprise System“The City of Roswell GIS”. Submitted by Patrick Baber, GIS Manager, City of Roswell, Georgia.

SINGLE PROCESS SYSTEM CATEGORY - Systems in this category are outstanding, working examples of applying information system technology to automate a specific SINGLE process or operation involving one department or sub-unit of an agency. The system application results in extended and/or improved government services that are more efficient and/or save money.

There are two exemplary system winners in this category and, as before, the system summaries are taken directly from the reviewers comments.

The 2019 Single Process System Category Winners are:

“The City of San Antonio Solid Waste Management Department Service District and Route Optimization System”.  Submitted by Chelsie McNicol and Team, City of San Antonio, Texas.

System Summary: This route optimization process considers more than just the usual mileage and equipment costs associated with waste collection, and includes factors such as personnel, disposal costs, tonnage, and household distributions to help refine their waste collection service.  Thus, it represents a more holistic, data-driven approach to creating efficiencies in the three waste streams of garbage, recycling and organics.  As a result, enabling this type of data-driven analysis has created better collection routing.  The process had a clear objective and has delivered significant ROI with projected savings of $1 million (decreased fuel, decreased overtime and lower equipment costs) and better service to the general public.  User feedback has been incorporated into the design and automation of data mining and reporting is faster and more accurate.  In summary the system was well-planned and executed, and provides great cost savings.

“Carriage Alerts Mapping Platform (CAMP): Real-Time GIS to Manage Tours & Equine Waste”.  Submitted by Emma Paz, GIS Developer, City of Charleston, South Carolina.

System Summary: This system provides a streamlined approach for resolving a unique public sanitary issue which impacts upon public, environmental and general visibility perceptions in the City of Charleston.  To go from a paper-based system with flag markers, to a completely digital and GPS-based system has greatly improved the efficiency and accuracy of spill cleanup.  The design of this system is a good example of numerous GIS best practices, combining several technologies (such as GeoEvent, mobile data collection and heat mapping) to create a focused workflow, and the overall project delivery was done in a very efficient manner. This design and implementation team really thought out of the box for how to solve this issue.  The reduction of complaints, as a result of quicker clean-up of spills, permits city staff to give greater attention to other matters and other ordinance enforcement.  The improvement to workflows, public health and safety, efficiency, and use of internal staff are all indicative of exemplary practice when evaluating the success of a project, and this application hits them all. 

The accomplishments will be recognized during the Awards Ceremony at GIS-Pro 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Monday September 30, 2019. The recognized systems in each category will be discussed in featured sessions during the conference. In addition, each system may be highlighted in an upcoming URISA webinar series.

To review the winning submissions for this year’s ESIG Awards, visit  http://www.urisa.org/awards/exemplary-systems-in-government/.

For details about GIS-Pro 2019, visit  www.gis-pro.org



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Wendy Nelson
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