Wisconsin Geospatial News

Greetings from the New Editor

Jim Lacy

“Eventually, they all come back” is something fellow SCO employee Brenda Hemstead told me back in 1994 when I finished my graduate degree and took a job at the University of Nebraska. I don’t think either one of us realized how true that statement would turn out to be. Who knew I would end up living in the same town where I grew up, not to mention working at the same place where my career started!

I’m excited to re-join the SCO as the Associate State Cartographer after a hiatus of 10 years. I say “re-join” because I was a student Project Assistant at the SCO from 1992-1994.

As I was moving into my new office in late November, I was reminded of the long legacy that precedes me when I ran across a set of binders containing almost 30 years of Mapping Bulletins. The sheer volume and quality of work completed by this office over the years is amazing, especially given the historically small staff. My predecessors worked hard to build a positive reputation for the SCO, so I sincerely hope I can continue to build upon their past efforts.

There’s No Place Like Nebraska
Having grown up in the Madison area, I suppose I’m what you would call a native Wisconsinite. Rather than attending the University of Wisconsin – Madison like many of my high school classmates, I bucked the trend and instead opted to attend a smaller state University. I landed at UW-Green Bay, where I majored in Geography and Computer Science. After graduating from UWGB in 1992, I felt a need to soak up more knowledge before entering the “real world.” So, I worked on a Master’s at UW-Madison, graduating with a MS in Cartography and GIS in 1994.

Facilitated by some crazy new thing called the "Internet," I cast my resume out to the world just prior to graduation, and was lucky enough to land an excellent job at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). From 1995 to 2002 I was the Operations Manager for the UNL Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies (CALMIT).

In addition to my daily duties of managing projects and keeping the GIS lab running, I was extensively involved in the Nebraska GIS community. Over the years I participated in a variety of sub-committees for the Nebraska GIS Steering Committee, and helped plan several statewide GIS conferences. I’m especially proud to be one of the co-founders of the Nebraska GIS/LIS Association, a grass-roots organization very similar to the Wisconsin Land Information Association.

Life at CALMIT was great, but after having a couple of kids, my wife and I wanted to move back to Wisconsin to be closer to family. In 2002 I accepted a position at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as the Web Mapping Administrator. As such, I was responsible for the DNR’s enterprise implementation of web mapping technologies. In that regard, I can probably tell you more about ArcIMS than you care to know!

Despite working with a top-notch group of people at the DNR, constant talk of layoffs and budget cuts motivated me to look around for new opportunities. After leaving the DNR last summer, I worked at Ayres Associates in Madison for a short time before coming to the SCO.

Give us your feedback!
Ted Koch encouraged me to use this space in the Bulletin to express my opinions on anything related to mapping, GIS, and land records modernization. I’ll have plenty of chances to do that in the future, so instead, I’d like to take this opportunity to solicit your feedback. Do you have comments on the Mapping Bulletin? What about our website? Are there initiatives or activities you would like to see the SCO more involved in? What sort of services and information can our office provide that will help you do your job better? My list of questions could go on, but suffice it to say we always welcome your input.

Drop me a line via e-mail at Lacy@wisc.edu, or give me a call at (608) 262-6850. I’d love to hear from you!