For the third year in a row, the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) held its Mid-Year Conference in Annapolis, MD. Four Wisconsin representatives attended the March 25-28 meeting, including Ted Koch, State Cartographer; Dave Mockert, State Geographic Information Officer; Chris Diller, WI Department of Military Affairs GIS Coordinator; and Dick Vraga, U.S. Geological Survey State Liaison. On March 26, Chris Diller made a presentation on GIS and homeland security priorities for Wisconsin Emergency Management, a division of the WI Department of Military Affairs.
For the past several years, NSGIC has focused its mid-year meeting on the activities of federal agencies, and in having NSGIC members make visits to Congressional offices to inform members of the House and Senate of important national geospatial-related issues.
This year, NSGIC Congressional visits were heavily focused on providing information on the “Imagery for the Nation” (IFTN) initiative. IFTN is a NSGIC-originated concept that over the past year has picked up considerable formal support from a number of federal agencies, the Federal Geographic Data Committee, and nearly 15 states.
The major activities of the meeting included brief updates from 13 federal agencies, two caucuses of state representatives, and on Wednesday, March 28th, a Congressional breakfast and stakeholder meeting at the Hyatt Regency Hotel near the nation’s Capitol building.
Honored speakers at the breakfast included Congressman Christopher Cannon who serves Utah’s Third District, and Geraldine Otremba, Director of Congressional Relations at the Library of Congress. Also at the breakfast, Ivan DeLoatch, Staff Director of the Federal Geographic Data Committee, was the recipient of NSGIC’s first Distinguished Service Award.
Following the Congressional Breakfast more than a dozen NSGIC members each made visits to several Congressional offices. State Cartographer Ted Koch had a meeting with Elissa Levin, Executive Assistant to Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (WI, 2nd Congressional District), and Paul Carver, Senior Policy Advisor to Congressman David Obey (WI, 7th Congressional District).
For those who couldn’t make Congressional visits, NSGIC arranged a tour of the Geography and Map Division in the Library of Congress. The attendance roster, official program and copies of most of the presentations from the meeting are available on NSGIC’s Web site, www.nsgic.org.