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Will Craig Receives Outstanding Service Award

Photo of Will Craig

Will Craig, Associate Director of CURA

September 27, 2007
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CURA associate director Will Craig received an Oustanding Service Award from the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC). The award was presented at the NSGIC annual conference in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Outstanding Service Award is presented to individuals in a leadership position who have advanced the national spatial data infrastructure and promoted NSGIC’s goal of efficient and effective government through prudent implementation of geospatial technologies. This is one of NSGIC’s highest service awards and recognizes long-term service to the organization.

In presenting the honor to Craig, the awards committee recognized his “sage advice and clear insights” during his service on the board of directors, his council to NSGIC regarding its recent advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C., and his work on the Imagery for the Nation initiative.

Craig served on the NSGIC Board of Directors from 2005 to 2006. He used his previous experience as chair of the Policy and Legislative Committee of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science to help NSGIC develop a strategy and “advocacy agenda” for its work in Washington. One of the items on the advocacy agenda is the Imagery for the Nation Initiative, an effort to upgrade federal aerial photography. Craig has been successful in introducing this initiative to Colin Peterson, representative from Minnesota's 7th Congressional District and chair of the House Agriculture Committee, as well as Representative Tim Walz, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Senator Norm Coleman.

Craig emphasizes that his work on behalf of the Imagery for the Nation Initiative was primarily to act as “the voice of people from around the state. My efforts to convince members of Congress to upgrade the federal orthophoto programs were motivated by listening to the needs of local government,” he noted. “This was the top priority item we heard whenever the Governor's Council met in outstate Minnesota.” Craig said that members of Congress are interested in the initiative only because “we can show them the value to specific counties, cities, watershed districts, recreational organizations, and individuals in their districts.” He noted that GIS user groups around the state were helpful in gathering statements from people in their regions to help support efforts to lobby Congress on the issue. (Some of these stories are collected in the July 2006 issue of Minnesota Counties.)

In addition to receiving the service award, Craig was elected to serve on the NSGIC Board of Directors for another term (2007–2008).