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Each year, URISA recognizes members for their contributions to the association and the community at large.  URISA also recognizes Government agencies that have demonstrated extraordinary achievements in the use of geospatial information technology that have improved the delivery and quality of government services (Exemplary Systems in Government Awards) and the URISA GIS Hall of Fame recognizes and honors esteemed leaders of the geospatial community. Each award is summarized below and includes a link to the awards history.

The URISA GIS Hall of Fame







The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association has established the GIS Hall of Fame to recognize and honor the most esteemed leaders of the geospatial community. To be considered for the GIS Hall of Fame, an individual’s or an organization’s record of contribution to the advancement of the industry demonstrates creative thinking and actions, vision and innovation, inspiring leadership, perseverance, and community mindedness. In addition, nominees must serve as a role model for those who follow. URISA Hall of Fame Laureates are individuals or organizations whose pioneering work has moved the geospatial industry in a better, stronger direction.

2018 Inductees: Peter Burrough and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Proceed to URISA's GIS Hall of Fame 

Click on the link above for nomination instructions and deadlines.

Exemplary Systems in Government ™Awards

The EXEMPLARY SYSTEMS IN GOVERNMENT AWARDS, inaugurated in 1980 by the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, recognize extraordinary achievement by government agencies in the use of automated information systems. This achievement is defined as the effective application of computer technology that can be measured in terms of improved government services and increased benefits to citizens. The award competition is open to all public agencies at the federal, state/provincial, regional and local levels. 

2020 ​Single Process Systems

  • ​​Winner:  City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department – Interactive Pavement Maintenance Dashboard
    Submitted by: Curtis Pulford, GIS Coordinator, City of Phoenix – Street Transportation Department, Phoenix, Arizona    ​
  • Distinguished System: Town of Flower Mound, Texas – Citizen Camera Program
    Submitted by: Nicole Dogan, GISP, Senior GIS Analyst, Town of Flower Mound, Texas   ​

2020 Enterprise Systems

  • Winner: Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department – Enterprise GIS Portal Implementation
    Submitted by: Danny Thorpe,  Systems Administrator III, Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department, West Palm Beach, Florida  ​
  • Distinguished System: Maryland National Capital Park & Planning Commission – PGAtlas
    Submitted by: Michael Shean, GISP, GIS Supervisor, Maryland National Capital Park & Planning Commission, Upper Marlboro, Maryland  ​

Proceed to the Exemplary Systems in Government™ Awards

URISA Service Awards

Each year, URISA recognizes members for their contributions to the association and the community at large. Check out the descriptions of each award and thoughtfully consider the individuals who have made an impact on the association. Nominations are due by May 31, 2021.

Horwood Distinguished Service Award

2019 Recipient: Rebecca Somers, GISP (Somers-St. Claire GIS Management Consultants, Fairfax, Virginia)

An occasional award given for long-term service to URISA and the profession. This award is URISA’s ultimate award for service and leadership to URISA and within the geospatial industry. Awardees will have demonstrated significant contributions to both URISA and the geospatial technologies industry. The Horwood Distinguished Service Award is named after founding member and first URISA President, Edgar Horwood. Horwood was an early pioneer in the field of information systems for local government and admired by all for his intellectual and organizational contributions to URISA. Horwood was the Chair of the constitutional drafting committee, giving URISA the "open membership" model that has led to our inter-disciplinary organization.

Proceed to Horwood Distinguished Service Awards

Nominate an individual for a 2021 Horwood Distinguished Service Award by May 31 via this form.

Leadership Award

  • 2020 Recipient: Thomas Fisher, AICP, GISP (Cuyahoga County - Cleveland, Ohio)

Presented to members who have demonstrated exemplary leadership to URISA, creativity, innovation, and dedicated support of URISA programs. The recipient should be a member of URISA for enough years to show a pattern of leadership. Typically the recipient will have been responsible for new programs or activities, or significantly enhanced an existing activity or program, so that it takes URISA in a new direction and/or enhances our standing in the professional community.

Proceed to the Leadership Award

Nominate an individual for a 2021 URISA Leadership Award by May 31 via this form.

Service Award

  • 2020 Recipients: 
    • URISA's Vanguard Cabinet
    • Ashley Hitt, GISP (Connected Nation - Louisville, Kentucky)
    • Bryan Townsend, GISP (York County - York, South Carolina)
    • Matthew Gerike (Virginia Geographic Information Network - Richmond, Virginia)

Presented to members who have demonstrated faithful service to URISA and participation in its program over a period of several years. This award is for specific service to URISA. It should require a significant number of years of (not necessarily consecutive) service in a number of programs or committees, and a willingness to take on challenges without regard to the potential for recognition.

Proceed to the Service Award

Nominate an individual for a 2021 URISA Service Award by May 31 via this form.

Barbara Hirsch Special Service Award

  • 2020 Recipient: Denise Freiberg (retiring URISA Accounting Manager)

Presented to members or staff who have made special contributions to URISA. This award was created (in 2004) to honor URISA’s former Chief Financial Officer, Barbara Hirsch. Barb made her mark at URISA by being an exceptional professional who would always step forward when a point needed to be made, but never stepped to the front for recognition. It is in the spirit of this dedication that the Board of Directors has created an award for special service to URISA. This award will be given to individuals or committees who have shown a similar consummate level of service to URISA through an ongoing commitment to our success as an organization.

Proceed to the Barbara Hirsch Special Service Award

Nominate an individual for a 2021 Barbara Hirsch Special Service Award by May 31 via this form.

Outstanding Chapter Award

2019 Recipient: URISA Louisiana Chapter

Each year, URISA recognizes an outstanding Chapter that has sponsored particularly effective activities or has otherwise excelled in serving its membership. Outstanding Chapter Award criteria include:

  • Innovation 
  • Outreach 
  • Education 
  • Community Impact 

Proceed to Outstanding Chapter Award

Each year, chapters may apply for consideration as the Outstanding URISA Chapter. Nominations are coordinated by the URISA Chapter Development and Relations Council.

Young Professional of the Year

2020 Recipients:

Alex Lopez-Rogina, GISP (Madison Utilities - Madison, Alabama)

Christina Brunsvold (California Highway Patrol - Sacramento, California


URISA's Vanguard Cabinet Steering Committee selects the Young Professional of the Year to recognize outstanding contributions as part of URISA's Vanguard Cabinet

The Vanguard Cabinet (VC) is a URISA initiative which debuted in 2011 to engage young GIS practitioners (35 and under), increase their numbers in the organization, and better understand the concerns facing these future leaders of the GIS community.  The Cabinet’s mission is to collaborate with URISA’s Board of Directors and Committees in creating and promoting programs and policies of benefit to young professionals. Comprised entirely of passionate young members selected from different geospatial disciplines, the Cabinet aims to position URISA as the center of opportunities for creative young professionals who are committed to improving URISA and the geospatial profession via innovation, collaboration, networking, and professional development. 

Proceed to Young Professional of the Year Award

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