KU researcher honored with Federal Prize for Geospatial Technology

LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) – A University of Kansas researcher has been recognized with a national award for her work in the field of geospatial technology.

According to the University of Kansas, her own Eileen Battles, manager of the Kansas Data Access and Support Center at the Kansas Geological Survey, was named a recipient of the National States Geographic Information Council’s 2022 Geospatial Excellence Award – Catalyst.

KU noted that Battles received the Catalyst Award at NSGIC’s annual conference in Portland, Oregon in September. The award recognizes individuals or organizations who are instrumental in advancing and improving geospatial technology.

“Eileen is an extremely effective manager and communicator, and she has worked hard to build and maintain a good relationship with the Kansas GIS community. The relationships she has built at the state and local levels are critical to the success of our GIS program,” said Ken Nelson, Kansas Geographic Information Officer and DASC Director.

KU pointed out that Battles is involved in various initiatives that contribute to the adoption and use of geospatial data and technologies embedded in many applications that are used in a variety of ways every day. The data visualizes resources and infrastructure to analyze patterns, people and events and to manage daily activities more efficiently.

In 2021, DASC began implementing Esri’s hub technology as the primary clearinghouse site for the state’s geospatial data, according to the university. Battles chaired technical and planning meetings and coordinated the development of the site, which went online in the spring, with government agencies. The site brings together publicly available GIS data from sources including state agencies, Kansas Board of Regents institutions, federal agencies and more.

“Although the development of the new website is a team effort, Eileen’s exceptional leadership ensured the project crossed the finish line,” said Nelson.

KU noted that users can browse data in categories such as water, health and environment, images and elevation, and transportation. The interactive maps created using the data range from Kansas car accident data over the past decade to the extent of the High Plains aquifer of western Kansas to the locations of all of the state’s champion trees.

“Eileen Battles is invaluable for the Kansas to NG911 migration,” said Scott Ekberg, Kansas 911 Administrator.

The university noted that Battles also plays a role in the Kansas Next Generation 911 Program — a national effort to replace decades-old analog 911 infrastructure with new, more efficient, and more accurate digital systems. She serves as the executive and GIS committee for Kansas NG911 and leads the state’s user group as she oversees data aggregation, quality assurance, and release activities.

“I work with a great, dedicated team that strives to build and nurture relationships across the state,” said Battles. “We are working with all levels of government, as well as our private partners, to facilitate geospatial partnerships and coordination and promote the effective use of geospatial resources across the state. I am honored by this award and feel that it is a direct reflection of the entire DASC workforce.”

According to KU, NSGIC is a government-led forum to develop, share, and promote best practices in geospatial technology and policy. It has members from every state, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.


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