Department Of Interior

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Contact: Joan Moody
FOR RELEASE AT WILL July 7-11, 2003

ESRI International Honors Department of the Interior
With President's Award For Exemplary Use of GIS

SAN DIEGO - The Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) awarded its 2003 President's Award to the U.S. Department of Interior on July 7 at the 23rd Annual ESRI Conference in San Diego, California, which continues through July 11. The award recognized the department's "exemplary use of Geographic Information" Systems (GIS).

Lynn Scarlett, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Policy, Management and Budget, accepted the award for the department. Earlier, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton addressed the crowd by video, noting that partnerships with ESRI and others are critical "as we continue to explore and use the power of place to organize diverse information to benefit the American people."

"The U.S. Department of the Interior, as the steward of our nation's natural resources, has been a pioneer in the building of geographic data, and the use of GIS in the U. S. Federal government, and promoting the building of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure of the United States," ESRI noted in granting the award. ESRI defines GIS as "computer software that links geographic information (where things are) with descriptive information (what things are)," presenting many layers of information.

The award also notes that:

Through the evolution of our nation's geodetic control, Public Land Survey System, to the adoption of Geographic Information Systems in the day-to-day work of practically every agency in the Department of the Interior in the last decade of the 20th century, the American people and the American economy have been well-served by sound geographic knowledge created and maintained by the U.S. DOI.

The Department of the Interior is currently engaged in a government-wide effort to create the GeoSpatial One Stop site on the internet, which will provide "one stop" access to federal government and other geospatial data. Secretary Norton told ESRI participants that, "We will move aggressively to build a national system for integrating this data. ... We anticipate it will support economic development, environmental quality, homeland security."

The U.S.Geological Survey (USGS), one of the bureaus of DOI, provides not only maps but also scientific research and information for many Interior programs. Best known for topographical maps, USGS is currently working to produce the electronically based National Map. The agency also operates Landsat satellites and provides estimates of energy supplies.


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