WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Karen Siderelis has been named the first Geospatial Information Officer (GIO) for the U.S. Department of the Interior.
“The appointment of Karen Siderelis to this new position underscores the importance of Interior’s role in guiding the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC),” said James Cason, associate deputy secretary of the Interior, in announcing the selection. “This committee coordinates the federal government’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) activities to provide information to the American people and the world,” said Cason, who chairs the FGDC steering committee.
Siderelis previously served as associate director for Geospatial Information and Chief Information Officer for the U.S. Geological Survey, an Interior agency. “Karen has a proven record of achievement establishing and managing geospatial programs,” Cason said. “I am confident she will provide tremendous leadership in advancing the National Spatial Data Infrastructure through our national and international responsibilities and ensure coordination of GIS efforts in all nine Interior bureaus.”
The Interior Department has significant responsibilities for the advancement of geospatial programs within the federal government. For example, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne led the U.S. delegation to the World Summit of the Group on Earth Observations in South Africa in December 2007. In August 2008, Secretary Kempthorne gave the keynote address to the ESRI User Conference in San Diego, Calif.
At this conference, the Secretary announced that for the first time that the U.S. Geological Survey is making its 35-year Landsat satellite data archive available over the internet at no cost to the public. Kempthorne pointed out at the conference that his department is leading an effort called “Imagery for the Nation” that will be a powerful tool in the hands of policy makers, land managers, and scientists in the United States and around the world. He also announced the creation of the new Geospatial Information Officer position at Interior.
Before joining the U.S. Geological Survey, Siderelis served as secretariat to the North Carolina Geographic Information Coordinating Council and directed the state’s Geographic Information service center. She has served as vice chair of the Mapping Science Committee of the National Academy of Sciences and president of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis. Siderelis, who received the Interior Secretary’s Executive Leadership Award in 2005, has masters and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Georgia.