The Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative at Salisbury University and its director, Dr. Michael Scott, have been named among the state’s Innovators of the Year for 2014.
Bestowed by the Maryland Daily Record, the honor recognizes those whose work “heralds new frontiers for how we live, work, play and give back” and those who have “created new products, services or programs that have improved their fields.”
“This is a well-deserved award for Dr. Scott and his ESRGC colleagues,” said Dr. Karen Olmstead, dean of SU’s Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology. “Not only do they innovatively provide data and analyses to solve challenging problems, they routinely engage students in high-impact experiential learning.”
Scott and the ESRGC were nominated specifically for developing customizable dashboards that support Maryland’s open data initiatives, said Dr. Memo Diriker, founding director of the Business, Economic and Community Outreach Network (BEACON) at SU and a partner in many dashboard initiatives.
Some dashboards were created for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development to allow users to compare counties or measure Maryland against other metropolitan areas and states. Other dashboards for Maryland and Oklahoma help bring job seekers, training programs and employers together to improve workforce development efforts. Two additional dashboards for Maryland’s BayStat program make data on the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries easily viewable by the public; one shows sources of pollution, while another shows actions taken to reduce it.
In addition to dashboard efforts, Scott and the ESRGC were applauded for developing innovative GIS tools to help the Maryland State Highway Administration mitigate the impacts of sea-level rise on infrastructure, as well as helping county planners and local jurisdictions accurately map and inventory impervious surfaces for future stormwater plans.
Since its creation in 2004, the ESRGC has worked on 135 projects, totaling more than $5.6 million in grants and contracts. Staff have done many pro-bono projects for individuals, non-profits, schools, governments and businesses. The ESRGC is a joint effort between SU, the Mid-Shore Regional Council and the Tri-County Council of the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland. The team includes 14 full-time staff, as well as student interns and graduate assistants.