Australia’s GIS pioneers recognized at inaugural awards

November 25, 2019  - By
Image: GPS World

Four trail-blazing industry leaders that have used cutting-edge technology to address some of humanity’s biggest challenges have been recognized at the inaugural GIS Hall of Fame awards in Brisbane.

From providing critical data to aide frontline response to the devastating bushfires burning across Queensland, to underpinning a global project to map the ocean’s floor — the 2019 award winners have innovatively used Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to make a real difference to the community and grow Australia’s multi-billion dollar geospatial industry.

Geoscience Australia and Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources, Mining, and Energy (DNRME) were presented with GIS Pioneer Awards for their extraordinary leadership in both the application and advancement of the science of GIS.

Lifetime Achievement in GIS Awards were presented to Martin Rutherford, the Department of Defence’s Director of Maritime Geospatial Intelligence; and Gary Maguire, director of StateStat at the South Australian Government – for their unparalleled commitment to industry innovation.

Esri Australia and Esri South Asia Group Managing Director Brett Bundock said the award recipients are true global ambassadors for Australia’s $2.1B GIS industry.

“Thousands around the country use GIS technology on a daily basis – however today’s award recipients have an unmatched record of contributing to the advancement of science, demonstrating creative thinking, inspiring leadership and most importantly community mindedness,” Bundock said.

“Geoscience Australia’s ground-breaking work in the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has seen them take a pioneering role in the Seabed2030 project, which aims to map the world’s entire ocean floor in high resolution by 2030.

“DNRME have set the benchmark for creating world-leading open data platforms that break down traditional barriers for government agencies, commercial organizations and the community to have self-serve access to meaningful public data.”

DNRME Executive Director of Land and Spatial Information Steven Jacoby said the Queensland Government widely uses GIS technology across almost every facet of their operations.
“The department has striven for the last 30 years to be at the forefront of the use of GIS technologies, to improve decision making not only within government and private organizations but also to empower the public,” Jacoby said.

“Across QldGlobe, QSpatial and QImagery, this team provides around 500 services a second, catering to anything from an address check, to searching for an image or just checking on the globe – and we’re only getting busier.

“In 2018, this team provided over 450 million services and by the close of 2019, we will have surpassed 600 million.

“The growth and the success of the department in this area can only be put down to the incredible work of countless individuals over the past 3 decades, helping us to grow, shape and develop a culture that gets the right information to people, when and where they need it.

“We recognise this is an ongoing challenge and the public’s expectations will only grow. I am very confident that the DNRME team will continue to meet the high standards acknowledged by this Award and we look forward to working further with Esri Australia to improve the delivery of Queensland’s critical spatial information.”

The official Awards Ceremony for the inaugural Australian GIS Hall of Fame was held on Nov. 20 at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Further information on the awards and winners is available at