The Manitoba GIS User Group (MGUG) has suggested that it may be time for the GIS community to consider recognition awards for GISers in Manitoba who have made a significant contribution. I fully support the idea and I can see how an organization, such as MGUG could institute one or more different awards.
Discussion of this topic is interesting as it fits with an idea I was mulling over since I wrote the Blog on The First GIS Conference. At the time, I pondered more substantial recognition than a reference in the GIS Blog and wrote the original draft of this column several months ago. What I came up with is detailed in idea #3 below.
The first type of recognition award could be along the lines of a “GIS Person of the Year”. This award could recognize someone who has made a significant and valuable contribution to the GIS community in the last year. The current president of MGUG, Richard Lebedynski, is someone I would nominate for this year’s award.
The second award type acknowledges a longer term contribution to the field of GIS. An award of this type helps us show our appreciation to those who have made significant contributions over many years. In addition, a national or international variation on this type of award could be offered to individuals outside of Manitoba, such as Jack Dangermond, in an effort to entice them into attending and speaking to the MGUG conference. This is similar to the International Awards that St. Boniface Hospital offers as part of its recognition and fund raising.
The third idea involves the establishment of a Manitoba GIS Hall of Fame! Why not create and maintain a permanent institution dedicated to those who were builders of the GIS community in Manitoba? By institution, I do not mean that we need to have a building with bronze busts of the inductees. The Hall of Fame can be virtual and could be a part of the MGUG web site. Or, perhaps in addition to the virtual Hall of Fame, GeoManitoba could donate wall space for pictures. I can recommend a few people who deserve this honour, starting with Dr. Marci Faurer.
This is no reason we cannot do any or all of the above and I would love to dedicate a blog to the deserving winner(s).