Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology’s Cartography and GIS Lab receive Special Achievement award

Community and campus resource nationally recognized

9/9/2014 | By: Annie Conway  |

The staff at the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology's Cartography and Geographic Information Systems Laboratory on the University of Nevada, Reno campus received a Special Achievement in GIS award from the Environmental Systems Research Institute. The group received the award at the ESRI International User Conference in San Diego, Calif.

The Cartography and GIS lab is a specialty group within the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, a public service department in the College of Science. The Cartography and GIS Lab is a campus and community resource that specializes in data management, publications and mapping.

"Receiving the Special Achievement in GIS award was an honor," Jennifer Vlcan, manager of the Cartography and GIS lab, said. "We have gone through many changes as technology has improved, and we had to evolve our work flows and how we disseminate our data. It is nice to see these efforts recognized."

Special Achievement in GIS awards are given based on overall GIS work. Nominations are submitted by ESRI staff and the final awards are chosen by founder and president of ESRI, Jack Dangermond. ESRI is a leader in geological information systems.

NBMG has been on campus since 1929 and has had a publications-cartography group since the 1950s. The Cartography and GIS group acts as an intermediary between scientists and the public by taking the research and findings of the scientists and creating publishable maps and reports.

"The Cartography and GIS Lab is a central component to the core mission of NBMG," James Faulds, director of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, state geologist and professor of geology at the University, said. "Their work is essential to the production and publication of geologic maps and reports."

They also provide support to other groups on campus such as the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and other University departments and state agencies. They have even created reports and maps for Nevada public officials and the U.S. Geological Survey.

"The award demonstrates the excellence and versatility of the group," Faulds said. 

The team first learned about their nomination at the state GIS conference in Las Vegas in May. The award speaks to the dedication and skills of the staff, which is comprised of three full-time members and two part-time staff. According to Vlcan, former employee Gary Johnson was an important factor in the department receiving the award.

"Johnson, who recently retired from the lab, was a big part of why we received this award." Vlcan said. "His efforts and expertise were instrumental to our management of GIS data and creation of web applications that contributed to our receiving this award."

For more information about the Cartography and GIS lab, visit


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