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The USGS Henry Gannett Award

    Recent Recipients

2016 -- Kari Craun, National Geospatial Technical Operation Center, (NGTOC)

Kari Craun honored by USGS peers with Henry Gannett award for exceptional contributions to topographic mapping

To commemorate the nation’s first chief geographer, the USGS established the Henry Gannett Award in 2009. As a new addition to the Gannett Award, the National Geospatial Program (NGP) has established the Henry Gannett internal award to recognize outstanding contributions to the geospatial community by a USGS employee.

The first recipient of this intra-bureau award is Kari Craun, Director of the National Geospatial Technical Operation Center, (NGTOC) for her extraordinary leadership and advancement of topographic services.

“As Director of the NGTOC, Kari is responsible for a wide range of functions in support of maintaining a seamless, current, nationally consistent set of base geospatial data for the United States, including production and delivery of the 3D Elevation Program,” said Suzette Kimball, Director of the USGS at a recent ceremony.

Craun was tasked by the NGP in 2008 to establish a production capability to automatically generate more than 55,000 topographic maps on a three-year cycle and to include the basic content of the traditional topographic map series, a feat that previously had required more than 50 years to complete.

Starting in 2009, the NGTOC began generating the new US Topo maps to meet this challenge. Overcoming numerous production and scheduling obstacles, the NGTOC under Craun’s direction, continued to improve operational efficiency and increase the quality and functionality of the new digital map series.

By 2012, the first coverage of the lower 48 states was completed, and immediately the system began a repeat of the cycle to regenerate another 55,000 maps in the next three years. By 2015, the second three -year cycle was completed. Each year the process has included additional features of the US Topo quadrangles and associated platforms like the Historical Topographic Map Collection and The National Map Corps volunteer science project.

Additionally, Craun is a Past-President of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing and of the Cartography and Geographic Information Society.

“As was Henry Gannett in his time, Kari Craun is a modern topographic mapping pioneer,” said Kimball in concluding her remarks.

The USGS National Geospatial Program presents the Henry Gannett Award biennially to memorialize the first USGS Chief Geographer, Henry Gannett (1882-1914), and his many contributions to American geography and cartography. Since the awards beginning, the USGS has recognized five individuals that have made substantial impacts to topographic mapping. The most recent ( year 2015) recipient was Nicholas Mastrodicasa, Alaska Department of Transportation.

Kari Craun, receiving the 2016 USGS Henry Gannett Award.
2015 -- Nicholas Mastrodicasa, Alaska Department of Transportation

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) presents the Henry Gannett Award bi-annually to recognize especially distinguished contributions to the topographic mapping of the Nation.

We are pleased to present this fourth award to Nicholas “Nick” Mastrodicasa, Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities , for his leadership in the Alaska Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative and the development of an elevation requirements study for Alaska.

Over the last 10 years, Nick has been a driving force behind efforts to map the State. And the fact that updated high resolution topographic data now exceeds 62% of Alaska (at the time of the award) is a testament to Nick’s leadership, perseverance and determination”.

As manager for the Alaska Aviation Safety Project, a 3-dimensional terrain mapping project for the State, Nick recognized the critical need for improved topographic data for Alaska to support pilot safety and rescue efforts.

He was a major promoter and participant in the creation of the Alaska Mapping Executive Committee and facilitated two significant public outreach events, Skybreaking I and Skybreaking II . These celebrations involved hundreds of visitors and dignitaries, members of the press, the private industry and members of high-ranking public offices. They brought high visibility to the many ongoing efforts to modernize Alaska mapping .

Additionally, Nick is known by his often quoted remark that, “Mars was better mapped than Alaska”, found its way into the hearts of many Alaskans, and was heard loudly and clearly by the leadership at the USGS and the Department of Interior.

Nicholas Mastrodicasa, receiving the 2015 USGS Henry Gannett Award.

2013 -- Dr. Cynthia Brewer, Pennsylvania State University

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) presents the Henry Gannett Award bi-annually to recognize especially distinguished contributions to the topographic mapping of the Nation.

We are pleased to make this third award to Professor Cynthia Brewer for her contributions to the new generation of topographic maps through the development of new symbology that is designed to work in digital and print environments. Dr. Brewer has worked with the USGS staff to develop content and symbols to support online and printed topographic maps at scales from 1:20,000 to 1:500,000. Her innovations in the use of color and symbols are being adopted as a part of the US Topo 21st century topographic maps of the USGS.

Dr. Brewer has worked in concert with USGS and other academic scientists to develop processes of generalization and symbolization that produce the appropriate content, color, and symbolization regardless of scale and these developments work within the USGS production capabilities, allowing rapid generation of modern topographic maps. The new symbols developed by Dr. Brewer are being incorporated into a USGS standard for generating topographic maps.

Dr. Brewer's contributions to topographic mapping extend far beyond the new symbols for USGS topographic maps. She developed and maintains the National Mapping Expertise Exchange program which promotes innovation and excellence in national mapping and builds connections among mapmakers, educators, researchers, and software developers at academic, commercial, and governmental organizations. This international forum brings together topographic mapping designs from around the world so they can be shared.

Dr. Brewer also involves students in her designs and research work and provides education and training for the next generation of mapping professionals.

Dr. Cynthia Brewer, professor at Pennsylvania State University, is internationally recognized for her work in cartographic design and symbolization, and has received awards from the International Cartographic Association, the Cartography and Geographic Information Society, the Canadian Cartographic Association, and others. She established ColorBrewer, a widely-used web-tool for selecting appropriate colors for maps, and ScaleMaster, a web-tool for determining appropriate map content at specified scales. Dr. Brewer has served on numerous studies for the National Research Council, the Association of American Geographers, and the International Cartographic Association. She is a Fellow of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping and has served on editorial boards for Cartography and Geographic Information Science, The British Cartographic Journal, and Cartographic Perspectives.

The new generation of topographic map symbology from Dr. Brewer is the type of contribution Henry Gannett made in his time and Dr. Cynthia Brewer is a modern topographic mapping pioneer worthy of the Henry Gannett award.

Cynthia Brewer, receiving the 2013 USGS Henry Gannett Award.

2011 -- Keven Roth, US Geological Survey (retired);
          -- Tommy Dewald, US Environmental Protection Agency

The USGS presents the Henry Gannett Award bi-annually to recognize especially distinguished contributions to the topographic mapping of the Nation.

We are pleased to make this second award to Tommy Dewald, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Keven Roth, USGS, Retired, for the development of the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD).

Tommy Dewald and Keven Roth set about the task of developing a surface water dataset of the Nation in the 1990s with a vision to create a solution for the 21st century, when suitable water resources would become critical. What oil was for the 20th century, water would be for the 21st century. They methodically canvassed water scientists across the country to determine the elements that would create the solution they had envisioned. The result of their work then became truly a national hydrography dataset.

Then came the daunting task of actually building their vision. The workload was shared so that by combining the resources of the EPA and the USGS they could achieve what was impossible for each organization individually. As early as 2001 the vast complexity that was the National Hydrography Dataset became a reality. The 1:100,000-scale database for the Nation became available to the American public with no cost for access.

The success of the initial nationwide coverage quickly grew into demand for more detailed coverage at 1:24,000-scale through an even larger consortium. Soon, State after State joined the program and contributed to the effort. When the U.S. Forest Service joined the NHD program with a large influx of funding, the higher resolution dataset was cemented into a fully national production program with many additional States following suit. By 2007 this effort had been completed with over 25 million features in the dataset covering 7.5 million miles of streams and 6.5 million lakes.

By 2007 the number of scientific applications taking advantage of the unique analytical powers of the NHD had grown to cover all aspects of hydrology, pollution control, resource management, and fisheries biology. In the next four years the NHD had become even more widespread throughout the sciences to the point where any serious study of water resources demanded the use of the National Hydrography Dataset.

Just as the current generation of scientists and cartographers using hydrography data have adopted the National Hydrography Dataset as a standard operating practice, the scientists and cartographers of tomorrow will continue to use and enhance this dataset to meet the challenges facing the earth sciences for the remainder of the century and beyond. It is therefore fitting that the Henry Gannett award should be bestowed upon two modern pioneers in mapping, Tommy Dewald and Keven Roth.

Keven Roth, USGS (retired), and Tommy Dewald, USEPA, receive the 2011 USGS Henry Gannett Award

2009 -- Roberta Carroll, US Forest Service

The inaugural USGS Henry Gannett Award was presented to Roberta Carroll of the US Forest Service. Known in the mapping community as Robin, Ms. Carroll is the director of the Forest Service's Geospatial Service and Technology Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Center provides the Forest Service with geographic information products and an array of related technical and training services. Under her direction, the Forest Service contributes to topographic mapping of the nation through exchanges of digital elevation and imagery data with the USGS, mapping areas covered by the national forests and grasslands.

Few people realize that these areas cover approximately nine percent of the nation. By using a common standard developed with USGS, these maps contribute to the detailed topographic map coverage of the nation in providing road and other data to the USGS to ensure that The National Map has the most current information available for forest service lands. Her leadership ensures that the nation has current and accurate topographic mapping data, saves taxpayers money by reducing duplication, and provides an example of cooperation throughout the mapping community.

Ms. Carroll was presented with the award during the celebration of "125 Years of Topographic Mapping", on December 3, 2009, at USGS Headquarters in Reston, Virginia. Pictured with her and her award are Mark DeMulder (left), Director of the National Geospatial Program, and Robert Doyle (right), former USGS Deputy Director.

Roberta Carroll, U.S. Forest Service, receives the inaugural USGS Henry Gannett Award

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