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The AGI Awards Ceremony is where we celebrate the best in class across our industry. The awards recognise excellence and foster a spirit of innovation within the industry. The AGI Awards for Geospatial Excellence help to generate open and engaging competition which is relevant to all practitioners using location-based technologies and data.

Providing a better insight into progress across the industry, and to support development of our professionals throughout their careers, each one of this year’s awards should inspire us to think about how we best approach and engage with the many challenges where we have the potential to impact, influence and help develop integrated and embedded solutions.

All the people behind the entries for these Awards should be congratulated – your passion and ideas will help set the agenda of the GI community for the next few years. These awards provide us with the opportunity to celebrate best practice from across our industry and look forward to how we are developing and innovating in an increasingly relevant but rapidly changing industry.

We would like to congratulate all of the winners and also the shortlisted entries, this is a real achievement and one which should be celebrated and shared.

The winner from each category was announced and presented with their Award at the Annual Awards Ceremony on the 25th November 2015 at the Chesford Grange Hotel, Kenilworth.

Download the full AGI Awards Brochure 2015 here.

1 - The AGI Award for the Best Paper at Conference.
Sponsored by Informed Solutions

  • The best paper as voted by the delegates of GeoCom over the 2 days of the conference
  • A paper that particularly grabbed the audience through its innovation, impact, novelty of subject matter or just sheer brilliance.
  • A nice one to win as it is voted for by industry peers.

Liz Scott, emapsite. Move over maps: Step out of your GI comfort zone and start tackling data visualisation.

2 - The AGI Award for the Best Paper within the Event Programme

AGI’s second award is for the best paper from the AGI Event Programme and the continuation of the 'Geo: The Big5' series which toured the UK and explored in-depth what are arguably five of the biggest issues in the Geospatial industry today. In each case, delegates voted for the best paper at each of the 5 events which form the shortlist for this award.

  • The series started in Edinburgh back in February and explored Smart Energy.
    SHORTLISTED: Low Carbon Living - Paul Georgie, GeoGeo
  • The second event was held in Cambridge in April entitled BIM: the Next Level
    SHORTLISTED: Linked Data and BIM - Dick Murray, GroupBC
  • In May we then moved to Belfast to explore Sensors and Mobile.
    SHORTLISTED: Ecological classification & Land Use mapping from satellite for Abu Dhabi Emirate -
    David Critchley, Proteus
  • In July, the tour moved to London to examine Future Cities: Security
    SHORTLISTED: Will Smarter Cities Be Safer Cities? - Dr Colin Roberts, Universities Police Science Institute (UPSI)
  • Finally, we wrapped up the series last month with the Big Data & You event in Cardiff.
    SHORTLISTED: Prof. Ronan Lyons - Farr Institute CIPHER, Swansea University

Future Cities: Security, London - Will Smarter Cities Be Safer Cities? - Dr Colin Roberts, Universities Police Science Institute (UPSI)

3 – The AGI Award for Excellence in Education
Sponsored by Canal & River Trust

This award:

  • acknowledges outstanding teachers and educators
  • entries from both universities and companies offering continuous professional development
  • producing the next generation of geospatial professionals and helping the rest of us to keep up to date!

iMap: delivering GIS in schools

The project:

A collaborative project partnering undergraduate GIS students with Secondary School teachers throughout Northern Ireland to develop a GIS manual through modular assessment, which can subsequently be taught in schools through a voluntary scheme.

The Judges said: "In utilising undergraduate students to help teach secondary teachers, both students and teachers benefit. A particularly refreshing aspect to the nomination is the way in which it has created and grown an active network of enthusiastic foot soldiers, intent upon promoting the value of GI."

AGI Northern Ireland Education Programme

4 – The AGI Award for Best Geospatial Data Visualisation
Sponsored by Kinect Recruitment Ltd

  • You may have heard the saying …“If a picture paints a 1000 words, then a map is worth a 1000 pictures”.
  • GI can offer new insights and fresh perspectives through the mapping of data but to convey the message in a way that is both visually compelling and factually concise, is a real art.
  • The following entries have demonstrated great skill and novel approaches to the visualisation of geospatial data.

INRIX Population Analytics visualisation by ITO World

The project:

A Population Analytics platform, using anonymised and aggregated real-time mobile phone network data to show population density and movement and is presented as a video narrative showing both the data and insights gained form it.

The Judges said: “The data visualisation and analytics produced by ITO for INRIX population analytics is an example of best practice in geographical visualisation”.

Precision mapping from Pitney Bowes, helping Cominco to feed the world
The Economic Regeneration and Resilience Index for Coastal Communities

5 – The AGI Award for Excellence in Research & Development
Sponsored by Leica Geosystems

This award acknowledges those projects that have advanced best practice, technology or tools to the benefit of the geospatial industry.

WebCAT - Transport for London's Web-based Connectivity Assessment Toolkit

The project:

WebCAT is a new service that improves the quality and clarity of the geo-spatial information used to make planning decisions in London. Linked to TfL’s strategic forecasting tools, WebCAT allows plotting of travel times by different modes of transport which are are of use to not only planners but also to property agents, businesses considering relocation, house movers, house buyers, and the general public.

The Judges said: “The WebCAT development of the web-based GI applications represents good practice in development with clear stakeholder and audience engagement in the specification, interfacing and careful identification of the functionality”.

National Forest Inventory; Practical Application of Remote Sensing
Use of GIS in the analysis of ophthalmic imaging by Jonathan Moules & Jasleen Kaur Jolly.

6 – The AGI Award for Excellence with Impact
Sponsored by The Crown Estate

This award recognises those projects which have achieved outstanding success or impact whether this be societal, humanitarian, environmentally and/or financially based or at a local, regional, national or international scale. We had a high number of entries for this award which is reflected by the fact that we had 5 on the shortlist!

MapAction - Ebola response

The project:

A MapAction team of volunteers and staff deployed to Ebola-affected countries (Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali) to help tackle the spread of Ebola. Working within central coordination hubs in the affected countries, MapAction’s teams helped to set up information management systems, so that data could be gathered, collated and analysed to understand how and where Ebola was being transmitted.

The Judges said: “The MapAction team of volunteers showed huge courage and commitment working in Ebola infected areas. They played a vital role providing maps and information about cases, treatment and burials, that helped to stop the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa”.

MapAction Kiosk
MapAction - Nepal earthquake response
Urgent Action in the Himalaya
Use of GIS in the analysis of ophthalmic imaging by Jonathan Moules & Jasleen Kaur Jolly.

7 – The AGI Award for Best Use of Geospatial for Business Benefit
Sponsored by Ordnance Survey

This award recognises outstanding achievement in the use of geospatial technology, particularly those that have had positive impact on business processes or practices and can demonstrate significant return on investment. There was a phenomenal number and a very high standard of entries this year, hence the 9 shortlisted entries.

Network Rail ORBIS Geo-RINM Viewer

The project

Geo-RINM Viewer integrates fragmented asset data and imagery from across Network Rail’s 16,000km of track into a single powerful, yet intuitive, tool allowing the railway to be clearly visualised.

The Judges said: "This shows a clear focus on relevant metrics, recognises the need for wide stakeholder engagement and benefits, and offers an intelligent approach to data integration. A compelling project".

Highly Commended
KaarbonTech & Leica Zeno20: Simplifying Access to Geospatial

The Judges said about KaarbonTech: "This is an innovative combination of data, platform, and technology, created for a well-defined customer base and with the user experience clearly in mind. A very exciting development".

Bronze Software Labs + Canal & River Trust: Length Inspection Mobile Application
Costain Ltd - Kent Multi-Functional Framework
Defra / Sopra Steria Land Management System 2015
Geospatial Management System for Ordnance Survey Ireland
Metricell – Tele2 Companion App with Quest functionality
Trimble TerraFlex Boosts Efficiency for Utility Applications

8 – The AGI Early Career Professional award
Sponsored by APMGeo

This NEW award celebrates the achievements of outstanding geospatial professionals who are at an early stage in their career and are showing great promise to become future leaders in our industry. It forms part of AGI’s Early Careers Network launched earlier this year, which provides training, mentoring and support to younger professionals as they embark on a career in the geospatial industry.


Paul Georgie - Grangemouth Thermal 3D Survey

The project:

In 2014, Paul became the first CAA-approved fixed wing pilot to be permitted to fly both urban and rural areas in Scotland. In order to support the local council's smart energy ambitions, GeoGeo conducted surveys including both residential and refinery areas - using the very latest fixed wing UAS technologies. Over 200,000 thermal images were taken over the course of 30 flights, covering nearly 25 sq km and creating high resolution (30cm) thermal indices of the area. This allowed the public to see a detailed picture of heat demand / loss and energy efficiency and aided development plans for the district heating scheme.

The Judges said: “This entry shows a high standard of professionalism in creating value-added datasets from innovative thermal UAV surveys. The project has captured a wealth of imagery which is being used to support smart energy objectives in the Grangemouth area, The scale and potential impacts of this work are very impressive from an early career professional”.

Tom Wilson

9 – The AGI Student of the Year
Sponsored by ESRI UK

This award is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students of universities in the UK for work done in the academic year 2014/2015. It recognises the best student dissertation research projects and showcases the work of students who clearly have a bright future in the geospatial industry. The judges reviewed a range of different projects, each with their own merits.

Sharon Richardson, University College London - Measuring Mobile Digital Footprints: A Modern Index of Urban Interaction

This project takes a fine-grained location sensing app called 'OpenSignal' and investigates the insights it can offer. The results are intriguing: unlike most mobile phone datasets, it appears to offer genuine potential in understanding population dynamics.

The Judges said: “A fascinating topic that reveals some useful patterns in human movement dynamics. The development of scripts to handle the data is admirable and the presentation of the results is impressive. The level of innovation is high and there is potential to use this type of information for crowd control and management”.

Xu Teo
Tom Wilson

10 – The AGI Award for Exceptional Service

  • In addition to the core AGI team, the AGI relies on the hard work and dedication of its many volunteer members to operate and if you want to see just how many people gave their time this year alone, they are all mentioned on the Awards website .
  • AGI is really grateful to these people who give up their time to help design events, run special interest groups, develop and maintain the CPD scheme, influence policy or best practice and help promote GI to a wider audience
  • We’re sure that the benefits are not just one way though as the individuals can also benefit greatly, either by gaining confidence, acquiring new contacts, knowledge and skills or maintaining professional accreditation.
  • So hopefully good reasons for others to get involved.

While there is only one recipient for this award, when it comes to volunteering it is not about the winning but the taking part and AGI could not function in its current form if people did not do just that: take part!

Unfortunately, there is only one award, and therefore one recipient who receives this on behalf of all the volunteers in 2015.

"For his tremendous commitment to getting the Early Careers Network group off the ground over the last year, leading a webinar, meetings and a survey amongst the younger AGI professionals, along with his dedication to spearheading the organisation of this Awards ceremony event, while continuing with his day job as a Project Manager at APMGeo, we’d like to present this Award to Andy Murdock."

Andy Murdock

Anne Campbell
Steven Eglinton
Claire Ellul
Ed Wallington

In addition to the above and the 2015 Council members, the AGI would like to recognise the support of the following volunteers who have given up their time to support various AGI activities.

Ben Anscombe Clare Hadley Dean Paulley
Hugh Barron Daniel Hall Ballester Mark Percival
Sue Beetlestone John Hewitt Matt Pennells
Mike Bell Jeremy Hidderley Hannah Pettitt
Ian Bennett Rollo Home Helen Pickard
Zoe Briggs Illona Kemeling James Reid
Adam Burke Charlotte Leigh Daniel Rex
Morgan Commins Shaun Lewis Max Ridley
Therese Devine Owen MacDonald Ian Sheppard
Sarah Doughty Phil Mclaughlin Conor Smyth
Alice Duff Diana Moraru Doug Specht
Rachael Evans Mayuko Morgan Derek Tate
Dean Findlay Phil Mountain Christin Walter
Ben Fisher Jeremy Murfitt Matt White
Kealan Freeman Tim Newman Pam Whitham
Richard Fry Shona Nicol Kevin Williams
Charlie Gilbert James Norris Matthew Yandell-Thomas
Bruce Gittings Peter Parslow Pete Yuille

11 - The AGI Award for Career Achievement in GI
This prestigious award is given to a person who has made a significant long term contribution to geospatial within their professional career. Nominations for this award will be judged according to the contributions and commitment they have made to advancing geospatial over a sustained period of time (> 10 years).

Andy Coote tells us a bit more about the winner: Les Rackham

"Les Rackham is one of the most unassuming and unarrogant (if that’s a word and Les would know) person I have ever met. This belies a brain “the size of a minor planet”, an infallible intuition about people and a strong moral compass, all of which qualities has justifiably earned him an enviable respect amongst his peers in many different parts of the industry and beyond.

Les is a Geographer by training, a graduate of Sheffield University, which produced such other luminaries as Vanessa Lawrence. However, his first career was in the land resources sector, working overseas for the British Government in locations such as Nigeria, where he met his wife Angela (an internationally-respected archaeologist).

When the British Government lost interest in land resources, Les found a new home at Ordnance Survey, moving the family to Romsey not far from his childhood home in Totton. He excelled in learning the ways of geospatial through an M.Sc. in GIS at Edinburgh University. A time he always recalls with great affection.

On his return to Southampton his talents were initially applied to managing part of the organisation’s “Cartographic Army” before joining Spatial Database systems and later being promoted to Corporate Data Manager. In 2000, he was handed the “mission impossible” of running the hugely ambitious programme to launch national MasterMap coverage in under 12 months. At the height of the programme he had a team of 150 staff, under his control. This project was delivered on time and budget with the same organisational genius, attention to detail and dry sense of humour that he applies to everything he does.

Inexplicably, Les was granted early retirement from Ordnance Survey soon after MasterMap was launched and he then joined Esri (UK). It was his first foray into the commercial sector but as usual he proved more than equal to the task, overseeing the creation of the organisation’s Quality Control System as well as numerous strategic reviews and operational project management tasks for an array of customers.

He left Esri (UK) in 2006 and set up as sole trader offering geospatial consultancy services for a couple of years before we jointly founded ConsultingWhere. Through his strong financial acumen and common sense guidance the organisation has grown consistently over the last eight years to the point that it now works across five continents and counts as long-term customers some of the largest geospatial organisations in the world.

Les began his involvement with the AGI when he joined the AGI Standards Committee in the early 1990s. He quickly got involved in data issues especially in the International standards arena.

In 1995, he became convenor of the newly formed Working Group of ISO/TC 211 on Spatial Data Administration. This Group went on to produce the widely-used International Standards on Data Quality and Metadata.

Back in the UK, he was involved in the development of the UK metadata standard, UK GEMINI, and the revision of the national addressing standard, BS 7666. He had two spells as Chair of the BSI/AGI Standards Committee, IST/36, retiring in 2014. He still attends their meetings to impart his wisdom, and livens up proceedings with dreadful puns.

Outside work Les has always been a keen cyclist and has done the Land’s End to John O’Groats ride twice plus numerous marathons through Europe. He has three children and now five grand-children who keep him increasingly occupied and entertained.

I am privileged to have worked with him over the last 25 years and to regard him as a great friend and mentor. I am delighted that AGI has chosen to honour him with this award, it is richly deserved and I know he will be surprised and delighted to receive such an accolade."

Les Rackham

12 - The AGI Chairperson's Award for Outstanding Service to the AGI

The AGI has reintroduced this award this year. The current Chair, David Henderson, decided who should receive this award and said:

"With nine years on AGI Council, and many years before that as the Chair of the Environment SIG, Jon has also served for many years as Honorary Treasurer , whilst at the same time serving as Junior and Senior Vice-Chair and then Chair in 2012.

Jon is a great advocate for AGI and an excellent role model for many who have served on AGI Council. He has coordinated two separate (significant) amendments to our Articles and in 2014 played a key role in introducing the new AGI website and CRM system. All this whilst building a successful career at British Waterways - now Canal and River Trust - and raising a young family.

I am delighted to recognise Jon Marshall with the Chair’s Award for Outstanding Service to the AGI."

Jonathan Marshall

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