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For 2016 the AGI Council presented the following awards at the end of the Annual Conference #GeoCom16, which was held at the RGS building in Kensington on 23rd November 2016.

Since 1989 the AGI Awards have recognised excellence in a wide range of applications of geographic information. They have also recognised the significant contributions that individuals make to the geocommunity and the promotion of the use of geographical information. The purpose of the awards is to formally thank the recipients for their contributions, publicly celebrate their success and provide inspiration for others.

1. The AGI Award for Career Achievement in GI - Jamie Justham

This award recognises someone who’s made a significant contribution to our industry during their career. It’s a prestigious award, respected internationally, as the person receiving it has made a long-lasting impression on us all.

Charlie Gilbert both nominated and presented the award to Jamie, along with David Henderson.

 

Jamie Justham – Founder of Dotted Eyes 

I would like to nominate Jamie Justham to be considered for the AGI Career Achievement Award. I can think of no-one who would be more deserving of this award given the contribution he has made.

Jamie had been inspired by the recent Chorley Report on Geographic Information. An engineer by training, Jamie gave up his marketing job in 1989 to set up a consultancy helping organisations to benefit from the power of geography in business. He chose the rather wacky trading name Dotted Eyes, hoping it would suggest a combination of strategic vision with tactical precision.

At first he was working on his own, based in a bedroom at home. Keen to broaden the appeal of interactive thematic maps for consumers, he was awarded a commission from the publishers to create The Times World Map and Database. A major challenge in the early 90s was to compress all the vector maps and associated data for installation onto a Windows PC from just three floppy disks! He then supervised the localisation of that product into Japanese and Greek – not the simplest of translation jobs.

For the professional market he saw that a complete GIS solution could be built around visually attractive software such as MapInfo, but only if services such as training and technical support were provided as well as high quality digital maps for Britain. That provided the stimulus to grow the business, even in the days before Ordnance Survey enabled partners to offer its data sets.

Jamie negotiated with HarperCollins, who had invested in creating databases to produce their printed maps and atlases, to process their data into a style and format suitable for ESRI, MapInfo and AutoCAD desktop software. Bartholomew London Maps, Euro Maps or World Maps were packaged onto CD-ROM with a ‘try before you buy’ sample area. His innovative idea was to use secure encryption, enabling the whole product to be included on the free CD, so when the purchase was made it could be unlocked instantly and tied to a specific computer.

When Ordnance Survey launched its own raster versions of the Landranger and Explorer maps, Dotted Eyes won a contract to produce a promotional CD-ROM, pioneering e-commerce in the days when the internet was still limited to static web pages. Users of the CD could zoom into a national map, seeing more and more of the underlying Meridian data, before drawing their area of interest to highlight the required raster tiles and itemise a quotation. The list of required files would then be written automatically to a floppy disk which could be sent to OS with the order form!

In 1995 Dotted Eyes signed one of the first ever OS Value Added Reseller contracts, marking the start of a close, ongoing partnership. Jamie was later asked to advise Ordnance Survey during the development of OS MasterMap, and Dotted Eyes helped to promote its rapid uptake by producing the market-leading InterpOSe for desktop systems, and SuperpOSe for customers adopting a shared spatial database. When the OS Partner Advisory Council was formed last year, Jamie was elected as an inaugural member.

He discovered Safe Software’s FME in the late 90s. At that time it had no graphical interface and was controlled by scripting Semantic Mapping Files. Dotted Eyes rapidly committed to reselling FME, training its users and even building the software into its own products. Almost 20 years later the company now ranks among the top three FME partners world-wide.

Jamie’s experience and expertise in GIS qualified him as a Chartered Geographer, and he was elected a Fellow of the RGS. Having made various presentations at AGI events, he was invited to deliver a keynote speech at the national conference when parliamentary constituencies were being redrawn to even out the number of registered electors in each one.

I first met Jamie when I graduated from Nottingham University. Characteristically he took me on as a summer intern to assess my contribution at first hand, before sponsoring my MSc in GIS and offering some advice on my dissertation. I’ve been able to develop my career with the company ever since and also supported the AGI. Many of our former colleagues, after being trained and mentored by Jamie, have now gone on to take up management positions elsewhere in the industry.

Early in 2008 – when Dotted Eyes had grown to about 25 employees – Jamie sold the majority of shares to Ben Allan, the incoming chief executive, who asked him to stay on with the business. Jamie became chairman, before taking semi-retirement whilst keeping up his active involvement in geographic information on a part-time basis. We now operate under two separate brands – Field Dynamics to offer business process consultancy and the miso portal to distribute software and services online and Jamie still makes an active contribution to both businesses.

Thanks for your consideration - I think Jamie has made a high contribution to the industry and deserves to be duly recognised for his innovation, support and determination to grow and develop the sector into what we know it today.

2. The AGI Chairperson’s Award for Outstanding Service to the AGI - Simon Wheeler

As a membership association, the hard work and dedication of our members is central to a vibrant geocommunity with purpose.  The AGI Chairperson’s Award is nominated this year by David Henderson: it recognises someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the work of the AGI specifically, furthering our aims and promoting our work.


  

David Henderson presented the award to Simon Wheeler.

Simon was a member of the AGINI executive committee for 15 years,  and for the last 5 years of this term, Simon held the position as Chair. 

Simon was a member of the AGI UK Council for 5 years, and also represented Northern Ireland at the UK Council and in turn ensured the AGINI members were kept connected to the AGI as a whole.  Simon has worked tirelessly for the AGI, recently demonstrated through his generous contribution of time and effort put into the production of the AGI Foresight Report 2020.

Annual events 

Simon led six successful annual events during his time as AGINI Chairman.  He was heavily involved in each of these, taking a leading role.  His networking amongst the GI Community paid off when looking for relevant and interesting speakers; his pragmatism ensured nothing was forgotten.  The annual events included two GeoBig 5 conferences held in Belfast - "open" and "sensors and mobile".

Latest policies of the time such as INSPIRE were included to ensure the GI community was kept up to date on recent issues.  

Other initiatives

Simon suggested and contributed to other activities to link the GI Community throughout the year and was keen for AGI NI not to be seen as an annual conference provider, but a real community. Examples of these include: 

  • Crisis mapping work shops
  • Python workshops
  • GIS programme for schools
  • Encouraged lectures to get ECN group in NI up and running so that students and young professionals had support
  • Represented and spoke at GeoDATA Belfast on a couple of occasions
  • On a more social note, the annual summer BBQ and GeoBeers were arranged to encourage new members to come and chat informally to existing members
  • Simon set up AGI NI with social media profiles and encouraged members to use these channels and promote constant communication amongst the AGI NI network

Simon never shied away from promoting membership to new and existing staff in Land and Property Services. He wanted the community to be welcoming to new members and for it to grow.

Overall, Simon has a “just do it” attitude. With too many ideas and not enough time to execute them all, Simon has motivated others to get involved, and has continued to be very committed to the AGI NI, even when his job moved away from GIS about 4 years ago.

Words from Rico Santiago, current AGINI Chair

“I met Simon at the annual AGINI conference almost 6 years ago now, shortly after I first moved from the US to NI. I didn’t know much about the GI community here and, to be honest, I was at the conference primarily because the organization I worked for at the time was willing to pay for my day out of the office. Over the subsequent years, I’ve run into Simon on numerous occasions and in different capacities, and each time we spoke, he was able to impress upon me the importance of the AGI to the GI community and its role as an agent of positive change in our society.

It wasn’t just what he said that inspired me to get involved in the GI community, it was also what he’s done and continues to do: lead by example. It seemed as though he had his fingers into everything—always initiating conversations, supporting projects, and most importantly, connecting people and ideas. From my perspective, the notion of “6 degrees of separation” did not apply to Simon - it was more like 2 or 3 at most! Connecting people and ideas is a fundamental aspect of the AGI, and Simon has tirelessly promoted that in the years I’ve known him.

I’m now the Chairman of the AGI NI. I’d like to personally thank Simon for connecting me to NI’s GI community...I’m forever grateful.”

Words from Conor Smyth

“Since its founding back in 2001, Simon has played a significant role in the development of AGINI and its regional activities. As a committed volunteer, his participation has been significant over the years; his efforts were recognised mid-decade by his formal appointment to Secretary, assisting the former Chair, Dr Conor G. Smyth, in promoting AGINI further across the region with active participation in the development of a strong programme of conference and other events. On the departure of the long-standing former Chair, Simon was elected to the position of Chair, taking over in April 2011 to June 2016.  His tenure, like the period before, was marked by his enthusiasm and endless dedication to the promotion of the AGI to the wider geospatial community and beyond.”

Life outside AGI NI

Originally from Burntwood, Simon studied at Coventry University, is married to Sharon Moss and has a daughter Lucy. He has worked for Planning NI for many years before moving to Land and Property Services where he received a promotion. 

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