MAGIP News Blog

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  • 01/05/2022 12:06 PM | Meghan Burns (Administrator)

    The Montana Association of Geographic Professionals (MAGIP) biannually presents two awards. The Distinguished Service Award is presented for long-term service and leadership to the Montana GIS community and the GIS profession. The GIS Professional Livability Award recognizes an individual's measurable contribution to the application of GIS, thus improving the quality of life within their community.

    The awards will be presented at the Big Sky GeoCon dinner on Wednesday, April 6, 2022 in Missoula.

    Click Here to submit your nomination! 

    The deadline for submission is February 22, 2022.

    If you plan to submit multiple nominations, please create a separate submission for each. Each nomination requires a one-page letter of nomination, two references who also support the nomination, and any supporting documentation.

    On behalf of MAGIP Awards Committee, we look forward to hearing from you!

    Applicants for the Distinguished Service Award must: 

    • Have substantial years of service (10+) in or supporting the Montana GIS Community and a desire to continue to serve
    • Displays exemplary accomplishments as a GIS Professional, selfless service to the profession and participation in committees, workgroups, and organizations that support the Montana geospatial community
    • Has an impact within and / or external to the realm of the member's workplace
    • Undertakes and leads activities that benefit the GIS Community outside of regular job responsibilities
    • Demonstrates initiative, resourcefulness and creativity and is willing to seek out and pursue new challenges that benefit the Montana GIS Profession
    • Acknowledged by his / her peers for leadership and substantial service to the profession and community

    Applicants for the Livability Award must:

    • Demonstrate a measurable contribution to the education, communication, coordination, and application of GIS technologies that have been a major influence to the growth and use of GIS in creating a more livable community
    • Express exemplary dedication with focus to the development and implementation of GIS technologies which enhance individual and community life and promote the efficient use of community resources
    • Acknowledged by his \ her peers for perseverance with belief and purpose; tasking themselves with the growth, as well as the challenges of GIS development for them and for their neighbor...sometimes in the face of discouragement

    Questions? Contact Phoebe Ferguson, 2022 Conference Liaison

  • 11/17/2021 5:00 PM | Meghan Burns (Administrator)

    GIS DAY 2021

    Wednesday, November 17


    Congratulations to Eric Spangenberg for winning this year's MAGIP GIS Day web map contest.  His web map titled "Economic Development - City of Helena, MT" received the most votes.  Eric's map earned him a $100 prize!

    Our first runner-up was Allen Armstrong and his web map titled "BLM Montana/Dakotas Interactive Map" and Allen won $50 for his map.  

    Rounding out the top three was Haley Jurecki and her web map titled "City of Helena Major Infrastructure Projects".  Haley won $25 for her effort.

    A big thank you to everyone who submitted maps to this year's contest, and thanks to everyone who participated by voting for their favorite!

    I am already looking forward to next year's contest.

    Steve Jay, Membership Development Chair


  • 11/16/2021 8:08 AM | Meghan Burns (Administrator)

    MAGIP has re-established the special interest group (SIG) to bring together GIS professionals who work in or with local governments to share issues, ideas, problems, or just to meet other local government staff.

    You are invited to join the Local Government Special Interest Group meeting on Thursday, November 18 at 2:00 pm.

    Thank you,

    Tommy Luksha, Madison County GIS

    Local Government SIG Chair


    phone: 406-843-4242

  • 08/23/2021 8:00 AM | Meghan Burns (Administrator)

    Hello MAGIP Member!

    On behalf of MAGIP President, Jeff Hedstrom and Local Conference Chairs Andrew Stickney and Kyle Burke, we invite you to participate on the 2022 Big Sky GeoCon planning committee. The 2022 Big Sky GeoCon will be held at the Holiday Inn, Missoula, MT April 4-7, 2022.

    Help us develop the topics, secure speakers, shape the format, plan social events and more! Time commitment is one-hour planning meetings each month starting in September or October and then twice a month or more often a couple months prior to the conference.  Also plan to be onsite as much as possible during the conference week. If you are interested or would like more information about participating on this committee, please reach to any of us below. We would like to finalize the committee by August 31.  Thank you! 

    Jeff Hedstrom, MAGIP President

    Andrew Stickney, Local Co-chair

    Kyle Burke, Local Co-chair

    Michelle Quinn, MAGIP Administrator

  • 05/25/2021 7:00 AM | Meghan Burns (Administrator)

    I would like to congratulate the following MAGIP Members on winning the 2021 Board Member Election: 

    • Vice President: Mike Powell, GIS Manager from Yellowstone County
    • Secretary: Aaron Vaughn, Great Falls City GIS Coordinator
    • Treasurer: Nate Wold, GIS Technician at the Montana State Library
    • Technical Committee Chair: Jason Danielson, GIS Database Analyst and Address Coordinator for Lewis and Clark County/City of Helena GIS Services
    • Scholarship & Grants Committee Chair: Rob Ahl, Geospatial Systems Specialist for the USDA Forest Service in Missoula 

    Thank you to everyone who ran for the various offices, for your dedication to MAGIP.

    And a special thank you to the out-going Board members for your time, dedication and commitment to making MAGIP a great organization to be a part of.

    Jenny Connelley, MAGIP Past President

  • 05/18/2021 7:00 AM | Meghan Burns (Administrator)

    Recently, MAGIP supported the GIS-based student research virtual poster competition at the Montana State University Earth Sciences Student Colloquium (ESSC) by providing two judges and cash prizes to the winners.

    The ESSC is an annual event organized and fundraised by graduate students in the Department of Earth Sciences at Montana State University. The public event includes student research talks, a poster session, a raffle, and a keynote address. This year, the event was held online on Thursday and Friday, April 22nd-23rd. The goal of the ESSC is to advance, support, and celebrate student research in the Earth Sciences. GIS is one of the principal academic tracks in MSU's Department of Earth Sciences and is widely applied across all avenues of research in our department -- from geology and paleontology to snow sciences and city planning.

    The Poster Competition winners were:

    Tied for 1st Place ($75 each): 3rd Place ($25):

  • 04/27/2021 7:00 AM | Meghan Burns (Administrator)

    View the Nominees!

    Vice President - Elected to three (3) year term (Vice President, President, Past President)
    • Mike Powell
    Secretary  - Elected to two (2) year term
    • Aaron Vaughn
    • Heather Widlund
    Treasurer  - Elected to two (2) year term
    • Nate Wold
    Technical Committee Chair  - Elected to two (2) year term
    • Jason Danielson
    • Kenny Ketner
    Scholarship & Grants Committee Chair - Elected to two (2) year term 
    • Dr. Robert Ahl
    • Craig Threlkeld

    REMEMBER - Only MAGIP Members in Good Standing can vote in the MAGIP Election!

    Elections will run May 3 - 17

    Look for your ballot in your email on May 3!

    More information can be found at the 2021 MAGIP Elections page

  • 04/23/2021 2:03 PM | Meghan Burns (Administrator)

    The MAGIP Grants and Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce the 2021 awards for Higher Education Scholarships and K-12 Education Grants.

    Despite the challenges of online learning and living, MAGIP was fortunate to receive a relatively large number of high-quality scholarship applications from Doctoral and Master degree candidates.

    While we would like to support all submitted projects, we identified two exceptional Higher Education Scholarship proposals that we are delighted to fund this year. These scholarships will be distributed to one Doctoral student, and one Master’s degree student:

    • Christopher HansenPh.D. Candidate, W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation Wildlife Biology Program University of Montana; Project Title: “Vegetation Response to Livestock Grazing on Public Lands in the Western United States” 
    • Shira EllensonMaster’s Candidate W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation Department of Geography University of Montana; Project Title: “Arctic Greening: 25 Years of Change from In-Situ and Remotely Sensed Observations”

    Furthermore, we are excited to work with the Frenchtown Intermediate School through a Van Shelhamer Memorial K-12 Education Grant and help them develop geospatially oriented lesson plans based on GeoCaching and Orienteering exercises.

    • Riley Devins, Principal Frenchtown Intermediate School Frenchtown, MT

    Visit the Grants and Scholarship pages for additional information about these projects.

    Congratulations to these well-deserving awardees on behalf of MAGIP and the Scholarships and Grants Committee!

  • 03/24/2021 7:00 AM | Meghan Burns (Administrator)

    We have three Board Officer positions and two committee chair positions that will be open for nominations: Secretary, Treasurer, Technical Committee Chair and Scholarship & Grants Committee Chair. These are all two year positions. And we also have the Vice/President/Past position, which is a three year position.  

    View the 2021 MAGIP Elections Page

    If you’ve considered getting more involved in YOUR GIS professional organization on a State Board level, now is the time. I can guarantee that you’ll get to work with a fun, easy-going group of people who are as interested in GIS as you are! J 

    You can nominate yourself or someone else, and you may also run again if you are an existing Board member. As far as a time commitment, I would say that you get back as much as you put in, but you are looking at a minimum of 5-10 hours per month, depending on the position you hold and  the month. There is more time required leading up to conferences in April. Board Members are pseudo members of other committees, so if you are someone who likes to be involved, this is your opportunity.   

    I am sending this email out now so that you have some time to consider whether you’d like to do this, have the time to commit, AND have time for your employer to consider allowing you to hold a position as it does require time during the day, during the work week to attend Board and other meetings. The Election process will begin following the MAGIP Conference next month.


    The election process, as spelled out in the MAGIP By-laws is as follows: 


    Section 1. For any decision requiring a vote of the membership, the entire membership shall be afforded the opportunity to vote, with results being decided by a simple majority of those voting.

    Section 2. A Call for Nominations shall be sent to the Association membership no less than fourteen (14) days before the date set for the voting period to begin for the annual election of Board members. Members may nominate themselves or any other Association member. 

    Nominations shall be submitted to the Past President, who will verify that Nominees agree to run and that they are qualified to sit on the Board according to Article II of these Bylaws. The Nominations shall close no less than seven (7) days before the election. The Past President shall prepare a Ballot of the slate of Nominees. 

    Section 3. Ballots shall be sent electronically to Association members not less than fourteen (14) days before the date set for the end of the election period and returned within the prescribed time to be counted. 

    Section 4. The Board shall appoint a non-standing Election Committee consisting of at least three (3) Association members.

    Section 5. Ballots are valid if received by the close of business on the day specified by the Board. A count shall be made by the Election Committee of the votes and a report made to the Board and the membership. Tie votes shall be resolved by a vote of the Board. This section shall apply to all elections unless otherwise specified in these By-laws. 

    Section 6. A complete file of all ballots, tallies, and documents of Election Committee actions shall be maintained by the Board. 

    Section 7. Election results shall be announced by the President not more than seven (7) days after the report by the Election Committee to the Board. Newly elected Board members shall take office on the first Monday after their ratification by a majority of the Board.

    I’ve held multiple Board positions, so if you have any questions or would just like to talk through this to see if it’s for you, please give me a call. I’m happy to share my experience with you.


    Jenny Connelley Engineering Technician

    City of Bozeman | 20 E. Olive St. | Bozeman, MT 59715

    P: 406.582.2922

  • 03/01/2021 7:00 AM | Meghan Burns (Administrator)

    Registration Now Open!!

    2021 Big Sky GeoCon 

    "Analyzing the Past, Adapting to the Present, Shaping the Future"

    April 5-8, 2021
    Virtual Conference

    The 2021 Virtual Conference will feature two days of workshops, two days of consecutive sessions, a keynote luncheon, map gallery, sponsor spotlights, virtual exhibitor hall, social networking and knowledge sharing opportunities!  Please see the conference webpage for more information. Register today!  Instructions on how to access the virtual platform will be sent 1-2 weeks prior to the conference.  

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