DNR Fish & Wildlife receives 2020 Indiana GIS award

The Indiana DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife recently received this year’s Indiana Excellence in GIS award for state and federal projects from the Indiana Geographic Information Council.

The annual award honors projects that improve our world by integrating information and geographic location.

The division’s geodatabase tracking system project receiving the honor was spearheaded by Jason Wade in Fish & Wildlife’s Office of Private Lands. The system integrates information about the division’s projects and customer interactions with the geographical locations where the work was done. Before Wade’s team’s effort, staff documented this information by hand and shared it monthly with supervisors to compile. Because the records were handwritten, previous records were unavailable to new staff, and current staff could not efficiently retrieve the data.

Wade’s team used GIS (geographic information system) to create a web-based system of entering, viewing, and sharing location-based information, integrating details about landowner contacts, biologist activity, wildlife inquiries, habitat development projects, and more. Now, real-time GIS data that DNR staff can use and share with the public is easily accessible through a web browser.

“This has allowed biologists to share and access data more quickly and created a historical record, and has allowed the division to provide quicker responses and greater transparency to Hoosiers across the state,” said Patrick Mayer, Fish & Wildlife’s north region private lands supervisor. “This innovation has saved staff time and increased accuracy.”

As Fish & Wildlife’s landscape initiative biologist, Wade develops and carries out landscape-level habitat enhancement projects throughout Indiana. He often works directly with conservation organizations, local communities, Fish & Wildlife biologists, and decision-makers.

For more on Fish & Wildlife’s Office of Private Lands, visit wildlife.IN.gov/2352.htm.

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