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November 18, 2014
Industry Celebrates GI Success at the 2014 AGI Awards for Geospatial Excellence

On 13th November at the Chesford Grange Hotel in Warwickshire, AGI hosted a new look awards ceremony for 2014. This prestigious event brought together leaders from across the geospatial sector to celebrate the best of the year’s geospatial projects, as well as excellence in teaching and research. 

The compere for the evening was Professor Iain Stewart, the popular TV scientist and geologist who, as well as presiding over the event, also delivered a humorous speech describing his TV work and the vital role that geospatial is playing within his research and in our understanding of geology. 

The 2014 awards saw a high standard of entries and some ground breaking work in visualisation and the application of GI. The awards and winners are summarised below:

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

This award was judged by the delegates at the GeoCom 2014 conference for the best paper at the event and was won by Doug Specht, the Managing Director of Voz Geographic Information Systems, who is a Doctoral Researcher at the University of Westminster and former geography teacher. He works in researching the role of technologies such as (P-)GIS, Big Data and mobile devices in the codification and legitimisation of knowledge within the context of International Development.

His talkwas Securing Human and Environmental Rights through PGIS” based upon research carried out for VOZ, the Non-profit he established in 2013. The research was supported by the University of Amsterdam, Universidad del Valle, and the University of Westminster. Drawing upon case studies from Colombia and Syria the paper sought to explain how locally generated geo spatial information can be used to promote human rights, suggesting that it is maps and PGIS, rather than social media that is needed to highlight human rights and environmental abuses in a way that moves us beyond documenting abuses and towards holding those responsible to account.

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

Recognising the best paper from the GeoBig5 event series, this award went to “Glasgow, setting the standard for Europe” by Diarmad Campbell, British Geological Survey.  Judges said that:“It was a pleasure to watch someone articulate in such a clear manner why geology is important to the Future Cities agenda”.

Shortlisted papers:

“Opening ArcGIS” by Eamonn Doyle, Esri-Ireland. 

“Geospatial Survey Data Management on the Thameslink Programme, past, present and future” by Barry Gleeson, ThamesLink.

“Distilling what the business wants from data – building a Business Data Lake” by Steve Jones, CapGemini.

 “The Value of Geospatial Information in the Policy Making Process” by Clare Hadley, Ordnance Survey.

3 – The AGI Award for Excellence in Education

This award acknowledges educational projects, tools, workshops, institutes, courses or seminars where geospatial has been used with positive effect.

A GIS and Spatial Analysis module delivered by Luke Burns, School of Geography, University of Leeds won the award and particularly impressed the AGI judges who remarked “This nomination fizzes with the energy and commitment that was doubtless deployed in the teaching of a large undergraduate intake”.


A GIS Educational Programme for A-Level Students delivered by the Association of Geographic Information Northern Ireland (AGINI). 

GIS for Business Level 3 submitted by Jim Kelly – South East Regional College, Northern Ireland.

4 – The AGI Award for Best Geospatial Data Visualisation

Recognises the importance of the visual representation of geospatial data to convey a story or message. Visualisations could be a map, cartogram, chart, infographic etc. but all had geospatial roots.

The award went to GB Minecraft by Ordnance Survey for their “refreshing and outstanding application of geographic visualisation”in building a model of Great Britain within this popular game.Judges also remarked on its value as a teaching aid and as a novel way to engage young people with geography. 


Hot Blocking by Stephen Forgan, GLA.  

GuageMap by Shoothill.

5 – The AGI Award for Excellence in Research & Development – sponsored by GI Standards

Acknowledging those projects that have advanced best practice, technology or tools to the benefit of the geospatial industry this award went to Proteus FZC for their project Terrestrial and marine ecological classification and land-use land-cover mapping from satellite imagery for Abu Dhabi emirate.AGI Judges commented that “The scale of this project and the integration of land based / maritime satellite imagery to influence planning decisions/ track carbon is ground breaking”.


An Assessment of Earthquake Vulnerabilities in Kathmandu, Nepal for Identification of Optimal Immediate Aid Sites by Andrew MacLachlan.

SPACEial North West – Examining the impact of changing urban morphology in the North West Region Crossborder area using Maps, Stats, Apps and Remote Sensing techniques.  

6 – The AGI Award for Excellence with Impact, sponsored by 1Spatial

This award recognises those projects which have achieved outstanding success or impact – whether this be within an organisation or at a local, regional, national or international scale.

The winning entry was UK Soil Observatory by the UK Soil Observatory Partners. Commenting on the winner,judges described it as “An ambitious project with huge potential as a spatial research resource for a range of fields including agriculture and geotechnical engineering”.


Terrestrial and marine ecological classification and land-use land –cover mapping from satellite imagery for Abu Dhabi emirate by Proteus FZC.

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 (Business As Usual – BAU) and can demonstrate significant return on investment (RoI) relative to the project scale.

The winner was “Knowledge Based Mobile Asset Management for Walsall Council” submitted by Kaarbon Technology. The judging panel felt the project had “all the elements of using geospatial information, operating at scale, making better decisions, and delivering business benefits”.


SPACEial North West – Examining the impact of changing urban morphology in the North West Region Crossborder area using Maps, Stats, Apps and Remote Sensing techniques. 

UK metadata Editor by EDINA, University of Edinburgh. 

Easimap2 for Incidents by the Environment Agency

8 – The AGI Student of the Year – sponsored by ESRI

The award for best undergraduate or postgraduate dissertation project from geospatial disciplines within UK universities went to Richard Thomas, University of Leeds for his work on “Determining Cycle Mode Choice for Commuting using New Route Analysis Methods”. The thesis impressed judges who felt it was “well presented research with clear aims and objectives”.


A spatial analysis of child pedestrian road traffic accidents in Aberdeen by James Watts, University of Aberdeen.

Remotely Sensing the water productivity of tea: evidence from India and Malawi by Jennifer Willbourn, University of Southampton.

9 – The AGI Award for Exceptional Service

The award for exceptional service towards the AGI mission by a volunteer was won by Peter Kohler for his considerable effort researching the skills matrices of other companies in order to provide a wealth of information to formulate a skills framework for the AGI’s CPD programme.

In addition, the judges also recognised significant contributions from Abi Page, for her dedication to delivering the new website; John Marshall for his support on finance matters and the new CRM; Laura Kinley for considerable marketing, communications and event support, Matt White for strengthening and expanding the sponsorship base and to Rollo Home for his admirable leadership of the Geo Big5 events programme.

10 – The AGI Award for Career Achievement in GI

The final and most prestigious award of the evening recognised an individual who has made a significant long term contribution to geospatial within their professional career over a sustained period of time. 

Keith Adlam, formerly worked at the British Geological Survey, in Keyworth, near Nottingham. Originally from Maybole in Ayrshire and he graduated from the University of Strathclyde with a BSc Hons. in Applied Geology in 1977. Keith was appointed to the Industrial Minerals Assessment Unit of the Institute of Geological Sciences (now BGS) in Keyworth on 21 November 1977 as a Scientific Officer having been described by one of his referees as ‘Honest, trustworthy, a man of integrity’. 

Keith was a champion and pioneer of GIS at BGS. With every leap forward in GIS technology over the years, Keith advanced and developed the systems at BGS, providing new capabilities that many of his geological colleagues would not even have dreamed of. He proved the organisational benefits of GIS over and over again. Keith’s many achievements over the years included being the original author and manager of the Geoscience Data Index (GDI), making BGS’s vast spatial data assets accessible to a huge audience from both within and outside BGS. He was a lead player in many other large corporate GIS systems including SIGMA, GeoReports, UKDEAL and GHASP.

It is difficult to overstate the contribution Keith made to the application of GIS to solve real world business problems both within BGS and externally with the organisation’s partners and customers. ESRI UK held Keith in such high esteem that they paid tribute to his ‘Life in GIS’ in their ThinkGIS magazine earlier this year. His colleagues say that Keith had an unrivalled determination and ability to solve just about any technical issue and did so with such a calm and cooperative manner that he was always a pleasure to work alongside. 

Many congratulations to Keith who is a worthy winner and joins a distinguished company of previous recipients of this award.

Further information about the entries and photos from the ceremony can be found here:

AGI Awards for Geospatial Excellence 2015

Next year’s awards promise to be bigger and better again and we would encourage you all to start thinking about possible projects, teaching and research which you might submit for consideration. 

About the Association for Geographic Information

The Association for Geographic Information (AGI) is the membership organisation for the UK geospatial industry. The AGI exists to promote the knowledge and use of Geographic Information for the betterment of governance commerce and the citizen.

The AGI exists to represent the interests of the UK’s GI industry; a wide-ranging group of public and private sector organisations, suppliers of GI software, hardware, data and services, consultants, academics and interested individuals. The AGI, by way of its unique membership forum, brings together this previously disparate GI community to share ideas on best practice, experience and innovation, and offers access to unparalleled networking opportunities with significant business benefits. As such it acts on behalf of the community as whole. Since its formal inception in 1989, it has built up a significant membership base and established itself as the respected voice in GI and is the membership body for everyone with an interest or involvement with GI.

The AGI holds a programme of annual events to enable sharing of knowledge, innovation and best practice within the UK GI sector. To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the AGI in 2014, the organisation has held a series of events throughout the year tackling the big issues and themes in GI today. 

For more information contact:

Diane Sandeman

Marketing and Communications

0207 591 3194

[email protected]

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