USGIF Announces 2015 Award Program Recipients

by | Jun 29, 2015

Washington, D.C., June 29, 2015 ”The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) today announced the six recipients of its 2015 Awards Program on the main stage at the GEOINT 2015 Symposium. The USGIF Awards Program annually recognizes the exceptional work of the geospatial intelligence tradecraft's brightest minds.

Each year as the nominations come in, we are always amazed by the exceptional work of the individuals and teams from government, military, industry, and academia being submitted for consideration, said Kevin Jackson, chair of the USGIF Awards Subcommittee. The opportunity to review the dozens of nominations and to understand the significance of your accomplishments and the impact of your contributions to the community, our country, and the world”which most likely never make the news”is truly humbling. The 2015 USGIF Award winners represent a community that we should be very proud to be a part of.

The 2015 USGIF Award winners are:

Military Achievement Award: Air Force/Director for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Interoperability(AF/A2I), Surveillance Intelligence Reconnaissance Information System (SIRIS) Team

SIRIS is a government-owned, high-performance, web-based capability that enables open observation, lightweight visualization, and game-changing collaboration for dynamic mission planning and execution across multiple networks. SIRIS collaboration is conducted via a real-time, integrated display of correlated and fused data from National Reconnaissance Office joint collaboration cells, allowing tactical operators to create a tailored, user-defined operational picture. SIRIS reduces fratricide, protects noncombatants and increases combat capability, and saved valuable fire-fighting time during the California rim wildfire. SIRIS is managed by A2 Innovations Director James Snake Clark and was created by Chris McDonald and Tim Petronello.

Government Achievement Award: U.S. Army Geospatial Center

In late 2012, months of drought left water levels along a 180-mile stretch of the Mississippi River as much as 20 feet below normal, exposing rock pinnacles in the navigation channel and restricting barge traffic from St. Louis, Mo., to Cairo, Ill.”essentially halting commerce along the Mississippi River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is charged with keeping the river safe and navigable, and in this case needed to provide frequent updates to the White House on the progress of removing the pinnacles to restore navigation. The majority of geospatial products, although very accurate, were too complex for executive-level briefings. In a short timeframe, a team of Army Geospatial Center personnel synthesized the information gathered by the Corps and created geospatial products that enabled the President to quickly understand the problem and how it was being remedied.

Industry Achievement Award: George Guy Thomas, C-SIGMA, LLC

George Guy Thomas is a former U.S. science and technology advisor for maritime domain awareness and father of space-based automated identification systems (AIS). He also founded the Collaboration in Space for International Global Maritime Awareness (C-SIGMA) organization. Space-based AIS is changing how the maritime world operates by adding global transparency to operations. C-SIGMA works to increase safety and security in the maritime domain as well as protect the maritime environment and resources worldwide. Thomas' 40-year career in surveillance includes positions with the U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, as well as with industry and Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory. He led the introduction of both the Navy's EP-3E and the Air Force's RC-135W”the first reconnaissance aircraft with mission-system computers.

Academic Research Award: George Stanley Bosarge, University of South Alabama

George Stan Bosarge is senior research laboratory manager for the Fisheries Ecology Lab of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, as well as the benthic habitat assessment program manager for the University of South Alabama's department of marine sciences. Bosarge's research is centered on a large-scale and long-term fisheries assessment project called the Fisheries Independent Ecosystem Survey. It's designed to assess post-oil spill red snapper population recovery and the spatial relationships of red snapper to artificial and natural reef habitat off coastal Alabama. In 2016, he will join the Northeastern University faculty to teach a class on free and open-source GIS desktop applications in the university's geographic information technology program.

Academic Achievement Award: Professor Dorota A. Grejner-Brzezinska & Dr. Charles Toth, Ohio State University

In the past 15 years, professors Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska and Charles Toth of the Ohio State University have significantly influenced the future of geospatial intelligence by advancing state-of-the-art geospatial data acquisition and processing technologies. Their most significant achievements include pioneering work on high-accuracy, direct sensor georeferencing algorithms and methodology; developing state-of-the-art sensor error models; developing novel compression technology for LiDAR data; and introducing an innovative and automated waveform processing method to support better point cloud generation and land-cover classification. This is the second time the duo has received a USGIF award”the first being the 2005 Academic Research Award for research on a personal navigator relevant to national security.

Outstanding Administrative/Support Award: Donna L. Pelle, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

As the executive officer for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Support Team (NST) to the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, Pelle plays a significant behind-the-scenes role in advancing the relationship between the two organizations and demonstrating the importance of GEOINT. Pelle consistently takes action to achieve outcomes and results that are superior in quality, quantity, and have an impact on the NST. She handles worldwide travel, regulatory file planning, security, calendar administration for senior executives, and is responsible for more than 200 taskers a year.

To learn more about the USGIF Awards Program, visit


USGIF is a nonprofit educational foundation dedicated to promoting the geospatial intelligence tradecraft and developing a stronger GEOINT Community with government, industry, academia, professional organizations, and individuals who develop and apply geospatial intelligence to address national security challenges. USGIF executes its mission by building the community, advancing the tradecraft, and accelerating innovation. The GEOINT Symposium is hosted annually by USGIF.

For more information, please and follow USGIF onFacebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


April Issue 2024