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Special Achievement in GIS Award

2017 SAG Award Winners

Enterprise GIS Group, Virginia Tech University

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Project Goal

The Enterprise GIS unit of Virginia Tech was formed to lower barriers to the use of GIS. It exists within the central IT unit of the university and is intended to support the academic missions of the university as well as its internal operations. By providing hosting, application development, integration and interoperability services from the Division of IT, we allow our researchers to focus on their core areas of inquiry and our administrative personnel to focus on their core value-adding workflows without the need for them to become experts at architecting, operating, maintaining and securing a GIS server stack. Our work operationalizes, facilitates and accelerates the geospatial turn across the disciplines, making GIS a pervasive component of scholarly inquiry and a coequal methodology to the more traditional approaches of data-driven decision-making in internal operations.
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Business Problem Solved

A large research university has all the problems of a major city and all the problems of a large corporation, and that’s before the students arrive. We need to support use cases ranging from simple web map generation with a dataset produced by a faculty researcher, to complex administrative information system integrations, to computing intensive geoprocessing workloads developed by our research centers. We must do all of this at scale, reliably, and securely, while supporting institutional business processes, legacy data sources and systems of record, and data governance policies and standards.

Technology Implemented

We employed the entire Esri Web GIS stack, including on-premises components ArcSDE, ArcGIS Server, and ArcGIS Desktop, as well as SaaS ArcGIS Online. Value was added to our implementation through integration with other systems, including, but not limited to, MicroStrategy Business Intelligence, Ellucian Banner, AssetWorks AIM, and custom software developed in-house.

Development Team Biography

Seth Peery is Senior GIS Architect at Virginia Tech and leader of the Enterprise GIS team. He founded the Enterprise GIS unit and has overseen its growth and transformation through multiple technology evolutions. Luke Ward works closely with Seth to plan and manage the systems supporting VT Enterprise GIS services, with a focus on security and reliability. He also collaborates with students, faculty, and staff across the University, working on creative solutions to contemporary problems in the GIS realm. Richard Phipps started wrangling Internet computer systems at a small Internet service provider in rural southwest Virginia. In a few years, he had migrated closer to Blacksburg, Virginia, an epicenter of Internet activity. Here, he helped Blacksburg Electronic Village support web and email services. He's always excited to implement new technologies.

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