MEDB’s Women in Technology receives top geospatial technology award


SAN DIEGO, CA. – Women in Technology (WIT), a statewide initiative of the Maui Economic Development Board, received a Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award at the Esri International User Conference in San Diego, California on July 10, 2013. Each year, the international SAG award acknowledges vision, leadership, hard work and innovative use of Esri’s GIS technology.

“The SAG Awards identify the organizations and people that are using the power of geography to improve our world and drive change,” says Esri president Jack Dangermond. “They deserve recognition for both solving their communities’ greatest challenges and for their invaluable contributions to the continued evolution of geographic science.”

Chosen from thousands of organizations worldwide, WIT — a leading STEM advocate in Hawaii — was recognized for successfully pioneering GIS initiatives across the islands.  Partnering with Esri and the Hawaii DOE, WIT created GeoTech for Hawaii Schools, a statewide program to integrate the use of geospatial technology into local K-12 schools.

The program encourages hands-on learning and real-world application of the latest geographic information systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and remote-sensing technologies.

WIT also launched and presently manages the Hawaii K-12 GIS Distribution Center that provides free GIS software and training to all K-12 public, private, and charter school teachers and students.

According to Isla Young, WIT Director of K12 STEM education, over 215 Hawaii schools now receive valuable geospatial technology training and software from the GeoTech program.

“Our strategy of introducing and utilizing advanced technologies like GIS in the classroom will definitely help strengthen Hawaii’s education to workforce pipeline,” Young said.  “Bottom line?  A skilled homegrown workforce and more high-paying jobs for our local people.”