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MN GIS/LIS Lifetime Achievement Award Winner - Bradford Henry
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MN GIS/LIS Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Bradford Henry (2002)

Brad Henry made his mark on the City of Minneapolis, where he spent most of his career, as well as on lots of other pagans who he successfully evangelized to GIS. Brad joined the city in 1970 in the Public Works Department, engineering survey and design division. There was no computer and certainly no computer-assisted design. All that changed in a few years as Brad worked with Hennepin County to develop the MAPS system, first used for CAD work on street design. This was before reliable CAD or GIS software was commercially available. Brad networked within the city and found any ally in the assessor's office interested converting their property maps to digital. The MAPS system won URISA's 1983 award for Exemplary Systems in Government. It had a wider range of users than most systems around, even by today's standard, and employed such advanced technology as object-orientation and distributed computing that is only now getting into mainstream software. Many city departments and functions came to depend on GIS through Brad's urging and support. He organized the GIS Print Room in 1989, providing one-stop mapping and data services to city departments and the general public. Throughout the 1990s, this was the only such service available to citizen organizations in the nation, a fact highlighted at URISA's Citizen Access Day in 1994. In 1999, the City of Minneapolis received a Certificate of Commendation from the Governor for its pioneering development of the GIS Print Room, where geographic data is easily accessible in a usable and understandable format at no cost.

Not content with leading city government to the forefront, Brad pushed GIS elsewhere. Eventually MAPS became the Ultimap package and was picked up by other counties in the Metro area, getting them an early start with GIS. Brad helped organize the 1st Metro GIS Data Fair in 1991, involving 7 counties, Minneapolis, and St. Paul. Brad was part of the group that created MetroGIS and he served as chair of its Coordinating Committee from 1997-2000. Under Brad's leadership, MetroGIS created the 7-county wide seamless parcel map that puts Minnesota at the leading edge of urban data cooperation and technology.

Brad retired from the City of Minneapolis in 2000, but not from GIS. He continues to serve on the MetroGIS Coordinating Committee, and teaches a course on "GIS for the Development of Civil Engineering" in the Center for the Development of Technical Leadership at the University of Minnesota. He works full-time as a GIS consultant for URS/BRW of Minneapolis.

Brad's Lifetime Achievement Award plaque reads: "Bradford Henry, GIS Evangelist, Applications Builder; Mapper for the Multitudes"



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