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MN GIS/LIS Lifetime Achievement Award Winner - Jesse Fant
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MN GIS/LIS Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Jesse Fant (1995)

Professor Jess Fant began his teaching career at the University of Minnesota Civil Engineering Department in 1947. He taught the surveying and mapping courses and had a major influence on the careers of many surveyor and civil engineers that are still practicing in Minnesota. More than 30 years ago, Professor Fant was describing the technology of the future that became known as GPS and GIS. Because of his vision, he was a strong proponent of referencing all surveying and mapping projects to the National Geodetic Reference System.

In 1971, Professor Fant began a two-year contract with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to head a program of formal education and work experience leading to registration as a professional surveyor for 35 employees of the Department. It was during this period of time (1971-3) that MnDOT began referencing all of its land acquisitions and surveying and mapping projects to the National Geodetic Referencing System. Jesse Fant continued working part-time with MnDOT and full-time as a Professor at the University through the 1970's. His teaching career ended in the spring of 1982, shortly before his untimely death in the fall of that year.

If Professor Fant were alive today, he would still be playing a major role in GIS/LIS activities. Many of us at MnDOT are forever indebted to Jesse for giving us the technical skills and knowledge that helped us achieve our goals, to continue the vision that he had for GIS/LIS implementation in Minnesota.

Therefore, by action of the Board of Minnesota GIS/LIS, they wish to express their appreciation for Professor Fant’s visionary, teaching, and leadership skills in the early days of GIS/LIS development. The award was presented by Dave Gorg, MnDOT, and was accepted by Professor Fant’s son, David, from Grandville, Michigan.

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