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MN GIS/LIS Lifetime Achievement Award Winner - Scott A. Freburg
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MN GIS/LIS Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Scott A. Freburg (2019)
Minnesota Department of Education

Scott has been a significant contributor to Minnesota’s geospatial community and beyond for over 28 years. Throughout his career, Scott has made an impact through his work and relationships in implementing solutions for the State of Minnesota, Minnesota’s K-12 educators and students, and Minnesota’s geospatial community.

 Scott was employed at the State of Minnesota for over 28 years, working for the Land Management Information Center (LMIC) for 15 years and then the Minnesota Department of Education for 13 years. He also served five years on the GIS/LIS Consortium’s Board of Directors, including as the Board Chair.

 Throughout his career Scott has worked on a wide range of projects impacting Minnesota, including: Minnesota’s first statewide lakes project, developing feedlot maps in support of the first statewide Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS), the Ramsey County redistricting project, and implementing the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium’s Educator Day workshops offered at the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium’s annual fall conference.

 In his tenure at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), Scott became Minnesota’s lead expert in updating, correcting and maintaining school district and attendance area mapping. MDE’s focus on improving data quality resulted in significant improvements in the administration of Federal USDA school programs.  His work also led to the development of a map-based platform for the administration of the State’s Food and Nutrition Service programs, which has since become a national model.

 In 2013 Scott began developing a K-12 outreach program for educators, bringing together teachers and GIS professionals to learn about geospatial technology. The program developed a curriculum and provided free access to GIS software to Minnesota’s schools. Since inception, over 700 teachers have been provided free GIS training, impacting more than 19,000 students. While on the Consortium Board, Scott worked to implement an education fund to sustain the program. In 2015, Scott initiated Educator’s Day events within the Minnesota GIS/LIS conference. In four years, the free workshops have provided GIS training to more than 300 teachers. In 2018 the event was further expanded to invite K-12 students to attend. Scott has procured eight grants to supplement further K12 GIS training since 2013.

 In 2016, in collaboration with highly motivated high school educators and the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education (MAGE), Scott co-initiated the Minnesota Map Competition for K-12 students with over 220 student entries. Since that first year, more than 50 teachers and 600 students have participated in the competition across Minnesota. In 2017 Esri initiated a national student map competition based directly on the competition implemented by Scott. Since the program’s implementation, Minnesota students have been leaders in the national competition, winning three of the six national top prizes.

 Scott’s contributions are expansive in both breadth and depth, collaborating towards solutions with Minnesota’s state agencies, geospatial community, educators and students. He has developed approaches to improve processes and workflows that other organizations and states have replicated and implemented. And his contributions to K12 GIS education in the state have been astounding.  Scott is a deserving recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Short Statement on Plaque

Visionary champion and collaborative leader for GIS in K-12 education

2019 Lifetime Award recipient Scott Freburg with Mark Kotz at the 
Annual Conference in St. Cloud, MN.


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