(Wyoming Game and Fish Department)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Game & Fish Department’s georgaphic information system (GIS) section team has been selected by Esri, a global supplier of GIS technology, to receive their 2021 Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) award.

The team was selected from over 100,000 Esri users across the globe.

“The department’s GIS section took on a robust challenge to modernize geospatial technology access. The SAG award is true recognition of the collaboration between many in Game and Fish to manage Wyoming’s wildlife with the best available data and science,” said Game & Fish Chief of Services Eric Wiltanger, who oversees IT operations.

Team members recognized for the award include:

  • Kirk Nordyke
  • Denise Jensen
  • Troy Gerhardt
  • Erica Cirigliano
  • Thomas Koenig

“It’s nice to be recognized for the work, and we know this change will make a world of difference for our end-users, who are our colleagues, as well as wildlife, fish and the public,” Nordyke said.

Other Game and Fish employees who assisted on the GIS team’s efforts include:

  • Darby Schok
  • Paul Dey
  • Mark Smith
  • Brian Rognan
  • Nyssa Whitford
  • Micah Morris
  • Cheyenne Stewart

Game & Fish says the team received the award for the work they did to reorganize and upgrade the department’s map data systems. The GIS team are responsible for map data such as hunt area boundaries, Game & Fish property data, big game seasonal ranges and invasive species mapping.

“It’s authoritative data,” said Kirk Nordyke, geospatial technology supervisor. “That means, Game and Fish is who collects the data and manages it — including providing it to others for decision-making.”

Game & Fish says that their GIS database was prioritized for upgrades in 2017 with the database crucial to biologists and others working within the department. The team moved the data from internal storage to a cloud-based system.

“This was innovative for data management in the State of Wyoming, and it put more – and  current – information in the hands of people who are doing important work on the ground for wildlife,” said GIS developer Denise Jensen.

Game & Fish says the GIS section won a SAG award in 2016 for the Wyoming Hunt Planner “known today as the premier planning and map tool for anyone embarking on a Wyoming hunt.”