The James Smith medal for junior scientists

In the Spring of 1992, James L. Smith, then of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, envisioned a conference addressing spatial accuracy that would have special reference to natural resources and GIS. He was motivated by the dismal state of data quality in natural resources databases. His goal was to assemble a critical mass of people whose interests or concerns lay in the spatial accuracy of such databases. This thinking turned into action, and the convening of the first symposium in Williamsburg, Virginia, which he chaired. The purpose of the meeting was to exchange the latest information, and to develop communication pathways that would long outlive the meeting, in order to affect real change in the area of spatial data quality for digital georeferenced natural resources. The follow-up symposium two years later, held in Ft. Collins, Colorado, acknowledged Smith’s contribution to initiating an open discussion and considerate, but honest, evaluation of the topic.

For his initial vision and dedicated work to launch the International Symposia on Spatial Accuracy Assessment in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences series, ISARA established a medal in honour of James Smith.

Each member of the Medal Committee will evaluate all submissions by all nominees. First the Committee must screen nominees for eligibility. Next evaluation of each nominee declared eligible by the Committee will be on a scale from 0 to 10. The winner of a medal shall be the nominee who receives the most points. The Medal Committee may decide that no candidate received a sufficient number of points, and hence recommend that ISARA not award a medal at its next meeting.

An awardee will be invited as a keynote speaker for the Spatial Accuracy symposium at which s/he will receive a medal. The local organizer will have the opportunity to either include this awardee as one of the standard keynote speakers, or to add him/her as an additional keynote speaker; this decision will be at the discretion of the local organizer. The awardee will have her/his travel, accommodations and registration expenses covered to the same extent as all other keynote speakers. This particular keynote speech will be labeled either “The Peter Burrough Lecture,” or “The James L. Smith Lecture,” whichever is appropriate. A medal will be awarded at the beginning of the lecture, after the introduction of the awardee, but prior to the introduction of his/her lecture title.

Every effort will be made by members of the Steering Committee and the members of the Medal Committeeto widely advertise each nomination period. Suggestions of nominees can be entered through the Spatial Accuracy website, upon which the Medal Committee may actively approach scholars to nominate the suggested nominees.