Des Moines Earns GIS Special Achievement Award

Press Release

Des Moines, Iowa — Wednesday, July 20, 2022 — The City of Des Moines has been recognized with a Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) award for its innovative use of geographic information system (GIS) technology while developing plans for the upcoming Market District. The award was announced last week by Jack Dangermond, president and founder of Esri, during an international conference held in San Diego for the GIS community.

The award designates organizations that are setting new precedents with the use of the technology. More than 10,000 nominations were submitted worldwide to Esri for consideration, and the City of Des Moines was selected as one of 197 winners.

"I’m really proud of how this project turned out. It was a large collaborative effort between multiple departments to identify a problem and find a solution that leverages the latest technology,” said Aaron Greiner, GIS Manager for the City of Des Moines. “3D mapping has grown very popular in recent years, and this award validates our decision to try something new and invest in 3D early on."

The City’s award-winning project consisted of using LiDAR data to create a 3D “digital twin” of Des Moines to help City planners visualize the impact that future Market District development projects will have on views of the Iowa State Capitol building. The City’s GIS team and Development Services staff collaborated on the project and are using the technology to set building height restrictions to minimize obstructions of the scenic view from Principal Park and other downtown locations. The technology also gives planners the ability to see the real-world impact of any proposed variances.

“When we’re looking at proposed development projects, we no longer need to imagine how the finished product will change our skyline. We can see it beforehand, which helps us make better-informed decisions,” said Erin Olson-Douglas, Development Services Director. “We’re very fortunate to have this new tool and the talented team that helped us develop it.”

More information about the award is available on Esri’s website.

Al Setka
Chief Communications Officer, City Manager’s Office
(515) 283-4057

About the City of Des Moines
The City of Des Moines is Iowa’s capital city and our 17 departments serve more than 214,000 residents and 52 neighborhood associations. Des Moines is a leader in sustainability and provides its residents with vibrant neighborhoods, an alive and active downtown, and abundant leisure opportunities.

Des Moines continuously improves neighborhoods, public safety and quality of life by offering exceptional city services and reliable infrastructure while fostering an involved and compassionate community for all who visit and live in Des Moines.

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