The Barbados Ministry of Agriculture’s Veterinary Services has demonstrated vision and leadership, using Environmental System Research Institute’s (ESRI’s) geographic information system (GIS) technology to better serve the world.

To recognize this passionate approach to applying GIS solutions, ESRI presented the organization with the Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award on August 6, 2008, at the 28th Annual ESRI International User Conference (ESRI UC) in San Diego, California.

The Veterinary Services Department, with the assistance of the Caribbean Amblyomma Program, initially used GIS for the plotting of all Amblyomma variegatum (TBT) tick infested farms throughout the island of Barbados. Also, with the threat of avian influenza, risk analysis was carried out to identify potential sources of introduction based on the available GIS data. Currently, the Department is in the process of recording GIS data on all of the island’s livestock and poultry farms. GIS is still being developed within the Department, and future plans involve being able to plot farms by type of farm, species, and size. As data is collected and compiled, GIS will be able to assist in disease surveys and outbreaks throughout Barbados.

"At ESRI, we are always deeply impressed by the innovation of our users," said Jack Dangermond, ESRI president. "We want to recognize the efforts of these individuals with our Special Achievement in GIS Award. This recognition is well deserved for how they’ve applied geospatial technology to address the needs of their industries and communities. They are defining GIS best practices."

GIS combines computer hardware, software, and data to create a tool for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographic information. Virtually any information can be linked to a geographic location, allowing users to see that information as part of a complete picture to be analyzed and applied to a problem or issue. With GIS, people can see firsthand how the world works and changes, view and manage information about locations, analyze spatial relationships, and visualize processes. From underground mine modeling to air traffic control, more than 300,000 organizations worldwide rely on GIS to better analyze their environments and make smarter decisions.

Other organizations being honored at the ESRI UC are the United Nations Population Fund, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the Navajo Department of Transportation, Ecotrust Canada, the City Planning Department in Bangkok, Thailand, Rural Support Service in Latvia, Cable & Wireless St. Lucia, CityMail in Sweden, Manila Water Company in the Philippines, Seoul Metropolitan Government, and more.

To learn more about the 2008 SAG Award winners and to view their photos and project descriptions and images, please visit More information about ESRI and its GIS solutions can be found at

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