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WIU GIS Students, Center Director Receive Statewide Awards

August 27, 2020

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MACOMB, IL – Two Western Illinois University students from the Geographic Information System (GIS) Center will be honored in October with the Illinois GIS Association (ILGISA) Outstanding Student Award.

Senior GIS majors Zach Healy, of Dixon, IL, and Clint Quigley, of Glasford, IL, will be given two of five outstanding student awards presented statewide. The awards will be given during the ILGISA's virtual annual conference Oct. 5-6.

GIS Center Director Chad Sperry, the current ILGISA president, also serves on the Next Gen 911 Committee, which will receive a service award at the same conference.

Sperry nominated Healy and Quigley for their awards for the work they have done on campus and in the WIU and Macomb communities.

Healy is a member of the Student Society of Geography and Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Western. He has spent time volunteering with street cleanups and has served as the philanthropy chair for the St. Jude organization.

"Zach has been involved in a multi-criteria site, selection-based GIS project that planned a location for a consolidated high school - drive time analysis along with LIDAR processing, which resulted in a final site for the proposed school," said Sperry. "He is working in the WIU GIS Center providing assistance with Next Gen 911 projects for many counties in Illinois. He also has experience collecting GPS data for a tree inventory in Macomb. He has also used GPS to map agricultural drainage lines and load the data into ArcMap."

Healy said he is grateful to be named one of the five winners of the statewide award.

"I have learned so much at WIU from my professors and the staff at the GIS Center," he said. "It has helped me excel at my major."

Quigley is an active participant in Gamer's Guild, and was also an active participant in the Feminist Action Alliance, serving as its treasurer. He has worked at the GIS Center for about 18 months.

"In that time, he has focused on quality checking Next Generation 911 data for different counties in Illinois," said Sperry. "For this process, he helped develop a workflow called the 'fishbone process.' This involves geocoding address points and comparing that to an actual location of a house. This process is used for QA/QC on the GIS data."

Quigley said he sees the award has a great honor.

"I have loved the GIS work I've done so far, and there is so much more to come," he said.

For more information on the GIS Center at WIU, visit

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