Regional GIS Advancement Scholarship Program

The NADO Research Foundation is proud to announce that Cycle Two applications for the Regional GIS Advancement Scholarship Program are due July 11, 2003.

The Regional GIS Advancement Scholarship Program is made possible with financial support from the Economic Development Administration and the Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI). Only designated economic development districts and tribal planning grantees are eligible for the program.

Twenty-one Cycle One scholarships were announced in March; an additional 49 are expected to be made to EDA district and tribal planning grantees in the second, and final, cycle of this scholarship program.

A 2000 survey of regional development organizations found that 69 percent of NADO members were using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), with another 20 percent considering the benefits of using the technology. Of those regions using GIS, a resounding 81 percent reported using it for transportation, 75 percent for land use planning and 69 percent for economic development.

The three-tiered program will serve users at all levels of the GIS spectrum. The Introductory level will help districts without GIS get started. The Intermediate package is aimed at advancing the activities of districts with existing GIS technology. The Advanced level is structured for districts that fully grasp GIS technology and are ready to integrate their GIS capacities with the Internet.

An independent selection panel will give top priority to applicants that demonstrate a serious commitment to using the technology to enhance their regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). Scholarship grantees will also be required to provide a $500 in-kind match, agree to complete the ESRI online training courses, and submit a final report explaining how the scholarship program has helped them improve their economic and community development activities.

Applications are due July 11, 2003; awards will be made by August 8, 2003. Please refer to the enclosed brochure for application and program requirements.

The program offers an exciting new opportunity for EDA district and tribal planning grantees to receive the latest ESRI software and training at minimal expense. Organizations interested in applying for a scholarship must consider the potential long-term costs for staffing, computer hardware, printers and additional training. The program is a solid investment for regions actively involved in economic development planning.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact NADO Deputy Executive Director Matt Chase at (202) 624-5947 or

Scholarship Levels

Up to 49 EDA-funded economic development districts and tribal planning grantees will receive scholarships valued at approximately $2,000 each from the NADO Research Foundation for the ESRI® GIS products specified in their applicable award level. Recipients will receive training and technical assistance from ESRI's Virtual Campus, allowing them to receive training at their desktops. Training will be at the recipients' convenience but must be completed within one year of receiving the scholarship.

Level One - Introductory

Level One is the introductory level for EDA planning grantees with limited or no GIS capacity who are in need of software, basic training, and technical assistance. Approximately 21 scholarships will be awarded and include: ArcView® 8.3: The world's most popular desktop GIS and mapping software. ArcView provides data visualization, query, analysis, and integration capabilities along with the ability to create and edit geographic data. ArcView 8.3 is the entry point to ArcGIS™, an integrated and scalable family of GIS software products.

  • ArcView Spatial Analyst extension: Surface creation, raster analysis, and grid algebra; combines the capabilities of ArcView Spatial Analyst and ArcGrid™.
  • ArcView 3D Analyst™ extension: Three-dimensional visualization and analysis; combines the capabilities of ArcView 3D Analyst and ArcTIN™.
  • ArcView StreetMap™ USA 8.3: Nationwide United States streets and geocoding for use in ArcView 8.3.
  • Four ESRI-authored technology courses through the ESRI Virtual Campus.*
  • and ArcDataSM online programs (GIS data content and services provided by the Geography NetworkSM-free and for-fee data resources and online GIS services).
  • One copy of Getting to Know ArcGIS, GIS for Everyone, ESRI's Guide to GIS Analysis, and GIS for Public Policy.

Level Two - Intermediate

Level Two is an upgrade package aimed at EDA planning grantees who are currently using GIS but not to its fullest potential. Districts with distressed communities that have the technology but are not using it to the communities' greatest benefit will be included in this group. Approximately 23 scholarships will be awarded and include:

  • Upgrade from ArcView 3.x to ArcView 8.3.
  • Upgrades for up to two ArcView 8.x extensions: The 8.3 release introduces a set of extensions that operate with the entire line of ArcGIS Desktop products (ArcView, ArcEditor™, and ArcInfo™), significantly reducing training, operating, and acquisition costs. Extensions that are eligible for upgrade are those represented in the Level One scholarship program.
  • ArcView StreetMap USA 8.3. Four ESRI-authored technology courses through the ESRI Virtual Campus.*
  • and ArcData online data content.
  • One copy of Getting to Know ArcGIS, GIS for Everyone, ESRI's Guide to GIS Analysis, and GIS for Public Policy.

Level Three - Advanced

Level Three is an advanced level and is for those districts that have fully grasped the benefits of using GIS. Recipients are expected to have GIS programs in place. Levels One and Two will not be eligible for this phase. This level is aimed at helping districts incorporate their GIS technical capacities with the World Wide Web. Approximately five scholarships will be awarded and include:

  • ArcIMS® 4: The only GIS application server software that enables users to integrate local data sources with Internet data sources for display, query, and analysis in an easy-to-use Web browser.
  • ArcView 8.3.
  • ArcView StreetMap USA 8.3.
  • Two ESRI-authored technology courses through the ESRI Virtual Campus.*
  • and ArcData online data content.
  • One copy of Getting to Know ArcGIS, GIS for Everyone, ESRI's Guide to GIS Analysis, and GIS for Public Policy.

Visit for more information.


The scholarship program is only available to EDA planning grantees including funded economic development districts or Tribal planning grantees.

Application Procedure

All applicants must submit the following information. There is no application form. Please respond to the following questions in order and by repeating the question number and text in your application to facilitate the review process. Applications should be no longer than nine pages, single-spaced.

  1. Letter of support signed by board chair, which will include a commitment of $500 in-kind contribution; agreement to submit a case study showing how software was used for final report; agreement to complete training courses; and agreement to submit a final report explaining how the scholarship has helped them as they work to develop strong community economic development programs in their regions. The letter must reference the scholarship level for which you are applying. The letter can be faxed if you do not have the capacity to include an electronic signature. Please reference on the fax cover sheet that the letter is in support of your application that has been e-mailed (two pages maximum).

  2. What level scholarship are you seeking?

  3. Organizational profile with the following details (one page maximum):
    • Organization name
    • Project contact/title
    • Organization's mapping or analysis responsibilities (50 words or less)
    • Organization's mailing address
    • Contact phone, fax, and e-mail (e-mail required)

  4. Statement explaining why your organization should be considered for the Regional GIS Advancement Scholarship Program. Include statement supporting the levels in which you think you belong (one page maximum).

  5. Description of GIS software currently used (if any) by your organization including how it is used.
  6. For Level 3 applicants: Please describe your organization's current connection to the Internet. Indicate whether you have a Web server or use an outside vendor. For Level 2 applicants: Do you have the ArcView 8.x extensions ArcView Spatial Analyst or 3D Analyst? They are needed to support the upgrades that are part of this scholarship level. (one page maximum).

  7. Provide title and a brief job description for each of the key personnel, including consultants, to be involved with the project. Also, provide information about each of the key staff members involved with the project. Must include qualifications such as education, experience, and GIS qualifications (one page maximum).

  8. Statement of assurance that your organization's hardware configuration meets the system requirements necessary for ArcView 8.3 (Level 2) or ArcIMS 4 (Level 3). System requirements can be found at and (one page maximum).

  9. Description of how you will use the new GIS technology. Explanation of perceived benefits to be derived from the implementation of the granted software (one page maximum).

  10. Description of any digital map data currently available within your region (streets, water, digital, aerial photography, etc.) (one page maximum).

Application Submission

The application deadline for Cycle Two is July 11, 2003. Applications must be received at NADO by 5 p.m. on July 11. The selection of the scholarship recipients for Cycle Two will be announced on August 8, 2003. The application must be received via e-mail as a Microsoft® Word attachment no later than 5:00 p.m. (EST) on July 11, 2003. Send e-mail applications to Applications can also be faxed to NADO at (202) 624-8813. If you do not receive notification of receipt of your application by July 16, please contact NADO at (202) 624-7806. For further information, please contact Matt Chase at (202) 624-5947 or

Selection Process

A panel of GIS technical experts and economic development professionals will select organizations for all three scholarship levels.