News Release: Peirce Eichelberger Receives URISA’s Horwood Distinguished Service Award

October 24, 2008 (PARK RIDGE, IL) – Peirce Eichelberger, with a long and distinguished record of leadership and contributions to URISA and the GIS community, was the recent recipient of URISA’s prestigious Horwood Peirce EichelbergerDistinguished Service Award during the association’s 46th Annual Conference in New Orleans. This award is URISA’s ultimate award for service and leadership to URISA and the geospatial industry.

The Horwood Distinguished Service Award is named after founding member and first URISA President, Edgar Horwood. Horwood was an early pioneer in the field of information systems for local government and admired by all for his intellectual and organizational contributions to URISA. Horwood was the Chair of the constitutional drafting committee, giving URISA the “open membership” model that has led to URISA’s inter-disciplinary organization

This year marks Peirce Eichelberger’s 34th anniversary working with GIS and other advanced technologies in local government.  He is a Past URISA President (2001-2002), has served on the URISA Board of Directors for two terms, and has presented thirteen different URISA workshops over 25 years.  He has presented many papers at URISA conferences, several of which have been instrumental in URISA’s continuing growth and direction. 

His 1993 paper, “The Importance of Addresses--The Locus of GIS” helped launch the very successful Street Smart and Address Savvy conferences, the first of which was presented in San Antonio in 1999. This annual specialty conference, now presented in partnership with the National Emergency Number Association, is still going strong.  This initiative also led to URISA’s most frequently requested workshop, “Address Issues and IS/GIS Implementation” presented over 100 times. 

A 1994 paper, “101 Things That GIS Does Better Than CAMA” at the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) Conference in Seattle, helped launch the very successful Integrating GIS & CAMA Conference, presented with IAAO and now in its 13th year. 

He is currently the GIS Manager with Chester County, PA (since 1998).  Significant accomplishments of Chester’s GIS program are: integration with 911 addressing requirements, front-end land record integration with Recorder of Deeds, and a very popular GIS Consortium launched in 2001. 

With an undergraduate degree in Geography from the University of Florida, he completed his graduate degree at the University of Cincinnati (MA in Geography 1974).  After graduate school he began work with the City of Miami (FL) Planning Department and also attended his first URISA conference in Atlanta (1976).  He has attended every URISA conference since! 

Peirce was a Senior Systems Consultant with HDR Systems in Omaha, NE from 1980-1986 where he worked with many North American Cities and Counties.  One of his design clients was Orlando/Orange County, Florida where he became the Project Coordinator for one of the largest multi-participant GIS programs in North America (1986-1993).  In 1993 he joined the UNISYS Corporation as a GIS Executive Consultant.  In 1995 he formed his own consulting practice, geographic Data Base Management Systems, in order to assist clients in using advanced technologies, like GIS, much more successfully. 

His projects have won several awards: “GIS as a Revenue Generation Tool,” (NACO 1991), “GIS Supports the EOC,” (NACO 2003) and URISA’s prestigious ESIG Award for “Chester County Land Record’s Modernization,” (2002).  Chester County received a Special Achievement in GIS award from ESRI in 2004.  This year (2008) Chester County again achieved NACO recognition for its “Historic Resource Atlas Project.” Peirce has published many articles and has been an invited speaker at many international, national and regional events.

The Horwood Award is further recognition of his contributions and stature in the geospatial community.


Horwood Distinguished Service Award History:

1975 Edgar Horwood

1979 Will Steger

1980 Bob Aageenbrug

1985 Barry Wellar, GISP

1988 Jack Dangermond

1991 David Moyer

1993 William Craig, GISP

1994 Constance Blackmon

1995 William DeGroff

1996 Ben Niemann

1997 Ken Dueker

1999 William Huxhold

2001 Ed Crane

2002 Mike Kevany

2004 Don Cooke

2005 Lyna Wiggins

2006 Peter Croswell, GISP

2007 Nancy von Meyer, GISP




Wendy Nelson

Executive Director

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Eric D. Colburn, PLS, "The Geo-Business Innovator", helps geo-professionals improve through innovative solutions, mastery of marketing and business growth strategies, and coaching/training. Eric is a successful, serial entrepreneur, podcaster, industry writer, product development consultant, and RI licensed professional land surveyor.

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