SAN DIEGO, Calif. —July 11, 2018 — Esri, the global leader in spatial analytics, presented Texas A&M Forest Servicewith Esri's Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award on July 11 at the annual Esri User Conference. Selected from over 300,000 eligible candidates, Texas A&M Forest Servicereceived the award for its innovative application of mapping, data analytics, and thought leadership in the field of Urban Forestry.

    The SAG Awards are meant to show appreciation for organizations that are using GIS to solve some of the world's toughest challenges. Through The Science of Where—the technology of GIS combined with the science of geography—the users honored with these awards are demonstrating the most groundbreaking and transformative possibilities of GIS software.  

    "Esri User Conference is a great forum for our users to come together and share the amazing ways they are implementing GIS technology," said Jack Dangermond, Esri founder and president. "The organizations recognized here are creating maps and using spatial analytics to make a difference in the world. We are honored to present these awards."

    The Urban Forest Strike Team performs assessments on storm-damaged trees to identify those that pose a risk to people and property on publically managed land after a storm or natural disaster. Texas A&M Forest Service deployed a strike team to coastal communities following the landfall of Category 4 Hurricane Harvey in August 2017.

    During fieldwork, the strike team recorded storm-damaged trees using Collector for ArcGIS. Offline data collection was performed in areas without cell service and the team developed a dynamic dashboard for real-time data tracking.  

    Putting the collected data on tree loss into action, Texas A&M Forest Service is now coordinating with the Arbor Day Foundation and other organizations to begin tree adoptions and plantings for communities in the hurricane’s path. The recovery effort will consist of thousands of trees over 3 to 5 years.

    The Texas A&M Forest Service Urban Forest Strike Team was one of over 180 organizations in areas such as commercial industry, defense, transportation, nonprofit work, telecommunications and government to receive a SAG Award. Esri staff annually nominate hundreds of candidates from around the world for consideration and Dangermond selects the finalists.

    For more information on how the Texas A&M Forest Service Urban Forest Strike Team is changing the world through The Science of Where, visit

    Texas A&M Forest Service UFST Development Team

    Paul Johnson - Urban & Community Forestry Program Leader

    Gretchen Riley - Urban & Community Forestry Partnership Coordinator

    Shruthi Srinivasan - Geospatial Analyst

    Mickey Merritt, Mike Sills, Matt Weaver, Brad Hamel, Monica Singhania, Courtney Blevins, Mark Kroeze, Bill Green - Staff Foresters

    John Warner - District Forester

    Dudley Hartel - Science Delivery/Technology Coordinator, US Forest Service


    About Texas A&M Forest Service Urban Forest Strike Team

    Urban Forest Strike Team is a team of trained personnel deployed to perform rapid tree risk assessments to identify storm-damaged trees that pose a risk to people and property on publically managed land, and to document trees that meet FEMA debris management criteria (FEMA Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide) for Public Assistance reimbursement.

    UFST Video:


    About Esri

    Esri, the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, offers the most powerful mapping and spatial analytics technology available. Since 1969, Esri has helped customers unlock the full potential of data to improve operational and business results. Today, Esri software is deployed in more than 350,000 organizations including the world's largest cities, most national governments, 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. Esri engineers the most advanced solutions for digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and location analytics to inform the most authoritative maps in the world. Visit us at

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    Texas A&M Forest Service Communications 979-450-1160