Geospatial Advisory Council

Geospatial Advisory Council Governance

Geospatial Advisory Council Governance

Geospatial Advisory Council

Formerly known as the GIS Coordinating Body, the NYS Geospatial Advisory Council (GAC) was established in 1996 by the Office For Technology (OFT), the predecessor agency to ITS, as an advisory workgroup of NYS GIS stakeholders representing Federal, state, and local governments, non-profits, academics and private interests. Through its advisory role, the GAC provides guidance to the ITS, Office of the GIO on how to improve the delivery of public services, protect the public and the environment, and enhance the business climate for the benefit of the State, its municipalities, businesses and citizens, through the use of GIS technologies.   

GAC Structure

The GAC is composed of the following 23 representatives:

Elected members with voting privilege:

  • 7 Local government
  • 2 State government
  • 2 Academia
  • 2 Private sector/utilities
  • 2 Not-for-profit
  • 1 Federal
  • 1 NYS GIS Association Board Member

Ex Officio positions with voting privilege:

  • 1 NYS Geographic Information Officer (State government)
  • 1 Chair of the NYS GIS State Agency Advisory Group (State government)
  • 1 New York City Director of GIS (Local government)
  • 1 NYS GIS Association, Inc. (NYS GIS Association) Association Board Member or Officer

Ex Officio positions without voting privilege:

  • 1 Deputy GIO- GIS Program Office Director (State government)
  • 1 Deputy GIO- GIS Client Office Director (State government)

Duties and Responsibilities of GAC Members

GAC membership is voluntary and members are not compensated for their participation. GAC members should make every reasonable attempt to attend GAC meetings either in-person or virtually. GAC members should make every effort to represent the whole sector and avoid addressing GAC issues from an organizational or even personal view point. Participation in all GAC discussions is encouraged, but is independent and voluntary. All NYS employees participating on the GAC should follow the NYS code of ethics, laws and regulations and may not engage in activities that would create or appear to create a conflict with their public duties.


  1. All members serve at the invitation of the State GIO. Appointments may be rescinded by the GIO at any time. Members who miss two or more regularly scheduled meetings in a year will be subject to removal from the GAC, at the discretion of the GIO. Participation by teleconference is considered attendance.
  2. Members will be appointed to 3-year terms, commencing in January.
  3. If a term is vacated, the seat will remain open until a new person is named to the position at the next regular, annual nominating cycle. Terms lengths are person- specific, not position-specific. New appointees each begin a new 3-year term, and do not finish a term that was vacated early.
  4. Term limits: There is a limit of 2 consecutive full terms (6 years total) for each member. After serving 2 consecutive terms, former members can be reappointed to the GAC, after a hiatus of 2 years. Former members who did not complete 2 full consecutive terms may be renamed to the GAC, at any time. Term lengths and limits do not apply to Ex Officio members.

Nomination Process

1. At the September Geospatial Advisory Council meeting, a Nominating Committee will be appointed by the GAC. One member of that committee will be appointed as the Nominating Committee Chair. At this time, the GAC Chair will provide the new committee with the List of Open Positions that need to be filled. The Nominating Committee should consist of four sitting members who meet one of the following criteria:

  • Are serving in a term which is not expiring
  • Are serving the final year of a second term
  • Are eligible for re-nomination, but have asked not to be considered for a second term

The committee should be made up of representatives from specific sectors:

  • 1 state government representative
  • 1 local government representative
  • 1 academic representative
  • 1 additional representative from any sector

2. Between the September and December meetings, the Nominating Committee should perform the following duties:

a. Determine how many, if any, candidates they would like to consider filling open positions.

b. Contact eligible current members on the List of Open Positions, to determine if these individuals have interest in serving a second consecutive term.

c. Inform the Ex Officio NYS GIS Association, Inc. member of how many, if any, candidates they would like to request from the Association, as potential nominees to fill one or more of these vacancies. The request should indicate the expected obligations, specify the positions that are expiring, and identify the sectors they represent. It is up to the NYS GIS Association, Inc. Board to determine the best method for soliciting candidates from its membership. The list of candidates should be provided by no later than Oct. 15th.

d. If needed, the Nominating Committee should identify other potential candidates through whatever means they deem appropriate.

e. Assess all identified candidates. The Committee should review its own candidates and the submissions from the Association, but is not obligated to choose nominees solely from among the Association’s submissions. Considerations for nomination include the following:

  • Willingness to serve if appointed
  • Prior involvement in GIS coordination activities (Active role in GIS as a component of their job, participation in local/regional user groups, GIS workgroups, etc.)
  • Commitment of time
  • Ability to represent their sector - Nominees should be fully capable of broadly representing the sector they are chosen to represent, but need not be employed directly by that sector; The Council recognizes situations where employees of one sector deal extensively with customers in another, and may be appropriate to represent the other sector’s interests and concerns
  • Participation in GIS professional events
  • Recommended by an existing GAC member
  • Seek geographic distribution – reach into regional user groups as needed.

f. Determine the slate of candidates they would like to endorse, and acquire resumes for these nominees.

3. Two weeks prior to the December meeting, a slate of nominees should be presented to the GAC via email. Resumes should accompany submitted names.

4. Prior to the December GAC meeting, GAC members should present any opinions or concerns to the Nominating Committee Chair that they have with the proposed slate, via email.

5. At the December GAC meeting, the Nominating Committee should formally present the proposed slate for endorsement, by majority vote of the GAC. If any candidate is not approved, the Nominating Committee should discuss other alternatives for consideration, and eventual approval by the GAC.

6. After the December meeting, the GIO should officially invite the endorsed candidates to the GAC.

Election of Chair and Vice Chair

  • Both Chair and Vice Chair positions are elected by the GAC, and are 1-year terms. There is a 2 consecutive term limit.
  • A former Chair or Vice Chair can be reconsidered for the same positions after a 2-year hiatus from the position.
  • To be considered eligible for election to Chair or Vice Chair, a candidate must have served at least one year as a GAC member, and must have at least one year remaining in the current term.
  • The GIO, Deputy GIO-GIS Program Office Director, Deputy GIO-GIS Client Office Director, and NYS GIS Association, Inc. representative are not eligible for these positions.
  • The current Chair will share a slate of eligible candidates with GAC members at the December Council meeting.
  • Eligible candidates not wishing to be considered for Chair or Vice Chair position must opt out of being considered for election at the December GAC meeting.
  • After the December GAC meeting, an email with a slate of candidates will be sent to all GAC members with voting instructions. Elections will be open for two weeks. All GAC members are eligible to cast one for one vote for Chair and one vote for Vice Chair.
  • The Chair and Vice Chair will be elected by plurality (candidate with the most votes).
  • Chair and Vice-Chair will be announced via email, by January 15.

Meeting Frequency

In-person meetings (with call-in capabilities) are held quarterly. Additional in-person or conference call meetings may be called for special topics on an as-needed basis.

Meeting Decisions

Any potential action will be presented as a motion and discussed. After adequate discussion, the motion will be put to a vote by GAC members present at the meeting. A quorum of 11 members (including those calling in) is required to act upon a motion. Motions will be passed by a simple majority.