The Center for Spatial Information at Central Washington University was the site of the RGIS - Pacific Northwest Regional Office for the National Consortium for Rural Geospatial Innovations in America (RGIS). The National Consortium for Rural Geospatial Innovations (RGIS) assists state, tribal, regional and local governments, and non- and for-profit organizations in implementing advanced geospatial information technologies.
Just as the Rural Electrification Authority brought electricity to much of under-served rural America in the early 20th century, RGIS' goal is to bring geospatial technologies and the benefits of the information age to rural America, where land is fundamental to resource-dependent economies and ways of life. Today, local units of government are building key components of the information-technology infrastructure, much as the infrastructure for electrification was built by local electric cooperatives. RGIS' role is similar to organizations such as Cooperative Extension and Underwriters Laboratories, which helped rural America understand how to use electricity effectively and safety. RGIS can help those in rural areas to implement and apply geospatial technologies to the many land use, resource protection, and economic development decisions involved in creating sustainable rural communities.
Mission of RGIS
The mission of RGIS is to eliminate the digital divide facing rural America by promoting the transfer of geospatial technologies to under-served rural areas by:
- Providing geospatial tools, technologies, and training to empower local governments, organizations, and citizens to understand and participate in decisions that affect their environment, economy, and quality of life
- Educating and training a cadre of people to apply geospatial technologies to rural issues
- Supporting the development of appropriate local land information systems, as well as linkage to and cooperation with regional, state, and national land information systems