West Virginia honors innovations

A mobile technology unit to help people with disabilities, an around-the-clock tourism information system and a mineral land-mapping application were among 13 technology innovations recognized recently by West Virginia's government.

The fourth annual Governor's Information Technology Awards, announced May 16, recognized technology projects developed by state employees. Honorees received a plaque and $1,000. The winning projects, developed individually or in teams, were chosen out of 30 nominations.

Liza Cordeiro, spokeswoman for the Governor's Office of Technology (www.wvgot.org), said the projects are selected based on a variety of criteria, but basically must demonstrate cost-savings to government and tax payers and/or be helpful to state residents.

Since the program started, nominations have increased significantly every year, Cordeiro said, noting that giving award money is unusual. Five of the state winners have been nominated for national technology awards being judged by the National Association for State Chief Information Officers.

The West Virginia project winners include the following (a complete list is available at www.wvgot.org/ITwinners.htm):

    * The Department of Transportation modified a statewide computer system to process a new graduated driving license program for teens.

    * The Department of Tax and Revenue installed a new geographic information system to more accurately and equitably appraise coal properties for tax purposes.

    * The Division of Tourism created an information system to provide tourists with personalized responses on events, activities, lodging, dining and shopping in a central database.

    * The Department of Education and the Arts developed a mobile rehabilitation technology unit to help people with disabilities.

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