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News Release

Nov. 27, 2018

Northwest student is first recipient of RGi $10,000 scholarship

By Kelsey Johnson, communication assistant

David Runneals

David Runneals

Northwest Missouri State University student David Runneals is the first recipient of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation’s (USGIF) new Reinventing Geospatial Inc. (RGi) Scholarship for Geospatial and Engineering.

The scholarship awards $10,000 to an undergraduate pursuing geospatial and engineering disciplines. Runneals is a senior from Nevada, Iowa, who is majoring in geographic information sciences (GIS) program with an emphasis in emergency and disaster management.

“I was super excited when I found out I was awarded the scholarship,” Runneals said. “I think this scholarship helps recognize what I have done so far in my career and helps open doors to places where I want to go in the future.”

As a Northwest student, Runneals interns with the Iowa Department of Transportation and has developed numerous GIS web applications, including the Iowa DOT Open Data Portal, which provides the public with a way to find, visualize and use data that DOT shares. He also developed the Iowa Bridge Conditions application, which provides users a way to see conditions of bridges in Iowa. Currently, Runneals is developing winter operations dashboards for Iowa DOT and public use.

“Geographic information sciences is basically the science of where,” Runneals said. “I often tell people what I do is similar to what Waze and Google Maps does, which is putting things on a map and visualizing them.”

Along with his responsibilities as a full-time Northwest student, Runneals finds time to mentor a robotics competition team (Team Neutrino) at Iowa State University. He also volunteers at FIRST Tech Challenge competitions and is an active member of the Ames Velo racing team.

As he prepares to graduate in May, Runneals says he appreciates the many doors Northwest has opened for him in the GIS field.

“Northwest is just a part of who I am today,” Runneals said. “I have made many connections through the emergency disaster management field training exercises, Missouri Hope, Atlantic Hope and the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program that I have participated in and continued to help run. These exercises have grown my passion and increased my dedication to helping others in times of need.”

After graduation, Runneals plans on continuing GIS application development and prototyping as well as furthering his knowledge in the transportation and emergency management industries. He also hopes to continue his education to enhance his knowledge of applications for big data.

Since the USGIF Scholarship Program began in 2004, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.2 million to students with aspirations in geospatial intelligence (GEOINT). Scholarship winners were selected after a highly competitive, multi-tiered review of applications by GEOINT professionals who volunteered their time as part of USGIF’s Scholarship Subcommittee.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215