University of Richmond Library Staff Member Wins First Place Prize for Digital Mapping Project

User Support Specialist LaToya Gray's Map Explores the History of African American Displacement in Richmond, Virginia
August 4, 2020

Gray InlineUNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — LaToya Gray, user support specialist in University of Richmond’s Boatwright Memorial Library, has won first place in this year’s Educational Map Contest held by ESRI, the global market leader in geographic information systems.

Gray was honored at ESRI’s virtual International User Conference July 13-16 for her map titled, ‘Planned Destruction: A brief history on land ownership, valuation and development in the City of Richmond and the maps used to destroy black communities’.

Award-winning maps were selected for their technical innovation, visual design, and the way they challenge users to think in different ways.

Gray began developing the map while she was completing the GIS certificate program offered in UR’s School of Professional & Continuing Studies. The map builds on her research interests on the impact of urban renewal on the African American community in the City of Richmond, as well as housing, historic preservation, and local and state politics.

“I wanted to honor the people and places that were victims of redlining and discriminatory planning schemes,” said Gray. “This project truly has been a labor of love and I hope that it can begin a dialogue on the impact of urban renewal on the African American community.”

Her map will be on permanent display in ESRI’s Map Gallery, one of the most wide-ranging and comprehensive collections of GIS work in the world.