I co-founded the Community and Environment Spatial Analysis Center (CommEnSpace) with Chris Davis when we finished out masters degrees in geography at the University of Washington. Zach Ferdana of People for Puget Sound was talking to us an expressed concern that pro-environment and community development organizations in the Pacific Northwest lacked adequate resources to fully leverage GIS for their initiatives.  We decided that offering GIS services aimed at meeting this need a good challenge for our recently acquired skills and knowledge. The thing we didn't count on was how well they worked and how much fun it was to get paid as we learned what people really wanted GIS to do for them.

CommEn Space - Services
Why does CommEnSpace exist?

    Since the mid 1980's, geographic information systems have emerged as an important resource and aid for community planning, resource management and ecological conservation. Despite increased accessibility through falling computer prices and improved software interfaces, management and use of GIS still remains a highly technical activity requiring powerful computing equipment and personnel with advanced training.  Many environmental organizations are in a position to make effective use of GIS, but lack the resources and technical proficiency to initiate their own system. 

    Though several organizations have emerged to meet the demand for GIS services in the non-profit community at a national level, none exists to serve the needs of this region's non governmental organizations concentrated in western Washington. This resource center exists to ensure that high quality effective analysis of spatial data and mapping resources are as available to the region's activist community as they are to industry and government interests. 

    CommEnSpace is a resource organization providing the Pacific Northwest's non-profit environmental action organizations with access to geographic information systems support and services for problem solving, analysis and decision making that address environmental concerns such as growth management, livable cities, green space creation and wild lands preservation.


The activities of CommEnSpace are focused on four key services. We:

    consult with partners to identify and provide best uses of spatial analysis, maps and other forms of visualization for better understanding, support and  communication of their mission.

    involve partners in the production of maps and the maintenance of spatial data relevant to their mission and objectives.

    serve as a clearinghouse on data development and management, creating an efficient vehicle for cost sharing and project collaboration among groups.

    provide access to hardware resources (computers, storage, plotter, GPS) and software tools, both commercial and custom built, to support startup and ongoing GIS work.

The Community & Environment Spatial Analysis Center

Eugene Martin - Principal

Eugene Martin is a founding member of CommEnSpace.  He holds a BS in Forest Biology from the University of Vermont's School of Natural Resources (1989) and served three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador (1990-1993). Recently, Eugene earned a MA from the University of Washington's Department of Geography.  His research and action interests include analysis and management of natural resources using GIS, reciprocal interactions between GIS and society and effective teaching methods for GIS.

Eugene's strengths in GIS technology and analysis methods enable CommEnSpace to bridge the gap between emerging technology and local environmental concerns.  His research and field work on the social and organizational implications of GIS contributes a holistic perspective for the development of successful information products. Topics of special interest to Eugene are biodiversity, protected areas and ecosystem management.