Bill Thoen


1401 Walnut St., Suite C

Boulder, Colorado  80302



Bill Thoen is president of GISnet, a consulting business in Boulder, Colorado specializing in assisting public and private agencies and businesses to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to improve their response to communities, markets and their physical environment.  For the last ten years he has been involved in many wide-ranging projects including custom mapping applications to manage national energy and alternative fuels markets, creating software to map microwave transmission tower arrays, pollution plumes, geology and environmental hazard potential, site selection for health care providers, census redistricting for the State of Colorado, and many more. Recent and current projects include developing response time maps for ambulance service and fire departments, building custom mapping software for forest management and software to incorporate real‑time uses of satellite location systems (GPS) such as fleet tracking, precision agriculture, and skier tracking at the Vail ski resort.


In addition to consulting and teaching, Bill also writes for various GIS publications. Since early 1994 he has been writing the GIS Online column for GEO World (formerly GIS World), and has authored several feature articles not only in GEO World, but also in Business Geographics, Geotimes, and Geobyte. He is the author of Online Resources for Earth Scientists, the first such guide for the earth sciences published over the Internet in 1990 and later printed in “The Internet Compendium”.


Boston University, Boston, MA. Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geology with a minor in Geography, Jan. 1980.

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. One year course work in College of Engineering, 1973-1974.

Employment History:

10/91-Present - GISnet, 1401 Walnut St., suite C, Boulder, Colorado. Owner and founder of consulting business that provides software and implementation of desktop GIS systems, software and data. Special services include custom programming and map data conversion. Other services involve sales and support of MapInfo Desktop Mapping software.

5/89-10/91 - Geotech Computer Systems, Inc., Englewood, Colorado. Manager of Software Development - Duties include development of several commercial products in the database and graphics area, as well as consulting for a variety of clients in the same areas. Other duties were system integration and custom programming. Developed extensive experience in management of commercial software development projects, and was the principal author of Trans, X-Y Converter, X-Y Converter Plus, Well DataMaster, and Petro Spase. Developed course and training programs for geologists using AutoCAD and CPS/PC.

9/88-5/89 - United States Geological Survey, Denver, Colorado. Computer Services Geologist - Responsible for programming and project management in the area of geological databases and mapping. 

10/85-9/88 - GEObase, Denver, Colorado. Owner and founder - Consulting and Software Research and Development Co. Performed consulting part-time specializing in geo-science computer software, database design, development, and spatial data mapping and analysis.

9/86-9/88 - AM COR Engineers, Pueblo, Colorado. Geologist - Served as a computer specialist participating in the investigation of potential uranium sources under contract for the US Geological Survey. Responsible for collecting and performing statistical analyses on all computerized data reported by analytical laboratories used to aid the project investigations.

9/82-10/85 - RPI, Inc. Boulder, Colorado. Manager of Computer Services. Supervised all phases of development and growth of the computer department form its beginning. Managed growth of the  computer department from the first year of only a single programmer with an Apple II to a staff of six working with a VAX 11/750  and  WANG LVP minicomputer systems, a UNIX Wicat workstation, Tektronics workstations and several PC's. Designed and managed development of specialized in-house software to handle oil and gas and geologic data, and provided the original design of the RPI DISC data format.

Community Activities:

1994 - present;  Established and maintains the world-wide Internet discussion group and shareware files archive for MapInfo (a commercial desktop mapping system) at This has grown to over 1200 members and is free to the public, but supported through corporate and individual donations.

Technical Experience:

Experienced in the following general programming languages and operating systems: Visual Basic, C, FORTRAN, Assembler, Microsoft Windows, VAX/VMS, SGI UNIX.

Expert in MapInfo, MapBasic, and experienced with MapX, ESRI ArcView and Avenue script language.

Familiar with spatial data formats including USGS DLG, DEM, SDTS, Census Bureau's TIGER, MapInfo MIF, ESRI Shape, AutoCAD dxf, Ordnance Survey's NTF, Defense Dept. VPF and DTED and more.

International Experience

March, 1991            Traveled to Muzaffarabad in Kashmir, Pakistan under a UNDP program to install computer equipment and software and to teach computer mapping techniques to mineral exploration geologists. This three-week training course in AutoCAD and CPS/PC was given to approximately 15 geologists.



(1995) Online Resources for Earth Scientists (ORES) published in The Internet Compendium by Louis Rosenfeld, Joseph Janes, and Martha Vander Kolk.


(Mar 1998) Mapping on a Budget—Users Get More Functionality for Less, feature article in GIS World, Vol 11, No. 3.

(Aug 1997) Online Power, cover feature article in Business Geographics, Vol 5 No. 8

(May 1997) Internet Data is the Gain Worth the Pain?, feature article in MapWorld Magazine, Vol 2 No. 2

(May 1997) The Online Gambit—Savvy Job Seekers Tap the Internet, feature article in GIS World, Vol. 10 No. 5.

(Dec 1996) Explore the Third Dimension—A Comparative Review of Contouring Products for Windows 95, feature article in GIS World, Vol 9 No. 12

(Aug 1995) Netspeak: What is a URL?, in InfoTech Report, Vol 12 No 8.

(Jul 1995) Internet resources for the geosciences, with an emphasis on GIS and mapping, in Computers & Geosciences, Vol 21, No. 6.

(Spring 1995) MapInfo 3.0 for Windows, GIS product review in URISA, the Journal of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, Vol 7, No 1.

(1994-Present) GIS Online,  GIS World Magazine, Ft. Collins, Colorado. Bi-monthly column on issues related to GIS and the Internet

(Jun 1994) Demographic Define Online GIS Community, feature article in GIS World, Vol 7 No. 6.

(Feb 1994) Access the Electronic Highway for a World of Data, feature article in GIS World, Vol. 7 No. 2

(1993), Internet Resources for Earth Scientists, Usenet newsgroup comp.infosystems.gis; Available via anonymous FTP from as COGS/ and various gopher services

Rich, D. W. and B. Thoen, (1992a), Geologic Computing; Geotimes, February, 1992, pp 18-19; Annual review article on computers in the earth sciences.

Rich, D. W. and B. Thoen, (1992b), Base Map Data: Types,  Sources and Examples; Geobyte, v7 #3, June, 1992, pp 24-29; Description of sources of base map data at a variety of scales, including DLG, TIGER and GNIS.