Mike Sharp Named as First State Geographic Information Coordinator

Dr. Mike Sharp of Edmond has been named as the first State Geographic Information Coordinator. Sharp has worked for the Oklahoma Conservation Commission for more than 20 years and has been a state employee for more than 30 years.

Mike Sharp

The state Legislature created the Office of Geographic Information within the Oklahoma Conservation Commission (OCC) in 2004 and gave OCC’s executive director authority, in consultation with the State Geographic Information Council, to appoint a State Geographic Information Coordinator to manage the office. The purpose of the office is to provide staff support and technical assistance to the Geographic Information Council and to coordinate geographic information-related activities for the state.  Additionally, the office is to provide geographic information services to agencies and to develop and maintain geographic information standards to be approved by the council as well as address other geographic information needs and issues.

However, neither the law that created the office nor any subsequent legislation provided any funding to operate the office or pay the salary of the coordinator. Sharp took on the role of acting State Geographic Information coordinator in addition to his dual roles as director of OCC’s Information Technology division and assistant director of the agency’s Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program.

House Bill 1086, passed in the 2011 session of the state Legislature, established the Oklahoma State Government Geographic Information One-Stop Initiative. The law instructed the State Geographic Information Coordinator to set procedures for agencies to submit geographic data, or “geodata,” for publication and to develop and maintain an online web presence to allow the public access to geodata. In light of that directive, OCC Executive Director Mike Thralls met with the State Geographic Council stating that he believed it would be appropriate to appoint Sharp officially in the position rather than as acting coordinator. The council concurred and the appointment was made official at council’s meeting on Jan. 6. Geodata is presently available from the state’s geographic information clearinghouse, OKMaps, at

Sharp came to work for OCC in 1991 as assistant director of the agency’s Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program. When OCC realigned its agency structure in 2000, Sharp took on the additional role as director of the newly-created Information Technology division. Previous to joining OCC Sharp served as Secretary to the Commissioners of the Land Office from 1987 to 1991. He ran a full time farming operation in Nowata County from 1980 to 1987 during which time he served on the Nowata County Conservation District board from 1984 to 1987 and was president of the Nowata County Farm Bureau during the same four years. He served as Area III director for the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts in 1986 and 1987. He was a member of the first Ag Leadership Class 1982-1984.

Sharp holds a B.S. degree in Animal Science and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Animal Nutrition both from Oklahoma State University. He served as a Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant at OSU 1971-1977 and served as a Research Associate at the University of California at Davis 1977-1979 and at OSU 1979-1980.