In 1988, the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium got its start as one of the nation's first forums to communicate and share information among the growing community of environmental and natural resource geographic information system users and data producers in Minnesota. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Land Management Information Center (LMIC), the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) and Natural Resource Research Institute (NRRI) along with other key participants, organized an ‘Executive Steering Committee’ to get the effort started.
Initially, the group was named "Minnesota Natural Resource Geographic Information Systems (NRGIS) Consortium. In 1990, the Steering Committee unanimously adopted to change the group’s name to the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium and the first state-wide conference was held. In 1992, the Consortium incorporated as a state and federally-recognized non-profit run by a Board of Directors elected by the members, thus creating the basic structure of the Consortium that still exists today.