By Don Yaeger, MnGIS/LIS News Editor, Retired from LMIC
This issue of MnGIS/LIS News marks our 50th! The first issue was released in Fall 1988 and was called the Natural Resources GIS News. It contained three pages of information (no graphics – how technology has changed!) on the establishment of the “Minnesota Natural Resources (MN-NRGIS) Consortium,” GIS at Bemidji State University, and News from LMIC, from NRRI, and from The University of Minnesota Remote Sensing Laboratory. Lucinda B. Johnson of the Natural Resources Research Institute was the first editor. Both our organization and the newsletter have greatly evolved over the years.
When I was working on the newsletter while at the Land Management Information Center, I would receive calls from other states asking how big our “paid staff” was. I pointed out that the organization was all volunteers. I said that much of the newsletter coordination was done by key staff at LMIC, the University of Minnesota and other organizations as part of their commitment to GIS coordination in the state, and that volunteers – GIS users in state, federal, local, educational, non-profit and private sector employment – wrote all of the articles. This was usually met with silence and then a comment about the unique level of cooperation within Minnesota’s GIS community.
I think that cooperative/volunteer feeling is still strong in Minnesota. The organization is still run by a volunteer board. This newsletter is useful and expansive because of volunteer contributors from all over the state.