MN DNR’s Aggregate Resources Mapping Program Launches Internet MapServer By Kevin Hanson, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
In May 2007, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Aggregate Resource Mapping Program launched its first web-based mapping application, "Aggregate Mapper", to allow GIS and non-GIS users interactive access to the program’s maps and associated spatial and tabular data.
Established by the Minnesota Legislature (MN Statute 84.94), the Aggregate Resource Mapping Program delineates the location and quality of construction aggregate resources (sand and gravel and crushed stone) to provide information to counties for comprehensive planning and zoning purposes. Priority has been given to areas where urbanization or other land use factors may threaten the long-term protection and use of aggregate resources. Our users include county staff and elected officials, landowners and citizens, the construction industry, and environmental groups.
Data Delivery Methods
Delivering aggregate spatial data is a challenge since the audience of users is a mosaic of different technological experience, technological hardware, and licenses to GIS software. To give access to all users regardless of whether they have a computer, Internet connection, or access to GIS software, the program’s homepage (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/aggregate_maps/index.html) provides three methods of access to published aggregate data and maps on a county-by-county basis:
Downloading from Webpage: Users can download project zip files of spatial and tabular data (ESRI shapefiles) and of the associated maps (PDFs) for the following counties: Benton, Blue Earth, Clay, Dodge, Isanti, Le Sueur, Meeker, Nicollet, Renville and Wright.
Snail Mail: The program will print, fold, and mail maps free of charge and send out CDs of digital data for the counties listed above.
Internet MapServer: Aggregate Mapper allows users to display and interact with aggregate spatial data online for Meeker, Le Sueur, and Renville counties.
Like other web mapping applications, Aggregate Mapper allows users with little to no GIS experience the ability to work with GIS data. The site can display spatial and tabular aggregate resource data such as aggregate potential, field observations, and gravel pits. This information can be overlayed on a variety of reference information from WMS sources like 1:24,000-scale DRGs (digital topographic maps), 1991 black-and-white air photos, and 2003 Farm Service Agency color air photos.
Note that the viewer will not display aggregate resource data if the user zooms in closer than 1:24,000-scale. This reflects the mapping scale of the data: 1:50,000 for sand and gravel resources and 1:100,000 for bedrock deposits. The site provides further terms, conditions, and guidance for using the data.
Aggregate Mapper was developed by Tony Beyer at the DNR, with assistance from DNR staff Heather Arends, Kevin Hanson, Renee Johnson, and Steve Lime. The site utilizes MapServer open source technology (http://mapserver.gis.umn.edu/), developed by the University of Minnesota in conjunction with NASA and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
In 2008, the Aggregate Resources Mapping Program plans to add more counties to Aggregate Mapper, including other completed counties (Benton, Blue Earth, Clay, Dodge and Nicollet), and two counties that are currently being mapped (Mille Lacs and Olmsted). A future goal is to integrate photographs of significant aggregate-related features (e.g., eskers, sand and gravel exposures, bedrock outcrops) that will appear in a pop-up window when the user clicks on selected field observations.
If you have any questions regarding the Aggregate Resources Mapping Program or Aggregate Mapper you may call Heather Arends, Industrial Minerals Geologist, at 651-259-5376 or email AggregateMap@dnr.state.mn.us