FALL 2006

The Newsletter of the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium

Table of Contents

MN GIS/LIS Consortium
2006 Conference
From the Chair
Lifetime Award
Polaris Awards
Scholarship Winners
Scholarship Competition
Scholarship Fundraising
North Workshop
South Workshop

Air Photo, Elevation Inventory
LIDAR Update
50 States Grant
NorthStar Mapper
HydroClim Minnesota

Governor's Council
Annual Report
FY07 Appointments
Governor's Commendations
Grand Rapids Presentations

Forum Results

Olmsted Uses Air Photos
FGDC Funds Web Mapping

Pine County LIDAR, Soils
Soil Data Viewer Update
2007 CAP Grants
USGS Reorganization

Higher Education
Evacuation Management Tool
Land Change Research
St. Mary's Update

K-12 Education
GEOFEST, Training

Mapping Child Care

Other Places
Dynamic Earth Map



Land Change and Decision Making Research


Dr. Steven M. Manson, assistant professor of geography at the University of Minnesota, received a $359,236 grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for research entitled, “North American Land Change: Integrated Research and Education on Decision Making in Coupled Human-Environment Systems.” The three-year project has both a research and an outreach component (see below). The grant was awarded under the New Investigator Program in Earth-Sun System Science, which supports outstanding junior faculty who conduct research in Earth system science and associated activities in education, science communication, and interdisciplinary endeavors.


This research advances understanding of decision making in coupled human-environment systems by explaining the patterns, processes, and impacts of two critical forms of land change: urbanization and deforestation. It addresses NASA goals to understand human-induced environmental changes, determine the impacts of land change on human societies and ecosystems, and advance our understanding of the Earth through space-based observation. The proposed research centers on the continued development of a multiscalar, dynamic, and spatially-explicit computer model of the interactions among individuals, social structures, and environmental systems that define deforestation in the Southern Yucatan of Mexico and urbanization in the Twin Cities of the United States. This effort combines remotely sensed data with in-depth interviews, field research, and myriad spatial socioeconomic and environmental data sets. Integrating data and modeling allows the proposed research to test competing conceptions of individual rationality, examine the role of social and environmental dynamics in land change, and determine the relative merits of the ASTER, MODIS, and TM/ETM+ remote sensing platforms for use in modeling the patterns, processes, and impacts of land change.


This project also has local outreach activities and will create elements of a K-16 curriculum of human-environment research, geographic information science, and remote sensing. These activities include a new university course and K-12 classes offered in collaboration with local educators. These programs train scientists to study earth systems science and enhance K-12 and university teaching of environmental sciences, geographic information science, and remote sensing. The proposed education programs also focus on diversifying the workforce by supporting participation of underrepresented groups in K-12 and university education. Outreach activities focus on collaborating with, and providing training for, several local stakeholder organizations in using HELIA and related geospatial technologies to assess social and environment impacts of alternative land-change scenarios. Additional activities focus on communicating to the public the importance of remote sensing and geographic information science for understanding human-environment relationships.




For more information, see Steve Manson’s webpage at