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



Saint Mary's University of Minnesota MSGIS Program Update

Learner News

Kurt Swendson: Conversion of ArcView Customized Tools to Utilize Current Technologies

Kurt Swendson of the Twin Cities program is involved with an analytical, programming-based graduate research project, working on new ways to convert customized Avenue software tools into other more useful programming languages. This process is important since many GIS departments in organizations throughout the world have developed tools that have been coded with Avenue. Avenue and ArcView 3.x software will soon be unsupported by ESRI. ESRI has moved on to new versions of their software (i.e., ArcGIS); as a result, new software programming and coding are not backward-compatible with Avenue.

Kurt plans on using skills learned in his education at Saint Mary’s University and skills learned through his work experience as a programmer to convert Avenue code using different languages such as Microsoft Visual Basic, Microsoft Visual C++, Java, Python, and Visual Basic.NET. Kurt will summarize each type of code and will reference how long each coded project took to develop, how quickly and efficiently the tool runs using each language, and how well the tool may be supported and maintained. Kurt hopes that GIS organizations may use his research to help them decide how they would want to upgrade their tools.

Todd Breiby: Assessment of Soil Erosion Risk within the Zumbro River Subwatershed Using GIS and RUSLE and Comparative Analysis of the Use of STATSGO and SSURGO

Todd Breiby of the Winona program is determining the benefits of using GIS to assess soil erosion using several databases of STATSGO and SSURGO as part of his graduate research. Todd’s research is important as soil erosion and sedimentation play a significant role in impairing water resources within subwatersheds, watersheds, and basins. Furthermore, conventional methods to assess soil erosion risk are expensive and time-consuming.

Todd’s project is focused within the Zumbro River subwatershed in southeastern Minnesota and is rooted in using GIS and the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE). Soil, land use, digital elevation, flow accumulation and climatic data will be used to generate RUSLE factor values. He will compare soil loss estimates and spatial distribution of erosion potential from the RUSLE model using STATSGO soil data and from the RUSLE model using SSURGO soil data. Todd believes that there are moderate differences between STATSGO and SSURGO in soil erosion risk output and spatial distribution within areas of the subwatershed. Todd hopes that his findings will help assist soil and water conservation efforts to be more accurate and efficient in conservation planning.

Fall Course Offerings

The following courses are scheduled for Fall Semester 2006 in Minneapolis:

RA554 GIS Analysis (3 cr)
RA660 Introduction to ArcGIS 9.x (1 cr)
RA560 Introduction to ArcView 3.x (1 cr)
RA570 Advanced GIS (3 cr)
RA562 Advanced ArcView (3 cr)
RA GIS Distance Learning Courses per degree requirements
GM/PRM (General Management/Project Management) courses per degree requirements

In Winona, Fall Semester 2006 courses include:

RA554 GIS Analysis (3 cr)
RA660 Introduction to ArcGIS 9.x (1 cr)
RA560 Introduction to ArcView 3.x (1 cr)
RA645 Project Management (2 cr)
RA536 Communication Strategies/Grantwriting (3 cr)
RA556 Spatial Data Methodology (2 cr)
RA559 Imagery (3cr)
RA Directed Studies – Explorations (1 cr)
RA Track concentration courses per degree requirements
RA GIS Distance Learning Courses per degree requirements

Contact Information

For more information on either the Master of Science in Geographic Information Science (MSGIS) degree or the University accredited GIS Certification, please visit our website at or contact John Ebert, Assistant Program Director at or at 507-457-6961.