Spring 2008

The Newsletter of the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium

Table of Contents

MN GIS/LIS Consortium

From the Chair
Conference Planning
Award Nominations Open

GIS Drive to Excellence
GIS Pandemic Needs
GeoService Finder
Red River LIDAR
Groundwater Webmap
08 Photo Update
Improving Structures Data

Governor's Council
Strategic Planning Directions
Award Nominations Open
Meeting Webcasts

OpenSource Group

Input for State Planning
Goodhue User Group

Census Atlas
Census PSAP
NGAC Named
USGS Research Agenda
Sunspots Impact GPS
GPS with Maps
Geology Map
Soil Viewer Update
Recycle Cell Phones

Higher Education
Dangermond to Speak
UofM Career Day
GIS Primer

Borchert Remembered
Two Minnesotans on NGAC
Jay Bell
Bob McMaster

Other Places
Free GPS Visualizer
Global Incident Map
Russian GPS Update


Analysis of GIS Needs for Pandemic and Avian Flu Preparedness
By John Hoshal, Land Management Information Center

Many health experts agree that avian and pandemic influenza pose significant, potential threats to human health and the world economy. Avian (H5N1) is of particular concern to Minnesota officials because of the state’s proximity to the migratory paths of wild birds in North America and the large number of poultry production facilities in the state. While it is not yet possible to predict when, where or if another pandemic will occur, GIS technology has an important role to play as a means to manage, analyze, visualize, track, and share flu outbreak information.

In cooperation with the Department of Public Safety’s Homeland and Emergency Management Division (HSEM), the Land Management Information Center (LMIC) and consultant Scientific Technologies Corporation (STC) recently completed a study of state agency pandemic and avian flu outbreak responsibilities that focused on their existing capacities and use of GIS support. The final report, Minnesota GIS Pandemic Needs Analysis, is available at: 

To answer the question, "Are Minnesota state agencies able to make effective use of GIS in planning for and management of a pandemic?", STC systematically analyzed information provided by 75 key representatives from agencies listed in the Minnesota Emergency Operations Plan - Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Pandemic Influenza Supplement and carefully reviewed more than 33 relevant documents provided by these organizations.

Significant Findings
Contrasting their findings with capabilities in peer constituencies and federal agencies, STC concluded that, "While there is a sound GIS community throughout Minnesota government, the benefits of GIS as an enterprise tool for information consolidation and advanced analytical capabilities have not been fully realized."

STC identified several significant issues relative to the current application of GIS to pandemic response activities of state agencies, most notably the lack of adequate GIS infrastructure and poor information sharing within and between agencies. STC recommended assigning a "champion" to drive and coordinate GIS integration into pandemic and avian flu response processes. These and other issues and recommendations are acknowledged in the report’s Executive Summary and discussed in greater detail in Sections 3 and 4. The report’s appendices contain extensive documentation of the study, including executive orders, document and contact lists, interview transcriptions, and an inventory of relevant GIS data.

More Information
LMIC, HSEM and the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Geographic Information – Emergency Preparedness Committee will be working with key state agencies to implement STC’s recommendations. STC’s recommendations will also help guide the application of GIS technology among state agencies for all hazards planning, response and mitigation.

Please send comments, questions, or updated information to John Hoshal at or 651-201-2482.

For additional information, please see: