Fall 2008

The Newsletter of the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium

Table of Contents

MN GIS/LIS Consortium

2008 Conference
From the Chair

Intro to Scholarship Winners
Polaris Winners

Drive to Excellence
More Photos Online

Governor's Council
FY09 Appointments
Annual Report
Commendation Winners
Rochester Meeting

MetroGIS Geocoder

Hugo Tornado Response
New Brighton Housing

Higher Education
Chimp Behavior

Rep. Walz Honored
In Memorium: Phil Kelley

Other Places
NSGIC Addressing White Paper
Online Addressing Seminar
GIS Associations Unite



Address White Paper Released
By Will Craig, University of Minnesota

Addressing Coordination Issues is the National States Geographic Information Council’s latest guide to coordinating local government data. It presents a high-level vision of how states, counties, and municipalities can work together to create a statewide database of addresses, complete with geographic coordinates. The document also describes appropriate roles for the private sector and desired roles for federal agencies. The white paper vision is available as a 4-page colorful document at the NSGIC website.

Good addresses can save lives and help government do its work better, but the current system is fractured and not up to the task of helping one locale or level of government to work with another. The result is delayed emergency response, wasted taxpayer money, and delayed mail. States are frustrated as they try to participate in the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax agreement because they cannot determine the appropriate tax rates to charge Internet and mail order buyers (see

NSGIC has documented Best Practices of state and local governments who have developed exemplary systems. Some states, like Vermont, have developed a statewide database of addresses, complete with geographic coordinates, to support 9-1-1 activities. The addresses and coordinates are publicly available, but the resident name and phone numbers are confidential. The work of the MetroGIS Address Workgroup is highlighted here and was a powerful force influencing the NSGIC white paper. The documented cases, including one from Minnesota’s Clay County, are available at

The ideal system is built from these best practices and is outlined in the NSGIC white paper. As a quick summary:

  • Local Government Address Authorities assign when building permit is authorized and maintain an authoritative database.
  • Counties or 9-1-1 Authorities serve as regional custodians, collecting data from local government and distributing to all who need it.
  • States provide coordination and use for state business activities.
  • Federal Government accesses data for business uses and shares what data it can by law.
  • Private Sector assists with implementation for a fee and uses available data to develop new products and services.