Spring 2009

The Newsletter of the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium

Table of Contents

MN GIS/LIS Consortium

From the Chair
Conference Planning
Volunteer Opportunities
Scholarship Winners

Drive to Excellence Update
USNG in Minnesota
Mn/DOT GIS Portal
LCC-GIS and Redistricting

Governor's Council
CTU and USNG standards out for review
Next Generation 9-1-1

Services Forum Results
Address Point Synchronization

Tracking Utility Trucks
Watershed E. coli Study

Mapping Floods
Improvng Flood Maps
Height Modernization

URISA Skills Survey
MHS Map Exhibit

Randy Johnson, ESRI GIS Hero

Other Places
Web 2.0 for Local Government
Economics and Place



LCC-GIS Open Source and Redistricting Efforts
By Lee Meilleur, Legislative Coordinating Commission GIS Office
The Legislative Coordinating Commission GIS Office consists of a 2 1/2 person staff responsible for providing IT support for all Commissions’ offices while also providing GIS support to the Legislature. A main current responsibility on the GIS front is to support the Census Bureau with its Redistricting 2010 Data Program and prepare the Legislature for the 2010 redistricting effort.
Open Source Prototypes to Aid Redistricting
In preparing for the upcoming redistricting effort, the office has been researching new technologies for both the creation of redistricting plans and the reporting and analysis of submitted plans.
A prototype of an online redistricting application has been developed utilizing open source technologies such as MapServer, PostGIS, GeoMoose and PHP. Quite simply, users select different census geographies to create equal population districts and export plans into block equivalency files. While legislative leadership has yet to decide if this is a path they wish to pursue, the idea has been discussed in recent years.
A prototype redistricting reporting and mapping system is also being worked on, which provides interactive reports that link to interactive maps, along with the ability to print PDF maps and reports. These were also developed with MapServer, PostGIS, GeoMoose and PHP. Users can sort reports by clicking on any field, or view maps by clicking on district numbers within the reports (see graphic).
The main goal of the updated reporting and mapping system was to reduce the time needed to process a plan. During the 2001-02 efforts, preparing a plan for the web could take up to 4 hours and would only create static PDFs of maps and reports. With the system being developed for 2011-12, the idea is to plug the block equivalency file directly into the PostGIS database server for any plan, and then the reports and maps would be generated on the fly. 
Block Boundary Verification
In preparation for redistricting, LCC-GIS is currently participating in the VTD/BBSP (Voting Tabulation District/Block Boundary Suggestion Program). In a nutshell, it's a program to help the Census Bureau correctly identify block boundaries which will then be used for spatially delineating the census. This portion of the program, referred to as Phase II, needs to be completed by May of 2009. Following this is the Verification Phase, which allows participating states to make additional corrections to block boundaries that didn't show up during the first phase.
Other Popular LCC-GIS Maps and Applications
When IT support and redistricting isn't the main focus, the office also provides mapping and analysis for bills and elections. During the 2008 session, mapping property foreclosures by county was a high priority while another bill that would require the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to analyze cumulative pollution effects allowed us to create an interactive map. Maps and reports of the most recent election results can also be found on the LCC-GIS website. Other popular web pages are the Minnesota District Finder and the District Information pages which both use Open Source technologies.
For more information on LCC-GIS, contact Lee Meilleur, or 651-296-0098.