Fall 2009

The Newsletter of the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium

Table of Contents

MN GIS/LIS Consortium

From the Chair
Conference Update
Past News Issues

MnGeo Update
Municipal Boundaries
Statewide LiDAR Update

LiDAR for Conservation
Geology/Ground Water Info

Governor's Council
Structures Grant
Arrowhead Collaboration

Goodhue Flood Site
LOGIS gGov Project
Winona Township Atlas
SMSC Presettlement Map

USGS Digital Map
FSA Photos '09
Congress & GIS Governance
Air Quality Maps
Presidential Election Map

Higher Education
UWRF Update
Monmonier at UofM

Scandia Resource Plan

Goodhue Land Use Model

Memorium: Bob Marx

Other Places
ASPRS 2011 Conference



Metro Area Consortium Helps Cities Keep Pace With GIS Technology
By Ben Verbick, LOGIS

A wealth of metro city data will soon be available to the public via browser-based mapping applications thanks to a collaborative effort between LOGIS GIS staff and its member cities. This effort builds upon previous work to create websites for in-house use and puts nearly all of a city’s public interactive mapping in one application.

LOGIS (Local Government Information Systems Association) is a consortium of 44 Minnesota local government units that has been supporting its members’ technology needs for more than 35 years. As one of many services to its members, LOGIS employs a small staff of GIS professionals to assist and support consortium member cities with GIS development, infrastructure, integration, data acquisition and maintenance, and training.

In-house Sites

During the past several years, as the wave of browser-based GIS technology has rolled along, LOGIS members have looked to more browser-based GIS for casual and simple view/query needs, a direction and commitment that has saved the cities a great deal of money and effort by reducing desktop license fees, license management concerns, and installation/upgrade nuisances.

At LOGIS, the process started with ESRI’s ArcIMS technology and the consortium’s shared effort to develop an ArcIMS product for many of their common in-house geographic query needs. That product has been wildly successful, now boasting more than 500 end-users across the consortium. LOGISmap has been the “flagship” example of browser-based GIS for the consortium. It lightly integrates with the consortium’s property data and permitting systems, as well as a variety of data tables and document imaging systems, allowing city staff to geographically acquire necessary business information, investigate spatial relationships, produce simple map/report products, and compile mailings for city business.

Public Sites

The popularity of simple browser-based GIS for city staff has matured to a logical next step: similar products for public use.

Many of the consortium’s police agencies now share a simple mash-up over Bing maps to offer a geographic view of current crime data to the public. Most of these agencies share a common multi-jurisdictional law records management system which simplified the data management and development effort. As a group, the agencies and LOGIS GIS staff collaborate to preserve a common interface design and functionality as the product evolves.

Currently available in pre-release is an ArcGIS Server-based product for public consumption. This product, christened gGov, is essentially a public-facing version of LOGISmap, simplified and designed for public use. gGov is an interactive map tool that the consortium’s cities plan to use to geographically expose municipal map layers, feature attributes, places of interest, public amenities, documents, photos and other images. Similar to MapQuest, Google Maps, etc., its interface is simple and intuitive. However, it offers the distinct ability for a city to directly use its own existing enterprise GIS data sets and to easily and quickly modify, add, or remove map features and attributes to meet the information demands of the public.

gGov replaces several older-generation internet mapping applications, putting nearly all of a city’s publicly offered interactive mapping needs in one application. With gGov, cities plan to present access to park and recreation facilities and amenities, street and utility information, property data, places of interest, voter information and polling locations, school districts, busing zones, land use, zoning, construction sites and information, event routes… virtually any geographic information and related data the city uses or produces.

The Development Process

The gGov development process, like most LOGIS GIS development and integration projects, is a collaborative effort of the cities and LOGIS GIS staff. A steering committee of city staff assisted with interface design concepts and functionality. As development moved forward, the committee reviewed early releases for ease of use, functionality, integrity, and general design. They, and the consortium’s GIS User Group, helped direct the LOGIS GIS development staff (with assistance from ESRI) toward a very simple-to-use yet information-rich and scalable geographic browser.

The ability for the LOGIS cities to offer their citizens such an information-rich product required a commitment by the consortium to migrate its shapefile datasets to an enterprise-wide SQL Server geodatabase. This geodatabase, accessible to all participating LOGIS cities, was initially designed and populated by LOGIS GIS staff. Through documented data management workflows, city staff can interact with the geodatabase, for tasks ranging from simple editing to building and managing their own geodatabases and replicating to master geodatabases at LOGIS.

The LOGIS consortium’s service-oriented approach to the development of gGov leverages existing data sources, web pages, documents, maps and other services. A consortium-wide cached map service, updated regularly, serves as the basemap of gGov and other server applications. Instead of creating entirely new sources of information, gGov helps assemble multiple information sources through a single geographic solution.

Coming Soon…

Watch for gGov deployments on LOGIS city websites later this summer. Brooklyn Center, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Edina, Golden Valley, Hutchinson, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Oak Grove, Ramsey, Richfield, Plymouth, St. Louis Park, and Shakopee share GIS support and resources through the LOGIS consortium.

For more information, see the LOGIS GIS website or contact Ben Verbick at: or 763-543-2638.