Winter 2011

The Newsletter of the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium

Table of Contents

MN GIS/LIS Consortium

From the Chair
Polaris Awards
Scholarship Winners
Scholarship Fundraising Results

New Air Photos
DEED Job Search Application

Governor's Commendation


MetroGIS Quantify Public Value Project

Emergency Warning Routes
Hennepin Crime Maps
McLeod Culvert & Spraying Inventories
Cemetery Maps

Emerald Ash Borer Maps

New ESRI policy for Non-profits

Other Places
Geospatial Revolution Videos



Spontaneous Dancing Observed at Nonprofit!:  Esri’s greatly improved Nonprofit Organization Program
By Alison Slaats, 1000 Friends of Minnesota

GIS professionals are regularly exposed to new and cool technology.  We get excited about continuous panning on web maps, we get animated about crowd-sourced base maps and we are thrilled by 6-inch resolution aerial photos.  So in this world of nonstop innovation, can anything push us over the top?

Well, it happened to me a couple of weeks ago.  Esri announced their new Nonprofit program.  “Whatever,” I thought – another piece of news to consume.  But, when I scanned the web page, and called to verify, I found that the new program was really new, and it did put me over the top.

Tax-exempt organizations can now get ArcGIS Desktop – ArcInfo (that’s the Cadillac) for only an administrative fee of $100/year.  Not only that, but 10 extensions are included!  This is a huge discount for a software package that would normally cost thousands.  In addition, ArcGIS Server Advanced Enterprise and extensions and enterprise licenses are available at big discounts.

Granted, nonprofits could always get Esri software via the Conservation Grant program, but hey – I tried to fill in the application and it was onerous, to put it nicely.  Plus they required a yearly summary report and reapplication, and to tell you the truth, for us, it was just too much work to be worth it.

So – I called Esri about the new program, found out that we just needed to provide minimal documentation, emailed that in, got approval, and could order right away.

What is great about this is it made me think of all the analyses I had wanted to do, but couldn’t because we didn’t have the software capacity before (we had been driving the Chevy).  It will free us to think about the ideas without worrying about the technical limitations.  It made me realize we could save some of our valuable member donations and put them towards more great work and not software cost.

I think Esri, and in particular CEO Jack Dangermond, has made a smart decision to offer their software so cheaply through the nonprofit program.  It will help many nonprofits kick it up a notch in their GIS work.  We’ll make more maps, do more analysis and contribute to better decision-making.  We’ll be able to contribute solid geographic knowledge towards our organization’s heartfelt mission.

The Esri Nonprofit program is a big deal, and it made this GIS professional do a spontaneous dance around the office!