Spring 2011

The Newsletter of the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium

Table of Contents

MN GIS/LIS Consortium

From the Chair
Conference Planning

Mn/DOT Road Closures Site
Economic Data
Gypsy Moth Response

Proximity Finder

Red River LiDAR

Minneapolis Predictive Crime Mapping
Anoka Co. Recreation
GIS - Core Govt. Service

Land Cover 2006
USGS Historic Topo Scanning

Higher Education
Smart Growth & Transit

Will Craig, UCGIS Fellow
Robert McMaster, UCGIS Education Award
Marv Bauer, Pecora Award


Who You Gonna Call?  Locate Government Services and Jurisdictions through MetroGIS Proximity Finder Web Service
By Jessica Fendos, MetroGIS Proximity Finder Workgroup

A Solution Derived from Needs

Proximity - or location - is often the number one concern when people need government services, such as reporting an emergency or applying for a building permit. These are just two examples of needs that could be met by providing citizens with the ability to locate the closest or most appropriate government service center or the corresponding jurisdiction of a given location. Targeted by MetroGIS participants as one of the top shared geospatial needs, Proximity Finder web service was identified as a much needed solution for this region.

Proximity Finder Workgroup and Development Team

Through an open invitation from MetroGIS, a Proximity Finder Workgroup was formed in January 2009 to recommend scope of work, evaluate proposals, and review the prototype development and deliverables. In October 2009, SharedGeo and its sub-consultant Houston Engineering, Inc. were awarded the project to build an open source web service prototype that supports the What’s near me? and What city am I in? use cases.  Phase I deliverables include the integration of MetroGIS geocoder in the proximity search workflow and a data loader service that allows a user to upload shapefiles to the server and to load the layer(s) into the spatial layer catalog.  Currently, users can find the closest school, fire station, hospital, and police station at a given location from this interface.

Call upon Proximity Finder Web Service

To testdrive the MetroGIS Proximity Finder Web Service through a GeoMoose client interface, please visit these two online demonstration interfaces:
• Proximity Finder Web Client Example from Houston Engineering
• MetroGIS Government Services Proximity Finder from Shared Geo

Additional information about the development process and documentation on the Proximity Finder Web Service and Data Uploader Service can also be found at the SharedGeo link.

Future Prospects

The MetroGIS Policy Board confirmed that good work had been accomplished by the development team.  The Proximity Finder workgroup and development team will recommend a plan for the next steps to be considered by the Coordinating Committee in March 2011.  Topics for Phase II recommendations include the following:

  • The responsible long-term host for this prototype.
  • Government service data layer custodian(s) and data uploader administrators.
  • Integration of other services with the Proximity Finder interface such as a routing service in this open source framework.

Special thanks to Proximity Finder workgroup members Joel Koepp, City of Roseville, and Peter Henschel, Carver County, for their contributions to this project.

For more information, contact Jessica Fendos, Senior GIS Analyst, MN Department of Employment and Economic Development,, 651-259-7389.