Spring 2012

The Newsletter of the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium

Table of Contents 

MN GIS/LIS Consortium

From the Chair

DNR Garmin Evolves to DNRGPS
MnDOT Tracks Invasive Bittersweet
2010 Population Maps
More Economic Data 
Water Trails Maps

Twin Cities GECCo Report

Higher Education
Nat'l Historical GIS Updates 
Dangermond Lecture 
Trade Centers 
GIS Day at UM-Duluth

URISA Salary & Tech Survey




GIS Day at U of M - Duluth
By Stacey Stark, University of Minnesota – Duluth (UMD)

The UMD Geographic Information Sciences Lab, in partnership with the Northern Minnesota GIS Users Group, hosted the educational “GIS and Community” event on November 17, 2011 at UMD.  Twenty-one tables with maps, demonstrations, and information from regional organizations filled the Kirby Rafters.  Participants included local governments, consulting firms, utility companies, and four regional educational institutions.  Over 200 students, educators, planners, business owners, and other interested people came through the event.  This event provided a terrific opportunity for GIS users to network and share experiences, and for non-GIS users to learn what GIS is all about.
Presentation Highlights
The five presentations by the National Weather Service, the Natural Resources Research Institute, DNR Forestry, UMD Geological Sciences, UMD Geography, and the USDA Farm Service Agency were all well attended, with 30-80 people in each.  The space was standing-room-only to hear about George Hudak’s use of ArcGIS cartographic tools to create geologic maps of Northeast Minnesota.  George ended his presentation by saying that “if you want to get a job in geology today, you must have GIS skills.”  Equally popular was Chris Pouliot’s Mobile GIS presentation.  A student offered that the mobile application development discussion was very interesting because it “tied into my major which is Computer Science.”
David DiBiase (Esri, Director of Education) gave a very dynamic presentation to over 100 people to close the afternoon.  He began speaking about geography awareness in our community and how we can experience the presence of GIS all around us in new ways and share this with our children.  DiBiase demonstrated Community Analyst, a powerful Esri tool that will soon be available through the UM/MNSCU site license at no additional cost.  With Community Analyst, thousands of demographic, health, economic, education, and business data variables, combined with instant reports and interactive color-coded maps, allow quick exploration of any area – without requiring GIS experience.
DiBiase also shared some incredible statistics published by the U.S. Dept. of Labor.  There are currently more than 450,000 geospatial professionals in the U.S. with an estimated additional 180,000 needed by 2018.  Some of the seasoned GIS users enjoyed the keynote and the emphasis on both ArcGIS and Open Source tools being a key skill for the future.  Educators appreciated DiBiase’s comments that written skills and the ability to work in a team are two of the most important skills to have as a GIS professional.
Many community organization representatives expressed their pleasure in connecting with students.  Many students also reported that they had made new contacts and developed new interests in GIS areas.
Credits and Participants
Great door prizes were donated by Esri and UMD, including iTunes gift cards and two popular 2011 Esri publications: “Web GIS” and “Understanding GIS”.  This event was a collaborative project between UMD Geographic Information Sciences Lab and the Northern Minnesota GIS Users Group.  The MN GIS/LIS Consortium granted funding for the event which served its mission to “develop and support the GIS professional in Minnesota for the benefit of our state and its citizens.”  UMD College of Liberal Arts and UMD Geographic Information Science Laboratory provided additional funding.
Participants included:  Community GIS, MN Power / Allete, MN DNR Forestry, Duluth Transit Authority, ARDC/Duluth-Superior MIC, EMR, US EPA (SRA), Fond du Lac Reservation, NOAA National Weather Service, North Point Geographic Solutions, St. Louis County, City of Superior / Douglas County, Superior Water and Light, UMD Geographic Information Sciences Lab, UMD Natural Resources Research Institute, UMD Geological Sciences, UMD Continuing Education, USDA Farm Service Agency, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Saint Mary’s University.
Editor’s Note:  See the Consortium’s Event Grants webpage for more information on applying for financial support for your activity or event.