Summer 2012

The Newsletter of the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium

Table of Contents

MN GIS/LIS Consortium

From the Chair
Member Portal Upgrade 
2012 Spring Workshops 

New State GIO
State Govt IT Consolidation
Driftwatch Crop Registry
GLO Field Notes Online 
Altered Watercourse Project
Emergency Prep. Blog Update
PCA websites

GECCo Report
Spatial Hotdish

Make-A-Map Upgrade

New Ramsey Co Map Site 
Dakota Co Transport Plan 
State Monuments on Google Earth

National Elevation Assessment
Landsat 40th Anniversary

Higher Education
GISSO Job Fair Report

Other Places
Future Trends in GIS Mgmt



New Online Crop Registry Helps Minnesota Farmers Avoid Damages
By Mike Dolbow, Unit Supervisor for MN.IT Services @ Agriculture, and Kevin Cavanaugh, Pesticide Management Advisor, MN Department of Agriculture

Rural landscapes in the Midwest are becoming more diverse with non-grain commercial crops such as berries, fruit orchards, vegetables, vineyards, and organic crop acres. The increased crop diversity poses a challenge to pesticide applicators who may not know the location of these crops, which are sensitive to conventional pesticides such as glyphosate, dicamba, and 2,4-D, and could be damaged if exposed. And, as GIS professionals know, location problems are best solved with a map.

Driftwatch: Voluntary Producer and Applicator Registry
In 2012, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) entered its second year of a pilot partnership with Indiana’s sensitive crop registry program, Driftwatch, with support from the Environmental Protection Agency. Driftwatch is a voluntary internet registry allowing sensitive crop producers a method to communicate field locations to applicators. Commercial growers of pesticide-sensitive crops with a minimum of a half-acre in production can register their fields, and applicators have the option of designating areas of interest and receiving automatic notification of new field registrations within that area. The result is increased communication between producer and applicator that can lead to avoiding potential drift and unwanted crop injury.

Key components of Driftwatch include:

  • Online registration for crop producers and applicators
  • Use of Google Maps to define and display locations
  • User guide and “help” movies for producers
  • Resource links on producer and applicator topics
  • Optional display of sensitive habitats and watersheds

Data Stewards
Driftwatch registration information is managed by data stewards. Data Stewards perform a safeguard role by verifying and approving registered sites prior to their posting on the Driftwatch map. For 2012, MDA added a certified organic farm and Christmas tree data stewards to two industry data stewards established in 2011. As a result, the Minnesota Driftwatch page will only include field registrations for organic farms, Christmas trees, grapes, fruits, pumpkins or melons, tomatoes, and vegetables during the 2012 growing season.

GIS Behind the Scenes
Similar to many modern websites with significant mapping components, users of Driftwatch need to know nothing about GIS in order to successfully use the site. But behind the scenes, Purdue University’s Larry Theller is making significant use of GIS to perform spatial queries for automatic notifications and to produce a web mapping service (WMS) of the approved fields. The WMS can be viewed in Google Earth with this KML file.

For more information about the Driftwatch program in Minnesota, contact MDA’s Kevin Cavanaugh at or 651-201-6349. For technical information about Driftwatch, contact Mike Dolbow at or Larry Theller at