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Welcome to Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium Community News Blog. The goal of our Blog is a one-stop site to quickly and easily find GIS news and events that are important to our members. Through the Blog we will share timely, thoughtful, articles that are worth reading, and are searchable and printable. The Blog promotes online collaboration from many authors, providing a voice to MN’s GIS community.
Information about our blog can be found here . This page includes links to past newsletters, as well as information about how to submit an article for consideration in this blog.


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Top tags: GIS  Award  Consortium  User Group  Conference  GPS  K12  Utility  Water  Web Map  2017  aerial photos  ArcGIS Online  Bemidji  Board  Census2020  DNR  Educator Day  Emergency  Emergency Preparedness  GAC  geodesign  GISSO  Governor  higher education  Hubbard  Interactive Map  LCC  lecture  Legislative 

Minnesota Situational Awareness Viewer Released

Posted By Administration, Friday, September 25, 2020

St. Paul, Minnesota, September 22, 2020 – The Emergency Preparedness Committee of the Minnesota Geospatial Advisory Committee is pleased to announce release of the Minnesota Situational Awareness Viewer (MNSAV).  MNSAV was developed to provide the Minnesota public with a "one stop-shop" for publicly available emergency/disaster planning and response mapped information. Extensive research was conducted to ensure the public domain data sources used were the best available.

Although initial incident information shown focuses on response to COVID-19, data related to other types of incidents common in Minnesota such as significant flooding and wildfires can be added as they occur in the years ahead.   Similarly, future development plans anticipate directly incorporating many of the individual data resources presently listed in the "Other Situational Awareness Maps and Info" section.

MNSAV works best on large displays such as those typically associated with desktops, with performance diminishing as the screen size becomes smaller.   As a practical matter, tablets are the lowest level of usable platform.

To view MNSAV, go here:

About the Emergency Preparedness Committee: The Emergency Preparedness Committee of the Minnesota Geospatial Advisory Council  is one of the United States' oldest and largest state-based organizations with the mission of bringing together the geospatial and emergency preparedness/response communities. Winner of the 2010 Minnesota Governor's Geospatial Commendation Award.

Tags:  Emergency  Emergency Preparedness  GAC 

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What would you like to see on the Map?

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 25, 2019

Metropolitan Council is reviewing and updating Census Tracts and Block Groups to be used by US Census Bureau during 2020-2029. 

The Census Bureau runs numerous data collections. It publishes statistics for all sorts of geographic areas. There are Census and American Community Survey statistics for: states, metro areas, counties, American Indian Reservations, school districts, legislative districts, ZIP codes, cities and townships. The most detailed local geographies available from the Census Bureau are sub-county and sub-city areas called Census Tracts and Block Groups. 

Are there sub-county or sub-city service areas, districts, or zones for which you need Census statistics?  Interested stakeholders can provide input on 2020 Tracts and Block Groups, now through the end of April. For the Twin Cities 7-county area, Metropolitan Council has prepared a preliminary set of new boundaries, viewable online at The preliminary redrawing of Tracts and Block Groups is consistent with Census Bureau’s requirements, and informed by recent estimates of population and housing.

In the Twin Cities 7-county area, send questions, comments, and requests concerning Census Tracts and Block Groups to: Paul Hanson at Metropolitan Council,, phone 651-602-1642. Comments and requests should be submitted by April 30, 2019. 

In other counties or states, other planning agencies and county governments are coordinating the review and update.

Please share this with interested stakeholders: Interested stakeholders could be planners, analysts, or anyone who uses localized Census statistics for specific small areas.

Tags:  Census2020  Metropolitan Council 

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Local Students going to International Science Fair

Posted By Webmaster, Thursday, March 14, 2019

Hey GIS colleagues. If you were at the conference last fall in Duluth on Wednesday, pre-conference workshop day, you will remember that we had Mat Winbigler and students (Payten Schneberger, Mackenzie Brummer, Marcy Ferriere and Lizzie Strickland) present at the Wednesday lunch. They did a great job and highlights the importance of our continued educational outreach programs (workshops, geo-mentoring, training). Well, those same kids are now headed to the Intel International Science Fair in Phoenix, AZ. This is the Olympics of Science Fairs! 1500 students from over 80 countries will compete for over 5 million in scholarships and prizes. They used ArcGIS Pro, Desktop and ArcGIS Online for much of their science projects. For more information read the attached PDF file.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  ArcGIS Online  Conference  Educator Day  K12  Students 

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U of M 2019 GIS Career and Networking Fair Recap

Posted By Webmaster, Thursday, March 7, 2019

The GIS Student Organization at the University of Minnesota is very grateful for the support of MN GIS/LIS in our 18th Annual GIS Networking and Career Fair event. This event seeks to bring together students interested in a career in geospatial technologies with local GIS industries and organizations. We had over 100 participants representing a wide range of academic departments and schools. We also had attendees from multiple nearby universities and over 20 representatives from local GIS industries and organizations. 

The fair offered an opportunity to connect with potential employers, resume reviews by participant vendors, a student poster competition, and provided free professional headshot photographs. 

The event also featured three guest speakers: Sam Klimoski, GIS Coordinator in Technology and Communications at the City of St. Paul; Eric Shook, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Society at the U of M-Twin Cities; and Sharvari Sangle, GIS Developer at SRF Consulting Group and MGIS 2016 Alumni.

We were able to meet our goals with the energetic assistance of volunteers from GISSO and strong support from the MN GIS/LIS Consortium Event Grant, and our partner academic and professional organizations.

More information about this event and the GIS Student Organization can be found at

Tags:  GISSO  Networking  UMN 

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NE MN GIS User Group Meeting

Posted By Webmaster, Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The NE MN GIS User Group met Tuesday, November 27th at Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids, MN. An invitation was also extended to the NW/NC GIS User Group and we did have a few members who were able to join us. A total of 22 GIS users from various city, county, federal, and tribal agencies as well as private businesses throughout the Northern part of the state attended the event. The focus of the meeting was ArcGIS Pro and making the transition from ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro. The morning was filled with networking opportunities and 4 user demonstrations of various ArcGIS Pro projects, along with what they saw as the pros and cons versus ArcMap. After lunch, 3 additional user demonstrations were given, followed by a technical presentation given by Zachary Vavra, GIS Specialist with the University of Minnesota Duluth Geospatial Analysis Center, who presented “Transitioning from ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro” to the group throughout the afternoon. A very special thank you to the MN GIS/LIS Consortium for funding an event grant that helped to make this event possible. Anyone wishing to receive information on upcoming events of the group and join our emailing list can do so by signing up here.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Northeast User Group 

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NW/NC GIS User Group Meeting

Posted By Adminstrator, Wednesday, August 15, 2018

NW/NC GIS User Group Meeting – By Jane Mueller


The NW/NC GIS User Group met Tuesday, August 14th at the Beltrami County Administration Building in Bemidji, MN.  An invitation was extended to the Northern Minnesota GIS Users Group to join us for the day and several attended.  A total of 47 GIS users from various city, county, federal, and tribal agencies as well as private businesses throughout the state attended the event.  The focus of the meeting was mobile technology and use of apps in the field.  The morning was filled with 10 user demonstrations of various ArcGIS Online, Collector, Avenza and/or Survey123 projects and what they saw as the pros and cons of each.  Networking opportunities were provided and the room was buzzing with talk of GIS and mobile apps!  Chris Pouliot, Information Technology Specialist with MN IT Services, presented “What It Takes to Make A Good Collector App” to the group throughout the afternoon.   A very special thank you to the MN GIS/LIS Consortium for funding an event grant that helped to make this event possible.  Anyone wishing to receive information on upcoming events of the group can email to be added to their email list.  

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  NW/NC  User Group 

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"Why should I go to the conference in Bemidji?"

Posted By Consortium Conference Committee, Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Now that registration is open for our fall conference, you might be saying to yourself, “Hmm…the conference has never been in Bemidji before, should I go?” Well, the answer is “Yes!” And we’re going to tell you why.

Things to Learn

Each year the GIS/LIS Fall Conference is the event in Minnesota for GIS professionals and practitioners to learn from each other, and this year is no different. In Bemidji, we’ll have amazing keynote speakers, 15 workshops, 38 sessions, an Esri Hands-On Learning Lab, and a whopping 129 presenters. And with networking events Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings, you’ll have ample opportunities to catch up with colleagues both new and old.

Things to Do

Wait, have you ever actually been to Bemidji? If not, you probably don’t know how many cool things there are to see and do in the area. Check out the Bemidji Sculpture Walk just minutes from the conference gatherings. While you’re walking downtown, drop in on the Headwaters Science Center, or snap a selfie with Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox (who will be presiding over the 5K fun run/walk). When the conference is over, escape to the other side of the lake for the weekend at Lake Bemidji State Park, or take a detour to the Mississippi Headwaters in Itasca State Park on the way home.

Things to Know

So now you’re convinced you want to attend, right? If so, here are some key dates you need to mark on your calendar:

  • 9/4: Hotel conference rates end (no harm in booking early!)
  • 9/8: Early registration ends 
  • 9/29: Online registration ends
  • 10/4: Workshop day
  • 10/5-6: Conference proceedings

Still on the fence? Why not peruse the preliminary program before making your final decision?


Tags:  2017  Bemidji  Conference 

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Welcome from the 2017 Chair

Posted By Scott Freburg, Board Chair, Wednesday, February 8, 2017


As incoming Board Chair, I am very excited for what ALL of us can accomplish in 2017! After two years as your at-large representative and one year as chair-elect, I have witnessed the amazing work accomplished by Consortium Board members, committee members and all of YOU on a weekly basis. As outgoing chair Tami Maddio stated in the previous e-announcement, 2016 was a year to remember. I would like to publicly “Thank” those Board members who are moving on to their “real jobs.” Thank you Heather Albrecht (3 years) and Brandon Tourtelotte (2 years) for your contributions to the Board of Directors, networking events, workshops and our annual conference. You have both made a difference with your ideas and comments. I would also like to acknowledge the contributions of Mark Kotz. He has been a longtime chair of the Awards committee and is stepping down to concentrate on other things. Mark has been instrumental in events and conferences for many years.

We have a number of exciting events lined up for 2017, from networking events like curling to our annual Spring Workshops and finally to our 2017 annual conference at a new location, Bemidji (October 4-6). Your Board of Directors will be working diligently on your behalf and we always welcome comments and suggestions. Volunteering opportunities are available with MN GIS/LIS committees. Please contact us at to get involved. 

Scott Freburg

Your 2017 Consortium Board Chair

Tags:  Board  Consortium  GIS 

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Thank You from the Chair

Posted By Andrew King-Scribbins, ESRI, Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I think nearly all would agree that 2016 has been a year to remember.  2016 was also an eventful year for the MN GIS/LIS Consortium.  The year went quickly but we got a lot accomplished with an excellent group of board members, committee members and the consortium membership.  As 2016 Board Chair, I continue to be amazed at the commitment and dedication all of you give to this organization.  Thank you to all for the contributions you have made in 2016. I am want to welcome to our newly elected board members Rebecca Foster, Board Chair-Elect, Peter Smith, At-Large Rep, Jared Hovi, Conference Chair and our re-elected board members Tim Loesch, Treasurer and Zeb Thomas, State Government Rep. We have an exciting year ahead as Scott Freburg takes over as 2017 Board Chair and Bemidji as a new site for our annual conference where Jane Mueller will serve as Conference Chair.

This year’s conference brought us record attendance to a familiar place.  Ryan Stovern and the 2016 Conference Committee did an excellent job pulling everything together for the big event.  Those who attended were offered a wide variety of Workshops and sessions as well as intriguing speakers.  We also were able to share GIS with educators on Wednesday at the 2nd Educator workshops.  We enjoyed great networking opportunities on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights.  Other fun activities included the fun run and a tour of a live working Great Lakes research vessel.  Thank you to Ryan Stovern and the Conference Committee for an excellent 2016 Conference.

The Board worked on refining and reorganizing the scholarship and education committees officially becoming the Education Committee. Our involvement with K-12 activities has increased over the last several years and 2016 proved to offer even more for K-12 including an expansion of Educator workshops at the fall conference and support for the first ever MN on the Map student online map contest.  Thank you to Scott Freburg, Stacey Stark and the Education Committee for the hard work on these efforts in 2016.

Spring workshops were also a great success once again.  Thanks to Michelle Trager and the Spring Workshops Committee, 14 workshops were offered with some available in 3 remote locations.

Networking Events included a Curling Event, Spring Workshops event at Republic, and a co-event with University of MN GeoSpatial for GIS Day in November were well attended.  Thank you to Zeb Thomas and the Networking Committee for organizing these events.

The MN GIS/LIS Consortium had a busy year.  Thank you to all of the dedicated Board members and volunteers who made all of the events and work possible in 2016.   Volunteering opportunities are available with MN GIS/LIS committees or events throughout the year.  Please contact us at if you would like information about volunteer opportunities.

Tags:  Consortium  GIS 

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Goodhue County Receives Smart Communities Innovation Grant for Mobile Government

Posted By Andrew King-Scribbins, ESRI, Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Red Wing, Minnesota, November 2, 2016 – Goodhue County GIS and Environmental Health Departments were notified on November 1, 2016 that their application for the ‘Esri and Leica Smart Communities Innovation Challenge: Mobile Government Edition’ grant had been selected. Goodhue County is one of ten recipients nationwide. The goal of this program is to foster transformational approaches to improving the productivity and efficiency of mobile field workers in all government disciplines in federal, state, regional, county, and municipal governments. Award recipients are required to validate the value of combining geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning system (GPS) technologies for data collection, optimizing workloads, and providing real time information that supports field mobility. Project awards include hardware, software, and training.

The Goodhue County Environmental Permitting and Tracking Suite project will allow Environmental Health to geographically locate and display wells and septic systems quickly and accurately while sharing this data with appropriate agencies. Final goals include creating a well and septic permitting program that allows data and inspections to be conducted in the field with any device with wireless network capabilities, the collection of data that can be geographically analyzed for compliance and effective placement of new systems, and field use of Leica hardware and software to collect accurate positions of well and septic systems. A customized web mapping application will be made available for public viewing.

The County Surveyor and GIS Office work closely together to provide many services. The mission of the GIS office is to develop, implement, and maintain a GIS database for the county departments, local government agencies, private companies, and the general public.

Questions? Please contact County Surveyor Lisa Hanni at or phone 651.385.3197.

Tags:  Award  GIS  GPS  Utility  Water 

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GeoFest 2016

Posted By Andrew King-Scribbins, ESRI, Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2016

GeoFest is an annual K-12 event sponsored by the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education (MAGE) and Macalester College. This year it was held on the Macalester campus on Saturday, October 29. It included a full day of sessions and training for K-12 teachers, specifically in the Social Studies realm. This years session schedule had 27 sessions with twelve of them including a GIS component! GIS topics in these sessions included Story maps, Collector app, Survey123, Crowd-sourced maps, Snap2map app, MN on the Map Student GIS Contest for 2017 and teaching tips for using GIS in the classroom.

MNGIS/LIS has been present as a vendor for several years, providing GIS information about the Consortium and how to get involved with GIS. Scott Freburg represented the GIS/LIS Consortium at this year’s vendor booth and spoke to 30-35 teachers about GIS, including a sign-up sheet with 18 teacher emails for further information.


It was an outstanding day! If you are interested in being a K-12 mentor please go to or contact Scott Freburg. Below are some pictures from GeoFest and of a Bloomington teacher and his 2016 Minnesota on the Map contest winners. GIS/LIS Consortium provided funding for t-shirts. Thank you!

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  GIS  K12  MAGE  Web Map 

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Hennepin County GIS User Group Picnic

Posted By Andrew King-Scribbins, ESRI, Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Hennepin County GIS User Group met at the Maple Grove Lions Pavilion on August 31st for the group’s annual picnic.  This year’s picnic was sponsored by the MN GIS/LIS Consortium.

The event went off without a hitch.  We had great weather and food cooked by City of Maple Grove Staff.  Throughout the two hour event there were conversations between many from the public and private sectors and the it proved to be a good networking event.  There were many people that said it was so nice out and they were having such good conversation that they didn’t want to leave.

There were 21 people in total attendance.  Attendee organizations included: Hennepin County, City of Maple Grove, City of Eden Prairie, City of Golden Valley, City of Rogers, Houston Engineering, Pictometry, and Frontier Precision.

If you'd like to be added to the groups mailing list to hear about or present at future meetings, contact Doug Gawtry,

Tags:  GIS  User Group 

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Esri Generation and Transmission Utility User Group Meeting

Posted By Andrew King-Scribbins, ESRI, Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, June 7, 2016

On May 5 and 6 Minnesota Power hosted the 2016 Esri Generation and Transmission User Group which had 26 attendees from 9 utilities/organizations. The day and half event featured 22 presentations on a variety of topics related to how generation and transmission companies are using GIS to solve work challenges. During lunch on the 5th Gerry Sjerven gave a short overview of the GIS/LIS Consortium and some of the events that happen during the year.

If you'd like to learn more about the group and future meetings, contact Brandon Keinath (, Andy Schmidt (, or request to join the LinkedIn group (

Tags:  GIS  User Group  Utility 

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MN State Legislative Coordinating Commission (LCC) Office Receives Award

Posted By Webmaster, Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Legislative Coordinating Commission (LCC) serves as the umbrella organization for legislative commissions, joint agencies, and other boards for the Legislature.  One responsibility of the LCC is to maintain a web site that shows the public how revenues from the Legacy Amendment and the Environment and Natural Resource Trust Fund are spent.  LCC staff work with 25 or so agencies that receive $300 million annually through the Legacy amendment to show citizens where the money goes. The web site is at   The interactive map for the website that lets Minnesotans find projects near where they live, or want to explore can be found at this link:

Notified by the Cartography and Geographic Information Society,, Chris Cantey, Senior IT Specialist, and Lee Meilleur, Technology Services Manager, were recognized for having the best interactive map for 2015.

Tags:  Award  Interactive Map  LCC  Legislative 

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Consortium Receives Governor’s Award

Posted By Mike Dolbow, Minnesota Geospatial Information Office, Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium is honored to have been selected for a Governor’s Geospatial Commendation Award for 2015, presented at this year’s Consortium conference. The awards recognize organizations that have “gone the extra mile” to deliver products and services resulting in a more responsive government, promoting public access to information and reflecting the benefits of working in a collaborative environment that encourages similar efforts in the future.

The Consortium is being recognized for 25 years of dedication to its mission to develop and support the GIS professional in Minnesota for the benefit of our state and its citizens. A collaborative, volunteer-based organization, the Consortium has supported the community through the multiple opportunities it offers related to GIS education and networking events. Most prominently, it organizes an annual conference that brings together geospatial professionals from all sectors. It also provides technical workshops each spring and fall, networking events, scholarships for college students, event grants and lifetime achievement and leadership awards, and sponsors training events for the K-12 system.  The award recognizes the efforts of the hundreds of volunteers that have made the Consortium successful as well as all who have realized the great value of the Consortium’s mission during the past 25 years.

These awards have been given since 1996. For more information and a list of past winners, see MnGeo's web page on Governor's Geospatial Commendation Awards.

Tags:  Award  Consortium  Governor 

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Register for a Spring Workshop

Posted By Mike Dolbow, Minnesota Geospatial Information Office, Monday, April 20, 2015

Registration for the MN GIS/LIS Consortium Spring Workshops is open.  Register for a variety of hands on and lecture style workshops in Minneapolis, OR attend from a remote location in Duluth, Mankato, Moorhead or Winona. There are 12 workshops to choose from, including two python classes to advance your skills and a full day workshop on the basics of LiDAR. Four of the workshops will be broadcast from Minneapolis to the remote locations via iTV: ArcGIS Pro, Parcel Fabric, Geocoding, and ArcGIS Server. Workshops are $90 each per half day workshop and $180 for the full day workshop. Sign up today!

Tags:  Workshops 

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Help the DNR find Minnesota's Springs

Posted By Mike Dolbow, Minnesota Geospatial Information Office, Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Did you know the DNR is currently undertaking a program to locate Minnesota’s springs, thanks to funding by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund? Interested citizens who know of springs in their neighborhood can send the DNR information on those springs, particularly their exact location (via GPS or verbal description). This will assist the DNR in a new inventory of this valuable and unique resource. To learn more about springs, or to share the location of a spring near you, visit the DNR web page on Springs and Karst in Minnesota.

Tags:  DNR  GPS  Springs  Water 

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Hubbard County Releases New Web Map

Posted By Mike Dolbow, Minnesota Geospatial Information Office, Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hubbard County has released a new web map that displays historical plat maps. The “Public Land Survey (PLS) & Section Corners” web map can be viewed here and is linked from their maps page.

In this new map, users can select the General Land Office (GLO) plats map service as a backdrop (at certain large scales) and can click on a township feature to get the georeferenced PDF of the plat map for that area.  At scales where PLS corners are displayed, those points can also be clicked to view more information about the corner. For some corners, the “Certificate of Location” is viewable as a PDF. An excellent one-page help sheet shows the site’s features at a glance.

The digital GLO plat maps were created by a project that MnGeo coordinated in partnership with the Secretary of State’s Office, MnDOT, the Minnesota Historical Society, and the MN Association of County Surveyors.  The map service was created by Foth consultants.  The data and the map service are documented in the Minnesota Geospatial Commons in this record.

Tags:  Hubbard  Web Map 

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4-Band NAIP Imagery Available from USDA

Posted By Mike Dolbow, Minnesota Geospatial Information Office, Friday, March 13, 2015

The USDA Aerial Photography Field Office (APFO) recently announced that they are now publicly distributing the 4-band NAIP imagery in addition to the natural color imagery.  To access this data, use the following URL in ArcGIS Desktop: More detailed instructions can be found on the APFO website at:  Developers or ArcGIS Online users will want to include "rest" in the link in order to identify service "endpoints":


Minnesotans can thank Bill Burgess with the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) for the tip.

Tags:  aerial photos  nsgic  usda 

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Upcoming Geodesign lecture featuring Carl Steintz

Posted By Mike Dolbow, Minnesota Geospatial Information Office, Monday, February 2, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, March 25, 2015
On March 30th, 2015, the University of Minnesota will be hosting a talk by Carl Steinitz, who will be speaking on the topic of GIS and design methodology applied to regional planning and development issues. More information is available on the University of Minnesota page about the lecture.

Tags:  geodesign  higher education  lecture 

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