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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 

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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GIS technology helps tribes tackle planning and projects

Posted By Mike Dolbow, Minnesota Geospatial Information Office, Thursday, December 18, 2014
Updated: Thursday, December 18, 2014

Excerpted from the full article by Jacob Wascalus:

The dozens of lakes and streams on the Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation in northern Wisconsin form a complex network of aquatic assets that members of the tribe’s natural resources department work diligently to protect. One way of safeguarding the tribe’s water resources is to identify catchment basins that feed rainwater into the system. By ensuring that identified basins are adequately covered in vegetation, which filters pollutants found in runoff, the tribe can help protect the overall health of its watersheds.


The task is made easier through the use of geographic information system (GIS) technology...

Tags:  GIS  Tribal 

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