Fall 2007

The Newsletter of the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium

Table of Contents

MN GIS/LIS Consortium

2007 Conference
Silent Auction
From the Chair
Polaris Awards
Student Scholarship Competition
Our 50th Issue

LMIC Budget Restored
Parcel Inventory Updated
Monument Coordinates in Feet

Governor's Council
New Members
Annual Report
Regional Collaboration Panel

Met Council Map Site
MetroGIS Address Dataset

New Funding for Land Data
GeoMoose Web Mapping
Hennepin Co. Mobile Assessor Tool
Remote Aircraft Photography
Clay Co. Addresses

USGS Maps in GeoPDF
Free Landsat Images
TerraLook Free Imagery
NOAA Satellites
USGS Resources for Teachers

Higher Education
St. Mary's Update

K-12 Education
Geography, History Online

ESRI Map Help

Google Earth Pro Grants

Other Places
Bring Back Geography!
New Parcel Study
MAPPS Loses Lawsuit


Council Sponsors Regional Panel in St. Cloud


Regional organizations provide an important vehicle to coordinate GIS activities among all levels of government in Minnesota. To learn more about these organizations, the Governor’s Council on Geographic Information sponsored a forum devoted to “Models for Regional Collaboration” at its May 16, 2007 meeting in St. Cloud.


The forum provided an opportunity to share ideas and experiences about regional coordination and to provide guidance to the state’s efforts to develop a statewide strategy for GIS coordination.


Seven panelists represented the following groups:


  • Arrowhead Regional Development Commission:  John Chell
  • Central Minnesota GIS Users Group:  Pete Knutson
  • Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan GIS Committee:  Mark Sloan
  • MetroGIS:  Randy Johnson
  • Pine to Prairie GIS Users Group:  Rick Moore
  • Southeast Minnesota GIS Users Group:  Dave Wavrin
  • Southwest Minnesota GIS Users Group:  Charlie Kost


The panelists provided written answers to questions asked in advance about how their organization was set up, what was working well and what was presenting challenges. See the written responses at:


A lively discussion followed between the panelists and the audience. Key points made were:


  • Many different models are working across the state. There is no need to settle on one.
  • Collaboration requires a cultural change of looking beyond one’s borders to work for the greater public good.
  • Choosing a project that will quickly provide benefits to the collaborators will strengthen the commitment to the effort.
  • High level policy makers must be included in collaboration efforts to increase the clout to get things to happen.
  • The focus must be on public services and business needs and how GIS/IT helps provide those services.
  • Any efforts to foster and coordinate GIS activities should be tied to a technology strategic plan, not just a GIS plan.
  • The benefits of GIS need to get to “non-users groups” as well as users groups.
  • Any collaboration needs resources. The apparent resources include outside grants and contracts, energetic volunteers, and government bodies working to meet their own business needs.
  • Some level of sustainable state funding is required to provide a level playing field.
  • Smaller, less developed places are looking for state leadership that will help them move forward without making major mistakes.
  • It would help to have regional integrators as connectors between the state and local levels, but it is not clear what the regional entities would be.
  • Data sharing requires standards and metadata.
  • There was consensus that discussions should continue and that we should work towards acceptable state-wide collaboration models.

For more detail about the discussion and about a related presentation on “Natural Resources Inventory Collaboration” by Mark Hauck of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, see the meeting minutes:


The Council would like to express its appreciation to Pete Knutsen at Stearns County for hosting the meeting and to all the presenters for their active participation and insights.


If you missed the panel and want to learn more or join in the discussion, please consider attending a similar panel at this year’s GIS/LIS conference in Rochester – check the final conference program when it’s available for details: