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


History Comes Alive with Online GIS!

By Lesley Kadish, Minnesota Historical Society


How often have teachers stumbled upon Minnesota’s incredible collection of GIS maps, only to discover their schools don’t have the software or technical skills to use these available resources? Now, with funding made possible from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, teachers will have new tools to use GIS in their classrooms. The Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) and the Land Management Information Center (LMIC) have joined up to create a groundbreaking new GIS website designed to link historical content with Minnesota’s existing GIS maps. The website, called True North: Mapping Minnesota’s History, integrates more than 200 Minnesota data layers and remote databases into a savvy GIS classroom tool. Although it requires no previous GIS experience from its users, the back-end is an impressive combination of online GIS technologies, created by integrating MapServer with Chameleon and Flash technology.


What Makes It Unique?

So your students want their state highways to be fuchsia and their forest cover to be orange? They want to zoom in to Grandma’s house in Ada in 1939? OK! True North’s online platform comes with print, save, and download capabilities, navigation and search technologies, as well as fully editable color, symbol size and transparency palettes so that students can personalize their own maps.


The list of maps is incredible, stretching from glacial geology to wheat production in 1874; it includes such historic layers as fur trade routes, streetcar lines and dozens of geo-rectified archival maps. But what really makes True North unique, besides the diversity of map layers, is this: each map is associated with the Minnesota Historical Society’s online collections of archival photographs, manuscripts and three-dimensional artifacts, as well as supplemental articles, related websites, and the map metadata. So, for example, when the township/range map is turned on, students can see photographs of weary 19th century surveyors leaning on their tripods and can follow links to sepia-toned images of the original land survey plats.



To tie these maps together comprehensively for teachers, True North offers complete lesson plans for 5-8 grade classrooms, and lesson guidelines for 9-12 grade classrooms.  These resources offer teachers a quick way to use the new resource, and conveniently package the instruction techniques, worksheets, assessments, and standards correlations. These lesson plans are available both online and in printable PDF formats.



Find Out More

  • For your own adventure with history, visit the Minnesota Historical Society at:
  • Finally, attend our session at the 2007 GIS/LIS Consortium meeting! Session 22, 8 a.m. Friday, October 12, 2007.