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Minnesota GIS Educational Sourcebook 1997
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Where to Learn More About GIS/LIS in Minnesota

This webpage and hardcopy booklet are intended to help people understand how they can learn more about GIS and LIS. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Land Information Systems (LIS) are rapidly-growing technologies with a broad range of applications. There is significant need for more education and training in these fields as their adoption become more widespread.


1. Private Firms
2. Government
3. Colleges and Universities
4. Source for GIS books
5. MN GIS/LIS Consortium
6. More about this booklet

Map of facilities

Instruction offered by private firms is usually directed toward learning specific GIS software or GPS instruments. This instruction typically lasts one to five days and is offered either at the firm or client’s site. One government agency, the Land Management Information Center, offers several courses of similar duration, covering both introductory subjects and those of current interest. There are 21 colleges and universities in and near Minnesota that offer GIS courses. These quarter or semester long courses can lead to the Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, GIS Certification, or Doctorate degrees. Following the description of these programs is a source for GIS books, some of which are about learning concepts and others about learning specific software programs.

This booklet was funded by the MN GIS/LIS Consortium. MN GIS/LIS is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to further the development of GIS/LIS in the state. The Consortium organizes an annual conference and publishes a quarterly newsletter. MN GIS/LIS serves as a forum for users to communicate with each other about their GIS activities. The organization is described more fully on the last page of this booklet.

Every effort has been made to contact all organizations who offer GIS education and training to the public, but the completeness and accuracy of the information in this booklet will change over time. Information in this booklet was current in mid-1997. MN GIS/LIS would like to keep the information in this booklet current. Send changes to the address on the last page.

1. Private Firms

BRW, Inc.
Digital Resource
Environmental Systems Research Institute
Geographic Information Systems Research and Development Center
Kunde Co.
Pro-West & Associates
Science Museum of Minnesota
SEH (Short, Elliot, and Hendrickson, Inc.)
Sokkia Measuring Systems

BRW, Inc.

BRW offers ESRI-certified training on ArcView and PC ARC/INFO. The ArcView training is a two-day course; the PC ARC/INFO course is five-day. BRW also provides customized training based on an organization’s specific requirements, such as particular modules of ESRI products like ArcCAD, an overview of the ESRI product family, or seminars about how GIS applies to municipal, transit, and natural resource problems.

For more information, contact: Tracy Tupper-Looney, BRW Inc., Thresher Square, 700 Third St. So, Mpls, MN 55415 (612-373-6364), e-mail:, or visit their web site at

Digital Resource

Digital Resource offers courses in AutoCAD Map and AutoCAD World, programs that bring mapping and GIS tools to AutoCAD. AutoCAD Map is a two-day course that assumes a working knowledge of AutoCAD. AutoCAD World is a three-day course that requires a working knowledge of any Windows operating system.

For more information, contact: Joe Osborne, Digital Resource, 9555 James Ave. So., Bloomington, MN 55431 (612-885-0116), e-mail:

Environmental Systems Research Institute

ESRI teaches a variety of courses in the Twin Cities. Courses last for two, three, or five days. Course topics include Introduction to ArcView, Programming with Avenue, Introduction to ARC/INFO, Advanced ARC/INFO, Introduction to Atlas GIS, Customizing ARC/INFO with AML, Database Design, Using ArcView’s Spatial Analyst, and Map Objects with Visual Basic. Two or three courses are offered each month, either at the ESRI office or at the client’s site.

ESRI also offers courses via the web (the ESRI Virtual Campus). Currently, six courses are offered, all related to ArcView, but ESRI plans to post courses on Spatial Analyst and 3-D Analyst. These web-based courses include an exam and ESRI certification. A lower course fee is available for students enrolled in colleges and universities. Web-based courses are described at

For more information, contact: ESRI, 3460 Washington Drive, Suite 101, St. Paul, MN 55122 (612-454-0600), e-mail:, or visit the ESRI web site at, or the general ESRI web site at

Geographic Information Systems Research and Development Center

A variety of GIS courses are taught, either in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, or River Falls, Wisconsin, such as Introduction to GIS and PC ARC/INFO, ArcView, GIS for Managers, Rural Addressing and 911.

For more information, contact: Dr. Linda Tomaselli, GIS RDC, Box 385, River Falls, WI 54022 (800-484-7938, enter code 0384).


Intergraph offers several GIS-related courses in three different venues: they will teach the courses on the client’s site, at their Huntsville, Alabama headquarters, or via teleconferencing. Courses include Mapping & GIS, Scanning & Plotting, Visualization, MicroStation, and image processing.

for more information, contact: Mike Pearson, 1355 Mendota Heights Rd., #130, St. Paul, MN 55120 (612-681-4443), e-mail:, or visit their website at:

Kunde Co.

Kunde is a forestry consulting firm offering educational workshops in the areas of GPS and GIS-related data gathering instruments. Kunde is a dealer for CMT, an ESRI-authorized product that has seamless integration into CAD programs, ARC/INFO and ArcView.

For more information, contact: Steve Nicholson, The Kunde Co., 2311 Woodbridge St., #170, Roseville, MN 55113 (612-484-0114), e-mail:, or visit their website at:

Pro-West & Associates

Located in Walker, Minnesota, between Bemidji and Brainerd, Pro-West teaches ESRI-certified courses in ArcView and ArcCAD, either on-site or at the client’s location. Pro-West also conducts inservice training sessions tailored to individual user applications.

For more information, contact: Pro-West & Associates, Box 812, Walker, MN 56484 (218-547-3374), e-mail: or visit their website at:

Science Museum of Minnesota

The Science Museum does not offer GIS courses, but does offer many related subjects, including database (Access, FoxBase, Paradox), operating systems (UNIX, Windows ‘95 and NT), computer networks, Internet and the web (HTML, Java, Netscape) desktop publishing (PageMaker, Photoshop, FrameMaker, Illustrator, Corel, Quark, Adobe), Visual Basic, and scanning. Fees are reasonable and courses are taught often.

For more information, contact: Science Museum of Minnesota, Computer Education, Firstar Center, 101 East Fifth Street, Suite 1900, St. Paul, MN 55101 (612-221-4722), e-mail:, or visit their web site at

SEH (Short, Elliot, and Hendrickson, Inc.)

SEH teaches an Introduction to ArcView course, taught by an ESRI-certified instructor, in the training room of their Vadnais Heights office or at the client’s site. The class is taught monthly. SEH also offers customized training on GIS implementation, system selection, startup, support and training.

For more information, contact: Wayne Becker or Rebecca Blue, SEH, 3535 Vadnais Center Drive, St. Paul, MN 55110 (612-490-2000 or 1-800-325-2055), e-mail: or

Sokkia Measuring Systems

Sokkia offers a half-day GIS/GPS Data Acquisition course, either at the client’s site or a conference site. The emphasis of the course is hands-on GPS for geodetic and GIS surveys.

For more information, contact: Sokkia Measurement Systems, 8027 24th Ave. So., Bloomington, MN 55425, (612-854-4300), e-mail:, or visit their website at:


SpatialSolutions offers a two-day ArcView course and customized instruction, taught by an ESRI-certified instructor. The course is taught on-site or at the client’s location.

For more information, contact: Harry Rosefelt, SpatialSolutions, 1544 Portland Ave, St. Paul, MN 55104 (612-222-2234).

2. Government

Land Management Information Center

LMIC provides a variety of GIS courses at various locations around that state. Standard and custom training courses were designed and conducted cooperatively with the DNR, BWSR and the University of Minnesota staff to meet the needs of state, county and local planning and natural resource staff. Courses include: An Introduction to GIS Principles and Concepts; An Introduction to EPIC - A GIS for the Non-technical GIS User; How to Capture, Exchange and Analyze Data, How to Use DOQs and DRGs; and EPPL Functions and Operations.

For more information, contact: Ken Pekarek, Land Management Information Center, 658 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN 55155 (612-296-1201), e-mail:, or visit their website at:

3. Colleges and Universities

Twenty one colleges and universities in and around Minnesota offer courses in GIS and related subjects (see map). Degrees range from Associate and Bachelor’s to Master’s, Doctorate, and GIS certification, in subject areas from geography to surveying and natural resources, like forestry, fisheries, wildlife, soils, and environmental studies. What follows describes courses in Minnesota first, followed by courses in nearby states, then distance-learning or web-based programs.

A detailed survey of the GIS/LIS programs at colleges and universities in and near Minnesota was done in 1995. The results give information on degrees offered, courses, instructors, hardware and software used in the courses. The results of this survey are available at: Follow the links to Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium and to GIS/LIS Educational Survey (1995). The document can be viewed on the screen or downloaded via ftp.

Colleges and Universities in Minnesota

Alexandria Technical College

"Alex Tech" offers a significant GIS/LIS curriculum of about 20 quarter courses in GIS and related subjects, such as CAD, database, legal issues, remote sensing and COGO. With a technical orientation, the Alex Tech programs are hands-on and practical. A one-year GIS Specialist Certificate is offered for those who already have a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree. A two-year Associate degree in GIS is also available.

For more information, contact Quinto Lotti, Alexandria Technical College, 1601 Jefferson St., Alexandria, MN 56308 (888-234-1222 or 370-762-4535), e-mail:, or visit their web site at

Bemidji State University

Bemidji State offers about nine courses in GIS-related subjects, leading to a Bachelor’s degree in geography or a Master’s degree in environmental studies. Courses range from Map Use and Air Photo Interpretation to Cartography and GIS, and include a suite of courses in planning and three courses in GIS. A recent NSF grant includes GPS equipment. Internships with natural resource groups in northern Minnesota are well-developed.

For more information, contact: Dr. Charlie Parson, Geography, Bemidji State University, Bemidji, MN 56601 (218-755-2880), e-mail:, or visit BSU’s website at

Dunwoody Institute

The emphasis of Dunwoody’s program is surveying and GPS. Offering the Associate’s degree in Civil Technology & Land Surveying, Dunwoody’s courses include CAD and two surveying

courses. Training is offered in AutoCAD and GPS receiver and base station technology. Courses are offered both during the day and at night.

For more information, contact: Dave Zenk, Dunwoody Institute, 818 Dunwoody Blvd, Mpls, MN 55403-1192, (612-374-5800), e-mail:, or visit their website at:

Inver Hills Community College

One GIS course is taught at Inver Hills, with Map Interpretation and Analysis as a related course.

For more information, contact: Paul Sabourin, 2500 80th Se. E., Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076, (612-450-8554), e-mail:, or visit their website at:

Macalester College

Macalester offers four daytime courses: Cartography, Advanced Cartography, GIS, and Advanced GIS, leading to the Bachelor’s degree in geography.

For more information, contact: Dr. Susanna McMaster, Geography, 1600 Grand Ave, St. Paul, MN 55105-1899 (612-696-6126), e-mail:, or visit their website at:

Mankato State University

MSU offers several courses in GIS-related subjects, including, cartography, image interpretation and remote sensing, GIS, field mapping (including GPS), and urban and regional planning via the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees either in geography or urban and regional planning. Other GIS activities include the Water Resources Center and other departments.

For more information, contact: Dr. Phil Kelley, Geography, MSU-2, Mankato State University, Mankato, MN 56002-8400 (507-389-2617), e-mail:, or visit their website at:

St. Cloud State University

SCSU is one of the premier GIS programs in Minnesota. They offer about 12 courses in GIS-related subjects: three courses in cartography, two in air photo interpretation and remote sensing, a suite of surveying courses, and four courses in GIS. SCSU offers the B.A. degree in general geography, a B.S. in geography teaching, a B.S. in Land Surveying and Mapping Sciences, and a GIS minor. SCSU also offers the M.S. degree with a non-thesis option and GIS certification. The certification requires enrollment in the graduate program and is approved by the Minnesota State Board of Education. Well-equipped labs offer workstation GIS and other current technology. The department is well-connected with utility companies, local governments, natural resource agencies, and private firms.

For more information, contact: Dr. Bob Bixby, Dr. Ben Richason, or Dan Ross, SCSU Geography, 720 Fourth Ave. S., SH-317, St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498 (320-255-2244), e-mail:, or visit their website at:

St. Mary’s University

Located in Winona, southeastern Minnesota, the focus of St. Mary’s program is a Master’s degree in resource analysis, including GIS certification. The program uses workstation GIS and GPS equipment. A new program, St. Mary’s offers six courses in subject areas related to GIS.

For more information, contact: Dr. David McConville or Rory Vose, Resource Studies Center, St. Mary’s University, Box 10, Winona, MN 55987 (507-457-1542), e-mail:, or

University of Minnesota - Duluth

UMD has six courses relating to GIS, including three courses in cartography and graphic design/animation and three courses in GIS. Both the Bachelor’s (in Geography) and Master’s degrees (in Liberal Studies) are offered.

For more information, contact: Dr. Scott Freundshuh, 328 Cina Hall, University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN 55812 (218-726-6226), e-mail:, or visit their website at

University of Minnesota - St. Paul campus, College of Natural Resources

The College of Natural Resources brings together the fields of forest resources, wood & paper sciences, fisheries & wildlife, recreation resource management, urban forestry, and natural resources & environmental studies. Courses are offered in areas ranging from air photo interpretation and digital remote sensing to a series of courses in GIS. Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees are offered. The Remote Sensing Lab in the Department of Forest Resources is a cornerstone of GIS activity in Minnesota. Its well-equipped labs provide state-of-the-art facilities for GIS and image processing.

For more information, contact: Dr. Marv Bauer or Dr. Paul Bolstad, Department of Forest Resources, 115 Green Hall, 1530 North Cleveland Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108-6112 (612-624-3703 or 612-625-1703), e-mail: or, or visit their website at:

University of Minnesota - Minneapolis campus

A newly-created Master’s degree in GIS (MGIS) begins in the fall of 1997 and will become a key program the state. Housed in the Department of Geography and linked to several other departments and state agencies, the MGIS program offers a wide range of courses at the graduate level, e.g. seven core courses in GIS, seven more in GIS technology, and related courses, such as six courses in cartography, two in remote sensing, and one in quantitative methods. The Geography Department also offers Bachelor’s and Doctoral degrees in which a student can take GIS courses.

For more information, contact: Dr. Robert McMaster or Dr. Will Craig, 414 Social Sciences, 267 19th Ave. So., Mpls, MN 55455 (612-625-6080), e-mail: or, or visit their website at:

University of St. Thomas

The Geography Department offers three GIS-related courses and a few supporting courses. The courses directly related to GIS are: Computer Skills in Geography, GIS, and Advanced GIS. Supporting courses are CAD, two database courses, and independent studies. Most courses are only offered during the day.

For more information, contact: Dr. Bob Werner, UST LOR 306, 2115 Summit Ave, St. Paul, MN 55105-1096 (612-962-5565), e-mail:, or visit their website at:

Colleges and Universities near Minnesota

South Dakota State University

Offering three GIS-related courses leading to the B.A. or M.A. in Geography, SDSU uses workstation GIS. For more information, contact: SDSU Geography, Scobey Hall Box 504, Brookings, SD 57007-0648 (605-688-4511), or visit their website at:

North Dakota State College of Science

With a focus on civil engineering and surveying, NDSCS offers three courses leading to an A.S. degree. For more information, contact: Duane Lysne, NDSCS Box 86, Wahpeton, ND 58076 (706-671-2345).

North Dakota State University

One GIS course is offered by NDSU. For more information, contact: Dr. C.S. Balachandran, Stevens Hall, NDSU, Fargo, ND 58105-5517 (701-321-7115), e-mail:, or visit their website at:

University of North Dakota

Five GIS-related courses are offered by UND. For more information, contact: Dr. Mohammad Hemmasi, Geography, UND Box 9020, Grand Forks, ND 58202 (701-777-4587), e-mail:, or visit their website at:

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

Six courses are taught in GIS and cartography, with a minor in cartography/GIS. For more information, contact: Dr. Charles Rader, UW Geography, 410 So. 3rd St., River Falls, WI 54022-5001 (715-425-3264), e-mail: charles.p.rader@uwrf.edu3, or visit UW-RF’s general website at:

Colleges and Universities offering distance-learning or web-based programs


Based from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, the program offers a certificate in GIS. The program is aimed at students who already have a Bachelor’s degree and professional experience in GIS or a related field. Twelve GIS courses are offered. Students are expected to have a PC with modem and CD-ROM drive. Students are charged a fee of US $500 for a copy of ArcView and IDRISI. A Master’s degree is offered with this program in conjunction with UNI UK or Austrian universities, but the GIS certificate program is available separately. For more information, contact: Dr. Tom Poiker, Geography, Simon Fraser University, 515 West Hastings St., Vancouver, BC, Canada V6B 5K3 (604-291-4515), e-mail:, or visit their web site at:

University of Southern California

USC plans to have a distance-learning GIS program available soon. Look for information at their web site:, or contact Dr. John Wilson, Department of Geography, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0255 (213) 740-0050.

4. Source for GIS books

There are now many good GIS books on the market. Some are oriented toward teaching GIS concepts and others toward learning specific GIS software programs. Books that teach specific GIS software programs often come with a CD-ROM that includes a demonstration copy of the software. Such books can be an excellent and inexpensive way to learn software. One good source for both is the ESRI Bookstore. You can request the ESRI Bookstore Catalog by writing to the following address, or you can see the Catalog and shop on line with at web address:, or write to ESRI Bookstore, 380 New York Street, Redlands, CA 92373-8100.

5. The MN GIS/LIS Consortium

The Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium (Geographic Information Systems / Land Information Systems) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to communicate information to, and improve cooperation among, those interested in GIS and LIS in the State of Minnesota. Members include GIS users in local, state and federal government agencies; businesses and industry; and educational institutions.

The Consortium hosts an annual statewide conference and establishes committees that deal with specific GIS/LIS-related issues in Minnesota. Opportunities to participate in Consortium activities are available through volunteer work with committees, conferences and workshops.

The consortium sponsors a newsletter called GIS/LIS News. To add your name to the mailing list, address correspondence to:

330 Centennial Building
658 Cedar St.
St. Paul, MN 55155

or e-mail Don Yaeger at:

The annual MN GIS/LIS meeting lasts for three days in late September or early October. The first day typically offers 12 workshops on topics ranging from introductory subjects of GIS and GPS to specific technical subjects like coordinate transformations and data conversion. The next two days are the conference itself, consisting of about 50 presentations, 12 poster sessions, vendor exhibits, and keynote speakers. Look for more information about the conference in the newsletter.

6. More about this booklet

More copies of this booklet are available from the MN GIS/LIS Consortium, either (1) at the website of the Minnesota Land Management Information Center:, then look for GIS/LIS Educational Survey (1997), or (2) in paper form. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: GIS Educational Survey, Geography - LOR 306, University of St. Thomas, 2115 Summit Ave, St. Paul, MN 55105-1096, e-mail:

MN GIS/LIS would like to keep the information in the hardcopy booklet and this web version current. Please send changes to Bob Werner at This booklet was funded by a grant from the MN GIS/LIS Consortium and carried out by Bob Werner at the University of St. Thomas.

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