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MSDI Data: Jurisdictional Boundaries

This committee is no longer active. This webpage provides a record of its activities.

The MSDI Data Plan for Government Boundaries pertains to the jurisdictional boundaries of Minnesota and the counties, cities, townships, school districts, watershed districts, and tribal governments within it. Boundaries for the state and its counties are well established and do not change, but boundaries for cities, townships, and school districts change routinely.

The plan was intended to document the methods by which government boundaries are recorded as digital data, managed, and maintained; recommend actions and investments needed to ensure maintenance of accurate and current boundary data; and recommend strategies to ensure that like-boundary data, produced by multiple entities, can be easily assembled to minimize duplication of effort and coordinate like processes.

The strategic plan for addressing this state data need was being developed by a boundaries data workgroup with assistance from the Strategic Plan Committee of the Governor's Council on Geographic Information.


Boundary data support a variety of government functions, locally and statewide, and serve as visual reference elements for most maps. The state relies upon boundaries for purposes that include state aid calculations and voter registration support. Accurate boundaries are important for all jurisdictions with taxing authority or are concerned about legal authorities, rights, responsibilities and liabilities.


Many organizations maintain versions of boundary data to meet their operational needs, although in most cases no official version has been designated or endorsed. As a result, few authoritative statewide boundary maps exist. Statuses for widely used boundary data are described below.


An MSDI data plan for Government Unit Boundaries was not completed.


Costs for producing and maintaining boundary data currently are borne by organizations that need the data for their own needs. Sharing costs for maintaining common data that support operational needs of many organizations is recognized as prudent and cost effective, but estimates of these costs have not been made. Most boundary data available statewide are designed for small-scale or medium-scale applications and have been maintained independently of local efforts. Ideally, leveraging these efforts to develop and maintain boundary data for the entire state will improve the quality of available data and reduce total costs for data production. A statewide survey is needed to help identify existing data development activities and opportunities for collaboration.




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