Project Examples

MnGeo's Project Services team (formerly the Land Management Information Center) has been a vital source of solutions for its clients. Here are a few of the ways we were able to help:

Telecommunications

A view of all the state’s telephone exchanges has proven very popular among telecommunication businesses since our team created it in 1996. The 2007 update reflects ownership and boundary changes for some local exchange companies. Versions are available that show major highways, legislative districts and congressional districts.

The poster-size map shows the boundaries of more than 700 telephone exchange service areas and color-codes them by major telecommunication company. The map contains an index for easy location of a particular telephone exchange. The digital data version is available in shapefile format for geographic information systems. The GIS files and PDF versions of the map may be downloaded at no charge from our website.

For more information, see the telecom map webpage.
 

Child care

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Creative use of mapping technology and the global positioning system is helping Minnesota child care homes serve up meals and snacks.

In 1997, new rules for a federal aid program gave the Department of Children, Families & Learning, now the Department of Education) less than three months to determine which Minnesota child care homes were located in areas of high need, qualifying them for reimbursement for the food they serve.

To be eligible, the child care provider had to either meet certain criteria for household size and income or be located in an area where at least half the schoolchildren are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.

To determine eligibility based on geography, the department turned to LMIC for help. The 8,000 home addresses outside of the Twin Cities area were a particular challenge. Rural routes and post office box numbers gave little help in locating these homes on a map. With the deadline looming, staff from LMIC and the Department of Children, Families & Learning devised a solution. The department gave its field workers 100 handheld receivers for the global positioning system, which uses signals from satellites to determine locations on the ground. The workers visited more than 8,000 rural child care providers to record the latitude and longitude of their homes.

The location of each provider was only half of the picture, however. The areas that qualified for aid also had to be mapped. That meant matching U.S. census blocks (the source of household income information) against school district boundaries. In 29 school districts, only part of the district met the criteria, so LMIC needed to map the attendance areas for specific schools.

The final step was to determine whether each child care home fell within an area eligible for aid. Not only did LMIC and the Department of Children, Families & Learning meet the federal deadline, but they set up a system to make it easy for new providers to learn whether they qualify for aid. The department also commissioned LMIC to develop digital data describing all public school attendance areas and school locations in every school district.

For more information about the Food and Nutrition Program, call 651-582-8526 or see the Food and Nutrition Service web site.
 

Oak wilt

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Oak wilt is a fast-spreading, destructive disease that kills trees within a few weeks by plugging up their water-conducting tissues. Stands of oak trees on sandy soil are susceptible to epidemics, which often begin when trees are wounded during May or June, typically during home construction.

Federal funding has enabled the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division to work with LMIC and local communities to control oak wilt.

Geographic information was an important part of the strategy. LMIC created large maps of the more than 100 cities and townships included in the program. The maps showed where oak wilt had been a problem and whether it had been treated. Community monitors used the maps to record newly infected locations, misclassified sites and treatment status. These changes then went back to LMIC for creating new maps.

LMIC continues to help the Department of Natural Resources use the power of geographic data not only to map the incidence and treatment of oak wilt each year, but to report trends, study the effectiveness of different treatments, evaluate the results of the federal program and give local communities enough warning to limit oak wilt epidemics by adjusting the timing of construction projects in susceptible areas.