Geospatial Image Server, from the Minnesota Land Management Information Center, makes a number of different image datasets freely available, including the 2008 statewide NAIP imagery and more detailed imagery in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. When it was released at the beginning of 2007, it received a whopping 100,000 image views per month. That has grown to an average of 380,000 image views per month for the first five months of 2008. The service frees users from storing huge files on their own computers and many users testify that it provides faster access and display than locally stored data. Click here to access the service.
McLeod County partnered with the cities of Glencoe and Hutchinson, the Buffalo Creek Watershed District, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation to provide one-foot contours and high resolution imagery for a cost much lower than if each had contracted separately. Ten-foot contours are available free to the public via the interactive maps on the county website, receiving over 2 million hits from nearly 7,000 users in its first 9 months of operation. The U.S. Geological Survey will be making similar resolution data available through its National Elevation Dataset. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and other public agencies can have access to the higher resolution data without charge if they agree to not redistribute that data to others.