MetroGIS is involved in efforts to promote and expand sharing of
geospatial data and knowledge at the local, regional, state, and national
levels. Its model for collaboration and data sharing is studied widely.
MetroGIS's leadership has testified before a subcommittee of the U.S. Congress
and has presented at national conferences about MetroGIS's efforts and
accomplishments. Some of MetroGIS's affiliations with other organizations are
The Metropolitan Council has served as a primary sponsor of MetroGIS since its inception in 1995. On July 28, 2006, the Council reaffirmed the value it realizes from MetroGIS’s existence by unanimously adopting a resolution of continued commitment. This resolution establishes measures of accountability and expectations to guide the relationship between the Council and MetroGIS. The Council had ten years previously adopted a similar resolution of commitment on February 8, 1996, through which the Council committed significant financial and staff support to the regional data sharing initiative that soon after became known as MetroGIS.
The July 28, 2006 action was preceded by a 5-month program evaluation that began Spring 2005 which was conducted by the Council’s Internal Auditor. The resulting Evaluation and Audit Report, released in October 2005, found that MetroGIS was a cost effective means for the Council to obtain the data it needed from others. The report also identified several organizational topics for further investigation. A workgroup of the Council was created and began meeting in January 2006 to address the additional issues. The chairperson of the MetroGIS Policy Board was a member of this five person workgroup, along with the Council’s representative to the MetroGIS Policy Board and three other Councilmembers. After a 4-month investigation, the workgroup concluded that no changes were warranted to MetroGIS’s organizational structure. The topics investigated by the workgroup are documented in its report to the Council’s Community Development Committee, dated April 2006.
From MetroGIS’s inception in 1995 through December 2005, the Metropolitan Council, as MetroGIS's primary sponsor, had invested in excess of $2.8 million in staff and non-staff costs to support MetroGIS’s “foster collaboration function”, in addition to sharing its data freely with other government organizations.
The MnGeo coordinates the development of geographic
information technologies throughout Minnesota. Its mission is to promote
efficient and effective use of resources by providing leadership and direction
in the development, management and use of geographic information statewide. MnGeo, through its two coordinating Councils makes recommendations in areas including, but not limited to: policies,
institutional arrangements, standards, education and stewardship.
MnGeo staff work together from time
to time with MetroGIS on projects of mutual interest. MetroGIS Several of MetroGIS's leaders also
serve in leadership roles within the MnGeo environment.
The Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium is a forum for communicating information to, and improving cooperation among, those interested in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Land Information Systems (LIS) in the State of Minnesota. Members include GIS users in local, regional, state and federal government agencies; business and industry; and educational institutions. Its mission is "to develop and support the GIS professional in Minnesota for the benefit of our state and its citizens."
The Consortium hosts an annual statewide conference, and establishes committees that deal with specific GIS/LIS-related issues in Minnesota. The concept of creating a regional data sharing collaborative for the Twin Cities was first proposed at the annual Consortium conference in 1995. This idea, which evolved into the MetroGIS initiative, was well received and quickly gained momentum from this well-attended forum. Many GIS professionals involved in MetroGIS are also active in the Consortium. The Consortium's quarterly newsletter also plays a key role in MetroGIS's outreach efforts.
The National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) was created by executive order in 1994 and put under the direction of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC). The NSDI is defined as the technologies, policies, and people necessary to promote sharing of geospatial data throughout all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the academic community. MetroGIS's mission is similar to that of the NSDI at a regional level.
MetroGIS has been a proponent of the NSDI vision for over a decade. NSDI's seven Framework Functions have and continue to be a fundamental driver of MetroGIS's policies to establish custodial roles and responsibilities necessary to sustain effective sharing of data commonly needed by the MetroGIS community. MetroGIS is also actively fostering and facilitating, via participation in MnGeo initiatives, the notion of statewide policy consistent with NSDI's concept of seven Framework Themes, in particular, for parcel data and administrative boundaries. See the NSDI Framework Handbook for information about seven Framework Themes and seven Framework Functions. In addition to working with state interests, MetroGIS is seeking out opportunities to collaborate with federal agencies. In December 2001, MetroGIS brought together the Chief of TIGER and the owners of MetroGIS's endorsed regional street centerline dataset to investigate integrating this locally produced data into TIGER. MetroGIS has also encouraged the proponents of The National Map to partner on matters of common interest.
Several members of MetroGIS’s leadership team have also participated in several NSDI-related functions. The MetroGIS Staff Coordinator participated in NSDI's 1996-97 Framework Workshop series, several NSDI-related workgroups and was also appointed to a 3-year term in 2008 as a charter member of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee representing regional interests as a result of MetroGIS accomplishments. MetroGIS has been the subject of three NSDI-related grants. A Benefits Study Grant was issued to study the benefits of sharing geospatial data and information on a regional scale using MetroGIS as the case study. An NSDI Framework Demonstration Grant was issued to develop a fair-share financial model and investigate an appropriate organizational structure for MetroGIS. An NSDI Web Mapping Services Grant was also awarded to MetroGIS.
MetroGIS received designation as an I-Team in August 2002
The I-Team Geospatial Information Initiative (I-Team Initiative) was a joint project of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Council for Excellence in Government, Urban Logic, TIE, NSGIC, NACO, and other strategic partners. The program was abandoned around 2003 when the FGDC forged an alliance with the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) in an attempt to address the institutional and financial barriers to development of the NSDI (National Spatial Data Infrastructure). The aim of the I-Team initiative was to create the incentive to attain a coherent set of institutional and financial incentives to make it easier for all levels of government and the private sector to collaborate in the building of the next generation of framework data. These are also among the objectives of the FGDC's alliance with NSGIC. The foremost goals are to help all levels of government and the private sector save money, migrate from existing legacy systems, make better use of existing resources, and develop the business case for additional public and private resources needed to achieve the vision of the NSDI.
As the concept of the NSDI evolved, the FGDC saw the need for a nonfederal organization to foster geographic data coordination. It sponsored an initiative in 2000 that led to the formation of the National GeoData Alliance (www.geoall.net) in 2001.
The goal of the National Geodata Alliance (GDA) was to foster trusted and inclusive processes to enable the creation, effective and equitable flow, and beneficial use of geographic information. The GDA was a not-for-profit corporation that sought to balance the privacy of individuals and freedom of information while hoping to coordinate these issues through local, state, and federal levels. The MetroGIS Staff Coordinator and MetroGIS Policy Board member Johnson served on the drafting committee that brought the GDA into being. MetroGIS joined the GDA as a charter institutional member in July 2001. MetroGIS Policy Board Chair Victoria Reinhardt served on the initial GDA's National Board of Trustees from November 2001 to December 2002 representing regional government interests. Due to retirement of key proponents and the rise of other national initiatives with similar objectives the GDA ceased to gain criteria momentum and disbanded shortly thereafter.