MetroGIS Logo: A Common Ground. MetroGIS Logo: Sharing Information Across Boundaries.
   Serving the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Area Home   |   Search   |   Contact Us    
 
What is MetroGIS? 
Deliverables & Outcomes 
Business Planning 
What's New 
Major Accomplishments 
Annual Reports 
Affiliations 
Awards 
Grants 
History 

Overview 
Short Quotes 
Testimonials 
Studies 
Performance Measurement 

Overview
Looking for GIS Data or Web Map Services? 
Looking for GIS Applications? 
Looking for GIS Standards/Best Practices? 

Meeting Calendar 
Policy Board 
Coordinating Committee 
Technical Advisory Team 
Special Purpose Workgroups 
Organizational Structure 
Operating Guidelines
Dissolved Teams
Major Projects

Presentations 
Major Reports 
Articles & Publications 
Glossary

 

About MetroGIS > History

Links to other key pages about MetroGIS history and structure:


Overview

Top of Page

MetroGIS is a multi-participant, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) initiative. It is helping local governments and other organizations serving the seven-county Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Area more effectively carry out their business operations and manage costs through sharing data and collaboratively addressing other common GIS-related needs.

The goal of MetroGIS is to institutionalize data sharing so its stakeholders can easily obtain accurate and reliable data they need from others in the form they need it, to carry out their business functions. A broadly participatory process was used to achieve consensus on a variety of matters critical to the success of MetroGIS, including a mission statement, priority functions (also referred to as "products and services" beginning with the 2002 Business Planning efforts), and identifying priority common business information needs; needs which are both critical to internal business operations and which they are dependent on others for the data to address them. These common information needs include data relating to property, jurisdictional boundaries, land use, water features, roads, addresses, socio-demographics, and others. MetroGIS conducted its research independent of that of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) and found significant similarities.

Since its beginnings in 1995, several hundred people representing a wide variety of agencies and organizations have been involved in the decision-making process that has shaped MetroGIS. These organizational interests include counties; cities; metropolitan, state, and federal agencies; school districts; watershed districts; non-profit groups; private organizations; utilities; research organizations; education professionals, and private citizens.


Implementation Phase III: Enhancing and Transitioning to a Mature Organization (July 2001 – present)

Top of Page

Immediately following the July 11, 2001 Policy Board meeting, three initiatives were launched to enhance MetroGIS's functionality. The first, MetroGIS's Internet Enabled Data Distribution Mechanism project (now known as MetroGIS DataFinder Café), was completed, providing a state-of-art-data distribution mechanism. The second, "second generation" data sharing agreements were secured with each of the seven metro area counties to supercede the Interim GIS Data and Cost Sharing Agreements that expired December 31, 2001. (Note: the second generation agreements expired December 31, 2003. The third generation agreements, which are proposed to have a 5-year term, were in the process receiving approval from the seven county boards in January 2004. Click here for more information about each of the data sharing agreements.) And third, a Performance Measures Program was instituted to ensure that MetroGIS is accomplishing its goals and meeting the needs of the MetroGIS community.

The emphasis during this phase is to implement solutions to each of the remaining initial priority business information needs, identify any additional information needs for which the MetroGIS desires a regional solution, foster institutional connectivity with the reminder of Minnesota in terms of meeting common business information needs, enhance MetroGIS's regional data solutions, and enhance MetroGIS DataFinder to remain consistent with the geospatial needs of the MetroGIS community.


Implementation Phase II: Design (May 1996 – July 2001)

Top of Page

Phase II, design of the desired form and function of MetroGIS, officially began with the May 16, 1996 Advisory Team Kick-Off Forum. This phase was completed on July 11, 2001 with the conclusion of MetroGIS's Regional Parcel Data Pilot Project.

Four advisory teams (data access, data content, policy, and data standards) were created by the Coordinating Committee in March and April 1996 to help it address the many issues and needs identified at the Strategic Planning Retreat. These needs were consolidated by the Committee into five strategic projects and assigned to the advisory teams for recommended courses of actions. (These advisory teams are no longer active. Please see the Dissolved Teams page for more information about them.)

MetroGIS adopted its first Business Plan on April 27, 2000. Subsequently, on June 14, 2000, the Metropolitan Council approved a statement of intent to continue its support of MetroGIS's coordination functions through 2003. With this acceptance by the Council of MetroGIS's Business Plan, MetroGIS achieved critical longer-term financial support and moved closer to a mature operational phase.

On July 11, 2001, the Policy Board directed, on the basis of the findings of MetroGIS's Regional Parcel Data Pilot Project that: 1) Policy Board's pursuance of a regional parcel dataset, 2) pursuance of a state-of-the-art mechanism to distribute parcel and other geospatial data via the Internet, and 3) continuation of MetroGIS's unincorporated organizational structure as adequate to achieve all of the functions desired of MetroGIS by the MetroGIS community.

By this time, actual solutions had been implemented for four of the five Phase II strategic design projects identified during the definition phase, and required foundation policies were essentially in place for the fifth - priority business information needs. Although detailed data specifications and custodial responsibilities remained to be adopted for several of the regional priority business information needs, the policies required were dataset-specific rather than institutional in nature. Consequently, emphasis shifted to acquiring the agreements necessary to sustain long-term financing, data sharing, and congruence with the geospatial policy for the remainder of the State of Minnesota and beyond, as opposed to pursuing studies to define desired functionality.


Implementation Phase I: Definition (December 1995 -- April 1996)

Top of Page

The concept of establishing a regional GIS to serve the seven-county Twin City Metropolitan Area was suggested in 1995 by the Metropolitan Council, the regional planning agency that serves the seven county area. The concept was introduced at the Minnesota GIS/LIS State Conference in September. Two informational forums followed in October to gauge public support for the concept of establishing a regional GIS and for the idea of the Metropolitan Council facilitating the initiative. Strong support was found for both concepts and, subsequently, the Council officially accepted responsibility to sponsor what has become known as the definition and design phases of the MetroGIS initiative.

The definition phase officially began with a Strategic Planning Forum held December 14, 1995. A process called "concept mapping" [note: 5 MB file], facilitated by Dr. John Bryson with the University of Minnesota, was used to identify the breadth of issues and opportunities that laid the foundation for what evolved into MetroGIS. This Forum was attended by 22 representatives of public, non-profit, and private sector interests critical to the success of the initiative, including the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) Framework Coordinator. Through the concept mapping exercises, agreement was reached on strategic issues and statements of intent that over the next four months would be refined into a mission statement, five initial strategic design projects, and an initial organizational structure. The participants, with the exception of the NSDI Framework Coordinator, who deferred to the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Minnesota liaison, agreed to continue to serve in an advisory capacity that evolved into the MetroGIS Coordinating Committee. A summary of the definition phase’s activities and accomplishments is provided in a document entitled "A Chronicle of Molding a Common Vision"


   
   Page last updated on March 13, 2009. Home   |   Search   |   Contact Us