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 

Short Quotes 
Performance Measurement 

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

Major Reports 
Articles & Publications 


Common Information Needs

Highways and Roads

Overview of MetroGIS's Highways and Roads Information Need top of page

The information need Highways and Roads was identified as one of thirteen original priority business information needs of the MetroGIS community in late 1996. Click here to view the Business Object Framing Model Fragment for this information need. Click here for further information about MetroGIS's Business Information Needs initiative.

The MetroGIS Technical Advisory Team hosted a Peer Review Forum on October 24, 2002 to refine the desired data specifications identified in the 1996 exercise. Click here for a summary of that Forum. The summary identifies who attended, the processes used to refine the desired data specifications to address this information need, and the results of the forum. This document was the starting place for a Highways and Roads Technical Workgroup charged with formulating a recommendation(s) for a regional solution to address the Highways and Roads common business information need.

The Technical Workgroup began monthly meetings in January 2003. On April 24th, the group heard a detailed presentation about Mn/DOT's data content standard [see "Additional Information" below] from agency representatives. The group concluded that this standard is well suited for addressing the complexities posed by the MetroGIS community at the October Forum. For example, the standard allows seamless integration of roads data for the Metro Area and adjoining areas in greater Minnesota and Wisconsin - regardless of scale. On June 18, the Coordinating Committee concurred and endorsed a partnership proposed by Mn/DOT, whereby MetroGIS would provide a forum through which local and regional government needs are effectively incorporated into the statewide standard. A presentation was made by Dan Ross, Mn/DOT, at the June 18 meeting. On July 30, 2003, the Policy Board ratified this partnership with Mn/DOT.

In September 2003, the Technical Workgroup reached agreement on the project goals, expectations, and roles of the major participating organizations involved in the partnership between MetroGIS and Mn/DOT, as endorsed by the Policy Board on July 30. The objective of this partnership is to fully implement Mn/DOT's Location Data Manager (LDM) project, which has the potential to create a truly scalable, sharable road network for the region and the state. Click here to view a document which explains the agreed upon goals, expectations, and participant roles that will guide this collaborative project. The immediate next step is to agree on demonstration / pilot projects to refine work completed thus far by Mn/DOT.

Additional Information

The data content standard under development at Mn/DOT is also known as the Location Data Manager (LDM) project. The LDM is based on Anchor Points, or unique road intersections; and Anchor Segments, which are the sections of road between Anchor Points. The key to making the LDM a truly sharable and scalable system is the ability to have multiple cartographic representations of each Anchor Segment. As long as a data producer uses the Anchor Point ID's assigned by Mn/DOT, they can have cartographic representations that are more or less accurate than other datasets. Attributes can be linked between datasets, encouraging the sharing of a wide variety of datasets that are developed at various scales and for various purposes.

One example of a dataset that has the potential to be linked to the LDM is the TLG Street Centerline dataset, part of MetroGIS's endorsed regional solution for the "Street Addresses" information need. If The Lawrence Group (TLG) decides to put in the work necessary to link their dataset to the LDM, then it is possible that a user could use the TLG dataset for address matching, and seamlessly link in traffic information from the LDM, for example. This would be a very complicated task under existing conditions. The amount and difficulty of work that a data provider must undertake to link up to the LDM is yet to be determined - which is one reason why the Technical Workgroup believes it is in our best interest to participate in the development of the LDM.

Related Links

Dataset(s) that meet the Highways and Roads Information Need top of page
  • To be determined. MetroGIS has not as yet endorsed a dataset(s) to address this priority information need.

Background on MetroGIS's "Information Needs" Concept top of page

A central part of MetroGIS's work is to identify common information needs of GIS users in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Area and facilitate the policy and data specifications needed to address each of these common information needs.

An investigation to understand these common needs was conducted by MetroGIS from September 1996 to March 1997. The result of this study was the identification of thirteen priority common information needs of the MetroGIS community. Since that time, a priority function of MetroGIS has been to facilitate the development and/or assembly of regional datasets needed to address each of these common information needs.

Each information need is addressed through a replicable process. In general, the process begins by assembling a team of content experts and through a facilitated group process (Peer Review Forum), the team begins with the business object framing model fragment to identify dataset(s) required to meet the information need. In some cases, this process takes place in a forum of content experts and in other cases it is not such a formalized process because the dataset(s) that meet the information need are intuitively recognized.

Once the dataset(s) required to meet an information need is identified, a working group of content experts is created to:

  1. Refine the desired specifications identified at the Peer Review Forum,
  2. Identify desired data standards and guidelines,
  3. Identify desired roles and responsibilities for the custodian organization(s) - organizations responsible for data creation, maintenance, documentation, and distribution; and,
  4. Identify candidate custodial organizations that have a business need and appropriate expertise to carry out the desired roles and responsibilities.

The process is complete when the Policy Board has adopted, as policy for the MetroGIS community, parameters defined through the stated tasks. The parameters are posted on a Web page for each “MetroGIS endorsed regional dataset”. Once an endorsed dataset is operational, MetroGIS monitors user satisfaction to continually enhance it.

To learn more, please see the About Information Needs page and the pages for each endorsed regional dataset.

   Page last updated on March 02, 2004. Home   |   Search   |   Contact Us