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Articles & Publications

Title: Implementing SDIs Through Effective Networkings: the MetroGIS Geospatial Data Collaborative
Authors: Ian Masser and Randall Johnson
Date: September 2006
Abstract: This seven page article was published in the September 2006 edition of GEOInformatics (, providing background information on the origins, guiding vision, and organizational structure of MetroGIS while reflecting on the experiences and impacts of MetroGIS on local, regional, national, and international geospatial data initiatives.


Title: MetroGIS: Sharing Information Across Boundaries
Date: March 2006
Abstract: Provides a general overview of the MetroGIS mission, accomplishments, and benefits to the region. Also available upon request in a printed booklet version. This brochure was distributed as an attachment to the MetroGIS 2004 Annual Report.


Title: GIS Worlds: Creating Spatial Data Infrastructures
Author: Ian Masser
Date: 2005
Abstract: Presents an overview of the Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) phenomenon and examines the evolution of the SDI concept in several nations.  Describes the local, regional, national, transnational, and global organizations that have emerged to foster SDI development.


Title: Minnesota MetroGIS Geospatial Data Collaborative
Author: Special URISA Journal, Best ESIG Awards From the 1st Half of the Decade, vol 17, no. 2 (2005) 41-45: Jeanne Landkamer
Date: 2005

Title: White Knights of Spatial Data Infrastructure: The Role and Motivation of Key Individuals
Author: URISA Journal, 16(2), 2005, pp 5-13: Dr. William Craig, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, University of Minnesota
Date: 2005

Title: MetroGIS Deploys Data Distribution System
Author: From ArcNews, published by ESRI
Date: Summer 2003
Abstract: Provides a general technical overview of the MetroGIS DataFinder Cafe.

Title: Minneapolis - St. Paul's MetroGIS: A Collaborative Effort Overcomes Obstacles to Data Sharing
Author: Jeanne Landkamer
Date: March 2003
Abstract: This four-page article, written by Jeanne Landkamer for MetroGIS, provides a good overview of MetroGIS's objectives and accomplishments. It was the cover story in the March 2003 issue of GeoWorld Magazine.

Title: MetroGIS: A Great Investment for Our Region's Quality of Life
Author: Victoria Reinhardt, Ramsey County Commissioner and MetroGIS Policy Board Chair
Date: February 2003
Abstract: This article originally appeared in the February 2003 issue of St. Paul Area Realtor.

Title: MetroGIS - A consortium of Local Governments pulling together for Spatial Data Management
Author: An Interview with Randy (Randall) Johnson, MetroGIS Staff Coordinator
Date: January 22, 2003
Abstract: Directions Magazine caught up with Randy Johnson at URISA this past year and he talked about the success of MetroGIS, which won the Exemplary Systems in Government Award at the conference. Mr. Johnson is the Staff Coordinator for this consortium that shares spatial technology resources. In the article, Mr. Johnson provides valuable information on how MetroGIS functions day-to-day, and how they are able to succeed in an era of tight budgets. He covers topics such as data sharing, cost recovery, and his long-range goals.


Title: Collaborative Web-Enabled Data Distribution – The MetroGIS Experience
Author: From ArcNews, published by ESRI
Date: 2002
Abstract: Provides a general overview of MetroGIS from the perspective of data sharing and distribution.

Title: Lessons from Practice: A Guidebook to Organizing and Sustaining Geodata Collaboratives (1.6 MB) or download ZIP file of PDF (2.2 MB)
Project Team: Randall Johnson, MetroGIS Staff Coordinator
Published by: National Geodata Alliance (
Initial Release: November 2001 - National GeoData Forum, Denver, Colorado

In 1994, the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) initiative was established to provide a base structure of practices and relationships to facilitate sharing of commonly needed geospatial data and nurture its effective use by all who have an interest. Attaining the vision of the NSDI requires numerous and disparate interests working together to collectively address common geospatial issues and opportunities that are larger than any single interest. The emerging National GeoData Alliance (GDA) was borne out of this recognition to "foster trusted and inclusive processes to enable the creation, effective and equitable flow, and beneficial use of geographic information".

The purposes of this Guide were to assist existing geodata collaboratives - the cornerstones of the NSDI -- better communicate and complement ongoing academic research to assist champions of aspiring collaboratives better understand what it takes to establish and sustain a successful geodata collaborative.

Six self-identified, successful geodata collaboratives shared their experiences in their own words. They represented diverse geographic extents and supported diverse functions. A total of 17 practices key to their successes were identified. Six of the 17 "key practices" were identified by all six collaboratives (no order of significance is intended):

  • Broad Support For Vision & Expectations
  • Champion Individuals / Community Support
  • Knowledgeable, Respected Participants
  • Maintain Contact With National (Higher Order) Organizations
  • Proactive, Open And Inclusive Process / Procedures To Enable Maximum Participation / Diverse Perspectives
  • Promote Understanding/Outreach
This Guide concludes with a proposal to foster the sought-after collaboration and transfer of knowledge needed to achieve the vision of the NSDI. It calls for geodata collaboratives to join an effort to establish a mechanism, much the same as the National Geospatial Data Clearinghouse, to connect people and organizations with common geospatial interests.


Title: The MetroGIS Initiative: A Model for GIS Collaboration
Author: Victoria Reinhardt, Ramsey County Commissioner and MetroGIS Policy Board Chair; Randall Johnson, MetroGIS Staff Coordinator
Date: 1999
Abstract: A presentation to the United States House of Representatives.

Title: Making Metadata Part of Your Daily Diet
Author: Tony Mathys, former Metropolitan Council employee
Date: August 1999
Abstract: This publication discusses strategies for implementing metadata as part of the standard work process for GIS data production and how MetroGIS is involved in that effort. The study concludes that it will take a combination of short and long-term strategies involving cooperative efforts, incentives, and new ideas to make metadata part of mainstream activities in the GIS community.
Versions: Long version: Paper submitted to URISA for 1999 conference
Short version: Article from November 1999 issue of GeoInfo Systems magazine

Title: GIS in Dakota County: Benefits Add Up
Author: Donald D. Johnson and Dr. William Craig, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, University of Minnesota
Date: January 1997
Abstract: Dakota County has one of the most developed GIS systems in Minnesota. It was created in cooperation with 11 cities and the electric utility and is proving useful to all partners. This article documents the benefits identified as of 1996, focusing on county departments. The study has been widely cited and versions of it have appeared in GeoInfo Systems, Minnesota Cities, and FGDC funding requests.

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