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Minnesota's Spatial Data Infrastructure

The Minnesota Spatial Data Infrastructure (MSDI) is the term used to describe the organizational structure, policies, data, technology, and practices that support the development, management and use of geospatial and mapping technologies within Minnesota.  Its scope and direction intentionally parallel those that support the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, allowing Minnesota to benefit from NSDI contributions made elsewhere as well as make contributions that reflect Minnesota interests.

Strategic Plan

A Foundation for Coordinated GIS: Minnesota’s Spatial Data Infrastructure was developed as a strategic plan for the MSDI by the MN Governor's Council on Geographic Information.  It represents the results of a two-year process to identify solutions to common technology and data needs of organizations using geospatial technologies to serve the people of Minnesota. The MSDI framework includes policies, standards, and practices that would improve the availability of needed data, promote integration of technology, encourage collaboration among organizations, and extend access to geospatial technologies to organizations that would not otherwise benefit from them. Once developed, the MSDI would dramatically improve the effectiveness of state, local and regional programs ranging from public safety to natural resource management while also reducing technology costs.

A Foundation for Coordinated GIS describes the MSDI and its importance, identifies critical shared geospatial data and technology needs and how they are being met, and recommends actions required to implement a sustainable Minnesota Spatial Data Infrastructure.  Endorsed by the Minnesota Governor's Council on Geographic Information, A Foundation for Coordinated GIS is the council's strategic plan to help Minnesota organizations more effectively achieve their business goals by using GIS.  When completed, the MSDI will comprise three major components:

  • “Framework data” that serve as a common base for program-specific data.
  • Services and web applications for discovering and distributing data.
  • An organizational structure that promotes, nurtures, and guides the development and management of the MSDI.

A Foundation for Coordinated GIS summarizes plans for eight data themes that comprise the MSDI framework:  geodetic control, elevation data, orthoimagery, cadastral or parcels, administrative boundaries, soils, transportation, and hydrography. The data plans are being developed by work groups coordinated by the Strategic Plan Committee of the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Geographic Information under guidelines established by the Council. Membership is open to all stakeholders and includes participants with broad organizational and professional backgrounds. The strategic plan also includes the specific recommendations regarding concerning organizational structure and relationships, policy, and funding.

Contribute to the MSDI

The Strategic Planning Committee is seeking subject area specialists to help develop plans for each of the priority data themes discussed previously. If you are interested in contributing or have questions or comments related to the Minnesota Spatial Data Infrastructure please contact:

David Arbeit, Minnesota Geospatial Information Office
Minnesota Department of Administration
658 Cedar Street, Room 300
St. Paul, MN 55155
651-201-2460 (phone)


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