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Many U of M units do geospatial research:
The AGIC creates, collects, distributes and archives Antarctic geospatial information to serve the needs of the operations, research and education communities. AGIC creates cartography services, data serving and delivery solutions and provides a long term archiving plan for Antarctic geospatial information
As a catalyst for linking expertise in natural resources management, architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design, the Center for Changing Landscapes addresses issues of social, economic, and ecological sustainability in changing rural, urban, and urbanizing landscapes. The Center for Changing Landscapes (CCL) is a partnership between the College Of Architecture And Landscape Architecture and the College Of Natural Resources at the University Of Minnesota.The goal of the Center is to address issues of sustainability in changing rural, urban and urbanizing landscapes. To do so, the Center uses remote sensing, geographic information systems, spatial modeling to predict future change, and landscape design to generate sustainable solutions to land use questions at various landscape levels including regional, sub-regional, district, neighborhood and site levels.
The Center for Small Towns is a community outreach program housed at the University of Minnesota, Morris and serves as a point-of-entry to the resources of the University of Minnesota. Small towns, local units of government, K-12 schools, non-profit organizations, and other University units are able to utilize the Center's resources as they work on rural issues or make contributions to rural society. The Center makes mapping data available to assist organizations to visually represent selected variables. GIS software is utilized to provide another avenue of displaying and interpreting data about the community, county or region. This includes the analysis of selected trends for demographics, economic, cultural, and social variables.
CURA has taken a leadership role in developing the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium and is very active in coordinating the Governor's Council on Geographic Information. CURA has a long history of public service GIS. With financial assistance from federal agencies and local foundations, CURA is helping community organizations get access to GIS products and technology. Pioneering research at CURA led to the development of the Minnesota Land Management Information System, the second GIS in the US and the third in the world. This work begun in the late 1960's built a core environmental database and a GIS from scratch under contract with the State Planning Agency. Work was done by an interdisciplinary team of faculty from geography, forestry, landscape architecture, and soil science. By 1977, the project had moved enough out of the R&D phase and into the operational phase, that it was spun-off to state government and became the Land Management Information Center (LMIC). Joint research projects involving the need of GIS expertise have been supported by CURA. CURA has regularly supplied graduate students with GIS expertise to work in public agencies on research that is important to the state. The results of the efforts are often published in the journal "URISA" or in agency reports. CURA has assisted with data development or conducted GIS studies together with county government, the regional Metropolitan Council, and multiple state agencies. CURA has a long history of public service GIS. With financial assistance from federal agencies and local foundations, CURA is helping community organizations get access to GIS products and technology. Pioneering research at CURA led to the development of the Minnesota Land Management Information System, the second GIS in the US and the third in the world. CURA has regularly supplied graduate students with GIS expertise to work in public agencies on research that is important to the state. CURA has assisted with data development or conducted GIS studies together with county government, the regional Metropolitan Council, and multiple state agencies.
The Department of Forest Resources at the University of Minnesota recently competed successfully for projects in three NASA earth sciences remote-sensing programs. The projects, totaling over $2.5 million, focus on natural resources applications of new products to be made available as part of the Earth Observing System and related NASA endeavors. All three projects involve partnering with a significant number and breadth of public and private land management organizations in Minnesota.
GISL is located on the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) campus in the Department of Geography. This lab is used as a teaching facility for all of the GIS and cartography courses in the Department of Geography. In addition, its staff and its services contribute to the UMD Campus as an educational resource, and as a research facility for cartographic and geographic information system (GIS) needs. The mission of the GISL aims to promote GIS in UMD research, provide GIS project support and resources for UMD staff and faculty; promote GIS in student curriculum in many departments; to facilitate student projects demonstrating different uses of GIS to students; provide a lab and resources for UMD Graduate students and faculty to explore GIS in their work; and provide hands-on GIS experience for students wishing to intern in the GIS lab.
The Department of Geography at the University of Minnesota is one of the oldest departments in the United States with a strong tradition in cartography and geographic information science (GISc). In particular, GIS-related research activities by faculty and graduate students are focused on four basic areas including: Spatial Analysis and Modeling, Public Participation GIS, Organizations and GIS, and Cartography. Geography faculty are also involved in research collaborations with other units on campus. For example, a number of our faculty are collaborating with researchers at the Minnesota Population Center on the NSF-funded National Historical GIS project. Additionally, we are actively involved with local, national and international organizations such as MetroGIS Technical Advisory Team and Board, MN GIS/LIS Consortium, UCGIS, and ICA. Our department is also strongly committed to outreach activities particularly in the area of community-based GIS working with local area neighborhood organizations.
HarvestChoice generates knowledge products to help guide strategic investments to improve the well-being of poor people in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia through more productive and profitable farming. To do this, a novel and spatially explicit evaluation framework is being developed and deployed. By design, primary knowledge products are currently targeted to the needs of investors, policymakers and program managers, as well as the analysts and technical specialists who support them. Most decisions that HarvestChoice targets are those having implications that cut across country boundaries. The initiative makes extensive use of literature reviews, household surveys, geographical information systems (GIS) based data sets and analytical tools, crop growth simulation methods, and a suite of spatially disaggregated multi-market and economy-wide models
HEGIS is located within the Department of Geography at the University of Minnesota but has researchers from many different departments. We conduct research, education, and outreach centered on advancing Geographic Information Science (GISc) approaches to understanding human, natural, and human-environment systems. See our research page for a closer look at our projects or our publications. Also see the people page for individuals.
The Interagency Information Cooperative (IIC) was created from the Sustainable Forest Resources Act of 1995 (M.S. Chapter 89A.09). The overall mission of the IIC is to enhance the access and use of forest resources data in Minnesota. The following public organizations have representatives on the IIC: Minnesota Association of County Land Commissioners, United States Forest Service, Land Management Information Center, University of Minnesota, and Department of Natural Resources.
The University of Minnesota has a proud tradition of involvement in Greek archaeology, beginning in the 1950s with the Minnesota Messenia Expedition, when campaigns of field survey and excavations, made pioneering contributions to the study of the Bronze Age in the Peloponnesos. Today GIS and related technologies are assisting in the discovery and documentation of new program of research and exploration, headed by Professor Frederick Cooper, spanning the 3 millennia from the Bronze Age through the Middle Ages to the present day. A website allows interactive viewing of maps and satellite images of the W. Peloponnesos and project centers including Pylos and Messene.
The mission of the Minnesota Geological Survey (MGS) is to provide basic framework information on the geology of the state to citizens; local, state, and federal agencies; scientific researchers; and private businesses. One of the primary ways this information is conveyed is in the form of maps. Current GIS activities in support of this mission include digital geographic components as part of all mapping projects, including Geologic County Atlases (1:100,000 scale countywide bedrock and surficial geologic mapping and related themes); Regional Hydrogeologic Atlases (1:200,000 scale reconnaissance mapping of surficial geology and water table conditions); 1:24,000 scale quadrangle bedrock geologic mapping, and aggregate and mineral-related regional-scale framework studies. The MGS uses an interactive GIS (Avenue-based with ongoing in-house development) for storing and manipulating geologic field data and on-screen geologic mapping. In cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Health, the MGS has developed a statewide database of water well information (the County Well Index, or CWI) containing data for more than 270,000 wells and drill holes. Efforts are underway to put CWI on a GIS-enabled web site.
The Minnesota Population Center (MPC) is a University-wide interdisciplinary cooperative for demographic research, housed in the Office of the Vice President for Research. The MPC serves sixty faculty members and research associates from ten colleges and nineteen departments at the University of Minnesota and employs nearly a hundred research support staff. As a leading developer and disseminator of demographic data, the Center also serves a broader audience of some 25,000 demographic researchers worldwide. The National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) is a project of the MPC. Project members create and freely disseminate a database incorporating all available aggregate census information for the United States between 1790 and 2000. The NHGIS consists of three major components: 1) collect and enrich historical and contemporary U.S. Census summary data; 2) incorporate these data into a Geographic Information Systems framework; and 3) create a web-based system for access to both census data and the metadata.
The Minnesota Traffic Observatory (MTO) is a transportation laboratory focusing on testing and evaluation of new transportation management and operational strategies and traveler information technologies. The MTO also supports the ITS Institute’s research, education and outreach efforts, providing laboratory facilities for graduate and undergraduate students as well as educational resources for course instructors and transportation professionals.
The National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) is a project to create and freely disseminate a database incorporating all available aggregate census information for the United States between 1790 and 2000. The NHGIS consists of three major components: 1) collect and enrich historical and contemporary U.S. Census summary data; 2) incorporate these data into a Geographic Information Systems framework; and 3) create a web-based system for access to both census data and the metadata.
The University of Minnesota at Duluth has a Center for Water and the Environment in its Natural Resource Research Institute (NRRI). Remote sensing and GIS are used at NRRI to research a variety of natural resource topics, including wildlife biological and ecological monitoring to encourage diversity. The Natural Resources Geographic Information Systems (NRGIS) Laboratory was established in 1988 with a grant from the National Science Foundation. The facility is part of the NRRI, whose mission is to foster economic development of Minnesota's natural resources in an environmentally sound manner to promote private-sector employment. The NRGIS Lab focuses on the ecology and natural resources of northern Minnesota and other states of the Upper Midwest. Other specialties include remote sensing of forests and wetlands, geostatistical analysis of field data, mineral exploration and the use of global positioning systems (GPS) in field ecology. The NRGIS Lab is making linkages between GIS and remote sensing, modeling, airborne videography, GPS and virtual reality. NRGIS researchers have developed innovative techniques for mapping natural resources, such as species-level forest classification from multitemporal satellite imagery. Other types of databases generated in-house include erosion hazard of the Minnesota Lake Superior shoreline; natural and cultural resources surrounding selected hydroelectric reservoirs and the vegetation of Hearding Island in the Duluth-Superior harbor. In addition, a project to develop a method for generating GIS databases from mosaics of GPS-linked airborne videography has been funded by the National Science Foundation and Minnesota Technology, Inc.
NEXUS studies and reports findings on the relationships between Networks, Economics, and Urban Systems applying engineering, economics, planning, and social science methods in the broad domain of transportation. The research conducted by Nexus uses a variety of techniques, including agent-based modeling, database development, game theory, Geographic Information Systems, simulation, visualization, and advanced survey and statistical techniques.
Remote sensing research, focusing on forestry applications of aerial photography, began at the University of Minnesota in 1952. Twenty years later, the Remote Sensing Laboratory was established in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences . To reflect the key role of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in the lab's research and analysis, the lab was eventually renamed the Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Laboratory (RSGL). Today, the RSGL focuses primarily on computer-aided analysis of digital multispectral satellite data and GIS.
The Soil and Landscape Analysis Lab’s current research activities related to soil resource assessment have focused on the application of digital technologies to the mapping and dissemination of soil mapping information. One project involves developing an interactive soil survey that can be delivered over the Internet. The interface allows the user to browse a map sheet displayed over a DOQ, make queries of map unit attributes and create custom maps from database queries. A prototype has been created for portions of Scott County using software developed as part of the ForNet project in the Forest Resources Department. The lab's major efforts over the past year have centered on developing cost-effective methodologies to update and digitize soil surveys for GIS applications. A multiyear effort to update soil surveys within Minnesota was initiated in July 1999 with additional support from LCMR. The University of Minnesota also is exploring the use of GIS and allied technologies as tools to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of land resources assessments and information delivery.
The work of the research group is focused on the storage, management and analysis of scientific and geographic data, information and knowledge. The research is motivated by and has been applied to application areas such as transportation, virtual environments, Earth science, epidemiology, and cartography.
The Upper Midwest Regional Earth Science Applications Center project will develop self-sustaining, online remote-sensing capability across a range of applications and public agencies, with each developing, using or disseminating remotely sensed spatial data and information for solving resource management problems. Research will consider a series of environmental and resource management problems, including forest, natural resource and agricultural inventory and monitoring; regional land cover change mapping; and water quality monitoring. Data, information and models will be made accessible through Internet geospatial data tools. Workshops and outreach education will disseminate and transfer this work to the public.
The University of Minnesota Cartography Laboratory, under the direction of Dr. Mark Lindberg, is an integral part of the Department of Geography, and has been operating for approximately forty years. The Lab produces maps and does GIS processing for a variety of clients-both on and off campus. Additionally, the Lab provides a setting where students receive hands-on experience with GIS and contemporary map production. A good portion of what is done might be described as devising ways of coaxing high-quality publication-quality maps out of the current batch of GIS software.