Minnesota Structures Collaborative (MSC)

In partnership with the Emergency Preparedness Committee (EPC), MnGeo received a grant to improve the availability and quality of geospatial data and maps for four types of structures in Minnesota:

  • Fire stations
  • Hospitals
  • Police stations
  • Schools (public and private)

Overview  |  Phase 1 Accomplishments  |  Current Features  |  Phase 2 - Volunteers Needed!  |  Contact Us


Funded by the Federal Geographic Data Committee via a National Spatial Data Infrastructure Cooperative Agreements Program (CAP) grant in early 2008, the Minnesota Structures Collaborative (MSC) project sought to develop state and local partnerships and the technical capacity for the statewide collection, publication and long term, sustainable maintenance of this data. Local organizations have the most detailed, current knowledge about their communities and potentially have the greatest capacity to provide the needed data. Local organizations also understand the importance of providing accurate and current data about their communities to state and federal agencies during emergencies to help ensure the responses from those organizations will be beneficial and timely.

Phase 1 Accomplishments

Accomplishments include:

  • Assessment and standardization of existing structures data (national and state), including minimum attribution, with capacity to add new structures data and integrate with The National Map and other geospatial efforts of national, state and local importance.
  • Development of a prototype web-based map interface ("MSC Online System"), that includes:
    • Editing and geospatial data entry tools
    • Access to U.S. National Grid referenced general orientation maps for the entire state
    • Extensive online and downloadable help
    • Flash tutorial demonstrating system functionality
  • Creation of FGDC and Minnesota compliant metadata records
  • Significant effort to build relationships with state and local data contributors and stewards, including:
    • Presenting information about the effort at emergency preparedness and response meetings and events
    • Publishing a promotional brochure (2 p., 180K, PDF)
    • Developing promotional presentations supporting Phase 2 efforts

See the final report, submitted to FGDC on February 26, 2010, for more detail.

Current Features

Minnesota Structures Collaborative Online System

  • Demonstration Site for MSC Online System is open to the general public and includes full access to the Map Library System. GIS data in the Structures Editing Tool is read-only and may be out-of-date.
  • Prototype for Test and Evaluation: This site is password-protected and only available to registered users (view the promotional presentation described in the Phase 2 section below to learn how to become a registered user).
  • Help for the MSC Online System:  Help inside the System is currently based on PowerPoint (PPT) (if needed, download a free PPT Viewer). Alternately, download the help files and use them independently of the System; there are two versions:

Reference Maps

  • Stand-alone Map Library based on the 10K U.S. National Grid. PDF-format maps include structure locations (fire stations, hospitals, police stations, and schools), reference information and air photos. Use the map library index to manually search for maps by county name. Click on picture to the right to see a sample map.

(New to the U.S. National Grid? Click here to find out more.)

WMS and WFS Services

These services provide access to the 4 structure types, with the following GetCapabilities request statements.  Note: if you are using ArcMap version 9.3.1 specify WMS version 1.1.1 when loading the WMS service.

  • Web addresses for application developers:
    • WMS:  http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/cgi-bin/mapserv?map=../mapfiles/structures.map&service=WMS&version=1.1.1&request=GetCapabilities
    • WFS:  http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/cgi-bin/mapserv?map=../mapfiles/structures.map&service=WFS&version=1.1.0&request=GetCapabilities

(New to WMS services? Click here to find out more.)

Phase 2 - Volunteers Needed!

Although the grant period is over, MnGeo and EPC members continue to test and develop the MSC Online System, identify data authorities and custodians, build relationships between federal, state and local governments, and promote integration of structures data that will support The National Map and other important emergency services geospatial efforts such as HAZUS-MH, HSIP and Firewise. During this next phase of implementation, additional expertise from the state's GIS and emergency services sector is needed to help steer further development of the prototype online system and its functionality.

Contact Us

Project Contacts

John Hoshal
Supervisor - GIS Services, MnGeo
Steve Swazee
Chair, MnGeo Emergency Preparedness Committee
Direct: 612-239-6981
Main: 651-285-5015
Toll Free: 888-877-7GEO (436)