October 2010 Archives

Community Mapping and MIRC

Thief River Falls (TRF- which my teenage son pronounces "turf" whenever he talks about the city.....)is a MIRC community and lately has been meeting a couple times a month. Besides myself, the TRF community developer, Chamber director, MNSCU rep, and the area's RDC director have lunch and talk. I was asked recently what type of educational presentations/materials Extension had related to broadband, and thus showed an overview of the four Ecommerce sessions, RADA I & II session, Social Networking session and Community mapping.

The latter incorporates GIS technology in an online portal, where there can be free sharing of base maps, adapted maps, and possibly citizen reporting. With a search box, a community person can scan the online gallery for a particular locale, pin down what type of map would work well to build on (topographical, parcel, utility network, etc....), and download it to add their own dots per addresses which they supply through a simple Excel table.

It may take time to build a good collection of base maps for many of these small towns (beyond the plentiful USGS or in some cases county maps). But as public sector workers become more familiar with the service I think the collection will grow as an effort (in part) to disseminate what they have created- for the community to use in a broader way. We will see.....

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