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Showing posts from November, 2019

Featured Item: Wildfires Tracked by DNR: Minnesota

By Melinda Kernik Featured Item: Wildfires Tracked by DNR: Minnesota What is the item? This data layer shows the location of wildfires in Minnesota between 1985 and 2019 (updated weekly). It includes fires for which the MN Department of Natural Resources was the primary responding agency - in other words, wildfires on state lands and some rural private lands. It does not include fires occurring on federal and native American lands (several hundred annually) or those dealt with by local fire departments (several thousand annually). Even with only a subset of events represented, the data provide a fascinating look into the frequency and causes of wildfires across the state! What BTAA Library submitted the item? University of Minnesota Interesting tidbits: Curious about what proportion of wildfires are caused by lightning (as opposed to railroads, arson, or children)? The data includes information about the cause, size, and damages related to each fire. The data have been collected for m

Illuminating a Subject Through New Connections

By Kathleen Weessies What happens when a broad-based discovery tool such as the BTAA Geoportal brings together datasets that had been created in isolation and places them side-by-side? Scholars experience unprecedented findability and access to datasets which in turn gives rise to new questions and research topics. In short, knowledge is advanced more broadly, more deeply and in a more timely manner. For example, every municipality, county, and state government is charged with governing some aspect of the public drinking water supply. Every unit of government generates data of one kind or another documenting aspects of water management within its purview. Scholars studying topics such as aquifers, agriculture, contaminants such as e. Coli, or disaster mitigation draw on these public datasets to advance our collective knowledge. Each dataset is usually generated and maintained in isolation of other local and regional efforts. In the BTAA Geoportal, scholars can use one search site to fi

Featured Collection: IndianaMap

 By Theresa Quill IndianaMap is the largest publicly available collection of Indiana geographic information system (GIS) map data. It is a collaborative project made possible by partnerships between federal, state, local organizations and agencies, and universities. IndianaMap is developed and maintained by the Indiana Geological and Water Survey and was created in part as a data sharing initiative between Indiana GIS data providers. It includes data from all 92 Indiana Counties, as well as many state agencies, academic institutions, and federal agencies. What’s in this collection? IndianaMap is the primary source for spatial data of Indiana. Data layers are organized around eight general themes: Demographics, Environment, Geology, Government, Hydrology, Imagery, Infrastructure, and Reference. Examples of data are Census data cleaned and clipped to the state of Indiana, Wind Power Speed and Density, School locations, Elevation data, Political Boundaries, and much more. Data is availab

Featured Collection: Ecological Maps of the Twin Cities

By Karen Majewicz Students of Landscape Architecture and Geographic Information Science (GIS) will likely have encountered the name Ian McHarg, due to his landmark book, Design with Nature. This text, published in 1969, put forth ideas about taking the ecology of a region into account when planning homes, neighborhoods, and cities. McHarg’s work was particularly influential in the field of GIS for his proposed methods of using polygon overlays for analysis. McHarg was also part of an architectural firm, Wallace, McHarg, Roberts, and Todd, that was frequently contracted to work with metropolitan areas to assist with urban planning. This firm worked with the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities in Minnesota during the late 1960s. Their work resulted in a report, An Ecological Study of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, that was accompanied by dozens of custom maps detailing the climate, geology, hydrology, biota, and built environment of the region. The original copies of these maps a