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Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program

Delivering Spatial Information for Land Use Planning
on Minnesota's North Shore

Final Report and Deliverables

George Host and Gerald Sjerven

Natural Resources Research Institute
University of Minnesota Duluth
Duluth MN

March 24, 2008

Project No. 306-08-07

Contract No. A 78755

NRRI Technical Report NRRI/TR-2008/07

This project was funded in part through the Coastal Zone Management Act,
by NOAA's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management,
in cooperation with Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program

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Coastal GIS is a program to deliver geographic information to planners, decision makers
and citizens of Lake Supelior's north shore. The project uses the Internet is the plimary
vehicle for information delivery - data and supporting materials are housed at
www.nrri.umn.edulcoastalgis. Data are delivered in two fOimats - as downloadable
shape files for users with desktop GIS systems and via and Internet Map Server, which
allows users to access data using only a PC and standard web browsers.

This project comprised four specific tasks:

1) Add series ofllewly released local and national GIS data sets
The project added a number of recent data sets related to land use/land cover. These
included the 2002 National Land Cover dataset, a classification of land use and land
cover at a 30 m pixel resolution, the Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP)
assessment of landscape change (also at 30 m resolution) and an NRRI forest land
classification that used multi temporal Landsat imagery to classify forests types to the
genus or species level.

2) Add high-resolution spatial data to townships within the Coastal Program

The development of advanced data compression algorithms and improved map server
software allowed us to deliver high resolution data (the previous site delivered primarily
low-bandwidth line and polygon data). At the same time, a number of very high
resolution data sets « 2 m pixels resolution), such as the 2003 National Agricultural
Imagery Program have become available. Other high-resolution data sets include the
Digital Ortho Quarter Quads (grayscale or CIR rectified imagery), topographic relief
models and scanned materials such as digital raster graphics. We now provide access to
these data sets via the Internet Map Selver.

3) Deliver data provided by the Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal Program

The Coastal Program has funded a number of GIS related projects that did not have a
convenient mechanism for delivery. We cooperated with Coastal Program staff to
identify and prioritize spatial data currently held by the Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal
Program to include in the data delivery system.

4) Develop and implement training for citizens and decision makers on hot wo
use the information located on the CoastalGIS website.
We conducted a series of training workshops and presentations for citizens and decision
makers. The intent of the workshops was to show citizens and decision makers why these
data are important, how to access and analyze the data, and how to make meaningful
interpretations of the results. Workshops were structured as hands-on computer labs in
which attendees worked with data relevant to their issues or locality.

The following sections summarize the accomplishments for each of the tasks.

Work Completed
Task 1: Add series of newly-released data sets to the CoastalGIS website.

We added a series of spatial data and metadata for several broad categories of geographic
data, including the recent National Land Cover Data (NLCD) set, derived from 2002
LANDSAT imagery and released to the public in summer 2004. The data set classifies
land cover into 21 classes (e.g. low and high intensity residential, row crop, grasses,
deciduous forest, woody and emergent wetlands, quanies, others) and is mapped at a 30
m pixel resolution. These data are useful for quantifying the proportions ofland types
within watersheds, townships, or other kinds of summary units. A related data set is
NOAA's Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP), which is a national baseline
describing land cover change in coastal regions. C-CAP is available for 1995,2005 and a
1995-2000 change data set. TIle intent of these data sets are to assess urban growth,
changes to natural resources, and allow trend analysis for land use plarming; they are
derived from analyses ofNLCD data.

We also added a Landsat TM based forest classification of northeastern Minnesota,

developed at the Natural Resources Research Institute (UMD) by Peter Wolter. This
classification is a more specific forest cover type classification for northeastern
Minnesota. The classification is based on Landsat TM data from early summer in
conjunction with key ancilliary MSS and TM dates to capture phenological changes of
different tree species. In addition to satellite data, National Wetlands Inventory data were
used to post-classify cover types that were initially confused in tenns of spectral
reflectance but were known to be associated with different soil moisture regimes. The
classification discriminates different forest cover types, typically on a species-level. Of
greatest significance, aspen-birch, maple, black ash, and tamarack were successfully
cl assi fi ed.

All data from Task I are available at three spatial extents: the Coastal Program boundary,
the Lake Superior basin (catchment boundary), and by each of the 7 counties that
intersect the Coastal Program boundary. This strategy allows users to select the range of
data they need to address a particular question.

The data are delivered as zipped downloadable ArcView shapefiles, according to the
following schema:

Horizontal Coordinate Scheme: UTM

Ellipsoid: GRS 1980
Horizontal Datum: NAD 83
Units/Resolution: Meters
UTM Zone: 15

All data have associated metadata created according to the Minnesota Geographic
Metadata Guidelines; information on these guidelines can be found at
http://www.gis.stale. mn.uslstdslmetadata.htm
A full listing of data is presented in Table I.

Table I. Sununary of spatial databases compiled for the CoastalGIS project. Data can be downloaded at the Coastal boundary, Lake Superior watershed , and
County-level map extents.

Transportation Hydrography Administrative Base maps Land Cover

Major Roads Watershed Basins Geographic Names Counties Presenlement Vegetation
Township Roads DNR 24K Lakes indian Reservations Coastal Program PLS Corners Presettlemenl Vegetation
County Roads DNR 24K Streams MN Conservation Reserve Boundary (polygon) LandSat-Based Land Use/Cover
City Streets National Wetlands Program Coastal Program (vector)
Forest Roads lnventory Census 2000 MCD Population Boundary (line) LandSat-Based Land Use/Cover
All MnDOTRoads DLG Lakes and Wetlands Census 2000 Block Population Lake Superior Basin (ra,ter)
Miscellaneous Roads DLG Streams Census 2000 Tract Population Quarter Quarter Quad Original Land Survey Bearing Trees
Railroads County Well lodex MN 2002 Senate Districts lodex Conunon Forest Inventory (Foresl
Pipelines FEMA Floodplain MN 2002 House Districts I :24,000 Quad Index Service)
Airports MN 2002 Congressional I: 100,000 Quad Index Common Forest Inventory (State
Districts I :250,000 Quad Index Forest)
Municipal Boundaries PLS Control Points Conunon Forest Inventory (County
National Forest State Boundary Forest)
State Forest C-CAP Great Lakes 2000 Land Cover
State Park Boundaries C-CAP Great Lakes 1995 Land Cover
State Parks C-CAP Great Lakes 1995-2000 Land
Scientific and Natural Areas Cover
Minnesota Land Cover Data Sel
Landsat TM Forest Classification
Past Pro.iects Topography Ownership Public Land Survey Geology and Soils
Duluth Forest 30 Meter Digital Elevation DNR Land Ownership PLS Township Lake Superior Boundary
inventory Model GAP Stewardship PLS 40 Line Land Type Associations
Duluth Area Wetlands 1:250,000 Scale Digital PLS Control Points Ecological Subsections
Inventory Elevation Model P LS Sections Geomorpbology
See: h~[I2 ;j./www . nITj .u m P LS 40 Polygon STATSGO Soil Data
n.e!!ulli!m~taIGIS/BaStQr Soils and Land Surfaces
oie!t~~ ,blml

Task 2. Add high-resolution spatial data to townships within the Coastal Program

In addition to the 30 m data described in Task I , we developed Internet Map Server

sessions that allow access to various high resolution data sources. These include color
aerial photographs from 2003 (Farm Service Administration), black and white Digital
Ortho Quarter Quads (DOQQs) from 1990, or I :24,000 topographic maps. These
background data sets are used in many of the Coastal GIS IMS sessions, including the
Lake Superior Oblique Photoset, and Duluth Township Stonnwater Planning Tool. This
task also included the implementation of a new javascript "Zoom To:" tool that allows
the user to "zoom in" to (select) particular city or township. These IMS techniques are
also being used by the related LaiceSllperiorSlreams.org project, which allows a user to
generate maps by watershed:
htlp :llgisdata.nrri.umn.edu/websitelnorthshorestreamslviewer.htm

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The Western Lake Superior Oblique Photo Set uses the high resolution datasets desclibed
above as a backdrop for viewing the Coastal Program's sequence of 35 mm photographs
of the Lake Superior coastline from Duluth to the Canadian Border. The site can be
accessed at hI tp :1Igi sd ala. nni .urn n. edulwebsitelnorthshorephotos/vi cwcr. htm

The oblique photos have been incorporated into the MN Beaches website
(www.mnbeaches.org).aGIS based application which is updated biweekly during
summer to show beach closures based on fecal coliform counts along Minnesota's Lake
Superior coastline.

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Another project which was derived from CoastalGIS data sets was the Duluth Township
Stonnwater Planning Tool. http: //www.boulderlake.org/stormwaterims/defaull.hlml .

This tool provides residents of Duluth Land Usel Stormwater Planning Tools
Township the ability to view their parcel
for Duluth Township Landowners
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online and begin to create a Land Use
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Task 3. Deliver data provided by the Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal Program

Over the years, the Coastal Program has funded a number of G IS related projects that,
while valuable, simply did not have a convenient mechanism for delivery, and therefore
remained relatively inaccessible. We received a series of data sets previously funded
through the Coastal Program and placed the data or links at
http://www.nni .umll.edu/coastaIG IS/ pastprojects.htm l. These data sets include the
oblique photos mentioned above, maps of impervious surface by watershed, data on the
Superior Hiking Trail, and several others,

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A new section of CoastalGIS was developed to accommodate data on coastal wetlands

for selected watersheds undergoing more rapid rates of development. These data are
updates of the National Wetland Inventory, and were photointerpreted from recent aerial
photography. The updated wetland data are available at
http://www.nrri .umn.edulcoastaIG1S/coastalwetlalldslcoastalwetlallds.htm

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Task 4. Develop and implement training for citizens and decision makers on how to use
the infol1nation located on the Coastal GIS website.

In 2006 and 2007 we conducted a series of training sessions and presentations to a

diverse range of citizens and local goverrunent officials on the access and application of
spatial data layers offered through the CoastalGIS website. The primary audiences for
these workshops were local decision makers and citizens from within the Mirulesota Lake
Superior Coastal Program boundary. The training sessions were hands-on computer
ex.ercises, with users going on-line to view and analyze data through the Intel11et Map
Service. The presentations walked users through the vmious sets of data available on the
site and demonstrated the use of the download utilities and Inte1l1et Map Server. We
found that, with respect to spatial data layers delivered as shapefiles, end users that were
interested in downloading data for use in ArcGIS typically had capabilities needed to
analyze and process these data sets.

Training sessions were held on-site in Duluth township and in the UMD Library's
computer laboratory - in both cases we pal1nered with existing venues to capitali ze on
facilities and audience. The workshops introduced the CoastalGIS website in general , and
described specific elements within the administration. ownership, land cover, basemap
and other broad categories of the site. The laboratolies desclibed new capabilities we
added to Internet Map Server, such as hierarchical-organized data menus. We covered
basic navigation and use of common tools such as Identify and Measure. We also covered
less common uses of IMS, such as the Query function and the procedures for moving data
into an Excel workshcet. Training sessions were typically followed by a Q and A period
that discussed problems or concel11s with the site, and reconmlendation from the group
were subsequently used to improve the site. We also had extended discussions on how
end users can best use this info lmation, and what future additions would be desirable
from a management perspective.

George Host conducted a hands-on training session in conjunction with the COSEE Lake
Supelior Exploration Workshop in July 2006. The 15+ participants included citizen
scienti sts and educators both within and outside the Coastal Program region. The focus
was on using data for decision making and education, and covered specifics of the data
set, exercises in data retrieval, and discussions on data interpretation.

FOlmer UMD Master's student John Gei ssler conducted two training sessions in October
2006 with Duluth township landowners for using CoastalGIS data and the derivative
stormwater planning tool. His presentation desclibed CoastalGIS spatial data sets and
how infolmation on watershed , soils, wetlands, topography and aerial photos can be used
interactively with IMS map server to aid in land use planning. He ful1her described the
interactive tool developed through Coastal GIS with additional funding through the
Coastal Program's STAR grant and the University of Minnesota Duluth's Center for
Community and Regional Research. A novel extension to the Intemet Map Server was a
utility to accept parcel ID numbers and use thi s ID to launch an IMS map view with data
layers specific to that parcel.

These ori ginal training sessions for CoastalGIS and the parcel analysis tool have become
a regular course offering through the Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center at the
UMD Library Computer Lab . The courses were offered Jan 9, Feb 6, Oct 9 in 2007 and
Jan 30, 200 8. The success of these courses demonstrates there is a continu ing interest
amo ng citizens in the data and utilities from this project.

In addition to training sessions, we presented CoastalGIS at a number of profess ional

conferences, meet ings and infonnal public workshops, as listed below . Values in
parenth eses are esti mated number of attendees.

Holl enhorst, T. L. B. Johnson, G. E. Host, V. Brady, J. Schuldt, J. Ciborowsk i, and C.

Richards . Characterizing Lake Supelior coastal wetlands using readily avai lab le
G IS data. Lake Supelior Wetlands Conference, Dulu th, MN 2005 . (30)

Host, G. E. Presentati on on Coasta lGI S to St. Louis County Commi ssioners and
Extension Educators. CEC meeting May 2006. (12)

Meysembourg, P., G. Sjerven, and G. E. Host. Wetl and inventory and classification for
the Coasta lGIS project. Lake S uperior Wetlands Conference, Duluth, MN 2005.

Sjerven, G. and G. E. Host. CoastalGIS: Deli veling spatial infonnation for land use
plallling on Minnesota's North Shore' at the Making a Great Lake Superior 2007
conference held in Duluth on October 29-31,2007 (20)

Sjerven, G. CoastalGIS: New infonnation for land use plarU1ing on Minnesota's North
Shore at the MN G IS/U S Consortium 16th Aillual Conference and Workshops,
St. Cloud, MN, October 4-6, 2006. (40)

Sjelven , G. Coasta lGlS: Delivering spatial infolmation for land use plallling on
Minnesota's North Shore at the MN G IS/US Consortium 15th AIU1ual
Co nference and Workshops, St. C lo ud , MN, October 3-5, 2005. (50)

Sj erven, G. The Coastal GIS project: GIS data for local decisions UMD TechFest 2005

The deliverables from thi s proj ect have already received broad use by other end usen.,
including the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Regio nal Stonnwater Protection
Team , the Minnesota Departm ent of Natural Resources, and the Bo ulder Lake
Envirotunental Learning Center. There are no doubt other groups of end users fro m
citizen, non-profits, LGUs and other groups that have used the site resources - the
follow ing pages show some selected web selver statistics for CoastalG IS.

eb Server Statistics for
NRRI - Coastal GIS
Program started at Thu-27-Mar-2008 11:23.
Analysed requests from Wed-16-May-2007 03:59 to Thu-27-Mar-2008 13:50 (316.41 days).

General Summarl:_ _ __
(Go To: Top I General Summary I Monthly Report I Daily Summary I Hourly Summary I Domain Report I
Organisation Report I Search Word Report I Operaling Syslem Report I Slatus Code Report I File Type
Report I Directory Report I Request Report)

17,is report contains overall statistics.

Figures in parentheses refer to the 7-day period ending 27-Mar-2008 11:23.

Successful requests: 44,529 (1,887)

Average successful requests per day: 140 (269)
Logftle lines without stalus code: 1,872 (0)
Successful requests for pages: 33,791 (1 ,582)
Average successful requests for pages per day: 106 (225)
Failed requests: 5,914 (234)
Distinct mes requesled: 354 (121)
Distinct hosts served: 2,927 (146)
Unwanted logfile entries: 3,614,472

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onthly Re ort
(Go To: Top I General Summary I Monthl y Report I Daily Summary I Hourly Summary I Do",ain Report I
Organisation Report I Search Word Report I Operating System Report I Status Code Report I File Type
Report I D irectory Report I Request Repot1)

This reporllis/s the activity in each month.

mODth ' reqs pales

May 2007 : 1577 : lO82 i
Jun i
2 00 7 13577 2894 !
Jul 2 007 ! 4427 ! 3441 i
Aug i
2007 5832 i 4649 :
Sep 200 7 13973
, !
, 3095 1
Oct 2007 1 3562 [ 2458 ;
Nov 2 007 i 4224 ! 2887 !
Dec 2007 : 2973 1 2362 1
: ; ,,
Jan 2 008: 4420 3235 1 I
Feb 2 008: 5635 1 4238 1
Mar 2008 i 4329 i 3450 1

Each unit (. ) represents 150 requests for pages or part thereof.

Busiest month: Aug 2007 (4,649 requests for pages).

Search Word Re~ort
(Go To: Top I General Summary I Monthly Report I Daily Summary I Hourly SUlllmary I Domain Reporl l
Organisation Reporl I Search Word Reporll Operating System Report I Status Code Report I File Type
Report I Directory Repon l Request Report)

This report lists which words people used in search engines 10 find the site.

•• Sis

•• coastal

•• land
•• surve!:j
• .ap
• Other

The wedges are plotted b~ the nu.ber of requests.

Listing the top 30 query words by the number of requests, sorted by the number of requests.
regs _search term !
268 ' gis
181 milmesota
142 coastal
140 crp
116 land
95 nUl
80 survey
66 of
58 map
55 data
52 lake
46 in
44 county
44 control
38 program
33 superior
31 forest
30 zone
29 and
29 gap

rc s search term
29 conservation
28 stale
27 metadata
26 the
26 pIs
25 topography
25 section
24 for
23 points
22 native
2236 [not listed: 839 search terms]

e uestRe ort
(Go To: Top I Geneml Summary I Monthly Report I Daily Summary I Hourly Summary I Domain Report I
Organisation Report I Search Word Report I Operaling System Report I StRIUS Code Report I File Type
Report I Directory Report I Request Report)

This report/is Is th e files on/lie site.

.. !coa.talgi.!defaul t.hhl
.. !coastalgis!dataindex.ht.l
.. !coastalgis!sum.. r~.html
.. !coastalgls!imsprimer.html
.. !coa.talgis!notju.tforexperts.pdf
.. !coastalgis!plannlng_primer.pdf
.. !coastalgi.!deci.ion_.upport_materials.html
.. !coastalgi.!.ltemap.html
.. !coastalgislresources .html

The wedge. are plotted b~ the number of reguests.

Lisling files wilh alieaSl400 requesls, sorted by Ihe number of requesls.

reqs %b)1es- last time file

2830 I I 27/MarlO8 13:21 ' /~defanlt.hb:nl
13~6 I I 27/Mari08 12:26 lcoastalgisldataindex.hb:nl
1121 1 ' 261Mar/0823:07 IcoastalgislS1llJlUlaf}'.h1ml
990 ! I 26/Mar/0S 20: 15 i lcoastal~msprimer.hb:nl

970 i 25/Marl0S 17:1 9 ! /coastalgislnotjustforexperts.pdf

878 1 261lviarl08 22:37 'I !Coastalgi"planningyrimer.pdf
768 , 261111arl08 10:08 Icoastalgisldecision_ supporUnaieriaIs.hlml
756 1 27/111arl08 13:17 '1 /COastalgisls~ernap.hlml
74 1 : 2-6/Mar/0821:51 1/coastalgislresources.hlml
~,4109 1 26IMarJ08 04:06 1/coastalgislaboutus.hlml
26.lMar108 18: 15 Icoastalgislfaq.hlml
711 26/111arl08 19:39 Icoastal~onageslindeX!main_rl_c4 .jpg
699 i 25iMar!0820:27 Icoastalgisronages/mdex1main_'4_c2_2.jpg
689 i 271Mari0807: 10 Icoastalgisimetadataibdry_"'P97py3.h1m1
605 i 27IMar/0804:06 Icoastalgisimetada!alpls_comerptJ.hImI
585 i 27IMarl08 04:57 /coastalgisfonages/bigtab.gif
583 I 27lMarJOS 04:57 Icoastalgisipastprojects..hImI
582 ' 27/M",;l08 04:5 7 Jcoastalgislimag.. ;w~etab.gif
576 1 27.lMar/OS 08:11 Icoastalgislmetadataladm_majlndpy2.h1m1
544 i 27/MariOS 04:36 Icoastalgis/lopography.bbnl
543 j 25/lv1arl OS 18:03 Icoastalgislpls.hlml
540 I 27IMarJ0803:15 lcoastalgisllandcover.hlml
539 1 26.lMar108 14:06 lcoastalgislownership.hlml
536 ! 26!lI1ariOS 0 1:44 Icoastalgislbasernaps.hlml
534 1 26/MariOS 17:16 Icoastalgislhydrograpby.h1ml
521 i 271lv/ar/08 13:50 Icoastalgisfotber.h1ml
515 \ 26/lv1ar/OS 21:01 Icoastalgisladministr.llive.hlml
507 271MarJ08 06:15 Icoastalgislmetadaialbdry_statepy2.h1m1
499 27IMarfOS 11:55 Icoastalgisigeology>oiIs.blml
478 271Mar/0807:09 IcoastalgisImetadatalbdry_reserpy3.hbnl
478 261MarJ0821:14 lcoastalgisfl!llpOrtance.hlml
476 271MarJ08 l3:12 lcoastalgisloverview.hb:nl
473 1 27Ilvfar!0800:50 Icoastalgislcoastalwetlandsfc.oastalwetlands.hlm
462 1 26IN/ar108 01 :41 Ic.oastalgislrransportalio.o..btml
457 1 27IMarJOS 06:34 Icoastalgislmetada!alforsu:salpy3.h1m1
450 I 27/Mar/0807:10 Icoastalgisimetadatalcenl_stprkpt1.h1mI
445 ! 27IMar/OS 06:34 Icoastalgislmetadataiforsl_csacpy3.h1m1
444 '
I 27!Mar/OS 06:34 Ic.oastalgislmetadata/soil_cumgrpy1.h1ml
27/Mar/0806:35 Ic.oastalgislmetadalalforst_csaspy3.b1ml
271Mari0806:51 IcoastalgisicoastalwetlandslpopW+river/htmlfllltro.htm
433 i 27/lv1ari08 0i:10 Icoastalgisimetadatatbdry-traOOpy2.h1m1
432 1 ;
27IMarJOS 08:30 Icoastalgisfc.oastalwetlandsibMver+rerfhb:nllbeaverriver.hlm
428 , 27lMari08 10:46 Icoastalgisfcoastaiwetlandsfgrand+maraistDtmIIgrandmarais.blm
424 \ 27/lv1arf08 11:26 Icoastalgis/c.oastalwetlandsltwo+barborslh!ml/twobarbors.h1m
420 , 25IMari OS 19:40 !coastalgistlakesnemo.pdf

The server report shows that the site receives a large volume of traffic distributed fairly
evenly across the year. The top search items include. as ex pected. GIS, Minnesota , and
coastal. but also the Data Index (#2) and the lMS Primer (#4), indicating that the site
really is being used as a data resource.

CoastalGlS has become a comprehensive repo si tory for downloadable and interactive
spatial data within the Minnesota Coastal Program Boundary, adjacent watersheds, and
sunounding counties. It has provided a home for fundamental datasets for the coastal
watersheds at both moderate and high resolutions, as well as for hi storic GIS projects
funded through the Coastal Program. CoastalGlS has become an impoliant element of
other data intensive initiatives, including LakeSlIpen:orSlreams. org and

Through funding from EPA's Great Lakes National Program Office, we are creating
larger data repository for basic data and envirolU11entai stressors for US and Canadian
Lake Superior watersheds. The CoastalGlS design will be used as a template for this
larger initiati ve. Because of the interest of this and other projects, we fully expect that
Coastal GIS will continue to remain an active and sustainable repository for spatial data
for assisting in land use decisions and plaMing for U1e region.