Lake Superior’s North Shore, due to initiatives by Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal
Program (MLSCP), NOAA, and other federal, state and local efforts, is rich in data. The
MLSCP-funded CoastalGIS web site, initiated in 2005, provides a means for users to
view or download a broad range of spatial data, including spatial data for GIS users,
collections of oblique aerial photographs of the Lake Superior shoreline, numerous parcel
layers for townships and municipalities, as well as wetland, forest and trail inventories.
MLSCP has also supported studies with strong geospatial aspects, such as assessments of
impervious surface, trout streams and urban forests. Other data is ‘real-time’ or timerelevant.
The award-winning www.LakeSuperiorStreams.org website, funded by MLSCP,
US EPA and others, has maintained a network of real-time stream sensors in several
urban trout streams, and now has a high-resolution record of core water quality variables
dating back to 2002. Other data repositories include Minnesota DNR’s Data Deli, which
includes information on infrastructure (roads, railroads), land cover (aerial photo,
interpreted satellite imagery) and hydrography (rivers, streams, lakes). At the same time,
many communities have undertaken studies to quantify and capitalize on the unique
social and economic characteristics of this natural resource and tourism-based
However, a persistent issue facing key end users of data, including citizens, local
governments, and non-governmental organizations, has been the fact that data are
distributed across numerous repositories, often available only in technical formats, which
makes them less accessible to end users without GIS expertise. The Coastal Atlas project,
funded through MLSCP, was designed to consolidate these multiple data sources. The
intent of the Atlas was to create print-copy volumes focused on the data needs of
individual townships. A set of map plates was created for each township within the
coastal boundary, featuring watersheds, hydrography, infrastructure, land use/land cover,
recreation and other attributes important to land use planning. These data were also made
available on line through the CoastalGIS website.
The objective of this current project was to develop a Web 2.0 application to integrate the
long-term information provided in the Atlas, CoastalGIS, and other sources with realtime
or near-real time data related to coastal resources, hazards, and habitats. Web 2.0
refers to Internet applications that go beyond traditional web sites – they facilitate
interactive information sharing, drawing information in real time from diverse sites, and
connecting with social networks. A unique contribution of this project is the inclusion of
real and near-real time data relevant to the health and well-being of citizens in the coastal
region. These include beach advisory data, rip current information, weather, recreational
opportunities and other attributes of coastal communities.
Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program; Project no. 11-306-05; Contract no. 3000005573
Host, George E; Sjerven, Gerald; Will, Norman.
A Web 2.0 guide to coastal resources, hazards, and habitats.
University of Minnesota Duluth.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.