SharedGeo Tracks COVID-19 Spread Across the U.S.

April 14, 2020 by central No Comments

In support of COVID-19 public health awareness efforts, on March 19, 2020, SharedGeo officially launched a web map interface which allows users to visualize the spread of the virus across the U.S. since early March. Unique to the map is a time sequence display of county level data made available by University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute’s COVID-19 Surveillance Dashboard and the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases map by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

In announcing release of the map, SharedGeo indicated it had two objectives:

1.) To visually demonstrate to U.S. citizens the rapidly expanding nature of the COVID-19
virus so individuals and organizations will take to heart the warnings, precautions, and
preventive measures requested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and
others in the medical and Public Health sectors, and

2.) To start a discussion about the need for better granularity of location reporting when dealing with health crises. Across the spectrum of disasters which can befall a nation,
nothing is more pervasive and debilitating than pandemic. Yet, the critical role which
location intelligence can play in managing these types of situations has been historically
lacking. This remains true despite there being effective ways to provide medically
related location data without violating patient privacy. For an example, see

SharedGeo will update the map daily so long as data is available, and the map’s availability is
deemed worthwhile.

To view the map, go here:

SharedGeo Partners to Bring OSGeo Community Sprint to Minneapolis

May 20, 2019 by central No Comments

In partnership with the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) and University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (USpatial), SharedGeo was pleased to be able help organize the Minneapolis OSGeo Community Sprint, which was held May 14-17, 2019, at the University of Minnesota. Developed under the guidance of Steve Lime, Kari Guerts and Howard Butler, the event brought together 40 open source programmers from around the world for four days of collaboration and code improvement of OSGeo projects. Although participants were expected to pay for travel and lodging, meals and entertainments were covered by sponsorship donations from 13 organizations. Prudent money management by the event leads also meant that over $3,000 was sent on to OSGeo for support of the 2020 Community Sprint in Athens, Greece. From all reports, the event was highly successful in terms of software improvement and creation of collaborative connections.

SharedGeo Completes Six Year GITA Service Contract

September 10, 2018 by central No Comments

On September 1, 2018, SharedGeo completed six years of providing all association services for the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA), the nation’s largest geospatial association focused on the infrastructure sector. Recruited in late 2012 to provide association support after the extended economic downturn of the Great Recession of 2008 led to layoff of the GITA’s full-time personnel, SharedGeo was faced with the daunting task of transitioning nearly 32 years of hard copy administrative records and established business practices into online solutions. This required the complete rebuild of GITA’s website and association management system, creation of a collaborative online work environment leveraging Google’s Nonprofit Business suite, significantly expanding the social media platforms, and management of the association’s day-to-day business while also developing or supporting 20 some international, national or regional conferences. SharedGeo was able to provide these services for approximately 15% of what the association had previously paid for these same services.

Upon completion of the contract, SharedGeo turned over service responsibility to Civica Associations Conferences & Exhibitions of Aurora, Colorado.

USNG in Action: Lake County, Minnesota

October 29, 2014 by central No Comments

As USNG Emergency Location Markers (ELMs) become increasingly prevalent on northern Minnesota trails, there has been an outpouring of support from the snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and other outdoor recreational communities along with emergency responders.  But no one is as fervent of a supporter of the USNG ELMs as Lake County Emergency Manager, BJ Kohlstedt.

Ms. Kohlstedt was first introduced to the USNG ELMs when she was approached by SharedGeo Executive Director Steve Swazee and Technical Director Bob Basques in 2010 to partner in their OPERA grant-funded pilot program for the ELMs.  Having been asked by the local snowmobile club to install location markers along trails in the area, Ms. Kohlstedt and Lake County accepted the offer to partner with SharedGeo.

In October 2010, representatives from Lake, Cook, and St. Louis counties, the Department of Natural Resources, and the US Forest Service—among others—met with SharedGeo to design  a recreational sign that could be both universal and consistent with state and federal signage regulations.

According to Kohlstedt, the first USNG signs were installed in Lake County in Fall 2012, with the first emergency response using the ELMs in January 2013:  “There was a lost skier out alone at night. She wasn’t from the area. She called nine-one-one and read the sign on the snowmobile trail, and the rescue guy knew exactly where she was.  She was only a two-minute walk from the road.”

Since then, the ELMs have been “spreading like mad to other counties and other states,” said Kohlstedt, and she has been working tirelessly to promote public awareness of the signs throughout her area.  Kohlstedt, along with other Lake County emergency workers, has spearheaded the creation of free USNG guides and brochures showing the locations of the signs on the trails,  and made them available at bars and restaurants along the trails.  Local bars also ask for their own USNG signs with their coordinates to be made, to display for their patrons.

Kohlstedt also gives informational presentations about the USNG ELMs, where she often references SharedGeo’s USNG Information Center website as a resource for the public to go to download USNG apps, print their own ELMs, and get more detailed information. According to Kohlstedt, “the mobile USNG app is a crowd favorite.”

SharedGeo Goes to 2014 MN Interoperability Conference

June 8, 2014 by central No Comments


Executive Director Steve Swazee mans the SharedGeo booth.

SharedGeo Executive Director, Steve Swazee, and Techincal Director, Bob Basques, were invited to attend the 2014 Minnesota Public Safety Interoperability Conference, which took place April 14-16 in St. Cloud, Minnesota. With technology’s role in public safety as the driving force behind the conference, SharedGeo fit right in, and Mr. Swazee and Mr. Basques were able to effectively showcase a variety of current projects.

SharedGeo’s big draws were Mr. Basques’s Automatic Vehicle Locating system (AVL) and the US National Grid (USNG) Minnesota Marker Project.  The SharedGeo booth, which experienced good traffic in the exhibitor hall, provided conference-goers with the opportunity to speak in-depth about the AVL and USNG projects with Mr. Swazee and Mr. Basques, as well as access to demonstrations and a wide selection of informational documents about SharedGeo projects.

The conference itself, which boasted around 250 tech savvy attendees with mainly radio and communications backgrounds, focused primarily on First Net, the public safety broadband network developed under the guidance of the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

To learn more about the Minnesota Interoperability Conference, First Net, or SharedGeo’s AVL and USNG projects, please visit their websites.  And don’t forget to check out the new USNG Information Center for the more USNG news, tutorials, and technology.

GeoMOOSE Recognized by Governor Dayton

April 22, 2014 by central No Comments

geomooseMinnesota governor Mark Dayton formally recognized the GeoMOOSE team for their outstanding work on St. Paul’s GeoMoose-based mapping service and data management system, GISmo.  Read Governor Dayton Recognizes City GIS Team on the Spotlight on Saint Paul website for more on this story.


SharedGeo Goes to WLIA Conference

February 20, 2014 by central No Comments

Technical Director Bob Basques mans the SharedGeo booth.

Technical Director Bob Basques mans the SharedGeo booth.

SharedGeo Executive Director, Steve Swazee, and Technical Director, 
Bob Basques, each gave presentations at the 27th annual
 Wisconsin Land Information Association (WLIA) conference February 
12-14 at the Marriot Madison West in Middleton, Wisconsin.  The
 conference focused on making the vision of Wisconsin’s GIS future into 
a reality and served as a platform to showcase the latest open source 
technology–including SharedGeo’s shared funding project, GeoMOOSE.

Executive Director Steve Swazee presented SharedGeo’s Minnesota Marker
 Project: “U.S. National Grid Trail Markers — Bringing
 Geo-location to a Trail Near You!”  The presentation discussed the 
technical and practical considerations for deploying the USNG marker 
system, and the ways it enhances safety and emergency response in 
recreational areas, like parks and trails. Mr. Swazee also talked 
about how markers have been deployed in Minnesota’s
 Arrowhead region, and how the markers are being considered for
 statewide adoption by snowmobile clubs and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Technical Director Bob Basques’s presentation highlighted SharedGeo’s
 Automatic Vehicle Locating (AVL) system. Basques discussed how the AVL 
system was built using GeoMOOSE, OpenLayers web clients, Mapserver, 
and the PostgreSQL database, and why the team chose to build their own
 web viewer instead of a commercial package. Mr. Basques also 
demonstrated AVL production services in a live view mode.

Both workshops were well attended, and SharedGeo’s booth in the
 exhibition hall experienced heavy traffic with conference-goers 
expressing strong interest in SharedGeo’s open source software,
 GeoMOOSE, Mr. Basques’s AVL project, and the USNG Minnesota marker
 project. You can learn about GeoMOOSE, the AVL project, or the USNG 
Minnesota marker project and all our other projects on the SharedGeo

GeoMOOSE and City of St. Paul Win Governor’s Award

November 3, 2013 by central No Comments

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SharedGeo is pleased to announce that the locally developed, geospatial open source program, GeoMOOSE, was recently recognized with a Commendation from Minnesota’s Governor, Mark Dayton.  The award was presented to the City of St. Paul for its role in the creation and release of GeoMoose as an open source project.

Administered by the  Minnesota Geospatial Information Office (MnGeo), the Governor’s Award honors a project or organization that “exemplifies a commitment to coordinated, affordable, reliable and effective use of GIS to improve services within Minnesota” by improving government responsiveness, promoting public access to information, and fostering and exemplifying the benefits of collaboration.  The first version of GeoMOOSE was developed by SharedGeo Technical Director, Bob Basques, SharedGeo chief programmer, James Klassen, and Dan Little, of D.B. Spatial, while they were employed by the city of St. Paul.

GeoMOOSE joins Mapserver as one of only two open source programs honored with the Minnesota Governor’s Geospatial Commendation Award. Earlier this year, GeoMOOSE also joined Mapserver as one of only two open source programs with Minnesota origins to be officially sanctioned by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo).

As an open source software, GeoMOOSE is available at no-cost to any organization that would like to serve spatial data publicly. You can learn more about GeoMOOSE and the Minnesota Governor’s Geospatial Commendation Award by visiting the GeoMOOSE and MnGeo websites.


SharedGeo to Participate in 2013 Give to the Max Day

November 3, 2013 by central No Comments

giveMN_tag_RGB_for webSharedGeo is proud to be participating in GiveMN’s 2013 Give to the Max Day on November 14.  As an IRS approved 501 (c) 3 non profit, SharedGeo relies on support from our friends in the community to continue our work with the emergency services sector, our groundbreaking efforts with the US National Grid project, and to continue providing and developing free, open source GIS software for the public.  We hope you will consider donating to SharedGeo on November 14.  To schedule your donation for Give to the Max Day, click here.

SharedGeo Executive Director & USNG Featured in “Living Ready” Magazine

September 1, 2013 by central No Comments

SharedGeo Executive Director and U.S. National Grid proponent Steve Swazee was featured in the article “One Grid to Rule them All” by Brett Ortler in Living Ready magazine’s Fall 2013 issue.

The article provides a brief history of the U.S. National Grid system including examples of how using the U.S. National Grid can overcome problems encountered by emergency responders when using latitude and longitude.  The article goes on to explain how the grid works. Using the National Grid coordinates for the Minnesota State Capitol Building as an example, Ortler details how the coordinates are broken down into zone designations, regional codes, and local coordinates to provide the most precise location information possible. Ortler also discussed how the U.S. National Grid can be used with both electronic and paper maps.

Ortler cites the simplicity and versatility of the U.S. National Grid as the primary reasons to use the system, and he features SharedGeo’s Minnesota Marker Project as a real-life example of the Grid in action.  Though currently in trials, the Minnesota Marker Project has led to at least one rescue and is being used as the model for other Grid programs throughout the country.

You can read more about SharedGeo’s efforts with the Minnesota Marker Project under the Projects tab. Check out the Living Ready website to learn more about the magazine and “One Grid to Rule them All.”