US: State of Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resource (DNR) has released updated wetland map data for 13 counties in the east, encompassing the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The newly-released map data is the first time the national wetlands inventory has been updated in Minnesota. The data are available through an interactive mapping application on the DNR’s website. The data can also be downloaded, free of charge, for use in geographic information system applications through the DNR’s data.
The new maps reflect the latest technology in remote sensing and mapping including high-resolution aerial imagery and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data. “The original NWI maps were quite good considering the imagery and mapping methods of the time, but the new maps are much more accurate, capture more detail and provide more information than the original maps,” said Steve Kloiber, the DNR manager of the NWI update project. Besides showing the location, size and type of each wetland, the updated map data include information on the wetland’s landscape position and hydrologic characteristics, which can be useful in assessing the benefits provided, such as water quality improvement, flood storage, and fish and wildlife habitat.