New Connect Minnesota Maps Webinar

The Connect Minnesota folks gave a quick and easy tutorial to their new maps last Friday via webinar. I took some notes – but I want to start by mentioning that the interactive maps are pretty easy to use. I used to run into issues with my own broadband when accessing the older maps – but that’s wasn’t a problem. (According to my most recent speed test I have 3.5 Mbps down and 184 Kbps up – however I am located in Ireland so I have that disadvantage.) So here are my quick notes…

They have new static maps to download.

You can see layers of types of service ( you can flag one or many):

  • Cable
  • Mobile
  • Fiber
  • DSL
  • Fixed wireless
  • Unserved

There is a function that allows you to zoom in quickly and easily with a specific address. It will then tell you the coverage in that area and providers, including contact information.

A little bit info on unserved layers. It is based on information from providers. You could see a lot of areas in NE Minnesota that aren’t served. Now you can dig down into census tract info. This would be (would have been) helpful for the ARRA grant applications.

Also they will be tracking adoption info such as computer ownership. There is an analysis function that will allow folks to overlay their own datasets. (Well maybe not their own – but they mentioned datasets.)

In Tennessee this has been helpful in talking with providers because they have been able to talk about many households are in a given area, which has helped to make a business case to go into an area. It was pretty cool to see how the visuals could really help decision makers. Like Google Maps, you really get a feel for the characteristics and layout of a community – so a provider might be able to see that within areas with lower population density, there may be pockets of density. (Not such great news if you are really removed from neighbors.)

They are also adding RSS feeds that might help track activities in Minnesota. They used the Governor’s Office as an example – but I think adding an RSS feed from Cook County Broadband or Southwest Minnesota Buyers Group might be better examples.

Anyone with a broadband project underway or a local story to share can send Connect Minnesota the details to be added to the RSS Feed via the email address. You will need to provide any pertinent information including the name, address, and a url or website (if one is available.) Our mapping team will then plot the  coordinates so that it appears on the map at that location.

Additionally, that same email address can be used to submit comments and feedback about the maps. If an error is found, they encourage users to notify them and they will work to make the correction.

There were no questions.

You can get more details from the Connected Nation press release. I did happen upon a Star Tribune article mentioning the new maps – the readers of that article had plenty of questions. Some were on target; some completely off the mark. But they are always interesting to read.

This entry was posted in MN, Policy, uncategorized by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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