Become a Minnesota Digital Town – Opportunity to work with UMN Extension

Thanks to Neil Linscheid for the heads up on a great program at University of Minnesota Extension that helps communities create digital models of their towns for Google Earth. I’m jealous because the towns will be working with Google SketchUp – a very cool tool I rarely have occasion to use. Here’s info on the opportunity from their flier…

University of Minnesota’s Digital Towns Program is in its second phase of a pilot program to train participants to visualize and build 3-D models of importance to their community and are seeking to work with two organizations or communities. The goals of this project are to:

  • Enable participants to identify, model, and map community’s social, cultural, and environmental assets,
  • Build social capital within the community across all age groups with special emphasis on young adults,
  • Educate participants and community members in the value of community identity and online exposure,
  • Foster historic and cultural preservation of places and institutions,
  • Empower the community to seek opportunities for economic development including increased tourism, strengthened business retention, and enhanced business recruitment

They partnered with a Professor of Architecture Lee Anderson to create the curriculum. Last year they worked with Little Falls and had an architecture student helping out. This year they are looking for two more communities. They are looking to work with a non-profit, government, school, service club, or educational group such as a historical society, main street group, chamber of commerce or economic development authority. They will provide 10 to 12 hours of instruction via workshops on community development and 3-D modeling tools (Google Sketchup, Google Earth, ). Workshop timings and location will be determined in collaboration with the group that is selected as the pilot. And will work with your community to help determine the important features and landmarks in your community to highlight.

The deadline is January 20, 2012. You can get more info and the application on the flier. They are having a webinar on Thursday (noon) to discussion the project (again details on the flier.) I asked Neil to give me his top reason a community should participate – because I know Neil is on the front lines and has a good take on what folks need. Here was his response…

Top 3 reasons to be a participant:

  1. Learn a cool new skill. Google SketchUp
  2. Learn about your community. What’s needs to be modeled and why?
  3. Show off your work to the world. When you put your model on Google Earth everyone can see it.

Top 3 reasons to be a sponsor;

  1. Get 3-D models of your important buildings and landmarks. You can use these any way you want.
  2. Get people thinking about which places are important.
  3. Give outsiders and interesting way to explore you community.

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