in an effort to help people to gather some additional knowledge about computing. Translation courtesy of Anja Skrba.
1)  What kind of data is on the Deli and how do I use it?
The Deli serves Geographic Information System (GIS) data in vector,
raster, and image formats. Most of this data requires GIS software, which is used for geographic
display, query, and analysis. Some of the data formats (such as GeoTIFF) that we use can also be
viewed with standard image viewers such as Adobe Photoshop, but we don't make any claims that
the data is useful beyond GIS applications.
2)  Do I need any special software to use the Deli?
A standard, up-to-date web browser is all that you need to use the
turned off! Please follow these
instructions to confirm your browser's configuration before using the Deli for the first time.
To effectively use the data which you will download from the Deli,
you will need to have some kind of Geographic Information System (GIS) software and you must
know how to use it. Some examples of commercial GIS software are: ArcView, Idrisi, MapInfo,
and EPPL7. Some examples of free GIS software include: ArcExplorer and GRASS. The Deli
distributes data in common formats, but because of the wide range of capabilities of GIS
software products, we do not guarantee that our data is compatible with your software.
3)  How do I use the Download Data page? I need step-by-step instructions...
Here are the
step-by-step instructions on how to use the Download Data page.
4)  The map area on the left side of the Data Download page is grey. What's wrong?
5)  When I use the select tool on the Download Data page, nothing happens! What's wrong?
Your browser is blocking the Deli's popup windows. If you are using Intenet
Explorer with Windows XP Service Pack 2, popup blocking is enabled by default. You can make changes
through the menus: Tools > Popup Blocker > Turn off Popup Blocker.
See these instructions for
more detail. If you are using Mozilla Firefox, popup blocking is controlled from the menu: Tools > Options... > Web Features.
Again, view these instructions for more detail.
6)  Can I upload data from the Deli into my GPS unit?
Maybe. If your GPS hardware/software vendor supports the data formats
that we deliver. If you are using a Garmin GPS, see our
DNRGarmin software page for more information.
7)  What data formats do you deliver the data in?
Vector data is delivered in Shapefile format. Raster data is delivered
in Arc ASCII format. Image data is delivered either in GeoTIFF, JPEG, MrSID, or ECW format.
See the Data Status page and
select the layer you are interested in for the specifics on a particular layer.
8)   Where can I download plug-ins for ECW image support?
"The ER Mapper ECW Plug-in download page can be found at this link. Look under the heading "ECW JPEG 2000 native support an dApplication plugins." Choose the appropriate plug-in for the software you are using. For example, "ArcGIS 8.x and 9.x ECW plugin" or "ArcView 3.x ECW plug-in." ECW support is built in to many GIS software packages, including Mapinfo, and TNTMips.
9)  What coordinate system is data delivered in?
All Deli data is referenced to UTM Zone 15 (extended), North American
Datum 1983 (NAD83). For data with vertical coordinates (elevation data) refer to the layer
specific metadata document.
10)  How long before I get the data?
For requests that are less than 20mb in size, you will be provided with
a download link immediately. For larger requests, you will be sent an email with the download
link when your bundle is ready. This may take a few minutes or several hours depending on the
size of your request and how much other traffic we are seeing on the Deli.
11)  Why is my request limited to 500mb?
Ask yourself, "How would I like to be in line behind a 10gig request?"
Honestly - compressing very large bundles is extremely CPU intensive and there is a limit to
the pain that we are willing to subject our servers to. If you need more data, make several
smaller requests. This gives our servers a break and allows other users a chance to slip into
12)  How fast can I download data from your site?
For most users, the download speed is limited by the connection at the
receiving end. However, we do throttle our Deli download bandwidth to 10mb / second. Our "pipe"
to the internet is shared by many users and 10mb / second is what we can afford to give up for
13)  I want to find data for a particular Township - Range - Section but I
don't know where it is. How can I search for data in this area of interest?
Use the "Place Name Search" tool on the
Data Search page to zoom to your area of interest. However, instead of entering a place name,
enter the township, range and, optionally, the section you'd like to display. The format to conduct a PLS search is TxxxRxx(Sxx).
Examples: T100R44 or T44r16s5.
More: You can also search using x y coordinates. Enter an x y
coordinate pair, separated by a space, and you'll zoom to that point. Supported coordinate types
are UTM Zone 15 (meters) and longitude/latitude (decimal degrees format). All coordinates are
assumed to be referenced to the datum NAD83. UTM x y pair example: 416912 5090515. Longitude/Latitude
x y pair example: -94.0723 45.9632
14)  My search engine (Google, etc) found a metadata record from the Minnesota
DNR, yet I can't find that data layer on the Deli. What gives?
It's amazing what you can find with Google, isn't it? Not all of the Minnesota
DNR's GIS data holdings are available for public distribution via the Deli. Some of these are data
layers that we maintain in our library but which we did not create or do not have permission to
distribute. Other examples include data that is "under construction" or is being developed for
internal projects. If you have a metadata record, contact the person listed in the "Distribution"
section for more details. You may be able to get the data, just not via the Deli.
15  Where are the 2003 FSA Color DOQs?
We have them - look under the Thematic Category called "Land Imagery." We
are distributing them as tiled ECW format images, referenced to UTM Zone 15, and with no "offsite"
cells to cover up imagery on the adjacent tiles. The Land Management Information Center (LMIC) is
also distributing a MrSID version of this data mosaicked by county. You can download from their
website as well.
16)  Why do you deliver many tiles of data, all with the same file-name and
placed in different directories?
This scheme is called a "Librarian" data storage structure, and mirrors
the way in which we store data here at the DNR. It gives us tremendous flexibility in how we
maintain and replicate data across our wide area network. With this approach we can update the
Deli using the same tools that we use to update our internal Data Resource Sites. We realize
that this may create some difficulty for you, so with your download bundle you'll find software
tools to help you make use of our data storage structure more efficiently. The advantage to you
is that the data you get at the Deli is made only from the freshest ingredients - we serve you
the exact same product as we serve our own family. Doesn't that make you feel good?
17)  Why do you deliver raster data layers in ASCII grid format?
This format is simple, well documented, non-proprietary, and covers all of
our needs. It can be easily imported by ArcView Spatial Analyst, Idrisi, and TNT-Mips, among others.
EPPL7 support is in the works. It is also fairly straightforward to write scripts around this format
to build custom import routines. With your download bundle, we provide an extension to make importing
this data even more painless for ArcView Spatial Analyst 3.x users. By the way, we tried to deliver
all of our raster data in GeoTIFF format, but it turns out that GeoTIFF does not reliably support
negative cell values, single-band rasters with more than 256 cell values, or the explicit definition
of off-site ("No Data") cell values.
18)  If Arc ASCII is so great, then why are there GeoTIFF versions of so many
of the raster data layers?
Because we recognize that there is a class of Deli users who don't have
software capable of raster data import, manipulation and analysis. The GeoTIFF versions of these
layers are cartographic representations of the underlying data. In other words, the cell values of
the GeoTIFF correspond to a legend or display color and cannot be assumed to have any explicit
meaning. The GeoTIFF versions are useful for display, but are relatively useless for computational
and spatial analysis.
19)  How do you decide what data are available as "Quick Downloads"?
To qualify for the Quick Downloads list, the data layer must be no larger
than 20mb and exist on our system as a single, state-wide tile. This means that the request can
be processed immediately and with no need for an "area of interest" search.
20)  What metadata is shipped in my data bundle?
For each layer you request, we ship HTML and XML versions of a metadata
document. The HTML file can be viewed in any typical web browser. The XML file can be viewed in
ESRI's Arc Catalog software, as well as imported into LMIC's DataLogger application.
21)  There is no sample graphic in the metadata record. Where did it go?
Occasionally a metadata record slips by us without a sample graphic. Use
the Deli's "Contact Us" link to let us know about it and we'll rectify the situation. By the way,
that goes for any missing pieces of metadata. Please help us improve our metadata by bringing
errors or omissions to our attention.
22)  Why do I have to accept the Minnesota DNR General Geographic Data License
The Data Deli is a service we provide because it saves us time and it benefits
the citizens of the Minnesota and the GIS community as a whole. We believe that whenever possible,
GIS data should be shared freely. However, without the data license agreement, we would be legally
exposed to persons who misuse or don't take seriously the limitations of the data. Without this
protection, we could no longer provide this service.
23)  When is it more advantageous to use a search point rather than a search
When you are truly interested in a single place on the ground and want to
minimize the number of unnecessary tiles of data returned from the search, using a "search point"
is the most efficient technique.
24)  What is a web mapping service and how do I use it?
A web mapping service allows you to "stream" data from our map server
directly into your GIS software without having to download or import the data. We provide you with
a document that lists our map server's capabilities, and you can use this information to set up your
client to connect to our server. The Deli's
"Web Services" page has more information.
To add our WMS Service to ArcCatalog (9.x):
Note that many of the layers are scale based and are grayed out until you zoom in to a certain scale.
- ArcCatalog > GIS Servers > Add WMS Server
- URL:   http://deli.dnr.state.mn.us/cgi-bin/wms?map=DELI_WMS_MAPFILE&
25)  I have heard that the DNR has historic air photos. Where are they?
The DNR's collection of scanned historic air photos are not georeferenced for
use with GIS. However you can view and download them at this webpage.