Ron Meador: Minnesota Buffer Map


Apart from its importance as a reference tool for landowners and regulators, the map of Minnesota watercourses requiring protective buffers creates a fascinating new view of the state and its distinguishing natural resource.

An exercise in high-resolution and highly interactive cartography, the map and online viewer published a couple of weeks ago by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources merges data from detailed paper maps and modern satellite imaging.

It enables a close-up look at all of the state’s lakes and streams, shown in blue in the section above, and also its public ditches, rendered in green. (The red squiggles indicate locations earmarked for ground-truthing.) You can choose to view them laid over satellite imagery of the surface, a road layout or a minimalist gray base map.