The Madeline Island GIS Project
The Madeline Island GIS project was undertaken in the late 1990’s, and was premiered at the 2003 MIWP annual meeting:
The Madeline Island GIS project was a computerized mapping system containing detailed information on then-current Island land-use, vegetation, topography, soils, ownership, roads and trails, etc. This database consisted of 10 separate layers (maps) that were geographically precise so that they could be overlain one with another on a computer or printed output. Because all data were stored digitally, different types of information could be quantitatively "distilled" from the database.
Need for the GIS Project
At the time, Madeline Island was struggling with fast growth and increasing development. In the years after 2003 the Town of La Pointe and Ashland County prepared a comprehensive plan to manage and direct growth in order to preserve community character and quality of life. The Geographic Information System was made available to the Town of La Pointe for citizens to use during the land use planning process. The data provided critical information about the land and enabled informed land use planning.
The maps, charts and graphs helped answer questions about wetlands, steep slopes, future build-out scenarios, etc., to help plan for future growth in appropriate places. Local committees charged with decisions about land use, building permits, zoning, wetlands and other development issues were able to use the GIS database on an ongoing basis. The data was also used for conservation planning of Wilderness Preserve lands on the Island, including mapping the Hiking and Ski Trails.
A Sample from the Madeline GIS Project:
The center image is composed of 1999 black and white aerial photographs of the island, with updated roads and driveways added. The upper left image is a small portion of the land records data from Ashland County. Each record is linked to its correct location on the map. The lower right is a portion of a 1983 color infrared aerial photo, which was used along with other current sources to map the different types of land cover (vegetation) of the island.
The MIWP gratefully acknowledges the following organizations and individuals for supporting the Madeline Island Geographic Information System:
Apostle Island Area Community Fund
Mary H. Rice Foundation
Wisconsin Coastal Management Program
Madeline Island Ferry Line