University of Wisconsin–Madison

SCO Projects

In addition to our day-to-day activities, the State Cartographer’s Office works on larger-scale projects with time frames of several months or even years. These projects may include major updates to our website or mapping applications, funded research projects, large data development activities, and large-scale coordination initiatives. These projects are sometimes internal, but in other cases involve collaboration with outside partners. This page highlights these projects and identifies resources where additional information can be found.

Funded Projects

Statewide PLSS (Public Land Survey System) Database

  • GOAL The goal of this project is to produce a statewide PLSS GIS layer based on best-available county coordinate data to improve parcel map accuracy.
  • PARTNERS Wisconsin Dept. of Administration (DOA); county/municipal land information offices.
  • FUNDING/TIMELINE DOA; mid 2018-12/31/18
  • STUDENT ASSISTANTS Alex Campbell, Clayton Groth

Statewide Parcel Database, Ver. 3/4

  • GOAL The goal of this project is to create the 3rd and 4th versions of the Wisconsin statewide parcel map, a free online GIS database and app of all tax parcels in the state.
  • PARTNERS Wisconsin Dept. of Administration (DOA); county/municipal land information offices.
  • FUNDING/TIMELINE DOA; 1/1/17-12/31/18
  • STUDENT ASSISTANTS Alex Campbell, Austin Coppernoll, Clayton Groth, Ryan Halton, Michael Hruska, Jeffrey Piccirillo

Antimicrobial Resistance Mapping and Decision Support

  • GOAL We are working with the UW-Madison School of Pharmacy to map patterns of pathogen resistance in Wisconsin. The results will be used by Pharmacy researchers to better understand the reasons for antibiotic resistance in the state. In addition, we are developing a “decision-support” web application to
    help doctors pick the best antibiotics based on the observed antimicrobial resistance patterns.
  • PARTNER UW-Madison School of Pharmacy
  • FUNDING/TIMELINE 3/1/18-6/30/19
  • STUDENT ASSISTANTS Ben Segal, Andrea Eibergen, Jeffrey Piccirillo


  • GOAL The goal of this project is to develop a beta version of software for LifeMapping, a university-based project seeking to attract users and investment to its interactive mapping product.
  • PARTNERS Dean Olsen (UW student & project founder), UW Cartography Lab, Earthling Interactive, KW2 Marketing.
  • FUNDING/TIMELINE Portion of a larger project funded by D2P, UW-Madison; 1/1/17-12/31/18
  • STUDENT ASSISTANTS Scott Farley, Sung-Hyun Kang, Skylar Orenstein Buono, Chris Scheele

Internal/Student Projects

Historic Aerial Image Mosaics

  • GOAL We are processing thousands of 1930s-era historic air photos of Wisconsin to produce county-wide georeferenced mosaics.
  • STUDENT ASSISTANTS Dawson Bancroft-Short, Austin Coppernoll, Michael Hruska

Survey Control Finder Backend Workflow

  • GOAL This project created a suite of geoprocessing tools to assist with Survey Control Finder data preparation, aggregation, and upload. The Prepare Tool facilitates field mapping and standardization of native data to the statewide schema. The Upload Tool writes new control points to a CARTO database while backing up and removing previous points from the database. The NGS Tool leverages a list of National Geodetic Survey Height Modernization projects in order to return a GIS file of points participating in each project.
  • STUDENT ASSISTANTS Austin Coppernolll, Jeffrey Piccirillo

Lower Wisconsin Riverway Parcel Project

  • GOAL We helped representatives of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board develop an outreach mailing list from the statewide parcel dataset. The resulting list was used to contact landowners along the lower Wisconsin River.

Cloud-Based Landsat Data Archive for Evapotranspiration Modeling

  • GOAL As part of a GIS Certificate Capstone project, a student developed Python scripts to extract Landsat data stored in the cloud. The goal of the project was to facilitate more efficient data preparation for evapotranspiration modeling using NASA’s METRIC model.
  • STUDENT ASSISTANT Dawson Bancroft-Short

PLSSFinder Updates

  • GOAL Process Public Land Survey System (PLSS) corner data for over 60 counties to update PLSSFinder. Work with counties to comply with Benchmark 4 of the Statewide Parcel Map Project to deliver updated PLSS information to the State Cartographer’s Office for public access.
  • STUDENT ASSISTANTS Dawson Bancroft-Short, Austin Coppernoll

Culvert Data Capture for Hydrologic Modeling and Visualization

  • GOAL As part of a directed study class, a student used ArcGIS Online and the Esri Collector mobile app to capture culvert data and use it to condition a LiDAR-derived digital elevation model (DEM) for hydrologic modeling. The before-culvert and after-culvert results of the model were then visualized in ArcGIS Online.
  • STUDENT ASSISTANTS Austin Coppernoll

Wisconsin Land Economic Inventory (“Bordner”) Maps

  • GOAL Continue digitizing the Wisconsin Land Economic Inventory (WLEI or “Bordner Survey”) maps with the eventual goal of completing the entire state.
  • PARTNER David Mladenoff Forest Ecosystem and Landscape Ecology Lab, UW-Madison.
  • STUDENT ASSISTANT Nishigandha Sontakke

Basics of Lidar Workshop Updates

  • GOAL Convert all ArcGIS-based exercises for Basics of LidarWorkshop to ArcGIS Pro.
  • STUDENT ASSISTANT Nishigandha Sontakke

Web App Updates

  • The Aerial Photography Catalog has been upgraded to provide a more intuitive interface, improve database quality, eliminate obsolete records, and streamline the process for managing database updates.  Student Assistants Caitlin Wolters (former student), Ben Schroeder.
  • WHAIFINDER, which delivers scans of 1930s-era aerial photographs for the entire state, has been upgraded using the Leaflet JavaScript library and the CARTO platform.  Student Assistants Tobin McGilligan, Ben Schroeder.
  • GeoData@Wisconsin, providing single-point discovery and download of Wisconsin local and statewide GIS datasets, now contains over 600 public-access datasets.  Partner Jaime Martindale, UW-Madison Robinson Map Library.  Student Assistants Laura Poplett & Ellen Falette (Robinson Map Library).
  • ControlFinder and PLSSFinder, which provide access to geodetic control data, Public Land Survey System corner data, county tie sheets, and National Geodetic Survey data sheets, are being merged into a single application. Partners  County surveyors and land information offices, National Geodetic Survey. Student Assistants Matt Bougie, Will Westbury,  Tobin McGilligan, Dawson Bancroft-Short, Ben Schroeder, Austin Coppernoll, Ben Segal.
Last updated: November 1, 2018