City, Township, and Unorganized Territory (CTU) Boundaries, Minnesota

This page last updated: 08/01/2018
Metadata created using Minnesota Geographic Metadata Guidelines


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1. Overview
2. Data Quality
3. Data Organization
4. Coordinate System
5. Attributes
6. Distribution - Get Data
7. Metadata Reference

Section 1 Overview
Originator Minnesota Department of Transportation and Minnesota Geospatial Information Office (MnGeo)
Title City, Township, and Unorganized Territory (CTU) Boundaries, Minnesota
Abstract This medium-scale (nominally 1:24,000) dataset represents the boundaries of cities, townships, and unorganized territories (CTUs) in Minnesota. The Minnesota Geospatial Information Office created the initial CTU dataset by updating a municipal boundary file maintained by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). Update information was gathered primarily from annexation and detachment records maintained by the Office of Administrative Hearings, Municipal Boundary Adjustment Unit. MnDOT has maintained the file since 2014.

Note: Townships represented in this dataset are political (civil) townships, not public land survey townships, and unorganized territory subdivisions are those defined by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, which often differ from those defined by a county.
Purpose This dataset is best suited for general reference only -- it is not suitable for precise land measurements or ground surveys. MnGeo created it as part of a legislatively mandated project to calculate a table of township acreage data for the Minnesota Department of Revenue in accordance with state statute (Chapter 366, Article 17, Section 7, Subd. 3).

Note that several state agencies and government units maintain statewide CTU boundary and acreage data for their internal business needs. Though these data may meet the requirements of those individual agencies, there are no authoritative processes in place to provide a standard, regularly maintained universal data set for use by the GIS community at large. This data set is a step toward the long term goal of improving accuracy, standardizing attributes and maintaining statewide boundary and acreage data for ongoing use by the GIS community.
Time Period of Content Date 08/01/2018
Currentness Reference Date of the most recent annexations included in this dataset.
Progress Complete
Maintenance and Update Frequency Quarterly
Spatial Extent of Data State of Minnesota
Bounding Coordinates -97.269853
-89.389133
49.404387
43.435244
Place Keywords Minnesota
Theme Keywords boundaries, cities, corporate limits, CTU, city boundary, township boundary, political township boundary, civil township boundary, unorganized territory boundary, municipal boundary, minor civil division boundary, MCD boundary, government unit boundary
Theme Keyword Thesaurus ISO 19115 Topic Category
Access Constraints None
Use Constraints This dataset is best suited for general reference only. It is not suitable for precise land measurements or ground surveys.

Redistribution conditions: In obtaining this data from MnDOT and MnGeo, it is understood that you and/or your organization have the right to use it for any purpose. If you modify it, you are encouraged to apply responsible best practices by documenting those changes in a metadata record. If you transmit or provide the data to another user, it is your responsibility to provide appropriate content, limitation, warranty and liability information as you see fit.
Contact Person Information Mike Eull, Research Analysis Specialist
Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) - Office of Transportation System Management - GIM section
395 John Ireland Blvd, Mail Stop 450
St. Paul, MN  55155
Phone: 651-366-3859
Email: michael.eull@state.mn.us
Browse Graphic Click to view a data sample.
Statewide view of CTU boundaries
Associated Data Sets The Minnesota CTU database is an up-to-date resource for Minnesota CTU ID codes and names:
http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/CTU/index.html

CTU boundary files for previous years can be obtained from the following websites:

1. MCD2003 - http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/chouse/metadata/mcd2003.html
2. Mn/DOT BaseMap 2001 - Muni - http://www.dot.state.mn.us/maps/gdma/data/metadata/muni.htm
3. 2000 Minor Civil Divisions - http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/chouse/metadata/mcd.html
4. MCD 1998/1995 - ftp://ftp.commissions.leg.state.mn.us/pub/gis/shape/
5. Minor Civil Divisions, Minnesota, 1990 - http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/chouse/metadata/mcd90.html

For more information about municipal boundary adjustments, see: https://mn.gov/oah/municipal-boundary-adjustments/

Section 2 Data Quality
Attribute Accuracy MnGeo staff compared the attributes created for this project (the mnctu09 feature class -- see Lineage field for description of how attributes were created) with the Minnesota CTU database (derived from the U.S. Geological Survey's Geographic Names Information System or GNIS). The checks were done using Esri's ArcSDE and ArcMap software:

1. Downloaded CTU records from the Minnesota CTU database: http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/CTU/index.html
2. Created CTU events (from the CTU records centroid X,Y coordinates) in ArcMap
3. Spatially joined CTU events and mnctu09 feature class
4. Checked and fixed mnctu09 types (e.g., city, township, unorganized territory) that were not equivalent to CTU event types
5. Checked and fixed mnctu09 names that did not match CTU event names
6. Expanded all abbreviations in mnctu09 names (e.g., St. to Saint, Mt. to Mountain)
7. Verified that no blanks existed in any records (except 11 unorganized territories that did not have GNIS_IDs)

September 1, 2010

CTU GNIS_IDs were updated to include recently assigned USGS GNIS IDs for two Unorganized Territories. Fictitious GNIS_IDs were assigned to nine Unorganized Territories which did not have USGS-assigned GNIS ID's, to create common fields enabling table joins and edits to attribute tables from previous datasets.
Logical Consistency In the original dataset, MnDOT's more up-to-date dataset for city, township and unorganized territory boundaries was merged with MnGeo's updated boundary data. The resulting gaps and overlaps were manually fixed to produce a seamless statewide dataset.

In 2010, MnGeo received a CAP grant to investigate methods for improving data accuracy working in an ArcSDE geodatabase environment. The following is a summary of the methods used to create the updated CTU boundary dataset:

1. Set up ArcSDE Geodatabase.
2. Created a feature dataset that includes a line (CTU_l), annexation polygon (CTU_Edits), and city, township and unorganized territory polygon base file (CTU_p).
3. Created annexation lines using advanced COGO tools in Arc Editor. Line files were created using both as-read survey descriptions and digitized georeferenced maps. The line files were saved as Traverse files and rotated when necessary to adjust to PLS 40 and other base layer reference maps.
4. Constructed annexation polygons (CTU_Edits) from the line files (CTU_l) and unioned, then dissolved the polygons with the most recent CTU dataset (mnctu062310).
5. Created topology rules to eliminate gaps and overlaps and recalculated acreage.
6. Exported CTU_p to a shapefile and named it mnctu090110.
Completeness MnDOT's municipal boundary file was selected to be used as the original basemap to update MBA boundary changes because, compared to other available sources, it provided the most comprehensive statewide boundary and acreage coverage and had more recent annexation boundary information.

The most current statewide boundary and acreage coverage, mnctu072011, was used as the basemap to update MBA boundary changes.

Total records: 2747
Cities: 900
Townships: 1785
Unorganized Territories: 62

The GNIS code for 9 unorganized territory records could not be found in the CTU database or on the GNIS website so they were assigned fictitous numbers (999901-999911). Unorganized territories sometimes do not have the same names and boundaries between the two primary sources for their data: individual counties and the U.S. Census Bureau. Therefore, GNIS codes are not established for those with discrepancies. To facilitate joins and relates, fictititious GNIS codes (999901-999911) were assigned.
Horizontal Positional Accuracy All of the data sources reviewed and the final dataset were within the National Map Accuracy Standards for 1:24,000-scale maps which is +/- 40 feet (12 meters). The dataset is not intended for legal land survey use, and is best suited for general reference.

The positional accuracy of annexation data varies depending on the quality of the submitted data and the method used to enter the data:

1. When the legal descriptions in the MBA dockets were complete, boundaries could often be entered by using Esri's Traverse COGO (coordinate geometry) tool which is likely to produce the most accurate results.

2. Dockets that could not be mapped using the Traverse tool were georeferenced and digitized using aerial photography and Public Land Survey 40 quarter-quarter section lines. The quality of the boundary data digitized from georeferenced maps varies depending on the scale and quality of the scanned raster image of the map.

3. Some maps obtained from MBA were digitized based on intent and interpreted using area measurements and relative positions of hand-drawn features on the docket maps and their approximate geospatial relationship to landmarks on aerial photos and roads. In these cases, the areas mapped may be less accurate than data entered using georeferenced maps or the Traverse tool.
Vertical Positional Accuracy Not Applicable
Lineage OVERVIEW:

The Minnesota Geospatial Information Office (MnGeo), formerly the Minnesota Land Management Information Center (LMIC), created this file by updating a municipal boundary file maintained by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). Update information was gathered primarily from annexation and detachment records maintained in the 'docket' system of the Office of Administrative Hearings, Municipal Boundary Adjustment Unit (MBA): http://www.mba.state.mn.us
Since 2014, MnDOT has maintained this file.

Depending on the quality of information provided, different processes were used to update and check the data.
-----------------------------------
PROCESS FOR INITIAL DATASET CREATION, April 2009 version


SOURCE DATA:

A. Data file used as a starting point:

MnDOT Municipal (City) Boundaries shapefile (muni_bounds) with updated annexation data through February 2008 (MnDOT was missing approximately 50 annexation dockets from after Feb. 08): Contains city boundary updates based on annexation data received from MBA.

This 2008 version of the data set was prepared for internal use at MnDOT. For documentation of the 2001 version of this data set (MnDOT BaseMap Muni) which is currently the most recent version publicly available online, see: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/maps/gdma/data/metadata/muni.htm


B. Sources used to check and update the muni_bounds data set:

1. MnDOT All_boundaries shapefile
Contains boundary data for cities, townships, and unorganized territories.

2. MnDOT updated municipal boundary data table (Excel format)
Lists all recent (through February 2008) municipal boundary annexation dockets that MnDOT had completed or planned to complete.

3. Municipal Boundary Adjustments (MBA) docket data
Approved annexation and detachment dockets that include legal descriptions and maps of all approved annexations through mid-April 2009.

4. LMIC Adjusted and Unadjusted municipality polygon files
Contain annexations performed on the state's municipalities. The annexation boundaries in the 'adjusted' file were geo-registered (adjusted) to Public Land Survey line data (see data source #5 below). The annexation boundaries in the 'unadjusted' file were not geo-registered to the PLS data set.

5. Control Point Generated Public Land Survey Quarter-quarter Sections
Used to georeference some of the annexation boundaries. Documented at: https://gisdata.mn.gov/dataset/plan-mndnr-public-land-survey

-----------------------------------
MnGeo PROCESS STEPS:

The following steps were completed using Esri's ArcGIS 9.2 software:

1. MnDOT muni_bounds data set was reviewed to determine the annexations/detachments that were definitively completed by MnDOT. The muni_bounds file was compared with existing LMIC municipality data and with MnDOT's updated municipal boundary data table. Three hundred and ninety-nine (399) annexations/detachments were identified that needed review and potential updating.

2. Annexation/detachment docket files (including maps) were then obtained from MBA and compared with those annexations/detachments requiring review from step 1 to determine if they were already complete. Approximately two-thirds of the records were determined to be complete and did not require further updates.

3. The approximately 100 annexations/detachments that had not been completed were checked to determine boundary closure accuracy where sufficient legal description information of the annexation was provided. The information was then entered into the muni_bounds data set several ways, depending on the quality of the source data:

a. Drawn using the coordinate geometry (COGO) Advanced Computations Traverse tool in ArcGIS if legal descriptions contained sufficient information to support using the tool.

b. Digitized by 'tracing' georeferenced MBA docket maps, using 2008 FSA NAIP aerial photos, and occasionally MnDOT road files, in the background for reference.

c. Digitized based on intent as stated in the MBA docket and interpreted using area measurements and relative positions of hand-drawn features on the MBA docket maps and their approximate geospatial relationship to landmarks on aerial photos and roads.

4. After completing updates to the city boundaries, the city boundary data (muni_bounds) was subtracted from the township and unorganized territory boundary data (All_boundaries) using the Erase tool; this created an updated township and unorganized territory boundary data file.

5. The updated files were merged to create a single geodatabase with two new feature classes: the Updated City Boundary feature class and the Updated Township and Unorganized Territory Boundary feature class. Gaps and overlaps were resolved, giving priority to the city boundary location (see Logical Consistency field for details).

6. An 'acres' field was calculated for both the city and township attribute tables.

7. A shapefile version was created from the geodatabase for public distribution.

-----------------------------------
UPDATE: January 2010

- The process to resolve gaps and overlaps was redone using the ArcGIS 'Union' tool with a 1-meter tolerance rather than the 'Integrate' tool with a 10-meter tolerance. This corrected problems with boundaries that were inadvertantly generalized and shifted by the Integrate process - see Logical Consistency field for details.
- Seven annexation features from the Minnesota Department of Revenue were added.
- A GNIS code was added to Grant Township and its misspelled name (Grand) was corrected.
- Two misspellings were corrected: 'Marysville' township was changed to 'Marysland' (Swift County); 'Ghent' unorganized territory was changed to 'Gheen' (St. Louis County)
- Added the 'County_num' field to display the ANSI county code for the given CTU feature. This was done to give each feature a unique ID when the 'County_num' field is combined with the 'GNIS_ID' field.
- The city of Roosevelt (County_num = 135, 077 GNIS_ID = 2396425) was split between Roseau and Lake of the Woods counties.
- The city of St. Peter (County_num = 079, 103 GNIS_ID = 2396517) was split between Le Sueur and Nicollet counties.

-----------------------------------
UPDATE: April 2010
- Corrections were made to the Norwood Young America boundary (Carver County).

-----------------------------------
UPDATE: June 2010
- A city name misspelling was corrected: 'Hinkley' was changed to 'Hinckley'

-----------------------------------
UPDATE: September 2010
- Updated boundary data in an ArcSDE Geodatabase
- Applied topoplogy rules to eliminate gaps and overlaps
- Added fictitious GNIS codes to nine Unorganized Territories (999901-999911) to facilitate joins and relates

-----------------------------------
UPDATE: January 27, 2011
- 107 corrections were made to the dataset based on MnDOT ROW (right-of-way) and boundary review

-----------------------------------
UPDATE: July 27, 2011
-all approved MBA dockets were processed for the fiscal year
-Number of records changed from 2748 to 2747 due to City of Tenney dissolution to Campbell Township

-----------------------------------
UPDATE: October 2011
-all approved MBA dockets were processed from July 1, 2011 to October 18, 2011

-----------------------------------
UPDATE: February 2012
-all approved MBA dockets were processed from October 18, 2011 to February 8, 2012. Pine Island annexation data was corrected and updated based on information provided by the Rochester-Olmsted Planning Department.

-----------------------------------
UPDATE: June 2012
-all approved MBA dockets were processed from February 9, 2012 to June 19, 2012.
- The format of the ID field was changed to comply with the State of Minnesota's CTU Standard: https://mn.gov/mnit/about-mnit/policies/geo/ctu-identifier-codes.jsp
The GNIS_ID code field (text without leading zeros) was dropped and was replaced with the same code in text format with leading zeros (GNIS_ID_T) and with the code in integer format (GNIS_ID_I).

-----------------------------------
UPDATE: July 2013
-all approved MBA dockets were processed from June 20, 2012 to June 30, 2013.

-----------------------------------
UPDATE: June 2014
-all approved MBA dockets were processed from July 1, 2013 to May 29, 2014.

-----------------------------------
UPDATE: June 2015
-all approved MBA dockets were processed from July 1, 2014 to June 15, 2015.
- City of Thomson consolidated into City of Carlton in Carlton County

-----------------------------------
UPDATE: December 2015
Changed the following attribute codes:

Fcode = deleted
GNIS_ID_I = deleted
GNIS_ID_T = deleted (replaced with GNIS_ID)
GNIS_ID = added, replaces GNIS_ID_T (is in text format, not integer)

-----------------------------------
UPDATE: June 2016
- all approved MBA dockets were processed from January 1, 2016 to June 24, 2016

- the number of records changed from 2743 to 2745 due to the following changes:
1. Liberty township in Itasca County split into two unorganized territories: Unorganized 14925 and Unorganized 15025
2. Raymond City expanded from Kandiyohi County into Chippewa County and a record was added for the new portion in Chippewa County.

- Also, the following spelling corrections were made

"Bankcroft" corrected to "Bancroft" - TOWNSHIP(GNIS = 663501)
"Blakely" corrected to "Blakeley" - TOWNSHIP (GNIS = 663612)
"Clover Leaf" corrected to "Cloverleaf" - TOWNSHIP (GNIS = 663838)
"Fairhaven" corrected to "Fair Haven" - TOWNSHIP (GNIS = 664132)
"Lac Qui Parle" corrected to "Lac qui Parle" - TOWNSHIP (GNIS = 664650)
"OBrien corrected to "O'Brien" - TOWNSHIP (GNIS = 665196)
"Windmere" corrected to "Windemere" - TOWNSHIP (GNIS = 666013)
"Heikkila Lake" corrected to "Heikkala Lake" - UNORGANIZED TERRITORY (GNIS = 664441)
"Pot Shot Lake" corrected to "Potshot Lake" - UNORGANIZED TERRITORY (GNIS = 665347)

-----------------------------------
UPDATE: December 2016
- all approved MBA dockets were processed from June 25, 2016 to December 31, 2016
-----------------------------------
UPDATE: April 2017
- all approved MBA dockets were processed from January 1st, 2017 to March 31, 2017
-----------------------------------
UPDATE: June 2017
- all approved MBA dockets were processed from April 1st, 2017 to June 23, 2017
------------------------------------
Update: September 2017
Unorganized Territories that do not exist in the US Census database (they do not have a GNIS_ID) were created initially with (at the time) fictitious GNIS numbers. These GNIS numbers were discovered to be real GNIS numbers that represent GNIS features outside of MN. In order to lessen the potential for confusion, these GNIS numbers were updated with new fictitious unique GNIS numbers so they do not match any existing features:

Northwest Angle = 9999995
Rainy River = 9999996
Beltrami Forest = 9999997
Gull Lake (Crow Wing County) = 9999998
Gull Lake (Cass County)= 9999999

These features were previously Unorganized Territories with "fictitious" GNIS numbers but were discovered to have real GNIS numbers. These features have been renamed/modified and are now assigned these GNIS_IDs:

Dean Lake = 663937
Lake Number 1 (previously "East Lake") = 664691
Lake Number 2 (previously "West Lake" and "Two Harbors" now merged together) = 664692
------------------------------------
UPDATE: December 31st 2017
- all approved MBA dockets were processed from June 23, 2017 to December 31st 2017.

Errors fixed in December 31st 2017 update:

GNIS_ID for Westfield Township (Dodge County) was discovered to be incorrect (was 665963), it was updated appropriately to be 663374.

During the June 2017 update, some CTUs were inadvertently assigned to an incorrect CTU_Type and/or appear in the wrong county.

Four known examples:
1. Fairfax (GNIS_ID 2394729) should be a City in Renville County, not a Township that appears in Polk County
2. Fairfax Township (GNIS_ID 664128) should be in Polk County, not St. Louis County
3. Fairfield (GNIS_ID 664130) should be a Township in Crow Wing County, not a City that appears in Renville County
4. Fairfield Township (GNIS_ID 664131) should be in Swift County, not Crow Wing County

The December 2016 version of the data was correct. These errors were fixed in the boundary changes made through December 31, 2017.

------------------------------------
UPDATE: April 15th 2018

- all approved MBA dockets were processed from January 1st, 2018 to April 15th, 2018.

- Lutsen Township (Cook County) annexed a portion of the Unorganized Territory of West Cook (locally approved 4-18-2017). This change does not have a corresponding MBA docket number.

- Many boundary geometry corrections to various CTU features were made and will continue to be made throughout the state in an effort to increase overall accuracy of the entire dataset. Specific metadata will be made available in the coming iterations.

------------------------------------
UPDATE: April 15th 2018

- all approved MBA dockets were processed from April 15th, 2018 to August 1st, 2018.

- Many general boundary improvements were made throughout the state where positional errors or inaccuracies were encountered.

Section 3 Spatial Data Organization (not used in this metadata)

Section 4 Coordinate System
Horizontal Coordinate Scheme Universal Transverse Mercator
UTM Zone Number 15
Horizontal Datum NAD83
Horizontal Units meters

Section 5 Attributes
Overview CTU codes are a subset of the full set of GNIS codes. For more information on CTU and GNIS codes, see: http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/CTU/index.html
Detailed Citation
Table Detail:
CTU attributes (MnDOT)
Field NameValid ValuesDefinitionDefinition Source
FID
-
Unique identifier of the city, township or unorganized territory feature assigned automatically by ArcGIS, starting with 0Esri
OBJECTID
-
Unique identifier of the city, township or unorganized territory feature assigned automatically by ArcGIS, starting with 1Esri
ShapeenumeratedGeometry data of the city, township or unorganized territory featureEsri
Polygon
COUNTY_CODE1 to 872-digit county code for given feature
County_num001 to 1733-digit county code for given featureState of Minnesota standard
GNIS_ID
-
Geographic Names Information System Feature IDU.S. Board on Geographic Names
Name
-
The name of the city, township or unorganized territory feature
CTU_TypeenumeratedType of CTUMunicipal Boundary Adjustment unit
CITY
TOWNSHIP
UNORGANIZED TERRITORY
LoadDate
-
Date when the record was last loaded into the databaseMnDOT
Acres
-
Number of acres within the polygonCalculated


Section 6 Distribution
Publisher Minnesota Department of Transportation
Publication Date 08/01/2018
Contact Person Information Mike Eull, Research Analysis Specialist
Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) - Office of Transportation System Management - GIM section
395 John Ireland Blvd, Mail Stop 450
St. Paul, MN  55155
Phone: 651-366-3859
Email: michael.eull@state.mn.us
Distributor's Data Set Identifier mnctu
Distribution Liability The Minnesota Department of Transportation makes no representation or warranties, express or implied, with respect to the reuse of data provided herewith, regardless of its format or the means of its transmission. There is no guarantee or representation to the user as to the accuracy, currency, suitability, or reliability of this data for any purpose. The user accepts the data 'as is', and assumes all risks associated with its use. By accepting this data, the user agrees not to transmit this data or provide access to it or any part of it to another party unless the user shall include with the data a copy of this disclaimer. The Minnesota Department of Transportation assumes no responsibility for actual or consequential damage incurred as a result of any user's reliance on this data.

MnGeo's Distribution Liability Statement is here:
http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/chouse/disclaimer.html
Ordering Instructions Data can be downloaded from the Minnesota Geospatial Commons. See Online Linkage field below.
Online Linkage I AGREE to the notice in "Distribution Liability" above. Clicking to agree will either begin the download process, link to a service, or provide more instructions. See "Ordering Instructions" above for details.

Section 7 Metadata Reference
Metadata Date 08/01/2018
Contact Person Information Mike Eull, Research Analysis Specialist
Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) - Office of Transportation System Management - GIM section
395 John Ireland Blvd, Mail Stop 450
St. Paul, MN  55155
Phone: 651-366-3859
Email: michael.eull@state.mn.us
Metadata Standard Name Minnesota Geographic Metadata Guidelines
Metadata Standard Version 1.2
Metadata Standard Online Linkage http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/committee/standards/mgmg/metadata.htm


This page last updated: 08/01/2018
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