The Mississippi Legislature, in its 2003 regular session, passed House Bill 861 to establish the Mississippi Coordinating Council for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems. It also charged the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to manage the development of a digital land base computer model of the State of Mississippi, to be called the Mississippi Digital Earth Model (MDEM). The law went into effect July 1, 2003, and stated in part:

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Geology and Energy Resources shall be responsible for program management, procurement, development and maintenance of Mississippi Digital Earth Model, which should include the following seven (7) core data layers of a digital land base computer model of the State of Mississippi:

  • Geodetic control
  • Elevation and bathymetry
  • Orthoimagery
  • Hydrography
  • Transportation
  • Government boundaries
  • Cadastral
    (With respect to the cadastral layer, the authority and responsibility of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Geology and Energy Resources shall be limited to compiling information submitted by counties.)