Joint Supplemental Budget Request to

Improve GIS-Based Public Lands and

Growth Management Information

Through the Cadastral Framework Project

Background and Supporting Documents

(graphic of State of Washington and Counties here)

Proposal Coordinator

Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation

Other Participating Agencies and Counties

Department of Natural Resources

State Parks and Recreation Commission

Department of Fish and Wildlife

Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development

Department of Transportation

Grant County

Spokane County

Table of Contents

Introduction 3

Summary of Budget Request 3


Cadastral Data 3

Public Lands Inventory Project 3

Geographic Information Systems 4

The Framework Concept 4

Washington Geographic Information Council (WAGIC) 5

Cadastral Framework Project 5

Expanding the Framework 5

Overview of the Budget Request 6

Specific Elements of the Budget Request 6

Deliverables by November 1, 2000 7

Deliverables by June 30, 2001 7

Benefits of Establishing a Statewide Cadastral Framework 8

Why Supplemental Budget Funding? 8

Alternative Approaches 9

Staff Contacts 9


1. Conceptual Illustration of Cadastral Project in Snohomish County 10

2. Sample Data Cleanup Issues 11

3. Dept. of Natural Resources Work Plan and Budget Detail 12

4. Grant County Workplan and Budget Detail 15

5. Spokane County Workplan and Budget Detail 19

6. State Parks & Recreation Commission Work Plan and Budget Detail 23

7. Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Work Plan and Budget Detail 29

8. Dept. of Comm., Trade, & Economic Dvlp Work Plan and Budget Detail 33

9. Dept. of Transportation Work Plan and Budget Detail 37

10. List of Data Reporting Committee Members 40

11. List of Cadastral Framework Project Partners 41


Washington state faces major challenges with critical geographic dimensions: salmon recovery, natural resources management, growth, transportation planning, service delivery, and management and stewardship of public lands. Though Washington has been acknowledged as a leader in information technology, and elected officials and the public increasingly expect important government information to be readily available and easily accessible, there are critical gaps in the availability and quality of some types of geographic information. This proposal represents a cooperative venture among state and local governments to begin to fill in part of that gap by developing a shared geographic information system (GIS) containing critical "backbone" data about the location, ownership, and key administrative boundaries of lands in Washington.

Summary of Budget Request

$836,000 GF-S is requested to implement a series of pilot projects across the state to build a shared and cooperative GIS framework that integrates federal, state, local, tribal, and private GIS-based cadastral data. Based on the experience gained through the pilots, a strategic plan for expanding the system would be prepared for consideration by the Governor and Legislature during the 2001 legislative session.


Cadastral Data: The term "cadastral" refers to information about the ownership, extent, and value of real property maintained for title registration and taxation purposes. Its use dates to the Napoleonic era, when cadastral surveys were instituted to get a more accurate estimate of the amount and value of land that could be taxed. In today's world of GIS, "Cadastral data" continues to refer to the rights and interests in property parcels, but has grown beyond taxation to become a backbone GIS layer. Through its digital identification of survey monuments, township corners, and administrative boundaries, GIS-based cadastral data establishes a control network for geographic referencing.

Public Lands Inventory Project: In 1997, the Legislature directed the IAC to develop a statewide inventory of the amount and types of lands owned by federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as Native American tribes. Due to a lack of any central systems for storing comprehensive and up-to-date information about public and tribal lands, IAC was forced to construct the inventory using a manual survey process - essentially the same approach Washington State University used to construct the last public lands inventory 20 years ago. While administering the survey, IAC found that, despite recent advances in information technology and more widespread availability of geographic information systems (GIS), most government agencies still maintained their land records in paper files or in non-uniform tabular databases, and that there were often inconsistencies and gaps in records due to a lack of common standards and protocols. For example, only one large state agency (the Department of Natural Resources) was able to respond to the survey using GIS, and some agencies were forced to compile data and construct their survey responses using laborious manual processes. In response to these findings, and in order to meet legislative intent that inventory information be shareable and updateable, (1) IAC convened a special committee of state agency, local government, and tribal experts to develop recommendations to improve public lands data and data systems in the future. (2) The committee has recommended that future public lands information be maintained in a GIS environment that utilizes common standards and protocols to facilitate efficient and collaborative maintenance and sharing of data. This recommendation will be included in the IAC's final inventory report to the Legislature during the 2000 Session.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS): GIS is a computer-based tool for digitally mapping and analyzing data that has a geographic component (i.e. the data is tied in some way to a location on the land). The power of GIS lies in its ability to overlay multiple "layers" of information for analysis - often illuminating trends and issues that would otherwise not be apparent - and to illustrate the results graphically on maps. For example, overlaying a public land ownership layer with a salmon spawning habitat layer may help identify areas for special management or protection. Though more and more agencies are acquiring GIS hardware and software (3), acquiring the equipment is only a small step to building effective GIS. Filling the system with meaningful, current, and reliable data that can be used for effective analysis is often a more difficult challenge. Studies have found that the vast majority of the costs of most GIS systems, sometimes reaching 80%, lie in creating and maintaining data, not in hardware and software. There is growing recognition that the answer to creating more complete and higher quality statewide GIS information lies in sharing or distributing the cost of data development and maintenance.

The Framework Concept: Though many organizations need and use the same basic GIS data, until now most existing GIS data sets have been developed independently. This has resulted in both an inefficient use of resources and a barrier to effective cross-jurisdictional analysis due to data incompatibility. In the early 1990's, the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) began developing a national system of standards and protocols for core GIS data used by many users. These standards and protocols have become known as the "Framework." Key goals of the Framework include reducing duplication of effort in GIS data collection and maintenance and increasing data sharing capabilities at both the federal and state levels. Framework data sets focus on basic GIS information commonly needed by government and private industry, and are developed and maintained collaboratively. Nationally, seven themes of Framework data have been identified: cadastral, hydrography, transportation, government administrative boundaries, elevation, geodetic control, and orthoimagery. In Washington, three of these framework themes are currently under development - cadastral, hydrography, and transportation.

Washington State Geographic Information Council (WAGIC): WAGIC is a voluntary organization that formed in the mid 1980's to improve GIS information sharing and coordination in Washington. Earlier this year, WAGIC released a strategic plan that highlighted the completion of Washington's framework data sets and systems, including the cadastral framework, as one of its highest priorities.

Cadastral Framework Project: Two years ago, DNR received a FGDC grant to begin developing and testing the cadastral framework concept in Washington. The Cadastral Framework Project was to rely on a distributed model - where responsibility for creating and maintaining GIS data was shared by many entities. Working through the network established under WAGIC, DNR established a consortium of federal, state, local, and private organizations to develop and test the model in Snohomish County.(4) To date, the Snohomish County pilot project has progressed through two key phases of development. In the first phase, a GIS database that addressed the partners' common data needs and met FGDC standards was designed, created, and initially populated with cadastral data for DNR-managed lands (e.g. state trust lands). The second phase has involved moving data from other partners into the database. A map providing a conceptual illustration of the integrated cadastral data resulting from this work is provided in Attachment 1. Based on positive results from initial testing of the Snohomish pilot, WAGIC and DNR are looking for ways to extend the model database statewide.

Expanding the Framework: There are three types of potential Cadastral Framework Project partners. The first includes those entities with existing GIS cadastral databases. For these entities, database tools are programmed to move data in and out of the framework. (Moving data in helps build the framework for other partners; moving data out fills in gaps and/or improves the accuracy of data in the agency's existing GIS system.) The second type of partner includes those entities without existing GIS cadastral databases. For these entities, the framework provides a ready-built "turnkey" GIS cadastral database, including core data from existing partners. Tremendous start-up time and cost savings can be realized by using the Framework as the basis for building an agency's GIS system. The third type of partner includes those entities that wish to use the framework for planning and analysis purposes, but may not administer any lands themselves. Though in many cases these partners may desire to query the database for certain types of information, they may also contribute specialized information to the framework, such as administrative boundary data.

The role of the framework integrator is also critical to framework expansion. For the Cadastral Framework Project, this function has been performed to date by the Department of Natural Resources. The framework integrator's primary role is assisting agencies in participating as partners in the framework. Specific tasks include facilitating database design and development, assisting in programming database tools for migrating data in and out of the framework, and providing technical assistance to startup agencies. In addition, the integrator assists partner agencies in "cleaning up" and resolving discrepancies that can occur between data sets. ( A typical example of a cadastral framework cleanup issue is illustrated in Attachment 2.) DNR's role as the official state agency for recording and indexing statewide survey and map information, (5) as well as their previous experience using the cadastral model for their internal GIS work, makes them the logical and appropriate candidate to continue as framework integrator.

Overview of the Budget Request

This is a joint budget request involving six state agencies and two counties working in partnership to accelerate the development of a statewide cadastral GIS framework. IAC is helping to coordinate the partnership in connection with its work on the Public Lands Inventory Project, and is requesting funding on behalf of the agencies and counties, but is at this time not planning to retain any funding. All funding would be allocated to the state agencies directly, and to the counties through contract, for the work described below.

The seven main purposes of the request include:

Establishing partnerships between state agencies and counties to begin building a statewide cadastral GIS framework;

Extending the pilot work begun in Snohomish County to Spokane and Grant Counties;

Building GIS coverage of large tracts of land owned by the Department of Fish and Wildlife and State Parks and Recreation Commission in the pilot counties, and integrating this information into the framework;

Integrating work underway by the Department of Transportation to build GIS coverages of its lands in the pilot counties into the framework;

Integrating statewide growth management information collected by the Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development into the framework;

Ensuring continued funding for the Department of Natural Resources to continue its role as Cadastral Framework integrator after existing federal funding expires; and

Developing a strategic plan for expanding the framework statewide.

Specific Elements of the Budget Request

Total Amount Requested: $836,000 General Fund - State

1. $171,000 for the Department of Natural Resources to continue their role as framework integrator; assist Snohomish County in completing its pilot tests; provide technical assistance to the four state agencies and three counties in developing the new pilots and participating in the framework; and, in partnership with the Washington Geographic Information Council, coordinate the development of a strategic plan to expand implementation to other state and local agencies in the future. (Work plan and budget detail is included in Attachment 3.)

2. $81,000 for a grant to Grant County to participate in the Cadastral Framework Project and test the database model on a pilot basis. (Work plan and budget detail is included in Attachment 4.)

3. $77,000 for a grant to Spokane County to participate in the Cadastral Framework Project and test the database model on a pilot basis. (Work plan and budget detail is included in Attachment 5.)

4. $229,000 for the State Parks & Recreation Commission to develop GIS-based cadastral data for lands it owns and manages in Spokane and Grant Counties and integrate this data into the framework. (Work plan and budget detail is included in Attachment 6.)

5. $216,000 for the Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop GIS-based cadastral data for lands it owns and manages in Spokane and Grant Counties and integrate this data into the framework. (Work plan and budget detail is included in Attachment 7.)

6. $62,000 for the Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development to collect and integrate GIS-based incorporated area and urban growth boundary information from across the state into the framework. (Work plan and budget detail is included in Attachment 8.)

NOTE: The Department of Transportation will use funding it received in the Transportation Budget during the 1999 Session to develop GIS-based cadastral data for lands it owns and manages in Spokane and Grant Counties and integrate this data into the framework. (Work plan and budget detail is included in Attachment 9 .)

Deliverables by November 1, 2000

Status report on the development and testing of processes and systems for building a cadastral GIS framework through the pilot projects.

GIS-based cadastral data for all DNR-managed lands incorporated into and serving as a base for the statewide Cadastral Framework data set.

Strategic plan for expanding implementation to other local governments and state agencies in the future and establishing a statewide framework. The strategic plan will address long-term funding and maintenance of the framework, agency roles and relationships (including any statutory barriers to establishing a statewide framework), and framework data distribution, liability, and privacy issues.

Deliverables by June 30, 2001

Shared GIS-based cadastral coverages for State Parks, Department of Fish & Wildlife, and Department of Transportation lands in Grant and Spokane Counties. (The coverages will be jointly constructed by the state agencies and counties.)

Centrally compiled statewide GIS-based incorporated area and urban growth boundaries.

Final report on the pilot projects, covering both technical issues and business relationships and processes for using the framework model for creating, inputting, extracting, and sharing GIS-based cadastral data.

Benefits from Establishing a Statewide Cadastral Framework

Establishes an important GIS "backbone" data layer that takes advantage of the latest technology to serve the cross-jurisdictional needs of agencies.

Provides the Governor, Legislature, and state agencies with improved data for management, planning, and oversight of public lands, fostering improved and more efficient stewardship and service to the public.

Provides counties with improved public lands data for planning and administration purposes. Currently, many counties do not have the resources to adequately track public lands. Because the framework permits data to be shared efficiently and accurately, responsibility for maintaining needed cadastral data can be placed where it is most efficient and appropriate. For example, state and federal agencies would have responsibility for maintaining data about their lands and submitting it to the framework, where counties would have access to it to meet their own needs.

Creates more complete and higher quality data in a powerful GIS format for planning and research needs that span beyond individual agencies and political subdivisions.

Establishes a central and consistent statewide GIS data set for survey monuments, section lines, and administrative boundaries. This will benefit both government and the private sector (e.g. surveyors and others in the private real estate community).

Makes possible long-term savings to taxpayers by reducing duplication of effort in creating and maintaining GIS-based Cadastral coverages.

Facilitates the sharing of valuable GIS experience and data among government agencies at marginal cost.

Establishes standards and a model "turn-key" cadastral database for agencies that are just beginning to develop GIS.

Why Supplemental Budget Funding?

Improving the quality and coverage of data about Washington's landbase is critical for a variety of issues and initiatives across the state: salmon recovery, natural resources management, growth, transportation planning, and public lands management. In many cases, we need information today that is still years away from being built. It is likely that no one agency can manage the broad range of geographic information needed in today's complex decision-making environment. The fastest and most efficient way to build needed information, and maintain it in the future, is to establish collaborative systems for sharing the workload. GIS provides a powerful technology to accomplish this objective, but the true challenge lies in our ability to create and manage GIS data in a way that transcends organizational barriers. To date, the Cadastral Framework Project partners have seeded this effort through agency contributions and federal grants. (6) However, state leadership and funding is needed to accelerate framework development and ensure long-term success. For the Cadastral Framework Project, it is critical that we sustain the momentum created by the Snohomish County pilot project and the awareness fostered by the Public Lands Inventory Project. Without continued funding, this momentum could dissipate. In particular, DNR's ability to continue to serve as Cadastral Framework Integrator could be lost.

In addition, because of our early work to develop the Cadastral Framework Project, DNR has recently been invited to participate in a federal initiative to build a national cadastral framework. (7) One of the goals of the federal initiative is to build cadastral data standards directly into GIS software. By sustaining DNR's ability to serve as framework integrator, and continuing to build framework partnerships across the state, we are afforded a unique opportunity to integrate Washington's specific cadastral needs into this national project.

Alternative Approaches

It is likely that, even without the requested funding, agencies and counties will continue to acquire GIS technology, collect data, and expand coverages. However, it is also likely that much of this work will continue in a piecemeal and uncoordinated fashion. By building the cadastral framework through collaborative pilot projects, gaining experience with a range of agency business needs and applications, and developing a strategic plan for statewide implementation, the proposal will help spawn a key long-term information framework, the beginning of a GIS information infrastructure. Alternative approaches could include selecting different or fewer state agencies or counties for the pilot projects, scaling back DNR's integrator role, identifying alternative non-state funding sources, or not developing a long term strategic plan.

Staff Contacts

Karl Herzog, Interagency Committee for Outdoor Rec., (360) 902-0352,

Carrie Wolfe, Department of Natural Resources, (360) 902-1639,

Art Brown, State Parks and Recreation Commission, (360) 902-8585,

Shelly Snyder, Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, (360) 902-2483,

George Spencer, Dept. of Transportation, (360) 709-5515,

Shane Hope, Community, Trade, & Econ. Dvlp., (360) 753-1197,

Ian Von Essen, Spokane County, (509) 477-6344,

Don McDowall, Grant County, (509) 754-2011 x310,

Curt Kiessig, Snohomish County, (425) 388-3911,

1. The Legislature directed the IAC to " develop the inventory in a computer database format that will facilitate the sharing and reporting of inventory data and provide options for future updates." C235, L97


A list of Data Reporting Committee members is included as Attachment 10.


A recent survey by the Washington Geographic Information Council revealed that 31 counties, 15 state agencies, most major metropolitan and regional planning organizations, and many tribes currently employ GIS technology in Washington state.


Partners in the Snohomish County pilot include: the county itself, the Department of Natural Resources, Longview Fibre, and the Bureau of Land Management.


This responsibility is outlined in Chapter 58.24 RCW.


Attachment 8 provides additional detail on Cadastral Project funding to date.


The National Integrated Lands System (NILS) Project is being led by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service, and involves the GIS software vendor ESRI.