Washington Cadastral Framework

State Integration Plan

August 1999


Cadastral data are defined as the geographic extent of the past, current, and future rights and interests in real property. This includes information such as the Public Land Survey System (PLSS) which identifies geographic extent by township, range, and section. Rights and interests are the benefits in real property that can be conveyed or transferred to another for some consideration such as ownership rights. Federal, state, regional, county, city, tribal, and private organizations each keep specific and detailed proprietary databases of their land rights and interests. All of these organizations conduct business among each other, and many are interested in communicating their land holdings and transactions to facilitate their business operations.

The Washington Cadastral Framework Project is a collaborative effort to develop a common Geographic Information System (GIS) cadastral database for the state and implement a method of communicating cadastral information between organizations and the common database. The project is funded through the Washington Department of Natural Resources, Federal Geographic Data Committee grants, and partner contributions, direct and in-kind. Current partners are federal, state, regional, county, and private organizations. The project deliverables demonstrate the business partnerships and technology necessary to share cadastral data between organizations. The intent of the project is to develop the means for integrating partner data with the expectation that progressively more partner data would be integrated and maintained in the future. The extent of additional counties would be covered and additional organizations would provide data for integration. However, there was no funding designated for the continued integration of partner data after the project's completion, although planning for continued funding is a project deliverable. Discussion of possible funding sources with partners indicated that the free transmittal of information between partners was necessary to facilitate communications.

The partners discussed several funding alternatives for extended support of the cadastral framework. Integration and distribution of data through a subscription service or on a fee basis have been received with mixed feelings. Some organizations have had success with selling packaged data, but most found fees to be an impediment. Federal partners by law must provide their data free of charge. Other state and local government partners working to improve constituent and inter-government service indicate that charges would attenuate the sharing of information with their business partners. The charges are like double taxation; partners spend effort integrating their data and then spend money getting partner data. With so many partners, there would be constant negotiation over the fee structure. Smaller organizations have less negotiating power. Continuing to solicit partner contributions for supporting the framework also appears to be a limited option. Negotiation over suggested contributions would be complex. The most reliable and uncontested source of funding appears to be legislative support from state and federal sources. The progressive continued development of the Washington Cadastral Framework will require a supplemental budget request, a biennial budget request, and followed by a permanent funding through real estate transaction fees.

Partner Integration

Partners integrating data to the framework database recognize the benefits of providing their data to their business partners via a common repository: reduced duplication of effort, increased efficiency in the collection and maintenance of data, cost sharing, cross-jurisdictional and cross-organizational analysis through tabular and spatial display, query, transmittal, and notification, improving data, current data, consistently formatted data, and best available data. Partners wanting to extract and provide data to the framework database are committed to developing and supporting a conversion to and from their own database and the data transfer standard format, extracting data from their database on a regular basis, and validating their data before submitting the data to the database. As technology for distributed databases becomes more mature, partners may choose to keep their contributions to the framework on their own Internet accessible database in the framework format. Partners must continue to assess what data contributions will be valuable to other organizations, while considering issues such as privacy and fair business practices. DNR will facilitate the development of individual partner integration efforts through technical support. Information which will assist DNR with supporting partner development includes partner web sites, metadata, and samples of the data to be integrated. DNR cannot provide continued maintenance support of individual partner extraction and conversion processes.

Integration Plan Summary

The integration plan will pursue the cooperative development of improved statewide GIS-based cadastral information by focusing initially on land survey and public land ownership, particularly lands owned by larger state agencies. The approach to implementing a statewide framework cadastral database will be in several stages. The initial stage is the development of the FGDC Cadastral Data Content Standard into a framework database, moving existing Department of Natural Resources (DNR) data into the framework database, and developing procedures to integrate data from multiple sources into the database as a pilot project. (This stage is nearing completion.) The next stage is to implement and expand the integration to include additional counties including eastside counties and to include the remaining state agencies which are large land owners: Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), and Parks and Recreation Commission ( PRC). Part of the outreach to counties must include assisting counties without GIS with initial development support. Private framework partners would continue to receive technical and integration support. A supplemental budget request will be made to support the integration expansion to state agencies and counties. The next stage will continue to extend the integration by adding several counties each year based on a 2001-2002 biennial budget request. Finally, as the results of the integration pilot projects are evaluated, a request for legislation will be made to permanently support the cadastral framework with real estate transaction fees. Support for these proposals needs to be heard from professional societies, government associations, and other constituent groups.

1999 Partnership Preliminary Development

The Cadastral Framework Project Integration Pilot will be completed with data formatting, validation, and integration procedures.

DFW, DNR, DOT, and PRC will initiate whatever internal processes are necessary to gain approval for proceeding with a joint supplemental budget request.

2000 Supplemental Budget Partnership Request

The Inter-Agency Committee for Outdoor Recreation (IAC) will take the lead on the presenting the joint budget request to the legislature. As part of the Public Lands Inventory Project, the IAC is developing a recommendation for consideration by the IAC Board on the approach to take on keeping the inventory of public lands up to date. The IAC Board includes representatives from DFW, DNR, and PRC. This recommendation may be presented to the legislature. Included in the recommendation is a proposal to fund the major landowner state agencies, three counties, and continued cadastral framework integration.

1. Funding for the DFW and PRC to develop and integrate GIS-based cadastral data for their lands in the counties selected below. DFW and PRC would report on the integration and develop a budget for developing and integrating their cadastral data in the remaining counties.

NOTE: Information for DNR managed lands is already available on the framework GIS database. The DOT would create GIS data for their lands for the pilot counties using the already funded feasibility project authorized during the 1999 Session.

2. Funding to the three counties to integrate the state lands data provided by DNR, DFW, DOT, and PRC into their GIS cadastral systems. In addition, hardware, software, data, and training would be provided to the startup county to establish a foundation and framework for their own GIS-based cadastral data.

a. Hire a land survey technician to begin DNR's role as integrator verifying data, coordinating with partners, and resolving conflicts.

b. Continue administrative support of the computer, the network, the framework database and the Internet web server.

c. Continue development and maintenance support of the display, query, and data distribution application. Extend development of the application to allow counties without GIS to access the cadastral framework database for their own analysis and planning.

d. Continue development and maintenance support of the integration application.

2001-2002 Biennial Budget Partnership Request

Request biennial funding to:

Long Term Partnership Strategy

Include all federal, state, regional, county, city, tribal, and private organizations that are interested in participating.

Request permanent long term funding to add a real estate transaction processing fee which would support the cadastral framework.

NOTE: Integration with the Washington Cadastral Framework is optional. Although state agencies could potentially be included in a mandate to contribute to the framework, federal, regional, county, city, tribal, and private organizations could only be encouraged to participate.