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Geographic Information Council (WAGIC)

April 20, 2000

Teleconference originating from
DIS Interactive Technologies, Lacey, WA

Introductions – Larry Sugarbaker, WAGIC Chair - From Lacey, Larry opened the meeting and welcomed council members in Spokane, Seattle, and the Tri-Cities. Larry asked for a motion to accept the February 2000 meeting minutes as written. The motion was made and passed.

Global Mapping Technology, Corvallis, OR – Richard Ash
Richard Ash presented a slide show and discussion on how GPS applications were used to support data collection in two different studies. The first study involved the reintroduction of the gray wolf to the Olympic Peninsula. In the second study, GPS was used in a St. Louis urban tree inventory project.

In response to the near extinction of the gray wolf, the U.S. Congress appropriated funds to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to investigate the reintroduction of the wolf to the Olympic Peninsula. The study focused on prey base availability (Roosevelt elk and black tailed deer). Population estimates of primary gray wolf prey were developed through fecal pellet sampling techniques. Using GPS/GIS systems for data collection gave researchers the ability to accurately record position of prey population pellets samples collected along random transects. Derived data included the age of fecal samples and DNA genotyping. Early results from the study were inconclusive due to limited data. The study is continuing.

A summary of three grades of GPS receivers followed. The three grades included Recreational, Resource/Mapping, and Survey (dual frequency). Accuracy, basic navigation, in-field digitizing, support of GIS data capture, nested point and offset point capabilities, and cost are some of the considerations in choosing the correct GPS system for the application.

The Urban Forest GPS inventory project in St. Louis, Missouri used the GPS/GIS unit to collect data about the location and description of the trees in Forest Park. Each tree was identified and given a rating. The goal was to determine the overall health and long range prospects of the park forest.

The study concluded that there were approximately 18,000 trees in 1,300 acres. Specific problem areas were identified for future maintenance plans. A total estimated value of $66 million was determined.

Larry mentioned that a number of members were already using this technology and asked about the difficulty of using GPS systems in the field. A question was asked about the post process differential data accuracy, especially in dense forest canopy situations.

GPS has improved user-friendliness and accuracy validation in the last few years. All the user need be concerned with is the reception of the GPS signal. Due to increased number of satellites and better technology/equipment, this is not the problem it once was. In the study examples, users were able to stay on transect lines, or use the equipment's offset capability. Benchmark data should be used at the beginning and end of a study to ensure consistency with the Dilution of Precision indicators in the GPS data.

Questions may be directed to:

Global Mapping Technology
Corvallis, Oregon
541 754-3488

Salmon Recovery Initiative - Jeff Holm

The Pacific Salmon Information Network (PSIN) met on April 11th. The group was formed last year through an initiative by Mark Schaffer of the Department of the Interior. The concept was to have a forum to discuss information management as it relates to pacific salmon recovery.

Last week’s information exchange included a presentation by the Governor’s Office about the Salmon Scorecard. Seattle Public Utilities also presented on a Salmon Charette—a planning construct that is used to approach complex problems. This forum of design experts discussed the redesign of a piece of Seattle waterfront to benefit salmon. Jeff gave a demonstration on the use of the Council’s clearinghouse to access survey information.

There was also some discussion about a decision support system. The final agenda item from the meeting was a discussion of the PSIN and where the group is going. A decision was made to meet quarterly to exchange information about individual programs and activities, as well as develop a possible set of objectives for the group. There is a need for a regional forum around salmon recovery information issues. The PSIN might become that forum. Notes from the meeting are available from Jeff.

Salmon Recovery Scorecard—State-based salmon recovery effort discussion items included appropriate roles for the Council and strengthening GIS leadership.

Jeff’s PowerPoint presentation included emerging issues relating to salmon recovery, both science based data issues and information technology issues. Science based data issues include identifying: what science based data is needed, what collection protocols are to be used , which analytical models will be used to understand the data, and who provides the data. Information technology issues include: how to store data, how to access and protection it, and how to leverage cross-agency IT capabilities to support salmon recovery.

There are essentially three aspects to state salmon recovery approach. The strategic plan in place "Extinction is Not an Option" (, a technical plan "Early Action Plan" which is due for review to be updated to "Implementation Plan", and the Salmon Recovery Scorecard, which is the performance measure. The scorecard has recently undergone a major overhaul. It was redrawn and is in the process of being approved at the state level. Version two will be available by May 1.

Jeff indicated that there was some interest in using the Justice Information Network (JIN) model to address the need for salmon recovery information management. The law and justice community in the state created JIN in response to their need to deal with information management and access issues. The early Salmon Information Management (SIM) proposal has three main components: creation of full time Salmon Information Management Coordinator, establish technical forum for the identification of issues and solutions and third, development of web application that provides access to Salmon Scorecard indicator information.

The Council is being proposed as the host organization for the technical forum. The idea is that the initial focus will be on salmon recovery, perhaps expanding to other natural resources information management issues over time. Jeff will keep you apprised of developments.

A question arose about the connection between our Framework activities and salmon recovery - can we address both and use the visibility of salmon recovery to be successful in Framework and spatial information coordination issues at the same time. The concern is that our Framework resources are stretched thin. Jeff responded that the challenge will be to bring additional resources to bare (Salmon Information Management Coordinator) and appropriate focus on the information technology issues common to both.

Ian Von Essen commented that historically there is some schizophrenia between science groups and the IS counterparts. Current frameworks are driven more by the people who use the data. There is some concern that if there is a shift toward the IS taking more responsibility, some integrity of the framework may be compromised. This was countered by the fact that many of the GIS people are close to the IS part of the model or are actually the IT director. Keeping all of this in mind, we must be careful when using the parallels in JIN.

Larry suggested that organizational structures must be detailed to work toward the big challenge, salmon recovery, not just the organizational structure itself. The agencies will have to work together to address the diverse needs of all.

WGA Cadastral Workshop – Greg Tudor

The workshop was held in Salt Lake City, UT where delegates spent three days brainstorming on the different disciplines of Cadastral data. Managers, surveyors, assessors, recorders, planners, and GIS technologists, together with tribal, county, state, federal and city governments focused on making better use of Cadastral information between the groups. Tribal representation was high and a cooperative spirit existed between the agencies and groups.

The workshop presentation centered around land surveys, records, taxation and resource management. Visions, action items, and quality of business systems were also covered. Some of the presentation highlights included the WA Strategic Plan and the Cadastral Framework Project detailing county government data sets.

Action items included the following:

These action items were prioritized and assigned time frames.

Two states stood out at the workshop. Washington was recognized as a model state in getting agencies to work together. Nebraska has a framework effort up and running on their website. They defined and refined standards and put together a strategic plan on the county level.

Notes from the workshop can be accessed at the following URL.

Chair Candidates – Jeff Holm

Invitations have been extended to 5 or 6 candidates by the Nomination Committee. Two candidates have not yet responded, and three have too many commitments at this time. Jeff urged everybody to consider the possibility of chairing the Council. Nominations were open until May 15th at which time a fax vote was to be taken.

Mid Winter NSGIC – Larry Sugarbaker

The National State Geographic Information Council meeting occurred in March in St. Louis. Larry attended the meeting as WAGIC Chair and provided highlights on six of the major meeting topics

USGS evolves: within USGS, the lines between divisions are blurring. They are moving toward a regional management concept. This means more money will be directed to regional problems. The Northwest is the first new regional site. We should plan to invite the new Regional Director, Doug Buffington, to introduce himself to the Council.

There continues to be considerable discussion of the role of surveyors in relation to GIS. A model law was presented at the meeting for states to adopt if they so choose. Some of the language may be going too far in directing data collection be done only by licensed surveyors. If you are interested in obtaining more information, Larry will put you in touch with the right people.

The Census Bureau has begun the process of updating TIGER files and finding ways to improve the street networks for these files. They are interested in getting involved in states Framework activities. Census indicated they may have some funds available for TIGER/Framework upgrades.

NIMA, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, which includes defense mapping systems and secret systems hosted by the military and CIA for the federal government has asked for assistance from state and local government. NIMA is building digital elevation models to guide low flying aircraft, and need the states to identify vertical obstacles. If you are interested in helping with this, please contact Larry.

ICONOS satellite was recently launched for collection of 1-meter resolution data from 400 miles up. It is possible to program the satellite, target locations, image areas and achieve 1-meter accuracy on repetitive data for a specific ground location.

The NASA research grant program is to assist state and local government in technology transfer for imagery-type data, and to fund research and operational activities. If you are interested, start thinking about writing your grants now. Additional information is available from Larry.

Closing Site Roundtable – Larry Sugarbaker

Larry asked for comments and announcements from the sites.

Jeff Holm publicly thanked Steve Rush of Tri Cities for jointly hosting the Metadata Clearinghouse Workshop on April 18th. The next workshop is scheduled for The County Roads Administration Board on April 21st in Olympia.

The LandSat 7 Data Consortium phone conference was also scheduled for Monday, April 24th. Jeff will have an update on this at the next meeting.

Next meeting - June 15, 2000 at 10:00 a.m.