Geographic Information Council (WAGIC)

June 15, 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 Tri-Cities, Bellingham, Spokane, Seattle and Vancouver.

WA Salmon CD Demo – Larry Sugarbaker

During the last several months, the Dept. of Natural Resources has been working with other state agencies and the U.S. Geological Survey to produce a CD containing information for local watershed groups. The CD will allow local watershed groups the ability to access information that would normally be difficult for them to access. The Dept. of Health, Fish and Wildlife, DNR, Dept. of Transportation and the Department of Ecology each gave data sets that might be useful to the Chehalis Watershed group to facilitate salmon restoration planning activities. The project started in November with the plan to assemble data onto a compact disc within 3-4 weeks. Six months have passed with a total of 2.5 months staff time on project. The CD contains information relating to the lower Chehalis watershed. There is an Arcview tool included on the CD. We are now ready to publish it.

As GIS experts, we find it easy to access data, format it and put it into a system that is useful. As the watershed groups are not GIS experts, the challenge was to put the information into a format that is easily understood and easy to use. The CD gives local groups access to spatial data, Websites, and other information. The following are attributes of the CD.

There is a Conservation grant from ESRI to publish this CD product at no cost to state. We hope to continue this for other watersheds.

The CD gives the user the ability to incorporate data into reports and print maps. A mapping tool is available to auto insert legends, and guides to map printing. You can import this data into any GIS you choose to use. It uses standard Windows protocol.

Other watershed groups show an eagerness and willingness to help pay for the construct of these data sets. We hope to have the CD available for distribution by mid-July.

Introduction of new Chair – Larry Sugarbaker

The candidate search team, after extensive searching, came up with a candidate list. The council was thrilled to have a nomination for Ian Von Essen in Spokane County, as he was the only candidate to accept the nomination. After a fax ballot of GIS members, it was determined that Ian Von Essen is the new chair.

Ian assured us he was willing and excited to serve. He will take up this responsibility at the August meeting. Today is Larry’s last meeting as Chair. The transition of responsibilities has been discussed between Jeff, Larry, and Ian.

Ian addressed the council and stated that it was his privilege and honor to serve. It will be challenging to chair the meetings from Spokane. Ian expressed that he is interested in doing the best possible job. To that end, the next 4 meetings will have a focus on vertical markets in GIS to address what many local and state government agencies are doing in GIS. Ian expressed his thanks for electing him as Chair.

Congratulations were extended to Ian.

Updated Metadata Standard Proposal for Adoption – Joy Denkers/Dept. of Ecology

Though it has been a long time coming, Metadata standards that were started 2 years ago have been completed. Council members are asked to review them and comment by July 21. They are published on the WAGIC website under the standards heading. At the next standards workgroup meeting we hope to have a motion to accept the standards.

The document outlines the following:

Joy expressed thanks to Dave Steele of DNR, Gordon Kennedy of DOT, Jeff Holm of DIS, Andy Norton of the Puget Sound Regional Council, Gary Parassa of DOT, and former DNR employee, Scott Denkers, and others for their work on the standards project.

Comments on the standards may be e-mailed to Joy via the address on the website, or forwarded to Jeff Holm.

Joy also announced that WA WIRA coverage, a 1-24000 scale data layer has been finalized and is available for download on Ecology’s website. It represents some significant changes for some of the basins in the low-lying areas. Please start using this as it replaces the formerly published data set. The website address is

Larry brought up a remark by Secretary Babbit, Chair of the Federal Geographic Committee, that "nobody has ever been elected because of the exposure they received from chairing a standards committee." Larry expressed his thanks to Joy for her work and leadership to get standards in place for Metadata.

Utilities & Transportation Commission – Deborah Reynolds

Deborah gave an overview of the Commission and their use of GIS.

The UTC started as the Railroad Commission in 1900. The mission of the UTC is to regulate monopoly services through the checking of rates and services and regulating safety issues. Electric companies, telephone, gas, ferries, movers, and solid waste collection companies are examples of the types of companies THE tuc regulates.

As the Commission is made up of accountants and regulators, it has been a challenge to implement the GIS project. Uses of GIS vary from evaluating rail-crossing dangers to mapping and oversight of solid waste collection. GIS project specifics include: identifying overlapping territories, identifying customers' companies, tracking annexations by cities, identifying non-serviced areas, tracking changes between certificates and verifying authority transfers. The challenge is to create a GIS analysis tool with text compiled by the companies and offered to UTC with rate schedules.

The question was raised as to whether UTC would ask companies to provide this information in map form in the future?

Presently there is a state repository data collection project for pipeline data in the state of Washington. Data in map form is not, at this time, available from most solid waste collection companies.

The UTC has a long-term vision of having utilities information more accessible to people on the internet.

Larry mentioned that this represents the wide reach of GIS applications where we would not necessarily expect.

WAGIC Budget Discussion – Jeff Holm

Jeff offered his congratulations to Ian, and expressed enthusiasm about the prospect of getting strong input from local jurisdictions.

Jeff also mentioned that at the next meeting on August 17, the council will be in a position to adopt the newly revised Metadata standards. It will be good to bring the work to a logical conclusion.

Two topics for the budget discussion included a walkthrough of the current year’s budget, which ends in June, and a walkthrough of the proposed budget for next year. Your input and feedback between now and mid-July will help to shape the budget which we will seek adoption of at the August 17th meeting.

The representation of the budget adopted last June 17 reflects what the voluntary funding money was used for. Estimated actuals are listed to the right of the projected amounts. Actuals are estimates, but a good representation of what was spent.

The budget was $780 over projections for videoconferencing due to bringing the Wenatchee site up a couple of times. Also, the cost of video and audio tapes were not included in the projected costs. The projection of $500 for a special meeting regarding the top 10 priority items was actually $600.

Mailing expenses were a little less than anticipated, as was the reimbursement to the Chair for travel expenses. As Larry was only able to attend one NSGIC meeting this year, a surplus of $900 occurred for this expense.

The final item of variance is special project funds. Monies are set aside for various initiatives to bring proposals to the Council for use of the money. As no proposals were presented this year, $7050 still remains in that account.

In summary, projected costs of $27,150 versus $19,680 leaves a balance of $7,470. However, balancing that against expected revenues of $25,000 versus actual revenues of $21,000, and actual expenses leaves a carry over of $4,191 for next year’s budget.

Proposed 2000-2001 WAGIC Budget

There are some changes from last year’s baseline. Videoconferencing expenses were bumped up to $9500 to more closely reflect actual expenses. We are looking for ways to bring the site in Central Washington up in a cost-effective manner. We had been using a Wenatchee Valley Community College classroom. However, class activities take priority and GIS was bumped from the facility. Other expenses remain the same with two exceptions.

The special project fund includes rollover and is now $11,241. This year we need to promote the use of that money. This can be used as seed money to help people get started on worthwhile projects.

A new standard budget item is the expense of two videoconference Framework Management Group meetings. This has worked well during the '99-'00 budget.

A new item is $650 to reimburse the Chair for travel to regular WAGIC meetings. Ian will be coming from Spokane some of the time to chair the meeting in Lacey. This should occur at least twice as it necessitates overnight for Ian. There has been discussion on traveling to Spokane for a couple of the meetings. That has been done in the past, and we may reinitiate that approach. The other two meetings will be conducted from Lacey with Ian participating from Spokane. This has also worked in the past with Tom Nolan from Seattle.

The spending plan is for $32, 600. The projected revenue is $22,000. The projected surplus of $600 is getting thin. We need to find ways to get participation and voluntary funding from a wider group of organizations.

Ian will ask for adoption of budget at the next meeting.

Larry suggested that we challenge the Council to double the memberships.

Last year, we had seven organizations participate at a very significant level. Jeff suggested that we could easily double participation as it is possible to contribute as a voting member for as little as $500.

Salmon Recovery Information Management Proposal – Jeff Holm

Council has been updated consistently in past meetings. We have made the proposal The SWIM proposal was made to the Governor’s Joint Cabinet on Natural Resource Agencies. The presentation took place on Tuesday. The Cabinet includes the directors of all cabinet level Natural Resource agencies to include the Dept. of Ecology, Outdoor Recreation, Parks, Dept. of Transportation, Dept. of Health and the Director of Fish and Wildlife.

Within the salmon recovery effort there is a lot of discussion about science based data. This includes monitoring, collection protocols, analytical models, what of these are we using? A number of science based entities are working on these issues. One area of interest not currently covered was information management.

Agencies typically build information to reflect their own needs and business drivers. Information issues are not new. The idea of dealing with them across agencies is what our proposal focuses on. We hope to bring new resources to bear on these issues.

Two basic elements of the proposal are:

The proposal received very good support from most of the members of the Joint Cabinet. We have verbal commitments from the Dept. of Ecology, DOT, and Agriculture. Joe Dear, the Governor’s Chief of Staff was supportive. We are well on our way to acceptance of the proposal.

Some of the issues that remain to be worked out are policy direction, and details of the SWIM workplan. The implementation of the SWIM proposal will bring a function to the council that raises visibility.

Professional Development Opportunities by NACIS – Gordon Kennedy

The North American Cartographic Information Society has 400 members in the U.S. and Canada with the Executive Offices in Milwaukee, WI. The Board of Directors is elected from a membership of academic faculty, university cartographers, map librarians, and cartographers in private enterprise and government agencies. Christine Reinhart of Washington was a founder of NACIS, which was created in 1980 to foster the communication of map information between mapping professionals.

The 20th annual meeting will take place in Knoxville, TN, October 11-14, 2000. The meeting brings together a rewarding mix of people from various State, Federal, and National organizations. It includes a poster session, presentations from map librarians, computer mapping, artistry, and collections. Last year's participants included representatives from, National Geographic, the CIA and the Census Bureau.

The NACIS journal, Cartographic Perspectives, is published three times a year. This publication is peer reviewed and includes research papers, book and software reviews, commentaries, an Internet map design competition and a best paper competition.

The 21st Annual NACIS Meeting will be held in Portland, OR at the Double Tree Hotel adjacent to Portland University, on October 3-6, 2001. Paper abstracts for the meeting are due by Spring 2001. If you are interested, or know any cartographers that would be interested, this is an excellent conference.

Additional information can be accessed at

For information on the 2000 meeting in Knoxville, TN contact Jeremy Crampton at

For information on the Poster Session, contact Jeffrey McMichael at

Information about the 2001 meeting in Portland, OR can be obtained from Gordon Kennedy at

Larry posed the question as to making maps using automated methodology. Is there a concern about the loss or preservation of map making skills as we move to more computer generated, digital venues?

Most practitioners are fully involved in the digital environment, using software add-ons like Adobe or Macromedia Freehand for high quality cartography. The cartographers don't seem concerned with preserving scribing.

Closing Site Roundtable – Larry Sugarbaker

Seattle offered congratulations to Ian. Tom Nolan expressed interest in working with Ian on local issues.

Bellingham --The Northwest Users Group meets every 3 months. There is a meeting tomorrow, 9:00a.m.-12:00p.m. at the Padilla Bay Center.

TriCities --The Pacific Northwest Chapter GITA Board Meeting and general meeting is in Kent, June 23, 2000. The e-mail address is posted at the WAGIC website.

Thanks to Jeff Holm for the Metadata workshop on April 18, 2000. It generated new interest at Hanford.

Spokane --Ian thanked Larry Sugarbaker for his leadership for the last two years. The meeting was officially adjourned at 12:00 p.m.

Next meeting – August 17, 2000 at 10:00 a.m.