Geographic Information Council (WAGIC)

August 17, 2000

Teleconference originating from

DIS Interactive Technologies, Lacey, WA


Introductions – Ian Von Essen, WAGIC Chair - From Lacey, Ian opened the meeting and welcomed council members in Tri-Cities, Bellingham, Spokane, Seattle, Vancouver and the new site at Central Washington University (CWU) in Ellensburg.

Premier Data Services – Ron White

Ron gave a presentation introducing products and services of Premier Data Services (PDS). They provide data services, custom GIS applications for land information systems. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is their biggest client. They also serve state and local governments as well as natural resource clients within the oil, gas and timber industries and more recently within the telecommunications industry.

PDS’s core competency is in automated construction of land features from legal descriptions out of databases that are registered to a public land survey system.

Some of the key products include Landlink which gives access to data through Microsoft Access and Excel as well as database parsing and CarteView; a legal land processor that processes through to a map and also BLM information and data products. It can handle large projects as well as smaller ones and there are no downward limitations with regard to subdivisions of sections. The federal data products (COTS Tools) are Leasefinder, Lotfinder, Claimfinder and CarteView. Premier’s Landware Products operate in Windows 95/98 and are adapting to Windows 2000. There are some hardware prerequisites.

Ron demonstrated the software and interface with Lotfinder for research and building an export file for ArcView. Open Landlink is an MS Excel or Access add-in to provide OBCD links to any OBCD data. The processor will recognize and process multiple meridians. There is no upward limit to the number of fields. The software reprocesses data into the proper format and exports a data file. It also provides seamless data transfers from federal data sets through Lotfinder and Leasefinder.

PDS can offer services and software to help read legal land descriptions in a cost effective way to help build GIS coverages and also work against Washington State Cadastral Grid. The question was raised as to whether CarteView can be used to describe geometries to resolve ownership. The product is more a mathematical process than geometrical.  Contact info: Premier Data Services - Ron White
2 Inverness Drive E, Suite 100
Englewood, CO 80112

SWIM – Jeff Holm

SWIM initiative details were given at the June meeting. The Governor's Joint Cabinet has approved the Coordinator position. The recruitment announcement has been distributed by the Salmon Recovery Office using the WAGIC listserve and other media. This management position will deal with information management issues related to salmon recovery and spatial information. The coordinator will chair a technical forum that the Council will host. A survey will be rolled out to the salmon recovery community using a phased approach over the next several months. The purpose of the survey is to gather current information about the status and usefulness of existing data resources that will apply to the salmon recovery effort.

Update on Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Legislative Initiative - Carrie Wolfe

The Washington State Geographic Information Infrastructure Strategic Plan that was finished last year, contains four major objectives with specific priority actions. These include the multi-use of GIS data, completion of the digital framework, identification of management strategies, and funding of Framework development efforts. To accomplish those efforts legislative recognition and support is needed. Activities are taking place to take a step in that direction, specifically the RCW58.22 update. Legislation enacted in the mid 1960's and early 1970’s identified DNR responsibilities to establish and maintain standards for a state-based mapping system. USGS hard copy mapping was adopted when there was no GIS, and uses state-based maps for resource planning.

Within DNR there was a concept proposal in May to update the legislation. DNR executive management approved drafting that proposal into a bill. The next step is to provide a draft bill to a wider audience for review and input. Please contact Carrie Wolfe if you are interested in being part of a core review and input team for this. Some considered components are:

The need is to make this a policy level approach but also provide an incentive mechanism such as funding. We need a core team to help develop and provide input for draft bill. Council members can contact Carrie Wolfe at

ESRI and Mobile GIS – Eric Bishop and Larry Brotman

ArcPad is ESRI's software environment for a handheld device for GIS mapping and mobile systems. It includes hardware and software. Eric gave a presentation on ArcPad with a link to ArcInfo and ArcView. The pocket PC software is bound to a chip in the pocket device. Different handheld devices are "ruggedized" for many different field uses. These units are mobile and read all the GIS formats ESRI puts out. These units can be used with little or no training.

ArcPad options include editing capabilities, mobile GIS, real time data capture, system defaults, ArcIMS and pen-based interface.

Mobile GIS can be used for starting an ArcPad project, or adding layers. They use wireless connections, synchronization from desktop, hyperlink tools, and have up to 60 mgs of memory with flash cards and ability to support images.

Layer properties include hyperlink tool, info layer, symbology, attributes, ArcPad tools, map navigation tools, information tool and measure tool. The hyperlink tool allows you to launch anything that you are able to run on a Windows platform.

The find, results and queries tools are similar to those in ArcView. The pack shapefile tool (memory management function) allows compression of a file on CE and allows pack and unpacks onto desktop. Also has data capture and editing features. It's possible to use a pen on this device or attach an external keyboard.

Other features include; Input forms, designed in ArcView 3.2, Supported GPS receivers, GPS position window, GPS data capture, points, lines, polygon, tracklines, GPS tracking, and ARCPad tools for ArcView.

Mobile GIS also runs on Palm Pilot but without all of the functionality. The transmit speed is dependant on the connection. The unit functions very well and uses the same synchronization that Windows uses. A wireless modem that fits on the jacket is available. The general unit cost is $495.00 for software and $900.00 for both software and hardware. A presentation of ArcPad is available on their website at

Theme based Meetings – Ian and Members

Although agenda can’t be made agendas for everyone, theme-based meetings would allow the Council meetings to focus on one particular topic and bring in other attendees. One area that has not been focused on is law enforcement and emergency management. Changes in GIS technology are affecting law enforcement. For example, a GPS device attached to a suspect’s car will help track them. Also, plans are currently in the works with the military to make low cost shareware available for public safety. There is also a need to get GIS functioning in rural areas. The October Council meeting will focus on the area of law enforcement in connection with GIS.

Ian stressed that user site participation is important and asked for comments on theme meetings. The Lacey site answered affirmatively. The Spokane site expressed enthusiasm about this; they have been promoting field GIS for years. Students in Bellingham did work last Spring with data acquired from local police departments and there is definite interest in this area. Seattle, without judging topics, mentioned that it sounds like a wonderful experiment. Encouragement of local partners and students was forthcoming from Ellensburg. The unanimous feeling was that it should be up to the sites to decide what the themes should be.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.

WAGIC Budget for 2000-2001 – Jeff Holm

Jeff welcomed Graeme Aggett at CWU. The WAGIC Budget for the upcoming year was reviewed in detail at the June meeting. Jeff moved that the Council adopt the budget. Seattle seconded the motion. A short discussion ensued on projected membership funding revenue. Subsequently, a voice vote was conducted of the voting members and the budget as proposed at the June Meeting was adopted unanimously.

Washington State LandSat7 Data Consortium – Jeff Holm

Jeff provided an overview of the Washington State LandSat7 data consortium initiative. Some key elements are:

Early participants included: USGS, U.S. Forest Region 6, Departments of Information Services; Fish and Wildlife; Ecology; Natural Resources, Puget Sound Regional Council, UW Urban Planning and College of Forest Resources, Pacific Biodiversity, and Weyerhaeuser Corporation.

As a result of a grant proposal that Jeff submitted (for DIS/WAGIC) the Western Governors Association (WGA) and NASA have indicated an interest in funding the proposal for the creation of a state-based organizational model for Remote Sensing Data Consortiums. This model will be shared with other WGA member states. WGA has indicated they will provide $35,000 for organizational model development and additional seed money ($4,500) for a statewide remote sensing workshop and pilot data purchase.

The organizational model will be developed based on the emerging Washington State model for LandSat 7 Data Consortium. When implemented, this evolving state initiative will provide coordinated long-term purchase, processing and distribution of remote sensing geographic and spatial data.

Target Milestones set early summer:

We may have to adjust some expectations on these milestones, but still get data on the ground out to the community by the end of the year. The distribution approach initially will focus on CD distribution to consortium subscribers rather than over the web.

Gene Thorley’s (USGS) office in Seattle is actively involved. Gene's office staged an EROS Data Center/LandSat 7 briefing in Seattle early this year. Subsequently, a number of the participants in that meeting formed the core group of the Washington initiative. Appropriate updates will be provided at future Council meetings. If organizations are interested in joining the consortium please contact Jeff Holm.

Closing Site Roundtable – Ian Von Essen

Ian reiterated the importance of site participation at theme meetings. TriCities welcomed Ian and thanked Jeff for the Ellensburg Metadata Workshop.

Bellingham also welcomed Ian and expressed interest in LandSat7 data involvement. Spokane is looking into the feasibility of satellite data. Seattle welcomed Ian and urged the state to continue to provide leadership. Vancouver offered congratulations and welcomed Ian. Ellensburg looking forward to future meetings. Jeff Holm mentioned two Metadata Workshops in Portland on August 22, and 23 and the NWESRI user group conference in Skamania in late September.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m.

Next meeting – October 19, 2000 at 10:00 a.m.