Geographic Information Council (WAGIC)

December 14, 2000

Teleconference originating from

DIS Interactive Technologies, Lacey, WA


Introductions – Ian Von Essen, WAGIC Chair - From Spokane, Ian opened the meeting and welcomed council members in Lacey, Vancouver, Seattle, Tri-Cities and Bellingham.


NSGIC Annual Conference- Ian Von Essen

Ian and Jeff Holm attended the National States Geographic Information Council annual conference held in September 2000 in Lake Tahoe.  A debriefing of three topics at the conference was discussed; the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) Model Law, the Geodata Alliance Initiative and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Framework Implementation Teams Initiative.


NCEES is drafting a model law that could have significant impact on the GIS community if adopted in it's current form.  recently passed modifications to the law stating that government GIS programs be managed and run by the surveying community.  There was some contention regarding this modification and a subcommittee of NSGIC met with a NCEES group to come up with a series of modifications to the law.  Some exclusions to the law included generalized maps need not be created by surveyors, and private firms and government agencies remain able to use GIS in creating maps for motorists, boaters and plotters.  Not everything produced is intended or needs to be survey quality work. 


NCEES Model Law –Proposed Modifications - Dave Steele – DNR

The Professional Association of Surveyors Land Surveyors Board is currently working on a new definition of land surveying.  They have been working on this for the past two years and it is not as in depth as the NCEES model law.  They are not planning on accepting this model law as the definition and so in Washington the NCEES definition does not have as much meaning.  There are two schools of thought: one to define land surveying in a generalized way and the other to be very specific in its definition.  The NCEES model law is very specific and borders on encroaching on other professions such as the legal profession as it restricts by stating land surveyors shall write all legal descriptions, an area for attorneys as well. 


There is not much interest within this state by surveyors to follow the NCEES model law.  Even the very specific laws in the state of Washington do not encroach on the GIS profession.  The approach in Washington is to use advisory services rather than making it a legal mandate that says GIS professionals are restricted to certain areas.




GeoData Alliance (GDA) Initiative – Jeff Holm

The GDA is the latest thinking in how to effectively implement some of the precepts of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).  It is a decentralized network of various organizations and individuals whose purpose is to foster and enable the access and creation as well as the beneficial use of geographic information.  The organizational concept is based on the chaordic model used by Dee Hock, former CEO, in the creation of VISA USA.


As one of its principles, it is open to any individual or institution, with a right to self-organize, with authority and functions decentralized.  Participants are to include alliances, government, non-profits as well as for-profit groups, general interest and academic/research groups.  In keeping with the chaordic ideology, it is to be open and inclusive, member-driven and member-governed with minimal structure and to be innovative and adaptive.


WAGIC has been approached to be come a member of the Alliance having been recognized as an example of a self-organizing mechanism – a group that has created a forum involving geographic information without a legislative mandate.


The drafting team has completed the principles, purpose and organizational concept of the Alliance.  The next steps have been identified and launch teams have been assembled.  Currently, the launch team is working on the constitution of the GDA.  For more information, you can refer to the article by Dee Ann Divis enclosed in the October minutes mailing or to the Alliance website at


Office of Management and Budget  (OMB) Initiative – Jeff Holm

The OMB is proposing the creation of state and/or regionally based implementation teams to accelerate realization of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).  WAGIC has been asked to join as implementation status ????

Several components for resources for the teams are the Financial Solution Team and the Technology Advisory Group.  The initiative is intended to help bring focus and importance at the federal level to build and maintain the NSDI Framework inventory and the OMB Circular A-16.


MARSHALL, Remote Sensing – Elizabeth Marshall

Elizabeth gave an overview of the different remote sensing applications available. According to her there are a couple of questions to first consider before making a determination of which one would be best suited.  First, look at resolution: what is the requirement needed?  Are there budget considerations? And what data is actually needed?  When looking for data, also ask how often the data is collected and what is the footprint of the sensor.




LandSat 4,5,6 are still out there and are great for looking at past data.

In 1999, LandSat 7 was launched having cloud free data capture and added panchromatic and thermal bands. 


Common applications for LandSat are landcover classification, vegetation type and health, change detection, soil moisture, snow cover and fire mapping and recovery.


Also new is the National LandSat Archive Production System (NLAPS) providing for more correction and the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) is still available offering four to five spectral bands providing good coverage for large areas.


Spot Image is another with three spectral bands and revisits every 26 days.  Spot has good prices on statewide imagery packages providing excellent value.  Applications by Spot provide for crop identification, change detection, state and county planning and national disaster monitoring to name a few.


Another satellite out there is the Indian Remote Sensing System (IRS).  It is used quite a bit; has higher resolution, good spectral band and shows a fair amount of detail.  IRS applications are good for mapping and planning and enhancing low-resolution multi-spectral imagery.  There is RadarSat, which is useful for data collection day or night as it has no weather or smoke restrictions and is able to penetrate vegetation and arid land surfaces.


IKONOS launched a satellite 1 ˝ years ago with three multi-spectral bands.  It is a little expensive for large areas but very useful for municipal/parcel mapping, environmental assessment and planning, recreation and real estate.


Digital Airborne Imaging System (DAIS) is useful for Cadastral mapping, vegetation classification and municipal planning.  There have been some problems in the past with delivery of data.  On the horizon is Orbview 3 scheduled to go up with four bands.  Custom options are available with most imagery.  For more information contact:


Elizabeth Marshall, President

Phone: 360-352-1279

FAX:  360-357-9903




Salmon and Watershed Information Management Coordination (SWIM)

Lynn Singleton – SWIM Coordinator

The state’s salmon recovery goal is to restore salmon, steelhead and trout populations to healthy, harvestable levels and improve habitats on which the fish rely.  Specifically, the Governor’s office, state natural resource agencies, the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) and the Northwest Power Planning Council (NWPPC) joined together and formed a cabinet to focus on the issues.  In the past, access to interagency information needed to make decisions, as well as the information quality and completeness has been a challenge.  The SWIM Coordinator position was created to provide attention and advocacy for improved information access.


As coordinator, Lynn will be the central point of contact for data coordination and provide guidance to the Office of Financial Management (OFM) on information related to individual agency budget requests.  A technical advisory committee on Salmon and Watershed Information Management will be established and also participate with the efforts of WAGIC.   A survey will be conducted to evaluate information resources and needs.


The next steps will include setting up the advisory committee, its charter and agenda and looking for opportunities to leverage ongoing investments and partnering with others such as WAGIC and The Pacific Salmon Information Network (PSIN).


The good news is that information access is receiving more attention by top-level state managers.  The message to them is that interagency needs should be made funding priorities; good information does not just happen, it is an investment.  Data translation and exchange standards are needed and will also help reduce access cost.  For more information contact-

    Lynn Singleton

                                                SWIM Coordinator

                                                    Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office

                                                    Phone: 360-902-2232

                                                    FAX:    360-902-2215



Proposed DNR Legislation Update – Carrie Wolfe

After many weeks of developing and revising the draft bill, DNR has made the decision at this time to not go forward with the bill. Based on other agency priorities the timing wasn’t right for the bill at this time. The process of developing the bill was still valuable with many good discussions and a great deal learned.  The hope now is to keep the discussions going and in the future be able to submit an even better draft to the Legislature that will advance Framework efforts and gain the support needed from the Legislature.  


Framework Plan Update – George Spencer – WSDOT

The purpose of the plan was to create a document, with input from members of WAGIC and the Framework Management Group and others, to summarize what the Framework efforts are about and to also set expectations and show linkages from different agencies’ budget requests and how they relate to Framework.  A draft had been posted on WAGIC’s Listserve for review and comments.  Many of these comments have been incorporated and further reviewed with the Framework Management Group and are now ready for final review.


In conjunction with this document, Carrie Wolfe is putting together a fact sheet that will summarize various funding requests and will show the relationship between Framework and these funding proposals.  For more information on the Framework plan contact: George Spencer at or Carrie Wolfe at  


Framework Project Updates – Carrie Wolfe

Cadastral Project – There is now data available on the Framework website as well as a wealth of project information.  There have been some cooperative efforts in Grant County with DFW, DOT, DNR and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, to develop some Cadastral data and provide it for integration into the Cadastral Framework database.


Hydrography Project  – Currently work is being done on data conversion and clean up to existing hydrodata and converting it to the new Hydro Framework model to be routed to the new Framework standards that were developed.  A valuable observation is that the clean up is more important and that the routing of the data is a secondary issue.  The Clearinghouse application for Hydro Framework, being done by ESRI by contract is almost 95% complete with good responses coming in on the demos.


Transportation Project – Ron Cihon, with DOT, stated that their strategy over the next couple of months would be intensive information gathering.  Four issues influencing the course of the project are the Inter-Organizational Resource Information Coordinating Council (IRICC) approach (clearinghouse approach), ESRI’s geography network, Unitarian’s geodatabase template development and on January 24, a workshop hosted by the prime developer of the Transportation Identification Standards for the NSDI, Bruce Sperrr??? of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.


Joy Denkers-Dept. of Ecology (ECY)- Updates

Joy announced that ECY has just finished the 100k Canals and (graded streams?)  for Washington  at 1 to 100 K . This data will be moved into the Framework Clearinghouse. Eastern Washington will benefit, as they will have some base information with LLIB’s all following the Framework hydro standards.


Joy also reiterated Carrie’s comments that momentum is not lost regarding the DNR legislation and that dialogue will continue.  She also put forth a proposal to the Chair to start work in earnest on one of the Council’s strategic plan items; getting WAGIC acknowledged in the Legislature as an organized body.




Introduction of New Member

Ian introduced Dr. Carey Brooks, Professor at WSU as a new member to the Council.  Dr. Brooks, originally from South Carolina, was involved and a recent chair with a similar organization in South Carolina under that Governor’s executive order.  He is looking forward to bringing some of those experiences to the Council.


Washington LandSat 7 Data Consortium Update – Jeff Holm

Jeff displayed a picture of the web page that represents the work done by the LandSat 7 Consortium selection team.  The page showed rows 26-28 and paths 48-43, a total of 16 scenes, representing what is needed for statewide coverage in Washington.  The goal was to balance essentially cloud free scenes with certain temporal scenes over the months of late June through late August.  


The information should be available on the web by the end of December.  An order will be placed with Eros Datacenter that will hopefully allow the core partners of the consortium to have data to them by middle of January.  The intent of use of the initial data buy is to be able to create value added products to be produced within the next 12 months; hopefully by late spring or early summer. 


Jeff said that he now has firm verbal commitments from three state agencies (DFW, DNR and ECY) to participate in the initial project.  By participating in the project, these agencies will have the benefit of all 16 scenes at one-third the cost it would have normally been for them.  The consortium is also looking forward to more discussions on acquiring other data products; specifically Spot data, which has come down in pricing due to removal of licensing restrictions.  For questions or more information contact Jeff Holm.


Closing Site Roundtable – Ian Von Essen

Ian thanked all sites and presenters for their attendance and the information provided.  Each site appreciated the program as well.


February’s meeting will be theme based once again, with the focus on environmental GIS.  The meeting will also focus on GMA and smart growth with applications from state and local governments being presented.


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

Next meeting – February 15 at 10:00 a.m.