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December 1994 Meeting Minutes

December 15, 1994

Members in attendance at:

Olympia: Clare Donahue (DIS) Chair Pro Team, Senator Emilio Cantu (SENATE), Frans Arnold (DOT), Ann Bregent (State Library), Tim Brown (DSHS), Carol Jenner representing Gary Robinson (OFM), Sara Steel (Archaeology & Historic Preservation), Larry Sugarbaker (DNR), John Tooley (Ecology), Robin Trenbeath (Snohomish Co.)

Spokane: Ken Palmer (Spokane County)

Mt. Vernon: Steve Hood (Crown Pacific)

Vancouver: Gary Bohren representing Tom Strum (USGS)

A. Call to Order

Clare Donahue welcomed Seattle, Spokane, Pasco, Mt. Vernon and Vancouver sites on behalf of Steve Hillesland, absent due to a broken ankle.

Robin Trenbeath nominated Steve Hood as the official council representative for the Northwest region. Senator Emilio Cantu seconded, and the motion carried by acclamation.

B. GPS Committee Report

Frans reported on the committee's initial meeting 12/3/94. The goals identified were:

1) Define appropriate goals

2) Inventory current users

3) Investigate future uses

4) Explore relationships with other GPS groups

5) Identify issues for attention

6) Develop metadata standard for GPS data

7) Educate the GIC and others on appropriate GPS use

8) Determine relationship with surveyors

9) Minimize duplication of GPS base stations.

The committee will not recommend, but may coordinate, purchases.

Andrew Kinney, of Thurston County Geodata Center, described an inter-local agreement between Thurston County, Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater for the joint purchase of four GPS units. These units would be used in dedicated mode on a rotation basis. Andrew agreed to provide to the GIC the model employed for the use and the inter-local agreement.

The next GPS meeting, open to all interested parties, is scheduled for February 9, 1995 at 10:00 A.M. in Olympia. For details, contact Chair Frans Arnold, DOT, Internet MSI@WSDOT.WA.GOV or telephone (360) 705-7608.

C. Higher Education Committee Report

Dr. Jim Haskett, CWU, Chair of the Education Committee, was unable to reach the meeting due to bad road conditions. He faxed a written committee report which Liz Caldwell presented. That report is attached. For more details, contact Jim at Internet: HASKETT@CWU.EDU or phone: (509) 963-2921, SCAN 453-2921.

D. Library Issues, Grants for Technology

Ann Bregent, State Library, reported the state library has $225,000.00 in grant funds to be allocated to public libraries for "Beyond the Walls" technology purchases. This could include GIS technology. The maximum amount for an individual grant is $20,000. Applications are due January 31, 1995. Ann suggested GIC members partner with local libraries to provide local land use records and other GIS information. For more grant details, contact Ann Bregent at Internet:WSL-DOCS@WLN.COM, phone (360) 586-7575. For grant forms, contact Liz Caldwell at Internet: LIZC@DIS.WA.GOV or by phone at (360) 664-2595. To submit a grant application, contact your local public library.

Possible USGS Demise

Ann also reported on the possibility that funds for the USGS may be totally eliminated from the federal budget. She provided a letter from the USGS Director, Gordon Eaton and an article from the Seattle Times. She recommended that people who use USGS data become aware of the implications for them. Clare Donahue reported she had received similar information which included the Bureau of Mines.

Gary Bohren, USGS, reported USGS Director Eaton considers this a serious situation. Gary confirmed proposals to have private enterprise or state agencies take over USGS functions.

E. Department of Information Services, GIS Initiative

Jeff Holm, DIS, reported on the DIS, GIS initiative which will effectively define the spatial-data infrastructure for the State of Washington. It will mirror the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) which is being used as a model. The initiative is at a very conceptual level right now. It will be related to work of the Standards Committee and will explore the possibility of putting the meta-data standards on a desk top application, available electronically with electronic forms support to aid implementation of the standards. Jeff will provide a draft of the proposal at a future GIC meeting. He is very interested in comments and can be reached via Internet at or by phone at (360) 902-3447.

F. Standards Work Group Report

Committee Chair, Tim Brown, reported the Standards Work Group would present a final set of guidelines for GIC formal approval at the February 16, 1995, meeting. A draft version of the proposed guidelines was distributed for comments at the October 20, 1994 GIC meeting. At the January Standards meeting the Work Group expects work group level approval. These approved guidelines will then be distributed to the council for review.

Larry Sugarbaker, DNR, reported the federal guidelines are more restrictive and comprehensive than the state guidelines. In order to participate in federal endeavors and obtain federal funding, organizations will be required to meet the federal standards. Larry suggested that specific data sets identified as part of the federal framework data environment use the federal approach. Further that systems developed accommodate the federal approach without requiring that all data fields be populated.

Tim explained that the Washington State guidelines will be a subset of the federal guidelines, and compatible as far as they go. Meeting the federal guidelines would meet the proposed state guidelines, but not vice versa. These first state guidelines are expected to be evolutionary.

Next Meeting: January 12, 1995 at 10:00 A.M. For details, contact Chair, Tim Brown phone 753-3000.

G. DATA 96,

Ron Holeman, DNR, reported on DATA96 activities. Attached is Ron's summary of his report. One goal is to make the data available through electronic transfer. For questions or comments, contact Ron at (360) 902-1532.

Sources of funding were discussed. For the initial $300,000 mentioned, Ron reported several organizations are contributing various amounts averaging $20,000 each. Ron also reported that future budget needs have not yet been defined. He suggested one model where one organization would maintain the data and others would pay a subscription service. An alternative model is that maintenance of various data layers would be done by stewardship organizations. For example, Ecology has put in a budget decision package to fund and maintain the hydrology layers.

Larry Sugarbaker reported that DNR is exploring with DIS the need for funding for the crucial coordination activities. Without direct funding, coordination activities suffer because no one wants to assume them, even though all acknowledge their importance. Coordination provides the network infrastructure, the meta-data standards, and the support for indexes used for updating in a distributed environment. Funding to maintain a particular data set may be secondary to creating and supporting the infrastructure. In work with the Watershed Coordination Council, some basic beginning budget requirements are identified.

H. Local Government Work Group Report, Robin Trenbeath, Snohomish County

Robin reported the December 1, meeting in Yakima concentrated on the Public Records/Open Records issues. Special attention was given to the proposed GIS Legislative and the draft GlS Access Guidelines. Feedback on the proposed legislation is very mixed. Concerns are whether it goes far enough and what support it will receive in the face of issues between King County and the City of Seattle.

Tom Nolan from City of Seattle reported the proposed legislation represents interests expressed by multiple local governments. Ian Von Essen from Spokane County reported Washington Water Power as well as other organizations in the Spokane area read and supported the legislation. Robin reported that was the general consensus of the committee. To support this legislation, contact Jim Justin, the Association of Washington Cities, telephone (360) 753-4137.

Clare Donahue, DIS, raised several issues. These included public records and the PDA, guarantees of accuracy on updates, availability of updates, profiting from public data, the authority to create a revenue stream, changes in business practices, and taxes on profits.

Tom Nolan reported meetings with the media, both as a group with their lobbyists, and with the editorial board and the managing editor of the Times and the PI separately. He reported the PI was excited.

I. GIS Access Guidelines

Comments on the draft guidelines were shared. The following feedback and comments were reported.

Tone. Local governments preferred the guidelines to the policy. They also recommended softening the tone, referencing the PDA rather than including explicit language, and moving very specific procedural issues to a suggested category.

Better clarification between a public record and a custom product. A possibility is another state's rule of thumb: "If it exists in storage, it is a public record; if it does not exist in storage it becomes a custom product. "

Status of on-line access and whether it qualified as a custom product or service. Another state provides on-line GIS access in a customer's workplace as a custom service. But there, an inspection terminal in a government office is considered normal service. The new Public Information Access Task Force is addressing all public records, except GIS. However they may create an expectation for GIS with their recommendation that all public records be provided electronically on-line.

Difference between future updates and new versions of an updated database. If something exists in storage, such as a new version of an updated database, then it is defined as a public record. However, the PDA does not require things, such as updates, to be prepared in the future. Future updates can be offered as a custom service. However, once such an update exists in storage, it becomes a public record.

A master contract and guidance in forming partnerships. Desirable for GIC to develop and share these.

Entire database. The draft did not go far enough when it excluded addressing requests for an entire database.

Licenses and the ability to restrict redistribution. Concerns existed regarding the relationship to the following Attorney General's ruling. "When an agency possesses records generated by or related to another agency, the possessing agency is required to make the decision regarding the disclosure. However, the other agency can be consulted and can be a party to subsequent liabilities", from the Attorney General's Overview of Public Records for Inclusion in Administrative Law. Implications of this could be far reaching for GIS data. The rulings applicability to data from DNR Trust Lands was questioned.

Intent. The intent of these guidelines is to provided clarification for current requirements for use in multiple jurisdictions which were subject to differing interpretations previously. The hope is that the guidelines will be adopted voluntarily because of their usefulness.

Senator Cantu recommended a disciplined coordinated approach to minimize vulnerability to lawsuits. He reported such a coordinated approach will carry weight with the Legislature.

The council acknowledges the value of taking on the hard questions and addressing differences.

J. Closing Remarks, Senator Cantu

Senator Cantu reported with regret he is resigning from the council after three years due to responsibilities on thirteen committees. He plans to be available as a resource person and to identify a new legislative replacement. The Senator commended the GIC for being a valuable service which has come a long way.

K. Adjournment

The next meeting is February 16, 1995.

For information contact the GIC Coordinator
Jeff Holm--DIS
Send E-mail to Jeff Holm

Last updated: December 19, 1995