GIC LogoWashington State Geographic Information Council

December 1995 Meeting Minutes

December 7, 1995

Opening and Introductions, Steve Hillesland

From Spokane, Steve welcomed the Pasco, Lacey, Vancouver, Seattle, and Mt. Vernon sites.

Strategic Planning Process Results, Steve Hillesland & Jeff Holm

The Spokane planning session (held December 6th) was a follow-up to the process started in October at the Wenatchee workshop. The GIC Goal and Purpose statement has been updated to reflect the councils current interests . Associated tactical activities have been grouped and prioritized. The GIC will focus on the following four areas over the next 12-18 months:

1) Funding & Administration, Steve Hillesland

A new ad hoc workgroup will be convened by Steve Hillesland to explore these issues. The focus of this group will be to identify potential ways to fund the activities and administration of the GIC. A meeting date will be scheduled in January '96. Contact Steve with comments or suggestions. Robin Trenbeath agreed to participate.

Tom Sturm, US Geological Survey, mentioned what Oregon and California have done to get funding. Some GI councils have successfully been set up as a non-profit association with a 3-tiered fee structure based on how you can pay and who you are. He has not seen any council successful at being recognized by the legislature.

2) Implementation of the Outreach Strategy, Robin Trenbeath

The Local Government workgroup has offered to update the existing Outreach Strategy and make recommendations regarding implementation. The activities to be included are: educational programs, coordination with other organizations, promotional video, better liaisons with tribes, continued HomePage effort, moving meetings around the state, and higher visibility with the council.

3) Framework Workgroup, Larry Sugarbaker

This new workgroup will focus on challenges and opportunities presented by the implementation and maintenance of statewide Framework data layers. Larry Sugarbaker (DNR) has agreed to convene the initial meeting.

Framework data layers are built on the concept that there are certain basic data layers that are inherent in every geographic information project--the Federal Geographic Data Committee has identified eight that they would like to see developed across the nation. Local and state government, tribes and the private sector are all important components to making this happen.

4) Studies Workgroup, Joy Denkers (DOE)

Initially, Joy will fold in the Studies workgroup issues as part of the Standards Workgroup. Tasks to be looked at and reviewed initially are: GIS resource list, a list of who is doing what in the state, and the 25 most asked GIS related policy questions.

Jeff Holm indicated that the strategic planning process is still open to input. The areas identified for GIC focus are broad and will be refined through the work group processes and further input from GIC membership. Comments can be directed to Jeff or Steve.

Workgroup Reports:

Census Workgroup Report, Carol Jenner (OFM)

The TIGER workgroup was initially formed to encourage the Census Bureau to continue to update the TIGER files. Since that is now clearly the Census Bureau's goal, Carol and Jay Clark will serve as liaisons to the other GIC work groups on census related issues. It is anticipated that a number of these issues will be identified by the new Framework workgroup.

Carol offered two internet resources for Census related information:

Standards Workgroup Report, Joy Denkers (DOE)

The workgroup met November 14 at Department of Ecology. They discussed the GIC October planning session and what the role and direction of the Standards workgroup should be. They will present that list and a formalized plan to the Council in the near future. The next meeting will be Wednesday, January 10, 1:30pm to 3:30pm, and every first Wednesday of the month following.

Federal Update, Larry Sugarbaker (DNR)

An up-coming 'Future Vision' exercise will be sponsored by the FGDC. It will bring together 75 participants to look at the future of the National Geospatial Infrastructure. Two questions they will discuss are: what will society's needs be and how will they be impacted by the year 2010. When the results are published, the council should discuss how they fit in and decided if that is where Washington wants to go.

Local Government, Robin Trenbeath (Snohomish County)

Work plan for Outreach Strategy will be the topic for January's meeting.

Electronics Workgroup, Ann Bregent (WLN) and Jeff Holm (DIS)

The GIC WEB Page will receive it's first substantial update since going on line in July '95. A significant enhancement will be the inclusion of a 'clickable' map to provide access to Regional Coordinator and WIT site information. Jeff encouraged everyone to take look at the latest series of enhancements. These enhancements will be implemented in early January. (GIC URL: http//

Georeference Workgroup, Dave Steele (DNR)

Since the GPS User Group and the Georeference workgroup discuss related issues, it makes sense to merge to two groups. Dave will act as liaison between that group and the council.

Technical Presentations:

Spokane GIS Integration, Ian Von Essen

Spokane has experienced 11 years of growth and transition. During 1984-89, Spokane County acquired their first GIS (GDMS), Washington Water Power developed an in-house GIS, and City of Spokane funded the GIS Implementation Study. By 1990, all three agencies decided they needed to work more closely together to come up with a common GIS system. An 11 member committee was formed and an RFP was written. With the purchase and transition of ARC/INFO came an increasing demand for GIS products and services. During 1992-95, comprehensive road layers were developed, public/private partnerships were developed, growth management was mandated which helped with funding. Today, all three agencies have GIS being implemented by full-time staff and multiple participating departments. A GIS technical meeting is held monthly and the Inland Area GIS meeting held bi-annually includes 30 organizations. GIS is a true resource in Spokane.

Spokane County Joint Project, Chrissy Dye

Their initial goals were to: 1) develop a complete GIS road layer for all of Spokane, including private roads; 2) integrate CAD/MS with GIS; and 3) establish a maintenance program for GIS road layer for both the City and the County. The overall benefits have been positive. The benefits are: 1) creation of first comprehensive street network for both City and County, which is also usable by outside agencies; 2) event mapping, e.g., CTR, radon testing, crime analysis, hydrant locations, etc.; 3) facilities data exchange between department and agencies; 4) establishment of strong links between City and County GIS programs; and 5) eliminated need for costly data conversions. Currently, the City and County (with the participation of the Public Works and Fire Departments) road file projects are: 1) Atlas design; 2) street verification; and 3) funding. Future issues are with integration with TIGER files, with new City planimetric data, and with new WWP road data.

Spokane County Engineers Office (Roads), Dave Rideout

The Engineers started entering data in 1984 and spent a large portion of time developing a street network using coordinate geometry and digitizing. This data was the primary foundation for the road file. A lot of effort was involved to develop and maintain a single, common, coordinated road database on which to base GIS efforts. Some of the applications over the last year are:

1) Large employers are required to develop ride sharing, commuter trip reduction and long-term bus routing plans. They provide a data file listing employee address and shift information. By incorporating GIS address matching, they are able to produce a map that will help the employer develop a plan.

2) To be eligible for federal funding, a 6-year construction program has to be developed. In the past, this has usually been in a spreadsheet format. Using GIS, maps were generated showing areas geographically.

3) Their responsibility is also to keep track of pavement rating, thickness, etc. They used GIS to create a route system. The result is a map showing each roads function or arterial type.

Spokane Boundary View Board, Susan Winchell

They are responsible for city, water district, sewer and fire district boundaries. In 1990, paper maps were converted to GIS. This new mapping system proved valuable in analyzing a proposal to incorporate a new city in Spokane County. With only 10 days to complete the analysis, they were able to determine land areas and population density quickly and stay within a 10% modification limit.

Spokane County Planning, Bruce Hunt

Spokane is required to come up with GIS statistics under the growth management act. Phase 1 was to develop a county wide planning policy guide, a scientific way of GIS data. Phase 2 was the designation of IUGA's (interim urban growth areas), which is heavily dependent on the County's GIS data. With the GIS, they hope model all of the natural and built environmental data to create a democratic and scientific product to become the most suitable IUGA. In 1996, they will provide this data to the public and government officials.

Spokane County Stormwater Utilities, Tami Williams

Tami illustrated how they use GIS ARC/INFO in stormwater management applications. A billing system needed to be established for non-residential properties. A calculation of the impervious surface on commercial property was done using digital ortho photos. This allowed them to identify where to draw the lines and zoom in and get the accuracy they needed. This information was given to treasurers office where they generate a tax bill. With only 3 appeals on bills sent out, this information has proven to be accurate and given them credibility. Future plans include watershed plan with new development proposals.

WA Waterpower Company, Curtis Kirkabee

WWP has benefited from a lot of interface with government agencies. Originally, WWP purchased the digital orthophotography and then licensed the use of it back to Spokane County for half the cost. As new participants came in, dollars flow back to the participants currently involved. It is cost effective because of the shared cost. This initiative has lead to other cooperative agreements which includes road/address files. Future plans include converting electric and getting a GIS field unit into the hands of their crew people to do design work out in the field.

Workgroup Reporting, Steve Hillesland

There is a need for an effective way for the work groups to report the status of their group. In the past, the work groups have dominated the meeting even though there was nothing new to report. Several suggestions have been made, such as workgroup meeting minutes to go out with the GIC minutes or 1-2 work groups reporting each meeting only once a quarter (unless there is significant action that should be reported). Robin felt that workgroup minutes might encourage lack of participation in the meetings. Ann suggested putting the workgroup minutes and schedule in the WEB page.

Closing Remarks by Members

Steve Hillesland encouraged discussion of the FGDC (Federal Geographic Data Committee) letter sent with the October meeting minutes. Larry Sugarbaker felt that the council should seriously consider participating and decide at what level. Robin Trenbeath suggested that a decision be made now to participate, and decide the level of participation at a future meeting. It was agreed that the Framework workgroup will draft a suitable response to the FGDC invitation.

Joy Denkers asked about an update on the National States Meeting attended by Steve Hillesland. Steve reported that 40 state GI councils were represented at the meeting. The two topics that stood out were participation and funding. - similar to the concerns of WAGIC, Many state GI councils reported they had similar problems with funding issues. He felt that this council was healthier than many due to the participation of various state and local entities.


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

Last updated: December 12,1995