GIC LogoWashington State Geographic Information Council

October, 1996 Meeting Minutes

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Meeting Orginates from Pasco, WA, Chair is in Lacey


Chairman Tom Nolan welcomed members viewing this meeting from Lacey, Spokane, Seattle, Vancouver and Mt. Vernon.


Robin introduced Randy Mills from Benton County PUD. Randy is an instructor at Columbia Basin College and has been involved with GIS for the past 10-12 years. Robin formally nominated Randy as the Southeast Regional Coordinator. Randy stated that he is interested in promoting GIC activity which has slowed since Jim Cooper left. After a vote by the members, Randy Mills was made official Southeast Region Coordinator of the GI Council.


Clare opened by asking the members to recall the meeting in Wenatchee last December. At that meeting, the group decided on the following action items:

This has been accomplished in several ways. (GIC video, GIC Booth/exhibit, Web Site, GIS '96 Conference)

Completed and available for distribution June, '96.

GIS conference is scheduled for next month (November).

After losing our tribal members when the council reshuffled, Clare mentioned she was especially glad to have presence of the Yakama Indian Nation at today's meeting.

Currently in process. (Electronic survey instrument created, information gathering early '97 and publishing Summer '97)

Jeff stated that item fell from the list. There was a group of action items that didn't belong in any one category. This item was placed in the "Study" subheading among things that the Standards committee was asked to address. There were 4-5 things on that list. The Standards Committee agreed to address some things, but not the 25 most asked policy questions, so that's something we may want to re-address over the next year and decide whether any resources can be allocated towards that. It was suggested that some of those policy questions, and the documents that would address them, might result from one or two of the presentations that are being planned for next month's GIS conference.

Clare asked if the council could identify the top 10 policy questions. No input was provided. Tom offered to list his ten, but would provide them outside of this meeting.

It was unclear what this goal was geared towards.

This has been done.

NSDI Metadata project is being drawn to close. The deliverables from that were: to create Metadata according to the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Metadata content standards for 5 of DNR's data layers; and the presentation by Snohomish County of 20 data themes that will have FGDC-like Metadata. Once collected, this information will be put into a format which is suitable for the Internet. The partners in that project were DNR, Snohomish County, GIC, DIS and Central Washington. Additionally, DIS created a tool for the collection of Metadata which will be available for distribution next month at the GIS '96 Conference.

Larry Sugarbaker and Ron Holeman of DNR have conducted several meetings that have resulted in a pilot project proposal - (see Larry's Framework update below)

The contact list was combined with the Resource list, and Joy Denkers and the Standards Workgroup will provide more information about this later in today's meeting.

Some work has been done in the area of working more with private industry and getting them involved with what GIC is doing.

This is an area that we've all worked on. (See Outreach Strategy implementation)

This is one area that we need to re-focus our efforts on developing funding options for the Council. DIS' continued financial support cannot be guaranteed for the long term, and GIC must find ways to obtain other sources of funding. Clare asked for any comments or ideas on this topic.

Tom Nolan stated that he has been soliciting ideas from various statewide contacts and feels that most people are not opposed to funding it from a level, but are concerned about having more involvement in what the council does. As an example, the GI council booth was created without any outside input regarding it's development. Tom feels it's not unreasonable to look for some kind of funding plan, but people are more interested in seeing a line item budget for example; to know specifically what they're being asked to pay for; to see how the money is spent.

Clare stated that last year following the goals-setting meeting, a GIC budget was created and it was determined that regular sources of expenses are: Video conferencing sites and airtime. DIS also pays for a full time FTE (Jeff Holm) to support the council. This is a full time job because Jeff also writes the grants, does the communications work, and fosters a lot of what we're doing. Jeff is planning the GIS '96 conference and in addition to his own time, relies heavily on assistance from Clare's support staff. DIS is also subsidizing the 1996 conference with hopes of being reimbursed through the conference registration.

Ken Palmer, stated that the Northeast section could contribute financial support, particularly for video-conferencing. It would cost far more for any of the Northeastern members to physically attend the conferences than to view them from the local ESD facility. Ken feels that collectively they can provide some financial support, but agrees that budget itemization is crucial so expenses can be passed on to city or county officials who are in charge of budgets. Specifics are important.

Larry Sugarbaker said a brainstorming meeting on fundraising issues was held several months ago. Several good ideas resulted from the meeting; one of which was a tiered assessment process for membership, although no formal presentations have been submitted to the council yet. Larry asked that they receive time on next meeting's agenda in order to do so.

Ian Von Essen stated that he's real supportive of what DIS has provided and for its financial support which had enabled GIC to move forward. He's very appreciative, yet feels that when the budget is viewed, there are several options: A minimal option in which you could fund part of the secretary to do the mailings, a moderate option in which you could fund a portion of the video conferencing, and then have a little higher level option where you begin funding staff support like what Jeff does. That would be the type of direct funding he would be interested in supporting. Tom agreed that that was the consensus of the people he had talked to regarding the issue of funding.

As an action item, Tom agreed to allow time on the next meeting's agenda for a formal presentation of this funding proposal. He restated the importance of this issue and that most members are willing to support the council financially. He supports the tiered structure, particularly for the smaller cities who should not pay the same amount as the much larger ones.

Clare stated that her concern lies in the fact that every time there is a change in leadership or administration, she needs to justify the dollars that DIS is spending on GIC. GIC is not a service offering, and under statutory requirements, DIS is a fee-for-service agency that does not receive appropriations. Everything that DIS does, they charge a fee for, just like private industry, so funds for this Council are being taken out of the bottom line of the DIS' budget. General fund money for the state is the type of appropriation that the Council seeks. The current budget plus the inflationary increase already exceeds the 601 limitation, so there's no money. Regardless of who is elected for Governor next month, DIS has to address the same justification issues.

Clare went on to say that it will be helpful for the Council to list its accomplishments over the last year to show what an impact it has had; where new partnerships have been created; what the representation of the council looks like from a diversity perspective or from a local, federal, state, tribal perspective; what the Council has done to reach out to private industry. Private industry might even have an interest in helping to fund the Council.

Some discussion centered around scheduling the appropriate time to finalize this discussion. In view of next month's GIS conference, Jeff Holm was hesitant to place this item on the agenda for the next GIC meeting which will take place on December 5th. It was agreed however, that the proposal was far enough along in its conception that it did not require an entire planning session to prepare it for presentation. Larry Sugarbaker will take the lead in organizing the presentation. Jeff Holm will meet with Larry after this meeting to determine what the presentation will consist of, and when it should be made.

In summary of the review of last year's goals & objectives, Clare asked that the achievements be listed, and that the Council members begin to think of what they want to accomplish in the next year. Some suggestions are to formalize the relationships with private industry a little better; and to possibly hold a planning session to hear from other Council members about what they think the Council should be doing after January, and to plan the next year of events.

To end the discussion of the funding issues, Clare assured the council that it was funded through June of 1997 and she felt confident that the Council would overcome it's funding challenges before that time.

Tom Nolan agreed that a planning session to be held in January would be an excellent start, and stated that he was pleased to hear Clare's list of the Council's accomplishments over the past year.

Ken Palmer stated that he would be retiring from the City of Spokane, and nominated Ian Von Essen to replace him in the North East Region. The nomination was seconded and approved . Ian was welcomed to the Council. He hopes that more work can be done on the List Server, particularly as the funding issues are discussed further.


STANDARDS - Resource List Survey - Joy Denkers

1) The resource list is being formed, with the help of Jeff Holm and DIS. They have put together a nice package of software that is a on-screen survey that covers a number of general topic areas, and some general information about the types of spatial data that are collected by that agency, such as natural resources, environmental, etc. It also asks users what the information is being used for. There are some key words, so key searching can be done. It is on an access data base, and is self-contained on a floppy, so anyone can run the program and once the form is completed, return it to the Standards workgroup to be placed on a home page, or some other forum. The software is currently under review by the Standards Workgroup members, and they hope to be finished in December for release to the GIC members.

FRAMEWORK - Cadastral Framework Project - Larry Sugarbaker

Larry had information to present in each of the following four areas:

1) Issue of Relationship of the Framework committee to the GIC- It was originally set up as a sub-committee to the council, and Larry agreed to help set up those meetings and run them, and he will continue to do that. Other organizations such as IRICC (Inter-organizational Resource Information Coordinating Council) which is a federal organization, have stated that since this Framework Workgroup has been in place they don't feel concerned about framework anymore. Larry feels that if we are truly going to be able to embrace the partnership concepts, this is a sub-committee that all of these other groups need to take ownership of. This area needs further discussion, and Larry plans to come up with a proposed plan for each sub-committee working together towards some common objectives.

2) Provide information about his involvement in Federal activities as they relate to Framework -Larry has been serving for the past 3 years as chair to the Math & Science Committee, which is a committee of the National Research Council. Larry's term ends this December, which will provide him with more of an opportunity to focus more closely on the state objectives in the area of framework. Rod Holeman and Larry have been working on a framework sub-committee of the FGDC and have now held 4 meetings. At the last meeting in Seattle a number of the concepts that were originally presented are implementable, but some need work from a practical perspective, and will be further reviewed. One specific example given was about a proposed tiered architecture that involves framework producers and organizations that would somehow integrate the data, but there is no clear way of how this can be achieved.

There is a new study which is being initiated by the National Academy of Public Instruction which has initiated a study to look at several questions about consolidating Federal mapping activities as well as federally privatizing mapping activities. There is a potential for the way federal organizations collect, disseminate and manage data, that will have some fundamental shifts, so it is important to watch that study as it evolves, and if there are ways to participate in or comment on it, we should take advantage of those opportunities.

3) Cadastral Project- Larry announced that they did not receive funding with the grant proposal submitted to the FGDC. They had requested about $125,0000 to be matched, but were not successful. They are still committed to moving forward, and all of the partners have agreed to move ahead on the project. They have had discussions with the FGDC sub-committee on Cadastre and they have offered to provide their consultant to work directly with the Council and to attend meetings out here to review the FGDC Standard and to sponsor a workshop to be held on December 2nd & 3rd. The objective for the workshop is to learn in detail about the Federal Standard and to gain an understanding of how that might fit into our state requirements for Cadastral Data. It brings up the problem that state requirements for Cadastral Data are still not clear. The Dept. of Natural Resources will be doing some internal scoping to understand what the State's requirements are for that data. It would also be helpful to learn how other agencies will approach this so they could also participate in the workshop and discuss ways that the responsibilities of creating this new data layer for the state could be shared among them.

4) Update on Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) partnership agreement being proposed to other state's GIC's- Several months ago, The GI Council was asked to become a partner organization with the FGDC. The letter we received from the FGDC included a check-off list of things the Council would be obligated to do as well as the many benefits the Council would receive as a partner. The preparation for this was assigned to the Frameworks subcommittee, but Larry said they had been remiss in addressing this task. He plans to address it at the next framework committee meeting.

GIS '96 Conference - Jeff Holm

Jeff displayed a draft copy of the program for the conference, the final will be ready soon. The conference has to cap attendance at 400. There are just over 100 people pre-registered at this point, they expect close to a sell-out, so please register now! There is a convenient registration form in the program that can be submitted via fax.

Jeff pointed out the fine quality of the graphics in the program which were provided by DIS' Communications group. The conference will be held on November 21-22nd at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center on Seattle's waterfront. Many GIC members have agreed to participate. Tom Nolan will be moderating one of the topics, and Clare Donahue will participate on the panel. There are 3 major tracks.

K-20 educators- How technology can be used in the classroom. ESRI is providing their national K-12 program manger as a keynote speaker and to provide a couple of presentations. They are also willing to credit the conference fee ($139) towards purchase of their K-12 education package.

GIS for start-up organizations which will focus on GIS issues - Everything from what GIS is, to what it can do for you to how you get started.

Those 2 tracks may not be a lot of interest to GIC members who are already practitioners, but there is a 3rd track which includes:

Census 2000 workshop - The Census Bureau is sponsoring this workshop which should provide high interest to local jurisdictions because it will focus on the things that need to be done today to prepare for a year 2000 Census. There are also several workshops on data sharing. The FGDC will have the experts there to talk about metadata content standard, framework activities at the national level, and a chance to talk about how our local activities will support that. There will also be workshops on how to set up a Clearinghouse note on the Internet; present metadata; present resource lists; and how to present data itself.

Jeff extended thanks to all the agencies who have contributed so greatly to the preparation and planning of this Conference. To name just a few: Sandra Barr from DNR, Joy Denkers from Ecology, Betty Marshall of Marshall and Associates (also chair of NWCAMA), Cal Van Zee from Eaton Systems Inc., Ron Cihon and Marci Mitchell from DOT, David Buckland from ESRI and a cast of many others.


Use of GIS for Economic Development - Bill White & Cindy Abrahamson

In terms of reservation staff, Bill and Cindy are under the supervision of 8400 tribal members, so if any tribal member asks a GIS question, they need to provide the answer. They are promoting agriculture, in terms of development. 90% of the Yakama Indian Nation (YIN) revenue is from timber. They need to prepare now for obtaining revenue from other sources, and Bill is promoting agriculture as that other source. The Yakama Indian Nation Economic Development can be reached via their new e-mail address:, or you can view their home page at

Bill displayed the logo of the Confederated Tribes and Bands . They are 14 bands and tribes that are federally recognized under the treaty of 1855. The reservation is 1.5 times the size of Rhode Island. There is 1,377,000 acres over which they are responsible for management in terms of GIS. The YIN is located in South Central Washington. The reservation consists of 3 main areas, forested area, range area & agriculture area. The reservation maintains, via the Wapato Irrigation Project, one of the largest agricultural projects maintained by a tribal entity in the continental U.S. They have 5000 acres of irrigatible farmland.

In terms of GIS for the YIN, there are 4 work-stations. (1) in White Swan, (2) in Wapato and (1) in Toppenish. They maintain loose cooperation between agencies and users. Regular GIS user meetings are held for the exchange of information, and the department utilizes ARCINFO at the workstation level. They also utilize ARC VIEW. The GIS office is primarily there to support the Economic Development on the reservation. They are really project driven in terms of GIS. There are 4 areas under which all projects lie: Business & Marketing, Tourism & Recreation, Zoning Office and Agricultural Development.

Bill & Cindy recently undertook the following two projects:

1) Idle Lands in terms of agriculture-

Unleased lands - From 1995-96 the amount of unleased lands has gone from 38,000 acres to 78,000 acres. They need to have that land into production in order to diversify their economy. The YIN has actually put together an Idle Lands map, and the lands are currently in the process of being verified as idle.

2) 1996 Reservation Flood Map.

The Yakima river flooded severely in 1996. It was devastating. It cut each of the towns of White Swan and Toppenish in half. Bill shared photos and aerial maps of this flood and it's damage. These maps and GIS information has been given to FEMA for their use. FEMA is planning to produce a CD ROM with this data.

***Major videocasting problem at this point. *** Lost all transmission with the PASCO site where this presentation originated. (the US West Transmission line from Pasco went 'down')

During this down time, miscellaneous announcements were made, and Joy Denkers wanted Bill White to know that if he is interested in additional data sets from Ecology to give her a call, they have very highly detailed land-use data sets that she'd be more than willing to make available.

VIDEO not working, the following presentation was received via audio from PASCO (note: very bad audio reception; these notes are sketchy)

(The following takes the place of the originally scheduled presentation from Julie Brown of the City of Kennewick):

CHRIS RICE - Benton County

Chris discussed the following two topics:

1) What is Benton County doing to initiate GIS efforts?

Chris stated that he is the GIS contact for Benton County. The county made a commitment to go after GIS, and put together a proposal for an ARC info system, which was unsuccessful at the Council level. This platform is not as bad as it sounds because all of the local communities are working in the same environment. Another aspect of his job involves communication with the communities and regional areas.

2) A project Benton County is becoming involved with though NASA National Association of Counties.

Another involvement is a NASA data charged project through National Association of Counties which includes disseminating remote sensing data at the county level for decision making purposes. It's through NASA's "Mission to Planet Earth" project. They want to use local government as an information gathering partner.

If anyone wants more Information call Chris Rice at (509) 786-5611 in Prosser or see him at the GIS conference.


Jeff attended the National States GIC Conference which was held September 14-18th. NSGIC is composed of state level organizations like the Washington State GIC. Although they're not all called GI councils they do have similar functions. There were 44 states represented at this year's conference and this was the first time Washington State has been represented as an official member. National States was awarded an NSDI grant to survey the status of NSDI initiatives across the various state organizations. They put out an open invitation to conference attendees that may want to become involved in the project in a capacity other than simply responding to their survey. Jeff let them know that Washington state may decide to become involved, but more information about the level of participation is required. The purpose of the survey is to establish a baseline now to see how various NSDI and FGDC related activities move states toward the goals of the NSDI initiatives. As Jeff receives more information about the project he will bring it to the Council.

CLOSING - Tom Nolan, GIC Chair