Washington State Geographic Information Council (WAGIC)

June 19, 1997 Meeting Minutes

Videoconference meeting originated from: Lacey, WA

Introduction & Site Welcome- Tom Nolan, WAGIC Chair (City of Seattle, Corporate GIS Manager)

From Lacey, Tom Nolan welcomed members in Mt. Vernon, Pasco, Seattle, Spokane and Vancouver.

Clare Donahue- WAGIC Administrator (Chief Deputy Director, DIS)- Recognition of Robin Trenbeath

Clare Donahue acknowledged that Robin Trenbeath (Snohomish County Central Services and IT Manager) is retiring on July 31st. Robin has been a member of the Council since its inception and has contributed to the Council's success at a number of levels.

He has been a tireless champion of Local Government's GIS needs, served as the first Chair of the Council, and has been Chair of the Local Government Workgroup for the past seven years.

Robin brought the concept of regional groups to the GIC and has been instrumental in making the Council a true statewide organization.

Clare personally thanked Robin and expressed the Council’s appreciation for his dedication and hard work. Robin thanked Clare and the rest of the membership for all their help and support in making the GIC a success.

Tom Nolan nominated Don Eginton (GIS Manager, Snohomish County) as the new Snohomish County formal representative. The motion was 2nd and passed.

Tom Nolan stated that Robin’s leaving will create a void in the Local Government Workgroup. Steve Hillesland (County Road Administration Board - IS Manager) has agreed to Chair the Local Government Workgroup on an interim basis. Steve would like to see someone from a local government jurisdiction Chair this group but is willing to serve in an interim capacity. Tom suggested that the GIC discuss, at the next meeting, what should be done to keep this committee moving ahead successfully. This item will be put on the August agenda.


Presentation- Washington State Library (WSL) & Government Information Locator Service (GILS), Phil Coombs (See enclosed diagram)

The 1996 Washington State Legislature passed legislation (RCW 43.105.290) to create a pilot project to demonstrate enhanced public access to government information. The legislation directs the WSL to design and test an electronic government information locator system (GILS). Phil Coombs (WSL) requested time on the WAGIC agenda to discuss their approach and see if there is an opportunity to coordinate our respective 'metadata' efforts.

(Editor's note: There is a federal level initiative aimed at providing government information locator services that is also referred to as GILS. There appears to be many similarities between WSL's effort and the federal initiatives. The significant, and interesting, point of departure is that WSL's approach proposes to use web page documents (with appropriate META tags) as the source of the 'locator record' data.)

The WSL approach to GILS recognizes that many governmental entities are looking for ways to make public information more accessible.

An agency or other governmental entity would determine which of their web pages would include the META tags. Subsequently, the agency would create the 'locator record' as part of their web page and request that the WSL index the information contained within the META tags. The indexed information would be added to the WSL GILS database.

Then, a prospective user would be able to use their Internet browser to access the WSL GILS page and run a query against the WSL GILS index database. Successful search results would be returned to the browser as a list of links to the web pages that met the search criteria. There-by providing electronic access to the government information described on the WSL GILS database.

The WSL-GILS approach is based on making the data descriptions (WSL locator records) a physical part of an agencies web pages. The data descriptions would be coded in html using special 'tags' that mark that part of the html document as the WSL locator record. This part of the html document would not be displayed in a web browser, but would be available to the WSL.

WSL-GILS offers staff assistance to agencies who are interested in becoming a part of the Washington GILS effort. They have META data templates to help automate the process of creating META Tags in HTML. They have a web server application up and running at: http://www.wa.gov/wsl/gils.htm

Phil recommends the GIC contact the WSL-GILS staff at (360) 753-5592, (pcoombs@wln.com). The GILS staff would like the opportunity to work with interested council members.

Kathryn Womble (University of Washington Libraries, Map Collection) stated that most GIC users want to gather information about a specific geographic area, so she wanted to know if this would allow the users to search by geographical areas? Phil responded that it appears that GILS would not be going to this level, but more generally, it would have information available such as, "this is GIC data". GILS would not break the data down into specific geographical areas, though organizations could use GILS to interrelate their data.


Presentation- Governor's Joint Natural Resources Cabinet Committee (JNRCC), An overview by Terry Husseman (Deputy Director of Ecology), Chair of the Water & Endangered Species Act (ESA) Workgroup of the JNRCC.

The Governor and 13 cabinet level agencies have entered into an agreement to work on the following issues:

  1. The Endangered Species Act and how the state is going to develop a comprehensive statewide strategy to comply with the act;
  2. Columbia and Snake River salmon and related issues, such as deregulation of the electric industry, fish passage, etc.; and
  3. Coordinating Water and watershed planning on a statewide basis.

The Water-ESA Workgroup of the JNRCC is made up of natural resource related cabinet members. The Workgroup will provide technical assistance and data to the local planning processes on a WIRA by WIRA basis. The intent is to facilitate and coordinate planning at the local level so that watershed plans are comparable across WIRA's

The Governor's JNRCC expects to have it's first meeting on Monday, 6/23. Terry plans on providing the GIC with future updates and anticipates opportunities for the Council membership to provide input to the Water-ESA Workgroup’s processes.

Tom Nolan asked if there is, or should there be, a connection with Seattle’s Cedar River (habitat and conservation) Watershed? Terry said yes, they are connected. As the JNRCC develops a comprehensive strategy to deal with potential ESA listings they will identify statewide what is already being done with watersheds. So, the workgroup will look at this Seattle Watershed, along with others as they develop their approach to this matter.

Joe Barreca (Spokane)- There is a conservation group (in NE Washington) that is interested in base data for their watersheds. He asked whom the contact at DNR would be to get this data? Larry Sugarbaker indicated that Sandra Bahr is the data coordinator at DNR. People can contact Sandra at (360) 902-1544.

Tom Nolan asked if there was a connection to the GIC Local Government Workgroup? Terry said that the data they are looking for is everywhere. The challenge is find a way to pull this data together on a WIRA by WIRA basis in a sharable manner. The data that the local governments have could be useful to the Watershed-ESA workgroup. Robin Trenbeath said Terry may be able to get this data from the various Local Government jurisdictions.

A member in Lacey asked Terry if there are going to be any reports coming out concerning the workgroup's progress? Terry said there is going to be a mailing list for interested parties and possibly a website for Watershed-ESA and the Workgroup.

If people have questions they can contact Terry Husseman (Department of Ecology) at (360) 407-7002.


Workgroup Meeting- Framework Work Group, Larry Sugarbaker (Dept. of Natural Resources), Ron Holeman (DNR)

Larry started with three objectives for the presentation: 1) Discuss framework background; 2) Discuss what the framework group has been doing to date; and 3) Increase people’s interest level in framework activities.

Ron Holeman (DNR) discussed framework background:

Purpose of framework:

Build an infrastructure to collect, maintain and distribute geospatial information.

Benefits of framework:

Avoid duplication of efforts; pool resources; collect data using a common methodology so it will be easier to share.

Information content within framework:

Geodetic control; digital orthos; elevation data; transportation hydrography; cadastral governmental units.

Framework Characteristics:

Technical context (organization of framework data)- need for varying resolutions of data; need to retain past versions of data; want to integrate data across themes; provide good metadata.

Operational context (processing services for the data)- need to support transactional updating; need to provide access to data through the Internet; users can find data through a clearinghouse.

Business characteristics- avoid restrictive practices; provide information about limitations of the data; data needs to be certified to some minimum standard.

For further information you can view FGDC’s Homepage at: http://www.fgdc.gov/ or contact Ron Holeman at (360) 902-1532.


Larry Sugarbaker discussed what the Framework Management Group (FMG) has been doing to date:

The WA FMG first convened in April 1996. At this meeting the group brainstormed objectives and how they might implement a National Spatial Data Infrastructure Framework Strategy.

The group developed a vision for WA Framework, which states:

"Geospatial data which are collected by many organizations in WA State will be organized and managed as a framework which is readily available and supports the National Spatial Data Infrastructure. The Framework will include digital orthoimagery, elevation, transportation, hydrography, governmental units and cadastral data.

The approach calls for all data producing organizations to work together in partnership to develop common data management protocols and to reduce duplication. The data procures will strive to meet the data requirements which are common to the partner organizations. Cadastral data and transportation data will be in place by 1999. The remaining framework data and update procedures will be ready for use by 2002."

WA Framework is a shared geospatial framework that is dynamic, embodies the needs of the stakeholders, promotes enduring cooperation and partnerships, utilizes common standards, and facilitates the exchange of ideas and information.

Over the year the Framework Management Workgroup has developed FGDC grant proposals; they have had representation from 30 organizations involved at the meetings; and at their last meeting they initiated a project proposal for a third Framework data layer. The WA Framework initiatives now includes active projects in Cadastral, Hydrography , and Transportation.

1) Cadastral- Ron Holeman

DNR is leading the effort on the Cadastral Framework Project. The Project Definition and Scope have been completed, and they will soon start the requirements phase. If they receive the FGDC grant the detailed requirements phase will need to be completed by the last day of September.

The detailed requirements phase will consist of analyzing what data is needed, who has this data, how this data should be described, and the process by which the data is going to be updated once it is put into a new model.

Fifteen other organizations have been asked to join in the requirements definition phase of the project. After the requirements phase the group will move into the database design phase.

The approach will entail; designing the database, converting other organizations to this database, putting it on the website, and then deciding how to update the data.

The plan is to have the design completed and on the web by March or April, 1998 and then develop a plan to implement and update the data by December, 1998.

2) Hydrography layer- Len Singleton, Department of Ecology


There is not a consistent statewide hydrography layer. We have talked to DNR about co-sponsoring this project and building on the Data ‘96 effort. We took this idea to the Framework Management Workgroup and the project concept was well received. Potential participants were identified and we agreed to proceed with a formal project definition. Concerns and issues that came out at that framework meeting include: 1) Capacity - do we have the capacity to do another framework project?; and 2) There are no adopted federal standards for hydrography (we need to work closely with the FGDC).

Requirements for the Hydrography project:

This project must meet the base needs for people and organizations across the state.

The project must be completed in a reasonable amount of time.

The project has to be scaleable.

Next steps:

There are efforts currently underway to develop a formal project definition, which will be completed in the next month. Once these efforts are completed a formal proposal will be put together and presented to the FMS. After the presentation a Go/NO go decision will be made. If a Go decision is made we will move into a formal implementation planning process.

3) Transportation- Jay Clark, Puget Sound Regional Council, Seattle

In December '96 there was a meeting with the local jurisdictions and one issue they were concerned about is how to better share transportation information. From this meeting a pilot project for integrating transportation data was developed. A RFP was also developed, which was advertised on 6/13/97.

This RFP is looking for a consultant that can help with the more specific issues of the project, such as how to name and identify transportation features, and what type of linear referencing systems are being used locally and nationally. We are also looking at other efforts, such as the one in the Portland area, where they made a proposal to the FGDC concerning how to develop a data model for transportation information. The next meeting is going to be at the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC). Topics will include the RFP as well as discussing how the group can make our county boarder streets meet. Our RFP will initiate contract by July or Aug. We will know by August if we will receive the grant. (See PSRC's web site for the meeting calendar at: http://www.psrc.org/)


Larry Sugarbaker discussed the grant proposal:

The grant proposal is for $65, 000, in which the group agreed to match that with $96, 000. We are dependent upon our federal partners to help pay for the cadastral project. The group is seeking supporters to help pay for the match part of the project. This match can be either in-house services or dollars; it cannot be from other federal sources. We are hoping to bring ESRI on board in this project. Private businesses and landowners can be huge benefactors of the project as well. This piece of the project will complete the basic design of the framework and it will convert existing data into that format. We are hoping to hear the results of this grant proposal in the next few weeks.

Jay Clark- There was an idea that we could put together a proposal for digital ortho photography that was being produced by a local vendor. The decision was made not to put together a proposal for this. Instead, organizations within the Puget Sound are individually purchasing this product.

Larry Sugarbaker stated there is currently a cooperative orthophoto project underway (1 to 24, 000 scale black and white digital orthos for the state) that will be ready by early 1998. The three principal organizations (USFS, USGS, and DNR) have agreed to shift their ortho photo boundaries so we will have complete coverage of the state of WA by early next year.

Larry said once the next Framework Workgroup meeting is set he will contact Jeff so Jeff can put the information on the GIC website. Letters regarding the meeting will also be sent. Larry said he will also give Jeff a copy of the grant proposal that Jeff can put on the website.

Bruce Johnson (Mt. Vernon) asked what the mechanism is for making an input into this workgroup as to what they need in the way of coverage's, layers or GIS input? Larry stated that the Framework Workgroup meetings are open to everyone who is interested. Bruce asked Larry to put him on the mailing list.

Other Discussion:

Clare Donahue asked if there have been any Year 2000 (millenium date change problem) issues for GIC members? Larry stated that from a DNR perspective this is not a serious problem. Most of the equipment and systems are already year 2000 compliant. Clare indicated that DIS has established a Year 2000 Program Office, and that DIS would be willing to provide an overview of the issues associated with Year 2000 date conversions if the Council thought it appropriate.


New Website & GIS Resource Survey- Jeff Holm, WAGIC Coordinator

Jeff announced that the WAGIC video entitled "The Newest Frontier" produced by WIT was recently recognized as a Telly Award Winner. The Telly Awards showcase and give recognition to non-network, cable TV commercials, film, and video productions. Approximately 12% of the entries were winners of this award. Also, WAGIC has been invited by the National States GIC to show the video at their upcoming National meeting at Portland in September.

Jeff showed the Council the upgraded WAGIC Website (www.wa.gov/gic/). He highlighted the improved site navigation and the information content. Improvements include:

  • The meeting agenda's and maps to the conference sites are now available for people to view.
  • The metadata that was collected as part of the recent FGDC grant in partnership with the GIC, Snohomish County, DNR, Central WA, and the University of WA is on the website. DNR provided metadata in FGDC format for 5 data layers that are very close to what we have for framework standards. Snohomish County provided FGDC metadata for 20+ data themes at the local level. Each of these descriptions is in the FGDC format. Our intention is to be able to post anyone’s metadata on the Internet who is interested in using this system.
  • Jeff Holm said he expects the Washington State Clearinghouse Node to be set up and registered with the NSDI network by July 1. The University of WA has agreed to let us use one of their servers as our clearinghouse node. This gives the GIC a chance to understand what the issues are surrounding a server and getting metadata posted on the Internet in a query format.


Jay Clark asked if the Council has decided where a clearinghouse node would be kept and how would it be funded?

Jeff stated that the agreement with the University of Washington Geography department is temporary and that we are looking for a permanent home for the Clearinghouse. There are possibilities that the Council needs to explore and discuss. We don’t want too many servers for this information in WA because it makes the handling and querying of the information more difficult to manage.

We will put this issue on an upcoming agenda. Kathryn Womble (UW Libraries Map Collection) volunteered to be a contact at the University for the GIC on Clearinghouse related questions (206 543-9392) .

Ian VonEssen (Spokane) recommended looking at the private sector to run the server.

Larry Sugarbaker asked if the GILS & Clearinghouse projects duplicate or compliment each other? Jeff said he has had the opportunity to talk to Phil Coombs concerning what they were doing with GILS, and after hearing Phil talk today there may be an opportunity to coordinate with them by creating an automated process that knows what WA State library needs in an HTML tag.

Phil Coombs will be at the next GIC Standards workgroup on the 25th at 1:30 at the Department of Ecology. If anyone would like to talk to him they can attend this meeting.


Meeting Adjourned: 12:00 p.m.- Next meeting August 21, 1997, 10 a.m.