Washington State Geographic Information Council (WAGIC)

October 23, 1997 Meeting Minutes

Videoconference meeting originated from: Lacey, WA

Introductions- Tom Nolan (City of Seattle, WAGIC Chair)

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

Local Government Work Group (LGWG) Summit Meeting - A strategic planning session for the LGWG to renew their charter and determine operational focus for the coming year. -Steve Hillesland (LGWG Interim Chair, County Road Administration Board)

Steve said his goal is to develop a strategy of success for the LGWG. Currently, he said there are three groups of people interested in the LGWG:

People that see value in the group and are committed to participating in the LGWG.

People that expect value from the group but are constrained from participating because of workload and distance from the meetings.

People who question both the value of the LGWG and their participation in the group.

Even though there are differences in opinion concerning the value of the workgroup, Steve stated that the following points are near consensus for everyone he talked to:

There is a value to being organized and active.

There needs to be a lot of participation concerning the important issues. For example, the LGWG could have a core group that is aware of all major issues in the state and mobilizes these issues within the workgroup.

Steve said he would like to see many people involved in the workgroup and also involved in developing the LGWG strategies.

Jeff Holm (DIS, WAGIC Coordinator) informed the Council that there is a LGWG meeting scheduled for November 7, from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the Snoqualmie Summit Inn. At this meeting, members will review their charter, focus on their activities for the coming year, and decide how they want to operate. Currently, the group is considering holding quarterly meetings in different sites across the state (2 in the East and 2 in the West).

Steve and Jeff have discussed the possibility holding a larger LGWG meeting in early spring. At the spring meeting Steve said he would like to gather people’s ideas concerning the operation of the LGWG. Steve also commented that local jurisdictions involvement and organization is crucial to the Workgroup because decisions will have to be made by the LGWG that effect everyone across the state. Tom Nolan agreed that the Council should hold a larger LGWG meeting in the spring.


Ian VonEssen (Spokane County) said he has some concerns regarding the LGWG. For example, with regard to the area of framework and the success of the framework projects, the local governments have not been very involved in helping develop the data models for the projects. Ian said the workgroup needs to be more involved in these areas.

An individual in Pasco commented that there is currently not a lot of cooperation between various agencies in the Pasco area, but he is hoping that this will improve over time.

Gene Hoerauf (Mount Vernon) stated that in the past, people in Mount Vernon have not participated in the LGWG. Most of the people in the Mount Vernon area are not aware of the workgroup’s activities, but Gene would like to see more people from that area involved. Tom Nolan said that he and Jeff have been discussing different ways to reach people from all over the state and inform them about LGWG activities because he would also like to get more people involved in the workgroup.


MapInfo Products - An overview of the GIS products and services Schlosser, Inc. offers.- John Schlosser

(see the attached presentation)

Due to time constraints John was not able to complete his entire presentation so the attachment only includes the sections that he discussed. The entire presentation can be accessed at http://www.sgsi.com/wg1097.htm.

For additional information regarding Schlosser Geographic Systems, Inc. contact John at (206)224-0800 or visit the corporate website at http://www.sgsi.com.


Tom Nolan said he likes the concept of low costs, fast production and minimal training that John discussed because these are concerns that people in the private sector deal with everyday. He also thinks Schlosser, inc. has developed good solutions to putting map information on the Internet. Tom agreed with John that the government does not have a lot of map information on the web, and Tom thought one reason is because people are concerned that they won’t have enough resources to support the information they put out there. Plus, people are watching to see what other organizations use to see what is working and what is not before they move ahead. In the next 6 months, Tom said that people should begin to see a lot more map information from local governments on the Internet.


Thornton Creek Project - An overview from the Lakeside School District of the innovative community and educational use of GIS in this Seattle area school.- Peter Hayes

(Presentation summary was provided by Peter Hayes)

The Place and Project:

The Thornton Creek Project educates young citizens through active involvement in the urban ecosystem that is the watershed of Thornton Creek in north Seattle. Students discover that this 12 square mile familiar homeplace has both a remarkable diversity of interdependent life and high potential for their work based on caring to cause important, positive change. Through the Project, teachers help students develop a sense of the place, contribute to the knowledge of the place, and positively shape the place. Because it helps them reach important educational goals, nearly all of the watershed’s 35 schools are active participants in the project.

For the past four years, GIS has been used by the project as a useful tool for storing, sharing, and making sense of watershed-related information - ranging from tracking spawning salmon to monitoring graffiti and poverty. Continuing and increased cooperation will lead to GIS becoming a central tool for the watershed’s students, teachers, community members, businesses, and agency staff. The Project has made significant progress in the use of GIS and there is potential and need to do much more.

Our Vision:

To see GIS equitably used throughout the life of the watershed as a tool for tracking and improving the health of the community and helping connect people to each other and to this place.

Our Approach:

Our use of GIS has been guided by the following principles:

1) Use GIS as a means to an end, not an end in itself.

2) Seek to meet students needs ranging from the few most techno involved to the most general involvement of all students.

3) Equity - Work to encourage and support all whom have the potential to benefit from the use of GIS. Invite participation; identify and remove barriers.

4) Use GIS across the schools’ disciplines, not only in those disciplines with the most obvious connections.

5) Integrate GIS use into the work of schools’ courses, instead of using it as an extracurricular, independent activity.

6) Satisfy multiple needs through a single action.

7) Crawl > walk > run. None of this will happen overnight! Consider how first steps may either support or limit future steps.

We have developed and are following a four-phase process for GIS in the watershed:

Phase 1- Get organized, muster the necessary cooperators, clarify purposes, identify and research options, meet and set directions. (complete Fall ‘95)

Phase 2- Assemble the ingredients necessary to get a watershed GIS working on one centralized machine accessible to all. (complete Fall ‘96)

Phase 3- Use a "pilot institution" approach getting Arc-view running and actively used with a select group of motivated schools and libraries. Support and learn from the experiences of these pilots. Provide data on a CD containing the best information gathered from multiple sources. Provide necessary software, data, training, and "mentor" support. (nearly complete Fall ‘97)

Phase 4- Share data through a "server-client" arrangement such that data can be stored on a central machine with access to all interested in the watershed. All participants have access and the ability to create and share layers. Cooperation between and among schools, community groups, agencies, and other interested cooperators.

Our Progress:

As of September 1997, we are currently completing Phase 3 and beginning planning for Phase 4. Our pilots include five schools and one public library. Reaching this point has depended on generous cooperation from the City of Seattle and King and Snohomish Counties whose data is being compiled onto a single watershed CD and whose facilities have been made available for training, generous support from ESRI the producers of ArcView software, the loan of plotters from the state of Washington Dept. of Ecology, and the great support of many GIS professionals and university students serving as advisers and mentors.

Our Needs:

Continuing success requires us to fulfill needs in the following areas:

Energetic pioneers- Each pilot institution needs pioneers willing and ready to make time to successfully learn to use GIS.

Software- Continuing access to ArcView and ArcData to complete Phase 3. Software to support continuing on to Phase 4.

Data- Continuing cooperation with government agencies and others who produce and control data related to this watershed. We hope and anticipate that our work will produce data, which will also be useful to our data providers and others.

Hardware- Access to adequate hardware is a limiting factor for both many potential pilots and to our centralized work. Hardware needs include: CPUs, monitors, plotters, servers, and digitizers.

Expertise- The volunteer support of GIS professionals is critical. Needs include: serving as mentors to one or more pilots, advising and supporting the centralized work, instructing workshops, and helping make difficult and informed decisions on future directions.

Coordination and Support- The unique network of cooperation, which makes this work successful, must be maintained and strengthened by minimal centralized coordination. One way to do this is to establish an annual internship with a GIS intern working together with the Thornton Creek Project Manager (a newly created annual internship) and Coordinator to guide and support the work.

Please contact Peter Hayes at peter_hayes@lakeside.sea.wa.us or (206) 440-2754 if you have any questions, would like more information about the project, or would like to get involved in the program.  You can also view their website for more information.


Tom Nolan commented that WA state needs individuals in the schools working with and promoting GIS, and he appreciates how this program is educating children in the area of GIS. Tom encouraged people to talk to Peter directly about the program and become involved because it is very interesting.


Framework Projects & Local Government Discussion – A discussion of challenges local jurisdictions face in supporting Framework projects.- Larry Sugarbaker

This discussion was postponed until the next Council meeting (12/11/97) because Larry Sugarbaker was not able to attend this meeting.

National States Geographic Information Council Meeting & Resource Survey- Jeff Holm

Jeff and Larry Sugarbaker presented at the annual NSGIC meeting in September.

Overview of the NSGIC organization:

NSGIC is a national organization with 47 Member States (42 States were represented at the conference).

NSGIC is committed to effective government through prudent adoption of IT and the use of GIS technology.

NSGIC's URL is www.geo.drake.edu/nsgic/

WAGIC presentations:

Jeff participated in a panel titled Successful Geographic Councils & State Activities.

During the panel Jeff showed the WAGIC videotape (The Newest Frontier) which was very well received. Jeff also discussed the following items: WA State’s voluntary membership GIC group; WAGIC’s funding challenges and the method WAGIC is using to meet these challenges; and the Council’s NSDI initiatives and the local jurisdictions involvement with the council.

Larry participated in a panel that focused on NSDI-Federal State Interactions.

Larry discussed the following items during the panel: a historical prospective on how various Washington GIS users have been involved with Federal programs; WA State Framework activities; the concern around the competitive nature of the "cooperative" programs, especially the grant programs sponsored within NSDI (the nature of awarding these grants tends to be very competitive, which does not necessarily promote cooperation).

Conference highlights:

All the states gave an overview of their GIS activities, including clearinghouse issues.

FGDC Representatives were present, as well as the census bureau.

Vendor presentations: MapInfo, ESRI, Integraph, Autodesk, and Sybase.

NSGIC held their annual business meeting.

NSGIC & FGDC have a cooperative agreement to conduct a National Resource survey:

Phase 1- conduct a National survey in order to create an inventory of current data that may be available for Framework.

Phase 2- Develop guidelines for developing and maintaining this inventory.

WAGIC has been approached by NSGIC to serve as the WA State coordinator for this survey. Jeff, Tom and Larry (members of the Framework Management group) will discuss the possibility of WAGIC serving as the coordinator. They will look at the resources that would be needed to serve as the coordinator and identify if the council has these resources available. The duties of the coordinator would include surveying the major WA State agencies that use GIS (10-12) and also the individual counties (50 entities total). NSGIC has developed a professional survey instrument that WAGIC would use to collect the data and there is a stipend of $1,000 for serving as the coordinator for WA State. The time frame for completely this survey is between the 1st of the year and the end of February. Jeff will keep the Council informed of the discussions and decisions that are made concerning this National survey. If anyone has questions they can contact Jeff at wagic@dis.wa.gov.


Metadata Creation Workshops- Jeff Holm

WAGIC is hosting several regional metadata creation workshops. The workshops will focus on the creation of metadata and posting that metadata to the existing WA Clearinghouse node. The price of admission is that organizations need to bring sufficient information to the workshop to create a metadata description that they can post to the clearinghouse node. The workshops will be featuring 3 different types of metadata collection tools (Word Processor template, On-line metadata collection tool, stand-alone MS Access database). Participants will have an opportunity to get some hands on experience with their choice of tools..

Individuals will need to pre-register for this workshop, as seating is limited. Workshops are going to be held in Olympia (11/17)(County Roads Administration Board), Bellingham 12/16 (Western Washington University), the Tri-cities area, Spokane and Vancouver, WA. If anyone is interested and would like to register they need to contact Carol Pendleton at (360) 902-3508.

Site Round-table - Group

Tom encouraged everyone to contact him and let him know if they have any suggestions for improvements or future meeting presentation.

Meeting Adjourned: 4:00 p.m. - next meeting, Dec. 11, 10:00 a.m.