Washington State Geographic Information Council (WAGIC)

December 11, 1997 Meeting Minutes

Videoconference meeting originated from: Lacey, WA

Introductions - Tom Nolan, WAGIC Chair

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

Impromptu Round-table Discussion re: Outsourcing GIS Services to other departments or contractors.

Tom asked people what their opinions were concerning outsourcing GIS services to other departments or contractors.

Ian Von Essen (Spokane County) commented that data is one of the most important components of GIS and when organizations contract portions of this data out they might loose knowledge of this data, including how the data was created. Outsourcing services does save agencies money but they can also loose the information that may help keep the department operating successfully in the future (contractors don’t always look into the future).

Ian stated that he is a strong supporter of distributed, not centralized, work. He said that Spokane County is interested in changing to a centralized program. Ian asked Tom to share his opinions, both positive and negative, of a centralized program.

Tom Nolan stated that he is still a strong supporter of distributed processing, even though his work place currently went through a centralized process. He believes people should keep as much GIS functionality in their staff as possible. Centralized processing may save money and run more efficiently, but he still supports the distributed process.

Rudy Prosser (Bectel/Hanford) indicated their company contracts out all their software development yet keeps their data in-house because it gives the company ownership and control of the data.

Gene Hoerauf (Mount Vernon) stated that they have done some contracting work for other agencies but they have never contracted work out. He commented that budget issues often times effect the decision of whether or not to contract out GIS services.

Framework Management Group Report and Local Government Discussion - Larry Sugarbaker, Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Larry Sugarbaker gave an update on the three framework projects: 1) Cadastral, 2) Transportation, and 3) Hydrography.

Cadastral Project http://www.wa.gov/gic/frameworkwg.htm

This project has been active for a few months and is currently in the requirements phase, which should be completed around January 15, 1998. The team is researching the possibility of operating a county pilot that will test the project’s concept of data integration. If anyone has any questions or is interested in the Cadastral project they can contact Carrie Wolf (DNR), the Project Manager, at (360) 902-1639.

Cadastral Project Funding and Resources

DNR recently received a mini grant of $65, 000 from the FGDC and they are also forming partnerships with other organizations that are committing either time or monetary resources to the project . They have acquired a web-server, which will be home for this data and the team is discussing how this server should be utilized for framework data layers—they would like to make this web-server a state resource, not a DNR resource.

Transportation Project

The Puget Sound Regional Council is sponsoring the Transportation project. The project team has hired a consultant to identify and review the project’s requirements and propose an approach to address these requirements. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 15 at 9:00. The goal of this meeting is to review the progress of the consultant and review the alternatives that the consultant and the group have developed. The CRAB board will be presenting at this meeting as well. If anyone is interested in this project they can contact Jay Clark at (206) 464-6178 or Andy Norton at (206) 464-7527.

Hydrography Project http://www.wa.gov/gic/frameworkwg.htm

DNR and Ecology jointly sponsor this project, which is currently in the requirements phase. The project team is in the process of trying to develop a data model, either by creating their own or adapting/modifying existing models. Since there is currently not a National standard model available WA State needs to come up with their own. The next Hydrography project meeting is scheduled for January 13 (location TBA). People can contact Len Singleton at Ecology (360) 407-6610 if they are interested in either attending this meeting or becoming involved in the workgroup.

Hydrography Project Funding and Resources

Ecology received a grant from a federal agency to initiate activities on data layers. The team is working on identifying other financial resources for this project. For example, they are trying to get a budget request in the Timber Fish & Wildlife proposal that is going before the legislature this upcoming session.

The Framework Management Group, which meets every two to three months, was developed in an effort to try to tie all these projects together. The next Framework Management Group meeting is going to be in February, though there is not a specific date scheduled yet. (Editor's note: Tuesday, February 10th 10:am, United Churches Building, Olympia )

Comments and Questions

Tom Nolan asked Larry if the goals of the workgroups are obtainable. He also asked how the Washington state projects relate to the national framework picture and expressed the concern that if each state builds their own data model then where does a national data model fit in.

Larry acknowledged that this is an issue that the Hydrology and Transportation Framework activities are struggling with. Larry also pointed out that Framework partnership model while broadly defined will present challenges as the details of implementation are addressed. The partnership model recognizes that there are different roles that many types of organizations are filling. Furthermore, data collection and maintenance is now more of a bottom up approach compared to the top down model people are accustomed to. Even with the new model there are some things that will benefit from top level oversight or facilitation. Larry suggested data standards should be facilitated from National efforts and created with the help of many organizations.

Larry highlighted some of the issues that are emerging in the area of Framework Data:

Approaching Problems

It is difficult to reach consensus concerning how to approach a problem. People seem to focus on the solution rather than the problem and addressing the needs of the problem.

Area Integration

Should there be a lead organization that brings everything together?

Timing

Every organization seems to work on there own time cycle for developing and maintaining data.

Budget

Organizations are prepared to spend money on activities at different times because they have separate needs.

Lack of benefits for organizations

Organizations don’t work together to develop something uniformly because they don’t see any benefits to doing this. Agencies serve their own needs and they don’t always share the data and benefits with other agencies because it is of minor importance to them.

Comments and Questions

Ian Von Essen asked if any organizations are currently using the Federal Cadastral model and he wondered how will people participate in developing Washington States version of this model.

Larry said this is a relatively new national model so no state has implemented it yet. Because it is a new model, the Cadastral project group has to ask themselves if they want to be the leaders and decision-makers in this area.

The Washington Cadastral Framework Team is working closely with the National committee to mitigate any problems they may run into. The National Committee is very committed to building a model that will accommodate organizations and fit WA State’s needs. The National Committee has also committed dollar resources to this model and they are considering having WA State involved in a pilot to test this model.

Larry then answered the question, ‘how will this project play out and how will people participate in using the model’. Larry said the Committee has decided to take the data set that DNR currently supports and put this into the new model so they will have the first level of statewide data available initially. By using this strategy agencies don’t have to participate at the beginning, yet the data is still available for them to view. The second step will be to operate a pilot in one county in order to identify the resources that are required in order to the project to run successfully in the area the size of a county. The project team is trying to be realistic about time frames and cost for this project. Larry expects that the Cadastral Project will have a good handle on Phase I time frames by the end of February '98.

Ian asked Larry how he thinks agencies and local governments are going to deal with both budget and resource issues that involvement in the project imply.

Larry said that this issue is a concern for agencies that have existing cadastral data. However, some agencies do not currently have data or a data model to collect it by. Those agencies could benefit by adopting this model. Those who have already developed their own model may not see any benefit in participating at this point in time. However they may see a benefit in converting to the Framework model when there current implementation reaches the end of its life cycle.

One of the things that the Cadastral project team is exploring is the development of a translation utility that would facilitate the transition from existing data models to the eventual framework model.

Tom Nolan commented that these kind of coordination projects are some of the most important works of the Council. Tom likes the idea of using a translator with the model because most agencies and counties use different technology and databases. Using a translator may make the project more successful because more organizations would be willing to participate.

Larry commented that this project is looking at one model for the entire state, but we must keep in mind that one solution or approach doesn’t necessarily fit all agencies and counties.

Don Eginton (Snohomish County) said that the State of WA is very fortunate to have the leadership and support that Larry offers. He agreed with Larry’s comments on the constraints of timing, budget, consensus, etc and stated that these are challenges that the local level must face. If Counties and Agencies could see some working examples concerning how this information is shared among government in WA State ( local level, assessor’s office, various framing and public work departments, cities and counties, etc) this project may be a success throughout the entire state.

Vendor Presentation: Autodesk Map and Autodesk MapGuide- Chris Perks, Lockheed Martin Services, Inc.

Gene Griffin presented the map portion of the project:

Gene demonstrated AutoCAD Map (this is AutoCAD release 14).

Chris Perks discussed MapGuide 2.5:

(see Appendix A for the presentation)

Comments and Questions

Joy Denkers (Dept. of Ecology) asked about the difference between AutoCAD map and ESRI’s Arcad. Chris said he is not familiar with the Arcad product so he cannot answer this but he will find the answer and send it to Joy.

Ian Von Essen asked if the MapMax program is adaptable to other sites? Gene said it is compatible with any existing databases. This program is available on a contract basis, not as a shrink-wrap software.

Spatial Data Management at Hanford Site- Steven Rush, CAMIS Product Manager, Fluor Daniel N.W. , Inc.

(See Appendix B for an overview of the Spatial Data activities at Hanford)

Comments and Questions

Larry Sugarbaker asked Steve if he has looked at actual real dollar benefits that can be achieved through this coordinated effort, and if he has are these results available to view?

Steve said some cost benefit studies have been performed on at Hanford. He can get Larry information on one study performed in 1994, which viewed a proposal to build a GIS on site and then focus on the benefits they would see in accident prevention and cost avoidance by implementing this proposal. The analysis showed a significant cost savings in coordinated spatial data management on the site level.

Larry commented that he is aware of how the Federal government benefits from the improved operating efficiencies. He asked Steve what incentives contractors have for working together with the government in this effort. Steve replied that reducing waste is something that is on everyone’s mind and this is why Hanford pursues the most cost effective approaches.

Joy Denkers commented that it is interesting to see that Hanford is focusing on the spatial data issues and she strongly agreed that they should be doing it and feels it is a necessary component for the successful application of GIS to Hanford's issues..

Clearinghouse and Metadata Activities- Kathryn Womble (UW Libraries - Map Collections)

Kathryn Womble stated that she has been working with Jeff Holm to secure a permanent home for the Washington State Spatial Information Clearinghouse. They are very close to closing an agreement between DIS and UW to place a DIS Sparc work station at the UW Libraries, to serve as the permanent home for the Clearinghouse. This should be operational by the end of January '98.

Kathryn mentioned that Jeff is holding Metadata Creation Workshops around the state. The Bellingham workshop has been cancelled but will be rescheduled.

Comments and Questions

Tom Nolan asked if the clearinghouse node is related to the GIC Resource survey in any way. Joy Denkers said that this survey is an activity of the standards workgroup and there has been some discussion to potentially coordinate some clearinghouse activities with the standards workgroup survey. Joy thought this would be a good question to ask Jeff when he gets back because he may know what the status of this activity is. The NSGIC resource survey also has to be administered by someone from WAGIC (this has to be decided).

(Editor's note: please see attached for more information on the FGDC sponsored, NSGIC Framework Survey)

Local Government Workgroup Meeting November 7, 1997- Tom Nolan

Tom said that there were representatives from both the East and West side of the state at the meeting. The meeting focused on the LGWG’s purpose and what could be done to enhance the group's function as the local government voice on the Council.

In preparation for the meeting Tom contacted some individuals who are not usually involved in the Workgroup. He asked if there were things that could be done to make both the Council and LGWG more useful. Tom received two different opinions:

People stated that they would like the workgroup to hold a forum for information and technology sharing, as well as success sharing. They would also like the workgroup to speak and act as one unit if circumstances necessitate. They would like to receive a consensus from local governments on important Statewide GIS issues.

Tom said he talked to Marty Balikov (previous GIS Manager, King County). Marty indicated that people are not going to come to the LGWG unless there is a crisis that they need to address or solve. Marty suggested that the group might work on the following topics to get more people involved:

Road classification scheme- This effects every county in WA.

A single set of zoning codes would also be helpful to the State.

The participants at the November 7th meeting also discussed how often and where they should meet. The idea of using videoconferencing was discussed at the LGWG meeting and Tom said he really likes this idea. One approach that the group came up with was to continue holding regular LGWG meetings on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis in the individual regions and then hold two videoconferencing meetings a year with the entire LGWG to discuss the issues that effect everyone.

The Workgroup still need to find a permanent chair. Steve Hillesland is willing to do this on an Interim basis, but he cannot take it on full-time.

Tom mentioned that the group discussed putting together a large meeting in the Spring for everyone to attend. At this meeting the group should discuss what they should continue to do or whether or not they will continue.

Comments and Questions

Andrew Kinney (Thurston Geodata Center) said they (WAGIC Peninsula Regional Group) have been holding local/regional meetings regularly. He would like to see more coordination between their regional group and the entire Council and use this communication as a form to pass information between the two groups.

Seattle-Don Eginton has been elected President of the newly formed Washington State Chapter of URISA . He believes URISA can help reinforce the work that the WAGIC has been doing. There is an opportunity is to have more people from the public sector involved with vendors in order to develop technical solutions focused on the land based areas (GIS). Don is interested in seeing that URISA and WAGIC work together.

URISA and WAGIC are planning a Spring conference in Seattle in April . Greg Selby is the program chair for URISA and his number is (206) 521-7536. Or contact Jeff Holm (360) 902-3447 if you are interested in participating on the Conference Committee.

Meeting Close

Tom Nolan introduced George Spencer from Washington State DOT. George is the new GIS Manager for WADOT. George stated that in the past GIS has been distributed throughout the agency, by he is now the focal point for the agency. Areas of interest and importance to DOT are data access and providing technical support and training. Call George at (360) 709-5515 if anyone has any questions concerning GIS at DOT.

Tom requested people call either himself, Jeff or Carol with feedback on these meetings, including new ideas for vendor presentations.

Meeting Adjourned: 12:00 p.m. - next meeting, February 19, 1998, 10:00 a.m.