Washington State Geographic Information Council (WAGIC)

February 19, 1998 Meeting Minutes

Videoconference meeting originated from: Lacey, WA

Introductions- Jeff Holm, DIS, WAGIC Coordinator

From Lacey, Jeff Holm (for Tom Nolan) welcomed members in Seattle, Pasco, Mount Vernon, Vancouver and Spokane.

Legislative Update- Paul Taylor, DIS, Senior Policy Advisor

Paul Taylor spoke about two bills and an Attorney General's opinion from the 1997 legislative session that may impact the GIS community:

1. HB2483 / SB6251- It would exempted software from the definition of ‘public records’. It passed the house and senate unanimously but did not make it out of conference committee.

2. Bill 2880 - This bill creates a task force on agency vendor contracting practices. The director of the Office of Financial Management (OFM) will appoint the nine-person task force. The task force's terms of reference include creating performance measures for professional services contracts. It passed.

AGO1998 No. 2 (Attorney General’s Opinion)- The Attorney General (AG) has clarified the definition of "commercial purposes" relating to lists of individuals under the Public Disclosure Act. Use of lists of individuals or directory information (including address, phone or e-mail) provided under PDA for commercial purposes are prohibited under RCW 42.17.260(9). In the absence of a statutory definition of 'commercial purposes,' the Attorney General of Washington views the prohibition as being broad in its application, given that " (t)here is nothing contained in the Act which distinguishes between different types of commercial purposes." Moreover, in the opinion of the Attorney General, "(w)hile the statute clearly encompasses a commercial purpose which involves direct contact of the individuals named in a list, we do not believe the scope of the term 'commercial purpose' is limited to situations in which individuals are directly contacted or personally affected." (AGO 1998 No. 2)

Comments and/or Questions

Ian Von Essen (Spokane County) asked what the significance of AGO 1998 #2? He also wanted to know when this might be adopted as a policy that the government will have to follow. Paul said that since it has the support of the AG this is the new benchmark with which cases are measured. The broader definition is now the working definition for what government does relating to Commercial Purposes.

Larry Sugarbaker (Dept of Natural Resources) asked if DIS has been tracking any of the watershed assessment or salmon restoration bills? Larry said approximately half of these bills reference development of databases and the use of GIS technology. Paul said DIS has not been tracking these bills.

Ian Von Essen asked Paul to clarify bill 2483 and the amendment, which relates to the government not being exempt. Paul said that there was an amendment to the house version that stated ‘it applied to software developed by State Agencies’. The Association of WA Cities, lobbyists for the City of Seattle and Allied Daily Newspapers are working on the amendment. If the house bill passes as it currently reads the city governments will not be subject to software exemption. But if the Senate bill becomes law, the exemption would apply to cities and local government.

NSGIC/FGDC Framework Data Survey- Jeff Holm, WAGIC Coordinator

National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) and the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) developed a National Framework Data survey to inventory existing spatial data that may be candidate Framework data sets. Jeff stated that WAGIC has agreed to coordinate the administration of this national survey for the State of WA. DIS and DNR identified approximately 130 organizations that could potentially have ‘candidate Framework data sets’ and sent them surveys.

The purpose of the survey is to establish a baseline to see how we are doing nationally in creating Framework data sets. WA is interested in participating because we will receive the raw data once the survey is complete and this data will be placed on the WA Clearinghouse (NSGIC is compiling the raw data). Jeff urged people to complete this survey, which shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes. The survey asks the same eight questions about the seven data layers.

Call Jeff at (360) 902-3447 or Carol Pendleton at (360) 902-3508 if you have not received a copy of this survey and would like to participate. If you are having problems with the survey please call and we will try to help and answer your questions.

Comments and/or Questions

Larry Sugarbaker commented that WA State is trying to receive a 100% response for this survey and he encouraged people to respond. Even if you are not doing Framework activities you need to fill out the part that applies to you and send in the survey.

Community, Trade & Economic Development (CTED)- Buildable Lands Inventory, Shane Hope (Managing Director for Growth Management) & Peter Molton (Dept of Ecology/CTED)

Shane said that CTED is coordinating with WA State jurisdictions to monitor their buildable lands. Growth Management legislation requires that urban growth areas be established and that urban growth be limited to these areas. There are many issues for local government surrounding establishing these urban growth areas. Legislation was passed to provide support for six of the faster growing counties and communities: Snohomish, King, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, and Clark and the cities within them (120 jurisdictions total). CTED and these jurisdictions need to monitor and collect land supply data, including the development in these areas. At the end of the five-year period, and subsequent five-year periods, they will evaluate their progress to see how they are managing growth within the Urban Growth Boundaries. One of the GIS related issues that CTED is working on are that each of the six counties and some of the cities have GIS in place but the data is not always compatible.

Shane said that there is a report available about this project on the Internet at http://www.wa.gov/cted/growth, or people can call (360) 753-2222 to receive a copy. The evaluation needs to be completed by the year 2002.

Comments and/or Questions

An individual asked who was responsible for coordinating the work that the Cadastral Framework project is doing with the buildable land needs?

Shane said that CTED is working with representatives from all six counties and some of the counties are bringing in GIS people as well. Counties will be using their Cadastral data and looking to the County Assessors for this data. But, there are still issues to be worked out, such as how do you include information about what is being developed and the development rates.

Jeff Holm asked Shane if she is aware of any similar buildable land inventory projects that are taking place in Eastern WA. Shane said she is not aware of a project in Eastern WA. She does know that Spokane is interested is doing something similar to this project, but they are not required to do so by law.

Peter Molton, an Ecology employee, is working at CTED to help with the technical issues and help develop a strategy for how GIS can be integrated within their Growth Management division and throughout the entire agency. They want to answer the question, ‘how can CTED collect and use information to better serve their clients?’ The strategy CTED is developing will look at the federal direction of NSDI and FGDC and how they are evolving with WAGIC. Peter said that in the long term Growth Management will look at industrial lands inventory, salmon recovery efforts and interagency coordination needs. Internally, at CTED, there is also a current quality initiative taking place in order to discover how district functions can work better together. CTED’s strategy should be developed by late April.

Comments and/or Questions

Phil Beilin (Snohomish County) asked if CTED is going to create an additional Framework effort? Peter said the challenge is to recognize that they are working in a distributed environment and to identify the relationship between CTED and local governments. Integration is going to have to occur in all six counties so they can share data throughout the state.

Sun Microsystems Product Update- David Buckland

Sun (Stanford University Network) began in 1982. Contrary to what some people think, Sun is not just a workstation desktop company. They now have a mainframe machine (a 64-processor unit that can handle 64 Gigabytes of main memory) that came out in March and is the fastest processor out today.

The one thing that binds all of Sun’s products together is a single operating system (Solaris), which ensures binary compatibility from the lowest end desktop all the way up to this mainframe machine Star 5.

In January Sun announced two new workstations at PC prices: 1) a new high end performance workstation and 2) a new high-end graphics. During the last 18 months Sun developed a new line of workstations called the Darwins.

New Sun Products

Ultra 5 Workstation

  • 270 MH Ultra Sparc
  • 64-512 memory
  • 3 PCI slots for additional device interfaces
  • Built in fast Ethernet
  • 4 Gigabyte hard drive CD ROM
  • Integrated graphics
  • 31% more floating point performance than with a Compaq 6100
  • Due to Sun’s integrated components the Ultra 5 achieves 85% more system throughput with a 20% less cost.
  • Price- $2,995

Ultra 10 Workstation- this is a machine that the GIS crowd would choose for developing applications and creating graphics.

  • 300 MH Ultra Sparc
  • 64 Megabytes memory
  • 4 PCI slots
  • Hi-speed UPA
  • Built in fast Ethernet
  • New elite 3d graphics
  • UPA enables for faster graphic than PCI bus graphics and 50% faster graphics than Hp’s FX graphics
  • Price- $5,595

Ultra 60 Workstation- this is a very high performance machine.

  • Dual 300 MH Ultra Sparc
  • Dual MB cache
  • Dual Ultra SCSI bus
  • Dual PCI channels, 1 at 66 MHz
  • New Elite 3d graphics
  • UPA Interconnect
  • Ultra Port Architecture- Cross bar switch at 2 GB/sec
  • Price- $13,295

David said he loaned a machine to Seattle Public Utilities for testing. (Seattle Public Utilities) shared the testing experience with the Council. Greg McFarland said when he first began testing the machine he had some concerns. It turns out that the concerns were unfounded and the performance was fairly quick. For the first part of the test Greg selected some themes that he though had challenging graphics to display such as orthophotos and water distribution systems. He scaled these themes to approximately 1-5000 and panned and zoomed around the direct service area. The performance of the machine was very good. Next, Greg said he did a network trace. He selected a block in the direct service area and created a shutdown scenario. He said the performance in this test was equal to the Ultra Sparc 2 that he has. Greg concluded (informally) that this machine is faster than the Sparc 5, 10 and 20 series machines. He said it is comparable to the Ultra Sparc 1 and 2.

Interoperating your workstation with your PC

The Insignia Solutions Soft Windows 95 product runs on Solaris at Pentium 90 + speeds. Soft Windows 95 can run and access all of your PC applications.

On-line Configurator

Sun’s new on-line configurator allows people to build their own Sparc and it tells them the cost and allows them to order it through a secure environment. People can get to this through the Sun Internet website at www.sun.com.

David stated that Sun allows the ability to run an ArcInfo UNIX license on a Java station. If anyone has questions they can call David at 425-889-1362 or send him e-mail at david.buckland@west.sun.com. The system engineer, John Palasz, will also be able to answer any of your questions. John’s number is 425-889-1327 and his e-mail is john.palasz@west.sun.com.

Comments and/or Questions

Ian Von Essen asked about the Soft Windows application. Ian said that in Spokane they are having problems with inter-operability because their ISD group uses SQL Server on their NT's and Spokane has to access this data on their Sun Network. Ian asked if Sun is looking at any of these issues? David said that Soft Windows 95 would allow them to access this information and operate with their configuration. Ian asked David if it is possible to link ArcInfo running on Unix to SQL?- David said this is up to the SQL database but it should be possible. If Spokane County is having problems they should contact David and explore this off-line to come up with a solution.

Phil Beilin said that they have a distributed network with NT's and Sun Servers and they have had problems integrating properly. He asked David who the technical support person is that can help them with this problem? - David said that John Palasz is the contact and he has additional technical resources available as needed.


Framework Overview- Larry Sugarbaker, Department of Natural Resources

Larry Sugarbaker said that 40 organizations are currently participating in the Framework data groups’ three active projects, which are transportation, hydrological and Cadastral. Even with this participation people still often ask the question ‘what is Framework?'

The Federal Geographic Data Committee recently released a publication titled "Framework: Introduction and Guide" that answers this question. Larry brought copies of this book to the Lacey site. If anyone else would like a copy they can contact Jeff Holm or Larry to receive one. Larry said anyone who attends the upcoming Framework Management meetings would receive a copy as well. Larry also brought the "NASA as a Catalyst" publication for people who are interested in receiving a copy. Please contact Larry if you would like a copy of either publication. His e-mail address is: larry.sugarbaker@wadnr.gov.

Setting up the Clearinghouse Steering Committee, Jeff Holm

Jeff said he would like the Council to make a motion to set up a WAGIC Clearinghouse Steering Committee in today’s meeting.

Jeff gave a brief background of the Clearinghouse

The Council has had a node on the national network of FGDC Clearinghouse servers since early spring ‘97. The Washington Clearinghouse was initially set up in partnership with the UW Geography Department on temporary server owned by the Geography Department. Jeff has been working with Kathryn Womble of UW Map Collection to find a permanent home for the Clearinghouse. DIS and UW Libraries entered into a formal agreement in January 1998 to provide the infrastructure for permanent Clearinghouse. DIS supplied the hardware platform and software; UW Libraries supplied the Internet connectivity, security and server administration for the Clearinghouse. The agreement is good for a two-year period.

The WA State Clearinghouse node is a server on a global network of spatial informational servers. Most of these servers provide Metadata (data descriptions) for the area(s) that that server is supporting. There are 18-20 descriptions posted on the WA Clearinghouse and another six organizations have provided information that will be available on the Internet soon. People will be able to query data on the Clearinghouse and receive a list of spatial data descriptions that fit the parameter of their query. Jeff showed the Council the Clearinghouse interface on the Internet (http://www.wa.gov/gic/nsdilink.htm) – there is a link to this address on the GIC Homepage.

Jeff shared the Clearinghouse Steering Committee proposal with the Council (see the attached document).

Comments and/or Questions

Joy Denkers (Dept of Ecology) asked Jeff if he has made any contact with the people who are looking at putting the Olympic Peninsula clearinghouse together? Jeff said that some contact has been made with the Olympic Natural Resource Center (ONRC), which is the group that Joy was referring too. They are working on a number of spatial data activities as it relates to the Olympic Peninsula. Jeff has been working with Rob Norheim from ONRC. Most recently they worked together on a FGDC grant proposal in which WAGIC would provide Metadata workshops to help the Olympic Peninsula group implement data descriptions.

Larry Sugarbaker said he was still not clear on the roles of the Steering Committee. Larry wanted to know if WAGIC is looking for a Steering Committee to oversee just this particular Clearinghouse activity or is this Committee going to coordinate all Clearinghouse activities at a state level? Jeff said that initially the Steering Committee’s focus is going to be on just the DIS/UW platform and the sub-nodes on this platform. At this point ONRC has agreed to be a sub-node within our node and Fish and Wildlife is going to provide their Metadata as a sub-node.

Larry also asked what is the role of coordinating Framework activities (see Clearinghouse Proposal)? Jeff said the coordination effort would focus just on the clearinghouse presentation of Metadata related to Framework activities. The intent is to provide coordination, not for Framework activities, but for the clearinghouse-related activities that comes out of the Framework. Larry asked that clarification about the scope of Framework coordination be made before the motion is voted on. Jeff amended the original motion (second bullet). It now reads: ‘Provide a coordination point for WA State Clearinghouse and Metadata related to WA Framework activities.’

Gene Hoerauf (Mount Vernon) asked what the relationship between the various clearinghouses? For example, if an organization has data that should be on more than one clearinghouse do they have to distribute the data to all the clearinghouses or just to one? Jeff said he and Rob have discussed this issue and the intent is to take the Metadata that is collected by ONRC and house it on the Washington State (WAGIC/UW) Clearinghouse Server. This data will then reside in its own directory and will be included in the Clearinghouse index so it will be available to anyone pointing to the high level reference of the WA State Geospatial Information Clearinghouse node. Jeff said that WAGIC has been involved in many of the coordination efforts surrounding clearinghouse activities. Kathryn Womble (University of WA Libraries) stated that this is one of the reasons WA State needs a steering committee. The committee can decide how the coordination between clearinghouses is going to take place.

Tom Nolan made a motion to pass the amended proposal, Clare Donahue seconded the motion, the motion passed.

Metadata Creation Workshops

Jeff told the Council that he will be scheduling five or six Metadata Creation Workshops throughout the state between now and mid-summer. The focus of the one-day Workshop is to give participants hands on experience with several metadata collection tools. In the morning people get an overview of the tools that are available and the Metadata standards, and in the afternoon people actually create Metadata descriptions from their own organization. Subsequently the metadata will be posted to the Washington Clearinghouse.


Spring URISA/WAGIC Conference - For Gregg Selby

Jeff Holm said the conference is scheduled for May 11 & 12 in Seattle. Gregg Selby from URISA is the conference chair. URISA has taken the lead role in the conference and WAGIC has agreed to put together one of the conference tracks. Jeff will put a link on the WAGIC website to the URISA conference site so people can get more details on the conference http://www.waurisa.org . A hard copy of this information will also be included in the next WAGIC mailing. Contact Jeff at (360) 902-3447 or Carol (360) 902-3508 if you have any questions about this conference.

Nominations for Chair, Jeff Holm

Tom’s second term as WAGIC Chair is up after the April meeting so it is time for the Council to elect a new Chair. The Council first needs to create a pool of candidates for chair and then conduct a fax ballot to select the new chair. Nominations can come at today’s meeting and through March 10 and the fax vote will begin on March 15. The results will be available at the April 16 meeting.


Clare Donahue nominated Larry Sugarbaker, Department of Natural Resources

Tom Nolan nominated Joy Denkers, Department of Ecology

(Update: Steven Rush, Fluor Daniel NW was also nominated at the Tri-cities site)

Meeting Adjourned: 12:00 p.m. - next meeting, April 16, 1998 at 10:00 a.m.