Washington State Geographic Information Council (WAGIC)

October 15, 1998 Meeting Minutes

Videoconference meeting originated from: Lacey, WA

Introductions- Larry Sugarbaker (DNR, WAGIC Chair)

From Lacey, Larry welcomed members in Tri-Cities, Seattle, Bellingham, Vancouver, and Spokane.

Larry mentioned the upcoming legislative session in relation to the Salmon Recovery initiatives. He said the Office of Financial Management (OFM) is developing the Governor’s budget, which includes some GIS related activities. These activities include agency GIS system improvements, the hydrological data base project, and the transportation project.

Thurston Geo Data’s new On-line parcel query tool- Andrew Kinney

Andrew demonstrated Thurston Geo Data’s new internet based county parcel mapping application referred to as ‘Create A Map’ (http://www.crab.wa.gov/thurston/geodata/scripts/esrimap.dll?name=TGCMAP&Cmd=Map).

The application is implemented utilizing ESRI Map Objects and is currently hosted on County Roads Administration Board (CRAB) web server. Using ‘create a map’, people can view a parcel map and print out the details of most of Thurston County parcels.

Parcel information can be accessed through one of five search mechanisms: 1) parcel number; 2) owner name; 3) street number; 4) street name and 5) section township range coordinates. Once a successful search is completed the application brings up a map of the parcel, along with relevant assessor’s data, such as who the owner is, the site address, a legal description, the number of acres, the assessed land value, spatial data information, etc. There are approximately 40 different data layers/themes that people can view using this tool.

Andrew stated that some title companies and realtors are currently using this tool for standard business operations. He also said that this application has the capability to measure distances between points.

This application will be moved off of the CRAB website in the near future. Thurston Geo Data has purchased their own server -- they are just waiting for their T-1 line to become operational before they move the application to this server. Once the application is on the new server, Andrew said it should operate much faster.

Questions and/or Comments

Tom Nolan (Seattle Public Utilities) asked Andrew how they update the information and data? Andrew said they go over to CRAB approximately every two weeks and update the data from information they receive from the Survey Department and Assessor’s Office. Once they set up their own server, which will be tied to their library, the updating will go much faster.

Larry Sugarbaker asked about the cost of building this application. Andrew said Thurston Geo Data built the tool within their current budget and staff and it took them 1 months to develop.

Gene Hoerauf (WWU, Geography Department) asked if people can download the map information from this application? Andrew said this is currently just a display mechanism with viewable data but they would like to make it downloadable in the future. But first, there are political issues that need to be resolved before they start distributing this data.

Marshall and Associates Idaho OnePlan Mapping Application- Jennifer Landaas, Analyst

Marshall and Associates, Inc. designed the Idaho OnePlan to implement an interactive Internet mapping application for the Idaho OnePlan Farm and Ranch Resource Center Web Site. The application is designed to allow farmers/landowners to utilize certain GIS capabilities to help them manage the productivity of their acreage and to help them identify and implement better conservation practices.

The Idaho OnePlan application allows users to identify and create maps of their tracts of land through the aid of digital imagery and on-screen digitizing. The application walks the user through a series questions regarding soil types, slope, and planting practices. The application then utilizes this information to better define recommended conservation practices. On-screen information and map production capabilities will further assist the landowner in obtaining information about identified parcels of land.

(See the attached PowerPoint presentation)

Questions and/or Comments

Larry Sugarbaker said he was fascinated by Jennifer’s comment that 30% of the farmers and ranchers in Idaho are Internet users. Jennifer said many farmers are already on-line using GIS tools to better manage their farms. Marshall and Associates would like the farmers and ranchers to use this product to help manage their farm. Larry commented that this product would also be applicable to the Salmon Recovery needs in Washington State and also in developing applications for Foresters in the state.

Tom Nolan asked how much this product cost to build. Jennifer said the feasibility study cost approximately $20,000 but she said they don’t have the cost of the prototype development or implementation yet.

Jeff Holm (DIS, WAGIC Coordinator) asked if the prototype application is available on the web. Jennifer replied that it is not on the web.

Larry Sugarbaker asked if it was a challenge getting all the technical resources together to develop this application. Jennifer told Larry he would need to talk to Jason (the individual who incorporated all this data into a usable format) about this issue.

ESRI’s Local Government GIS Start-up Grant Program announcement- Eric Bishop

ESRI has created a $2.4 million grant program for local governments in the United States. Grants will be awarded to agencies to develop organization-wide geographic information systems. The purpose of the grant program is to encourage data sharing among local government jurisdictions and to foster the development of geographic databases where none exist.

The grant program will provide GIS software and online training to 100 organizations. Eligible agencies include cities, counties, councils of government (COGs), and metropolitan planning agencies (MPOs).

(See the attached PowerPoint presentation)

Questions and/or Comments

Larry Sugarbaker asked Eric what WAGIC can do to help get information out to people about this grant opportunity. Eric asked the council members to share information about this grant program with other people. You can also visit the ESRI website at www.esri.com/industries/localgov/grntinfo.html to gather more information about the program.

Jeff Holm asked Eric about the February 1, 1999 deadline. Eric said the cutoff date for submitting grants is February 1, 1999 and the grants will be announced after February 28, 1999.

Ian Von Essen (Spokane County) commented that he thinks the program is a great opportunity for organizations and local jurisdictions. He thinks WAGIC will need to assist some of the smaller communities in the state to submit a grant proposal in order for them to take advantage of this program.

Strategic Business Planning Process- Larry Sugarbaker

WAGIC sponsored a Strategic Business Planning Workshop on October 12 and 13, 1998 at the Snoqualmie Summit Inn, Snoqualmie, WA. The intent of the workshop was to begin formulating the requirements and action items needed to develop a new strategy for GIS in Washington State. Larry stated that it is important to remember that this is not a WAGIC plan, it is a GIS plan for the state.

Nancy Tosta from the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) and Karen Terwilleger from the Department of Fish and Wildlife kicked off the workshop by giving brief presentations. Nancy discussed some of the issues PSRC is facing as they develop a transportation plan for the Puget Sound corridor. She stated the challenge will be to get all the different organizations and jurisdictions to work together on this plan. Karen discussed the Salmon Recovery plans for the state. Larry said there is a sense of urgency to restore Salmon levels in the state.

On the first day of the workshop the group developed high-level GIS business and technology needs/issues. During the second day the group identified the short and long-term action items needed to meet the business and technology needs/issues in Washington State. The workshop concluded at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 13. Larry commented that there is still an opportunity for people to contribute to the content of the business and technology issues and actions items that were identified at the workshop. The first draft of the plan is expected to be available on the WAGIC web site by November 23rd.

The planning workshop was the initial event in what is expected to be a four or five month process that will culminate in presentation of the final plan at the February ’99 Council meeting.

By October 23, the committee plans on having the issues and action items available for review on the website. Larry encouraged people to review these items and add any additional items that may have been missed. The next step is to link the needs to the action items and finally, the actions will be categorized and prioritized. These steps need to be completed by the middle of November. Once these steps are done Bruce will complete the first draft of the Strategic Plan.

The Strategic Planning Committee has to decide what mediums they are going to use to develop the plan (report, brochure, etc). They have also acknowledged the fact that it is important for people to get involved in this process.

Questions and/or Comments

Andrew Kinney asked if there was a way for counties to keep up-to-date on the Salmon Recovery issues in the legislature? Larry said he is not sure, but he will ask about this and get back to Andrew.

If people want more information on the Strategic Business Planning Process they can visit the website at www.wa.gov/gic/Plan98/overview.htm.

Clearinghouse Update- Jeff Holm

Jeff participated in the one-day National Clearinghouse Operators’ Workshop on September 11, 1998. At the workshop they discussed the updates and revisions to NSGIC’s FGDC metadata content standards -- version 2 was released in July. This version did not change the content standard very much but it did allow for the extension of the basic metadata standard to include needs from various GIS user communities.

Jeff mentioned another interesting fact that came out of the Clearinghouse workshop -- during the past 12 months the FGDC proposed their metadata content standards as an ISO (International Standard). The FGDC is looking at ways to minimize the impact of the ISO changes. Jeff thought by mid-summer 1999 a final version of the ISO metadata standard would be available for public view.

There was also discussion about the clearinghouse at the NSGIC Conference. At one session Jeff attended, he said there were 18 states that indicated they have/or are about to have operational clearinghouses on the web (15 are currently on the web). These states, Washington included, have moved past the point of getting their software and server up and running. These people are now dealing with operational issues, such as how do they build and gather information to put on the clearinghouse? During this session Jeff proposed that the states find ways to collaborate educational tools and outreach efforts for clearinghouse operations. People agreed to this effort and Jeff said the interested parties will start a discussion via an email list and then use conference calls as a follow-up tool to manage this effort.

Jeff also talked about whether or not the GIS community would be interested in developing a common way to represent the results of the FGDC/NSGIC Framework Data Survey (recently completed) on the individual clearinghouse nodes. Jeff said people seemed very interested in this possibility. Jeff recently received a call from Sharon Oliver, the newly elected NSGIC president, asking what they might do to further this effort. Jeff will continue to work on this effort with the other interested states.

People also discussed how they might enable the clearinghouse with a data viewer. At the NSGIC Annual meeting, an individual from ESRI’s Denver office demonstrated an application that made the data available for viewing through Arc Explorer as a potential enhancement to the clearinghouse. Jeff said they will see if they can use this application to enable the Washington State clearinghouse to do the same thing.

Larry Sugarbaker encouraged people to visit the Washington State clearinghouse site at http://metadata.gis.washington.edu/. People can also link to this page from the WAGIC web site.

National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) Annual Meeting- Larry Sugarbaker

Larry and Jeff attended the annual NSGIC conference last month on September 12-17. NSGIC started in 1991, and currently all but 4 or 5 states are members.

NSGIC focuses on:

  1. Policy
  2. Liaison and Network
  3. Research
  4. Education and Public Relations

NSGIC adopted its first Strategic Plan at the conference. You can review this plan at http://159.238.6.147/ (this URL will soon have the DNS of www.nsgic.org)

There was also feedback on the FGDC/NSGIC Framework Data Survey. In the next few months this data should be made available for public viewing.

There was also a session regarding the legislative process. A couple of speakers gave an overview on how the legislative process works and how people can get involved in the process. Larry said he would compile this information and make it available to the council (possibly on the WAGIC website).

Larry stated that NSGIC has been getting more involved in international GIS efforts. They have an ongoing relationship with Russia, and several representatives from Russia attended the conference. NSGIC recognizes that we are part of a global system, especially when it relates to the economy and environment.

Larry said that Washington State is considered by other states to be one of the leading states in GIS in areas such as framework, clearinghouse, council operations, etc.

Meeting Close- Larry Sugarbaker

Ian Von Essen thanked Jennifer and Andrew for showing their products to the council. He said these are two of the most robust systems he has ever seen presented to the council and he would like to see similar presentations at future meetings. He also mentioned that Spokane County has a similar product to Thurston Geo Data’s but it is run internally.

When Ian presented it to the Commissioners they responded that they don’t want people to be able to look up where they live and the value of their house. Ian liked what Thurston Geo Data did in regards to deleting certain people (police officers, etc) from the database. Ian asked Andrew if he has to maintain two separate databases, one for public view and one for title companies. Andrew said they are currently running just one application, and the title companies have not commented on the missing data.

Meeting Adjourned: 12:00 p.m.

Next Meeting – December 17, 1998 at 10:00 am