Image11.gif (16979 bytes)gic2.gif (7013 bytes)

Washington State Geographic Information Council (WAGIC)

April 15, 1999
Teleconference originated from
DIS Interactive Technologies, Lacey, WA

Introductions – Larry Sugarbaker (Dept. of Natural Resources WAGIC Chair) From Lacey, Larry Sugarbaker welcomed members in Tri-Cities, Seattle, Vancouver, Spokane, and Bellingham (WWU). Larry reviewed the agenda noting the presenters and the election process. Larry brought participants up to date on the Strategic Planning process, which is in the final editing stage. Larry stated that many members still felt the plan was too focussed on the state level and did not cover local issues well enough. Larry pointed out that every effort has been made to remove those biases. The plan has been reviewed by an independent editor, re-edited and will be circulated for review. The process will take a little longer than planned but Council members should be happy with the results.

Presentation of Outstanding Service Award – Tom Nolan Jeff Holm provided background information on the Council’s decision to present an annual Outstanding Service Award with the first recipient being Tom Nolan. Jeff read the award narrative noting Tom’s two-year tenure as Chair of WAGIC including the council’s accomplishments during those years. Jeff suggested that the Council consider adopting a permanent mechanism to be able to recognize individuals who dedicate their time and effort. Tom expressed his thanks noting that those accomplishments were a Council effort.


Washington State Dept of Transportation – George Spencer

Larry introduced George Spencer, Geographic Information Systems Manager, who provided an update on how GIS is being used at WSDOT. George reviewed the various decision-making branches of the DOT noting the Transportation Commission’s policy objectives, which include:

George noted that GIS plays an important role in creating effective communication in a complex environment always with the goal of working together which is reflected in the WSDOT Mission Statement.

WSDOT recognizes that GIS is an important decision-making tool for dealing with complex transportation planning and management issues. Key GIS Strategies at WSDOT include:

New developments in GIS at WSDOT include providing classes each month, developing a help desk, and including new funding for local support staff. A Priority Array Tracking System, Environmental GIS, and Vessel Tracking are some of the new applications of GIS. George’s PowerPoint presentation can be accessed on the WAGIC WebPages at

Larry thanked George for his presentation and asked for questions. Joe Barreca (Spokane) indicated that he has been working with local jurisdiction on E911 projects and noted how DOT's linear reference system information, including positions of mileposts, would be extremely helpful to police and other emergency personnel. Joe asked if this information was accessible for download from DOT and whether it is original information compiled by DOT and not from other sources. George invited council members to take advantage of this information source on the DOT web page at

Larry noted that the Department of Natural Resources is initiating a new Framework project to improve the quality of the forest roads data and DOT has been actively working with DNR during the needs assessment. The hope is to jointly sponsor a transportation system framework project. George can be reached at


USGS Washington State Office – Gene Thorley

Larry introduced Gene Thorley as the senior official at the National Mapping Division (NMD) of the U.S. Geological Survey liaison office in Seattle.

Gene provided a brief overview noting that USGS is one of thirteen bureaus within the Department of Commerce. NMD is one of four divisions within USGS with over 1200 employees and a $165 million dollar annual budget. The divisions principle activities include data production, information management and dissemination and, geographic research.

USGS realizes it can no longer keep up with the need to change their map products to reflect the nations rapid growth. Also, in addition to the rapidly changing landscape, there has been a significant increase in demand for USGS map products in digital form. Fueled by the information revolution, USGS is changing its approach to maps for the future. Gene noted that NMD now views the map of the future as a database of electronic links to up-to-date high quality, local, spatial data.

In order to make this possible a limited, standard set of attributes will need to be identified. This standard set of attributes along with advance database technology will allow state, regional and national maps to be produced from the local spatial data.

One of the reasons that USGS decided to open a NMD office in Washington State is because of the level of success that Washington has had in dealing with National Spatial Data Infrastructure activities like Clearinghouse and Framework data initiatives. Gene is looking forward to working with the Washington GIS community to observe and participate in developing standards and institutional process that will make the maps of the future possible.

Larry thanked Gene and noted that the challenge lies not only in the coordination of information but also in the roles of the organizations. Gene Thorley can be reached at

Election Process for Chair – Jeff Holm

Before Jeff opened the floor for nominations, he gave a quick review of the election process noting that Larry’s first term as Chair will end in June. Jeff reminded participants to check with nominees to make sure they are willing and able to run. According to the bylaws, a Chair can run for two consecutive terms. Larry has completed one term as Chair and is willing to run again. Jeff reminded Council members that at the time of Tom Nolan’s second run for Chair, his name was the only one submitted and confirmed by a voice vote. If more than one nomination is offered there will be a vote by fax. When Jeff formally opened the floor for nominations, Jim Eby nominated Larry Sugarbaker for a second term. Jeff asked for other nominations and then polled the sites individually asking for other nominations. There were none. Jeff announced a last call for nominations and with none forthcoming, a voice vote was called. The vote was unanimous. Larry Sugarbaker was reelected for a second term.

Larry thanked those who participated in the vote for the "reaffirmation" and expressed his delight and enjoyment in serving a second year.

WAURISA Update – Greg Cioc

Larry introduced Greg Cioc, the newly elected president of WAURISA who gave a brief update on the February WAURISA GIS Conference. There were 215 registrants and 16 exhibitors. Greg reviewed the new board members and noted that several venues for next year’s conference are being considered. Greg said board members would be focusing on the east side of the state for meeting locations in an effort to encourage participation. The February conference was a great economic boost and WAURISA will be reinstating the scholarship program and encouraging student GIS activities.


FGDC Cooperating Partner Meeting & NSGIC Mid-Year Meeting Reports – Larry Sugarbaker

Larry reviewed the outcomes of these meetings and the benefit of WAGIC’s participation. The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) recently met in Washington D.C. providing the states the opportunity to meet with the steering committees and to focus on a geodata perspective. Thirty cooperating states met to coordinate the agenda for the following day’s meeting with the Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbit. The states voted to move Framework Data acquisitions to the top of the agenda and make it the single most important agenda item for the FGDC. The following day, Larry and the Oregon representative gave a presentation focusing on the need for Framework Data. They used the region's salmon recovery initiatives as a real life example of the importance of Framework Data and Land Use/Landcover Data. Larry was able to cite WAGIC’s Strategic Plan that identified the Vegetative Inventory as an important component for coordinated framework data.

NSGIC (National States Geographic Information Council) Mid Year Meeting. Representatives from 44 active states met at the Mid winter planning meeting and implemented the new NSGIC Strategic Plan. Larry noted that NASA is putting together a new grant opportunity for states to implement satellite imagery programs. NASA has funded the development of the grant program and it’s administration. It is scheduled to be implemented in 1999 as a 3-year program. Larry stressed that now is the time to begin the grant application process to take advantage of the opportunity to develop a statewide Land Use/Land Inventory Framework program.

Larry also gave an update on the Framework Data Survey, which was done a year ago. Larry noted the results are very interesting in terms of how many organizations are in the process of developing framework data. Washington State has received the raw data and is currently compiling that information. WAGIC is looking to use that data in working with various organizations.

Brochures on Census 2000 are available from Larry for those who are interested and he gave a brief on update on the program.

Larry mentioned one last item, which is the Livability Agenda, a major initiative by the Clinton/Gore administration. The Federal Geographic Data Committee has developed a program that offers matching grants to help make geographic data available through extensions of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure. All though the initiative is embedded in the present budget, it will be administered through various agencies’ budgets. Larry shared that he thought this may be a wonderful opportunity to develop Hydrodata layers and that such a project would qualify for this type of funding. Because of the impending election year, it is not clear at this time whether congress will approve this program, as its success is dependent on the political environment.


Closing Site Roundtable – Larry Sugarbaker

Jeff noted that Douglas County has expressed an interest in participating in the videoconferenced council meetings and he is looking into securing a Wenatchee site and making on-line arrangements for the June meeting.

As Larry mentioned, Jeff noted that the Strategic Plan committee is in the process of completing Phase I of the Strategic Planning process by completing the editing. Phase II will include the details of implementing the action items in the plan’s top ten-priority list. Phase II will include the process of identifying how we will address those items. Plans are to finalize Phase I by the end of June and use part of the August meeting as a workshop to identify the ways and means of implementing the plan.

Jeff also noted that Larry has been asked to address Information Services Board (ISB) on May 20th. The ISB is a governor appointed board that oversees the delivery of Information Services on a statewide level and it is a very influential body relative to information technology policy. Larry will be presenting an overview of GIS technology, challenges, and the role the Council plays. He asked for good examples of how GIS is being used in making government agencies more effective service providers. If you would like to provide an example, please forward an electronic copy to Larry or Jeff.

Larry noted that future meetings would include discussion of the grant proposals, the workshop for the strategic plan implementation, and an update from the Framework committee on their meetings and activities. Larry asked Council members to share ideas for future meetings or presentations possibly to include a review of this year’s legislative activities.


Meeting Adjourned: 12:00 p.m.

Next Meeting – June 17, 1999 at 10:00 a.m.