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Washington StateGeographic Information Council (WAGIC)

June 17, 1999
Teleconference originating from
DIS Interactive Technologies, Lacey, WA

Introductions – Larry Sugarbaker (Dept. of Natural Resources, WAGIC Chair) From Lacey, Larry Sugarbaker welcomed members in Tri-Cities, Bellingham (WWU), Spokane, Seattle, Vancouver, and the new site in Wenatchee at the Wenatchee Valley Community College. Larry reviewed the meeting agenda noting items of special interest and asked council members for additional agenda items.

GeoNorth, Inc. - Russ Michel Larry introduced Russ Michel, Northwest Regional Manager for GeoNorth who presented MapOptix, an application Framework that integrates ESRI’s MapObjects Internet Map Server and ColdFusion which results in a GIS application that allows for interactive display and query of GIS data. Russ gave some background on GeoNorth; a company based in Anchorage and designed to enable clients with desktop and web technology. MapOptix products have been in the marketplace since November 1998 and its Map Server Application is out-of-the-box functionality, which allows map and database publishing.

Russ reviewed MapOptix’s architecture and its features that include:

Russ demonstrated the functionality of the Map Server Interface and the System Administration Interface.

Larry asked Russ to explain how GeoNorth worked with ESRI to stay in sync with new products. Russ said that GeoNorth is the only ESRI premiere web developer (a status awarded by ESRI) and GeoNorth is also involved in developing the next generation of their ARCH IMS 3.0 product and forming new technology and functionality support. As soon as this technology is released GeoNorth clients on support maintenance will be automatically upgraded.

Russ addressed questions of how ColdFusion extends the functionality of MapOptix. George Spencer, WSDOT said that he envisioned MapOptix as providing tools to develop a web application that uses Internet Map Server, Cold Fusion, and other ODBC databases. Russ agreed saying that MapOptix is a broker that sits on the web server and recognizes database requests and retrieves that data. Any questions regarding Allaire’s ColdFusion can be directed to their web page at www.allaire.com.

Russ noted that GeoNorth is currently working on an Evaluation CD that would be free for 30 days. Russ told council members that Thurston County Regional Planning has been using the software on their Intranet site. Larry asked what kind of time frame and effort would clients be looking at to get the application up and running. Russ said once the web server is installed and connected to the Internet or Intranet and the database is connected, MapOptix sites can be up and rolling in as little as a day.

GeoNorth's web site is at www.geonorth.com and Russ can be contacted at rmichel@geonorth.com.

Framework Management Group - Carrie Wolfe Larry introduced Carrie Wolfe, DNR who updated the council on Framework activities. The last quarterly meeting on May 18th included a presentation by Stephen Rush from Fluor Daniel Northwest on efforts to develop Framework data in the Hanford area. The Hydrography Framework project is finishing up the requirements phase and is moving into the design and construction phase. The Hydrography workgroup is also coordinating with Oregon and their Hydrography Framework data project.

The Cadastral Framework group is concentrating on integration procedures that will allow partners to be able to integrate Cadastral data to the Framework and back again completing a two-way integration project. The NILES (National Integrated Land Systems) project which is co-sponsored by The Forest Service and The Bureau of Land Management is an effort to develop Cadastral object editing classes and software tools that can be implemented as part of Arch 8.1. Greg Tudor is participating as the Washington State representative in that effort.

The Cadastral Framework Group is also working on determining long-term directions by defining 2-5 year project goals and objectives. They are currently focussed on developing the public lands survey and public land ownership portion of the model. Also, regular cross project meetings are being held with the project leads which have included discussions on Framework theme integration and on developing a proposal for an overall strategy on Framework distribution. Efforts are underway now to initiate a state wide Transportation Framework. Those interested may contact George Spencer at spencerg@wsdot.wa.gov.

Carrie then presented a proposal asking WAGIC to consider sponsoring semi-annual videoconference meetings for the Framework Management Group. Many have expressed interest in Framework activities but are without the funding or travel time available to come to Olympia. As proposed, WAGIC would sponsor the semi-annual Framework meetings to be held in August and February following the regular WAGIC meetings. Framework meetings would be held in the afternoon on the 3rd Thursday of those months. This proposal is intended to help bridge the communication gap and would be done on a trial basis for one year and then re-evaluated.

Carrie asked for questions and Jean Postlewaite, Chelan County Assessor, expressed appreciation for consideration of the east side of the state. Don Eginton, Snohomish County, shared his concern that in some areas, particularly with regards to local governments, long term sustainable efforts in working to coordinate data structures and in turn an upload of information, need to be looked at in terms of the business case for those local government entities. A mechanism needs to be in place to make sure that business needs are met for all participants including local governments. Larry commented that Don’s concern is a consistent message heard on state and national levels and there need to be incentives in order to place a certain amount of burden on local governments and make sure it doesn’t offset the amount of work necessary to get results. Larry noted that Snohomish County is part of a pilot effort and is carrying the burden of figuring out how to accomplish that task. As pilots are implemented, hopefully appropriate incentives can be set up to offset the burdens of participation. States often send the same message to the national level and there is a need for a commitment to come up with appropriate monetary incentives. Don restated their continued support for the Framework project and recognized the need to make this work sustainable. Don also reiterated the need for a business driver to tie this effort back to funding and that there must be a sound business case for the work that needs to be done.

Tom Nolan, Seattle Public Utilities agreed and stated that local governments need to look at the big picture and the best incentive is to pay local government the money necessary to do the projects. Tom also questioned whether August was the best month to schedule one of the Framework Management meetings based on past attendance at the council meetings.

 

Council Budget Presentation - Jeff Holm Jeff reviewed the budget from last year and its performance against the actual budget. Variances were generally positive and in several areas came in under budget, specifically in teleconferencing, promotional materials, and special projects. Essentially there was a positive variance of $4,211. Projected revenue sources (memberships) were $21,500 and actual revenues were $20,120, which, with the positive variance, produced a net carry over of $2,871 into the new fiscal year. In the proposed budget for the coming year, the teleconferencing account shows a new line item of $2,600 to support the videoconferencing of the semi-annual Framework Management Group meetings. The special projects fund show an amount of $7,050 which includes the $5,000 that was agreed (when the partial funding mechanism was instituted) to be set aside for special projects plus the $2,050 that was a carry over from last year. Proposed expenses are $27,150 and the projected revenues are $26,000 plus the carry over equals $27,871 leaving a marginal surplus of $1,000.

Jeff noted the need to revisit the historical perspective of the budget in that two years ago the council voted to partially fund the WAGIC budget through membership contributions or membership funding. Last year an additional line item was included to reimburse the chair for its representation at two national council conferences. Jeff asked for any questions and Joy Denkers, DOE noted that the budget was based upon the previous year's experience with funding. Joy asked if there was a back up plan in the event there was a lack of membership funding? Jeff stated that DIS has provided support for the council in a variety of ways for a number of years. The selected expenses represent less than 20% of the total WAGIC budget as it appears in the DIS budget. Last years membership contributions exceeded the previous years and Jeff said he believed that there is reason to expect the same this year.

Larry encouraged everyone to support the budget with both their approval and funding saying that this is what allows members to get the real benefits from the council. Larry deferred discussion of the action items in the strategic plan until later but noted the council was working toward a broader funding base. Larry also indicated that the proposed budget was a sort of 'status quo budget' but hopes are to raise the bar and implement an incentive mechanism to bring about a true GIS infrastructure in Washington State. Larry asked for questions and there were none. Larry proceeded to ask for a motion to adopt the budget. George Spencer, WSDOT so moved and there were multiple seconds. There were no questions or any discussion so Larry called for the vote and the yeas carried the motion. The budget was accepted. Jeff noted that Invoice Preference Forms for membership funding would be sent out over the next several weeks.

 

Strategic Plan – Larry Sugarbaker In reviewing the Strategic Plan, Larry noted that every effort has been made to remove any type of bias and redundancy from the document and to make the final version clear, concise, and easy to read. Larry directed council members to the Objectives of the Strategic Plan and reviewed the four key objectives including action items to complete the Framework and address other data requirements as well.

Jeff noted that while the content of the Plan is in final form, the graphic layout is still in the design stage. Jeff reviewed the six major sections of the plan, which address GIS infrastructure challenges. Jeff pointed out that the plan begins with a brief description of GIS to help a broad range of stakeholders get a sense of how GIS can help address the major issues being faced by all government jurisdictions.

Larry discussed the next steps which includes moving the action items forward and looking at the overall costs to implement those items. In setting that task in motion, the council is looking to develop a toolbox of fact sheets to determine action items and probable costs and use those facts to present to key legislators and policy makers, and to answer questions and identify ways WAGIC can contribute. The other identified need is for additional staff resources to get the action items in motion.

Larry then reported on the presentation that was made to the Information Services Board (ISB) a few weeks ago. The ISB has policy responsibilities for information services in Washington State and is staffed by the Department of Information Services. The ISB is chaired by the Governor’s Chief of Staff, Joe Dear. Several state agency directors and other policy makers serve on that board. The ISB was very interested in GIS and asked what they could do to help. Consequently, Joe Dear has established a small task force of board members for policy level support. For more information on the Information Services Board, contact their web site at www.wa.gov/dis/ISB.

George Spencer said that he felt that the plan was a tool that he could use to take forward within WSDOT to develop an understanding and support for the Transportation Framework and to create a general awareness.

Don Eginton shared that the Strategic Plan would work well for Snohomish County in their efforts to maintain and enhance the quality of their communities for present and future generations. Don asked if the plan was available in digital format or on the web site so that he could refer the county leadership to it. Jeff confirmed that there is a link from the WAGIC Web site and a finalized form in both html and pdf will be available in the next several weeks. Jeff stated he hoped the plan would be used to urge counties and other government entities to adopt the plan for local implementation. Jeff acknowledged those who had also put a lot of work into the plan including Larry Sugarbaker, Department of Natural Resources; Jim Eby, Department of Fish and Wildlife; and David Reed, Thurston County Regional Planning. Larry noted that from a national perspective, he was not aware of any other state that had such a strategic direction or plan in place.

Tom Nolan, Seattle Public Utilities congratulated Larry on the ISB presentation and noted the ISB would be an effective venue. Tom shared his hopes for a map graphic on the cover of the final plan.

Larry asked for a motion to adopt the Strategic Plan and it was moved and seconded. There was no discussion or any questions so Larry then called for a vote. Having heard no nays, Larry declared the Strategic Plan adopted.

Peninsula Regional Group Update - David Read, Thurston County Regional Planning David gave some background information on the workgroup noting the group meets once a quarter in the Olympia area and focuses on technical end users. The meetings generally feature a user and a vendor presentation followed by a roundtable discussion on technical issues and expertise. Activities and events have included participation from over 30 state and local agencies and entities including tribal representatives, and various agencies from Lewis, Pacific, Thurston, and Pierce counties. The next meeting for the Peninsula Regional Group is July 30th at Thurston County Regional Planning in Olympia from 1:30 – 3:30. Gordon Kennedy, WSDOT will be discussing metadata and Enabling Technologies will make a vendor presentation.

Update on Council Strategic Outreach – Larry Sugarbaker

WSDOT hosted a Data Summit in early June that was intended to look at common data needs and discuss the concept of an integrated data based for natural resources. The two-day session succeeded in identifying the next steps which include:

George said he felt these were familiar themes and now that an area of business is interested in the same issues, it may help move those issues forward.

GeoData Forum – Larry Sugarbaker Gene Thorley, U.S.G.S., Jeff Holm, and Larry attended the GeoData Forum in Washington D.C. Larry said he was energized by the Forum and felt the mood of the Forum was one of optimism and focussed on getting major initiatives moved forward. Larry asked Gene for comments. Gene concurred that there was a significant energy level. There were seven subject matters and over 400 participants. Larry said that of the seven threads of topic areas, he participated in the organizational thread. He feels that there is a real commitment to move forward with looking at different organizational structures that empowers and gives a voice to all levels of government in participating in creating a national spatial data infrastructure. New ideas are coming forth that will put real structure into that process

Legislative Review - Larry reviewed several legislative topics. Karl Herzog, Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation made several presentations to the Legislature this session and he is in the process of completing the final report and making recommendations for a better inventory of public lands in the state. There was a good response from the Legislature to the presentation. The Cadastral committee is working with Karl to formulate recommendations to tie in the Cadastral process with the public lands inventory process. DNR received funding for Hydrology data and Transportation data. That funding is federal 'pass through dollars' which leaves uncertainty as to when those dollars might be available.

Jeff added that a Legislative update will be on next meeting agenda and a legislative briefing paper will be included in the next mailer.

 

1999 - 2000 Grant Proposal Accepted - Jeff Holm

The Consolidated Proposal for the FGDC "Don’t Duck the Metadata" was accepted and grant funds will be used as seed money to continue one-day metadata workshops. These funds will also be used to provide assistance in purchasing at least one metadata collection tool for up to 10 organizations. In the proposal it was agreed to:

The net result of the grant activity will be over 200 new metadata descriptions on the clearinghouse. If any new organizations would like to participate in the grant project, please contact Jeff at wagic@dis.wa.gov.

Closing Site Roundtable – Larry Sugarbaker

Meeting was adjourned at 12:05.