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Home April 16, 2003 Agenda & Minutes


MEETING: Maine Library of Geographic Information Board
DATE: Wednesday, April 16, 2003
TIME: 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Burton M. Cross Building, Conference Room 107

Introduction of new Chief Information Officer, Richard Thompson

Introduction and Approval of March 19, 2003 Minutes

Report on Orthoimagery Project

GeoLibrary Budget discussion John Holden, Chair

Status of LD 740 “An Act to Authorize a General Fund Issue in the Amount of $8.2 million for Use in Implementing the Maine Library of Geographic Information

Report on the Progress of the Parcel Standards Committee

Other Business

Schedule Next Meeting & Agenda


GeoLibrary Board Meeting of April 16, 2003
Burton M. Cross Building, Conference Room 107
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Board Member Attendees as follows:

John Holden, Chair
Ed Suslovic, Co Chair
Jon Giles, City of Portland
Paul Mateosian, City of Bath
Ray Halperin, Dept. of Transportation
Tom Asbeck, Photo Science, Inc
Jim Page, James W. Sewall
Dick Thompson, DAFS/Office of the CIO
Dennis Boston, Central Maine Power
Barbara Charry, Maine Audubon Society
Marilyn Lutz, UMaine
Bob Doiron, Maine Revenue Services
Will Mitchell, Mitchell Geographics

Not in Attendance:

Jim Damicius, Maine Science Tech. Foundation
Bob Faunce, Consultant to Lincoln County

Non-Board Member attendees:

Dan Walters, DAFS/OGIS
Larry Harwood, DAFS/OGIS
Brook Delorme, Delorme Publishing
Jim Skillings, Delorme
Neal Allen, GPCOG
Greg Miller, Maine Forest Services
Chris Bremme, Island Institute
Don Garrold, Town of Searsport
Tom Howker, BIS
MaryAnn Hayes, State Planning Office
Liv Detrick, Island Institute
Scott Vandermark, Greenhorne & O’Mara
Rich Sutton, Applied Geographics

1. Introductions

John Holden, Chair for the Board, opened the meeting asking Board members and folks in the audience to introduce themselves. Following these introductions, John introduced the State’s new Chief Information Officer, Richard Thompson who has been on the job for 8 days, however, Dick has been working for Maine State Government for quite a few years having served as the State’s Purchasing Agent prior to being appointed as CIO for Maine State Government. The Board welcomes Dick to the GeoLibrary Board. At this time, Dick was given an opportunity to talk about his career with the state.

Dick shared that he had been the State’s Purchasing Agent for approximately 15 years and has worked for state government approximately 26 years. Dick has been involved in technology initiatives locally and nationally though he commented he was not a “technologist”. He has worked as a Manager in state government acquiring a lot of knowledge on how government works, an does have lots of support for the GeoLibrary Board’s initiative though he does need to get up to speed on what is happening. He is a supporter of the effort and has a lot of reading material to help bring him up to speed.

2. Approval of March 19th Minutes

Minutes of the March 19th GeoLibrary Board meeting were brought before the Board for approval. A motion and made and seconded to accept the minutes as written. Following the motion, a question was raised, and acknowledged, regarding the omission of information on the Citipix presentation. After discussion, it was agreed to accept the minutes as written.

Other corrections needed to be made to the minutes were the spelling of Senator Snowe’s last name and replacing spawn with SPOT.

A motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes with requested edits. With a show of hands, the Board members voted unanimously to approve the minutes.

3. Report on the Orthoimagery Project

Dan Walters opened the discussion with bringing the Board members up to date on the ongoing work with USGS. The contract agreement with USGS will be split and the first agreement for aerial photography has been signed, sealed and delivered. Progress over the last month includes having everything in place and ready to move forward. Now we will start work with USGS for a second agreement for Orthoimagery. A question was raised on the number of contracts that may be needed with a response of possibly 1 to 4, not sure at this time. Also, a question was raised on putting together the second contract/agreement and responded to. The bulk of the work would be done in-house by USGS as 95% in kind service.

There was a question about the status of the orthophoto project, in particular the aerial photography. Dan responded that the USGS had received everything needed and the matter was in their hands. The Chair noted that a representative of the prime contractor was present and asked if it would be appropriate for him to give an update. There was no objection. Mr. Scott Vandermark of Greenhorne & O’Mara reported that USGS had initiated contact with his firm and pending the USGS approval of price and proposal, a formal task order will be issued. Based on his past experience, he said flying could begin early next week (week of the 20th).

4. GeoLibrary Budget Discussion

A. Purchasing Citipix from Global Explorer

An extensive discussion followed regarding the purchase of the Citipix digital Orthoimagery and the Board’s available monies. This discussion included the cost of acquiring this imagery, what areas are covered, and what are the technical specifications (do they meet the required standards). If the Board decides to purchase this imagery it would be done with a purchase order, not a contract, and the language would clearly state this it is a State of Maine ownership without any restrictions. Even though the Board does purchase the 2001 Citipix, we would re-fly the area to allow towns to get more up to date imagery. When and if the Board acquired more money, we could decide to update at a future date.

The Board members further discussed the monies available/needed to move forward in its mandated assignment (Resolve 23). The cost for Citipix would be $137,104, GPCOG administrative and management costs $53,000 (this includes $10,000 to cover non-participants), original GDIs and Positional data no charge, and media transfer costs $2,000 for a total of $192,104.00. A concern was raised regarding the monies available, was there a better way to accomplish this work, this would be taking a big chunk out of the budget. A comment was made that we would not be developing the orthos therefore this would save money. A recommendation was made to purchase the Citipix focusing on the fact that we would have the ability to bring it into public domain and would be acquired at a savings.

A motion was made, and seconded, to the Board to authorize MEGIS to proceed toward procurement of this data up to the amount the amount of $137,000, given that we understand the technical issues.

There were extensive discussions surrounding the technical aspects of Citipix imagery and Orthoimagery which included: 1) cost of doing orthos, 2) price per square mile for each tier, 3) resampling and reprojecting the imagery, 4) file format, 5) parcel mapping, 6) access to the imagery, 7) tile sizes, and 8) whether or not the data was created in UTM. It was thought the data was originally created in UTM and reprojected; Dan will investigate and report on this.

B. GeoLibrary Budget

With a total of 2.3 million dollars available from the State bond, Dan reviewed the budget scenarios through April 2005. The fact that $1,600,000.00 must be used for Orthoimagery (2003/2004), this leaves a budget of $700,000. The breakdown for the $700,000 covered the following: 1) $25,000 for statewide data standards development, 2) $200,000 for data warehousing (infrastructure improvements), 3) $400,000 for parcel automation grant program, and 4) $75,000 for facilitating application development.

The $200,000 would improve data warehousing for the Geo Library and increase the capacity to accommodate all imagery. It would be put in an environment where users can get at it. Regarding the $400,000 for town grant programs, it was felt that there was no sense of how fast towns would utilize the use of this money.

Brought to the attention of the Board members was the fact the budget did not reflect the purchasing of Citipix for $137,000. This money would have to come out of the $400,000 leaving a balance of $263,000. A concern was also raised regarding the development tracking application being zeroed out from the budget. As noted, there is not enough money available to cover all categories so what could be given up?

Again, the motion at hand was brought before the Board members to purchase Citipix.

Do we commit ourselves to spending the $700,000 this year? Concerning the grant monies ($400,000) to municipalities, a point was brought forward that the grant programs are not set up, towns are currently putting their budgets together, and may not be ready to participate.

A comment on getting back to basics was brought up. Need to look at Resolve 23 and review what the legislature actually asked this Board to accomplish, what is the legislative intent? We do have building blocks, we have limited funds ($700,000), and therefore we need to decide what the priorities are. What can we accomplish with what we have available to us. With the towns currently passing their budgets now and not having knowledge of these grant programs, perhaps we could reduce the level of monies available. Need to focus on building a foundation, cannot do everything today. We may want to drop some things from the plan or do different than what was intended. A consideration was brought before the board to possibly limit the grants for the first year, possibly offer the grants to those towns that have digital parcels.

A comment was made that the Board cannot be afraid to move forward, this data would be available for the public and build the public arena for GIS. If we do not commit to the 1.6 USGS money we do not get any money from the state’s contribution.

Neal Allen, a representative from the Greater Portland Council of Governments, gave some background on their investments and asked the Board members to consider their proposal to pay GPCOG $53,000 to recover their investments and possibly avoid setting a precedent. A comment was made that we do stand a chance to set a precedent we don’t want to set. Could affect the GPCOG doing work for us in the future, could be sending a message to public agencies the Geo Library basically here to take something for bargain basement prices.

A question was raised regarding the $200,000 for infrastructure realizing that the data may not be available until the end of the year. Could the existing systems accommodate the data? If so, this would be a potential savings on that line item.

Dan replied that no appreciable amount of data, especially image data could be stored with existing agreements. MEGIS contracts, now for the use of other BIS servers, must pay for additional storage space.

A thought was raised on rewarding communities that have already invested in Citipix. Could a higher portion be paid by the state, could their data be upgraded to meet the standards, somehow given credit for past work, not reward GPCOG.

Again the Board members were reminded, realizing more technical detail is needed, they needed to reach a decision on purchasing Citipix data for $137,000. Currently this data is not available to the public, once purchased would become available to the public immediately for use by all levels of government, and would also benefit the Geo Library by moving ahead a little.

The original motion (which was made and seconded) was restated “to purchase the Citipix for a sum not to exceed $137,000”. With a show of hands, Board members voted 8 in favor, 3 opposed, and 1 abstention. The motion to purchase was approved and passed.

Next on the agenda, Dan reviewed the core operational expenses for the GeoLibrary. At this time, he proposed the GeoLibrary Board partner with the GIS Executive Council and share operational costs. These are proposed operating expenses pending the GeoLibrary operations are built on existing infrastructure and cooperatively with the State GIS Executive Council. Currently the BIS Enterprise Fund is providing $144,000 (FY03) for MEGIS operations. Proposed FY04 operational expenses are $165,000 for the GIS Executive Council and $268,600 for the GeoLibrary. Also, some of the costs are being picked up through in-house projects. Also included on the proposed budget were coordination, technical assistance, and outreach through funding of Regional Service Centers (eventually 10 centers).

A question was raised regarding the MEGIS and Library hardware and personnel in the budget proposal. The response was, the hardware and software are already in place using an Oracle environment, will be expanded as needed, will identify core services needed to keep the system going, and state agencies and the GeoLibrary would share the costs involved.

Approximately $430,000 is needed to fully fund core functions for FY04. If the BIS Enterprise fund continues at the current level of $144,000, the GeoLibrary contribution would be 268,000, we are $120,000 short. Tom Howker, Deputy Director for BIS, at this time commented on meeting with the Department’s Commissioner regarding the BIS budget and we do plan to include $144,000 for FY04 for MEGIS.

Question was asked if an extra data person would be required. No, the GIS EC and the GeoLibrary would share the staff and the costs incurred. Also asked if the GIS EC contribution was stable? Has been stable over the past 2-3 years. GIS staff are working on other data projects which have been negotiated with the GIS EC and the current structure in place is supported by the EC.

The function of the GeoLibrary would make all public data available, more accessible, and usable. The Board would make it more universal and bring in statewide date and MEGIS would get the job done. Building the library and allowing statewide access would be a huge benefit for the State of Maine. MEGIS is the repository of state government data shared with the public and the GeoLibrary would also share data with the public.

The Board members asked that a more detailed budget scenario of each line item be brought back at the next meeting. Also, the Parcel Grant Subcommittee will be meeting and bringing recommendations the GeoLibrary Board.

5. Report on the Progress of the Parcel Standards Committee

Larry Harwood updated the Board members on the State of Maine Standards for Digital Parcel Files. He took a few moments to talk about what had been accomplished and agreed upon by the group, and the report was a very preliminary draft and not available for circulation at this time. He also felt that the Board members did not need to plunge into this report at this meeting, a final draft report would be made available at the May meeting.

A concern was raised regarding the regulatory process as it relates to public review. Dick Thompson responded that a discussion would be appropriate without sharing with the public. He would also check with the Attorney General’s office for more detailed information as to the regulatory process and public review.

The Chair asked that a more formal draft presentation be brought to the Board at the May meeting. A motion was made and seconded to table this agenda item for the next meeting. Board members voted and approved the motion to table.

5. Letter from Representative Richard G. Woodbury

The letter, asking the Board to give consideration to the DeLorme Company for an opportunity to compete for this work, was distributed and members were asked to take a few minutes to read and comment. A comment was made needing to know more about the relationship between Delorme and USGS. Representatives from Delorme asked to present to the Board a formal presentation of their all-digital airborne remote sensing platform already in place which simultaneously collects digital multi-spectral imagery and LIDAR data. Also, commented they were unable to clarify how the Board communicated with USGS and would like the Board to send a letter to USGS in support of DeLorme. It was suggested that Delorme prepare such a letter for the Board.

In response to the question of the Board communicating with USGS, Dan reminded the Board that they had previously voted to contract directly with USGS for very specific product (Orthoimagery) working through the traditional contracts with USGS. The decision is up to USGS to use the vendor(s) of their choice to complete the work. USGS is the contractor, they are responsible for the product and delivery of the product.

John Holden raised the question on how groups make presentations to this Board. While going forward, perhaps the Board may have an opportunity to see such projects happening in Maine. Perhaps we can work that in once we get through the initial process. Ray Halperin felt the Board should promote education on learning about GIS, but also felt that not just this Board should view new technology. We could have open forums and offer viewing of new technology to communities, constituencies. Ray also felt the Board should not give up its business meeting for technology presentations as the Board has a lot of work to do. Also mentioned was the MEGIS USER GROUP and bringing this topic to their June 3 annual meeting.

Again, the topic of a letter of support for DeLorme to USGS was brought up. Was the letter for DeLorme to enter into partnership with USGS? Jim Skillings representing Delorme was asked to draft a letter of support, distribute electronically to allow Board members to review before the next meeting.

6. Other Business

Next Meeting: Wednesday, May 21 2003 - Agenda Items to include:

  • Final draft report for the State Of Maine Standards for Digital Parcel Files
  • Discussion of new technology
  • Preliminary report from the Subcommittee on Municipal Grants
  • Status of the aerial photography
  • Updated budget line items
  • Confirmation of the BIS Enterprise 144K, if possible

Before adjourning, a question was raised regarding the Maine Science & Technology Foundation being disbanded and the need to fill the vacant seat on the Board. The response being, this is a Legislative issue.

At 12:35 p.m. a motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting.