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Home April 21, 2004 Agenda & Minutes

AGENDA

MEETING: Maine Library of Geographic Information Board
DATE: Wednesday, April 21, 2004
TIME: 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Burton M. Cross Building – Conference Room 107

Approval of the March 17th Minutes on the Board Conference Call meeting

Subcommittee Business

Infrastructure, Interoperability, & Interface report

Finance – Library operation
— next year - FY05
— next biennium – FY06/07

Updates

  • Land Cover project
  • Orthophoto project
  • GPCOG
  • APA review

Grant review nominations

Future Board Meeting Business

Board’s Vacancy Legislation Change

Study Impact of Statewide System for Electronic Filing of Deeds

Development Tracking Project

MINUTES

GeoLibrary Board Meeting
Burton M. Cross Office Building, Conf. Room 107
Wednesday, April 21, 2004 | 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Board Member in Attendance

John Holden, Chair
Jim Page, James W. Sewall
Jon Giles, Municipal Government
Paul Mateosian, Municipal Government
Ray Halperin, Dept. of Transportation
Robert Faunce, Statewide Association of Counties
Will Mitchell, Mitchell Geographics
Sean Myers, Camp Dresser & McKee

Non-Board Member in Attendance

David McKittrick, Delorme Publishing
Kevin Jones, Office of the CIO
Don Garrold, Searsmont
Bill Duffy, Northern Geomantics
Liv Detrick, Island Institute
Mike Smith, Environmental Protection

Staff to the Board
Larry Harwood, DAFS/BIS – Staff to the Board
Dan Walters, Staff to the Board (not present)

Board Members Not in Attendance

Ed Suslovic, Co-Chair
Marilyn Lutz, UMaine
Barbara Charry, Maine Audubon Society
Dick Thompson, CIO
Dennis Boston, Central Maine Power
Robert Doiron, Dept. of Administrative & Financial Services

Prior to opening the meeting, John Holden, Board Chair, took note to make sure there was a quorum present among the Board members. So noted, the meeting was opened for the Board to conduct its business at hand.

Item #1: Approval of the March 17th Minutes on the Board Conference Call meeting

John asked that the Board members take some time to review the minutes of the March 17th conference call meeting. With no errors or omissions submitted, a motion was so made and seconded to approve the minutes as written. The Board members unanimously voted to approve the minutes.

John than proceeded to invite everyone present to introduce themselves, so done.

Item #2: Infrastructure, Interoperability, & Interface Report – Will Mitchell

Will noted that the Technical Subcommittee on Infrastructure, Interoperability, and Interface (TSIII) met this morning and work was underway on: 1) the portal project, 2) the GeoLibrary interface that will be implemented, 3) researching technical options, and 4) directions to take for the data catalog, etc. Discussions are also underway with ESRI, MeGIS, and TSIII members regarding contract implementations. The type of portal tool kit that is being considered can be viewed at http://www.geodata.gov/. The Maine GeoLibrary portal will look and feel like that. Will suggested the best thing to do would be to present a demo at the next meeting.

Will gave a heads up to the Board regarding a request forthcoming for some level of additional funding to implement the portal. He noted that portal would allow searches through metadata to discover the library holdings and preview them in a web interface. Anyone could tap into the data and use it.

Other parts to the data distribution, (via clip-zip-and ship) currently involves evaluation of some software that may be or may not be chosen, as ESRI’s offering is going to incorporate this function in the future. We may choose to use the ESRI distribution software.

For a larger discussion is the potential for a distribution network of portal nodes, the need for an umbrella that can harvest metadata from other web mapping services, other towns, private entities, and possibly providing a template for anyone building their own web mapping, can expose themselves too. We may what to go this direction to provide a more distributed type access throughout the state.

Sean Myers commented that the research in the technology arena was moving along just fine. Sean asked how we can get others to contribute to this portal, such as information state agencies have or local & county level information.

Will added that it would be clearer to the Board when the demo is done at the May meeting. We will have a better sense of the projected cost. An additional $15,000 might be needed, not certain of the actual figures. Will felt the Board needed to see what the TSIII project is and could make a better decision for additional finances needed.

Some of the questions/concerns brought into the discussion by Board members were:

Question: Would there be a need for accessing through firewalls?

Response: There would be technical specifications for accessibility that could involve access through firewalls.

Concern: The distribution model sounds interesting but also sounds like we are moving away from the direction the Board is talking about, the data being centrally stored in the GeoLibrary, and the practicality of funding the data via the library.

Response: Where are the parcels going to live, be maintained, built. This kind of concept would enable towns to expose their data to the GeoLibrary.

Question: Do other state agencies have their own web mapping services in the works?

Response: Among the state agencies there is a subcommittee working on web-based services. There is an effort among the agencies to consolidate the thinking and future needs of delivering mechanisms. There are a couple of applications that are net-based which are basically pilot projects/research efforts. Agency efforts have been toward delivering applications rather than data.

Will noted that the portal concept the TSIII subcommittee is talking about does not provide a lot of functionality.

Question: How much data is out there not available to the public?

Response: In regards to distribution of data, it would be better for all data to be under one roof/one server. However, would need standards for someone to become a node on that network. The state would be the primary node.

Concern: If the data does not reside in the library, data lies someplace else, how would this impact charging for the data. The GeoLibrary would not charge for the data.

Response: Having the ability to download the information would be implemented on how the node wants the service.

Questions: What would we allow/not allow? If downloading was not allowed, set up as read only what would be the constraints/opportunities available in a node? What would be the quality of the data? What would be the accessibility issues?

Concern: The Board needs to get back to its original charge.

Concern: Before expanding our options, we need to keep in the back of our minds the current staffing and budget issues the Board faces.

Jim Page noted that the US Geodata had made some revisions to their policies and perhaps the TSIII should do some research and find the most recent policy changes. Will commented that MeGIS staff will work on this for the next month and he also asked the Board to invite a Rep from ESRI or the Open GIS Consortium to attend the next meeting to help clarify questions/concerns the Board may have.

Ray suggested that the TSIII subcommittee may want to think about policy concept issues and perhaps setup another subcommittee to work on this and come back to the Board with recommendations.

In closing this discussion, Will noted the presentation at the May meeting would give the Board a much better picture.

Item #3: Finance – Library Operations

John Holden talked about his meeting with folks from the GIS Executive Council and a follow up meeting was scheduled for May 11. At the meeting they discussed policies and roles and the impact on financing the GeoLibrary Board. John noted he needed to sit down with the proper resources to also discuss the $144,000 from the enterprise fund and the possibility of extending it another year.

The Board members discussed other means of securing funds for the GeoLibrary to include the possibility of counties, and what their role might be in helping to finance the library.

Bob Faunce noted there have been several bills brought before the legislature to increase county fees with no success in passing. The counties are upset because they are not able to get assistance from the legislature. Perhaps something could be worked out to address the GeoLibrary’s funding issue and the counties technical issues. The GeoLibrary mechanism would address both problems. Also noted that the counties would be getting together for a technical session and he would attend this meeting.

Jon Giles commented that county governments did not provide as many services as provided at the municipal level. If the counties were to provide funds to the GeoLibrary what do they get out of this.

Ray Halperin suggested that whoever the Board talks to we need to have a hook, something that we can offer, a service/product. The counties’ part of it may come through emergency management. They need to know they are going to get something out of this. The state agency budgets are due September 1 for FY2006/2007. The window is very small to get a budget request in, and it covers the biennium (two years) starting July 1, 2005, therefore, the Board’s plans need to come into play this fall.

It was noted that using county fees to help fund the GeoLibrary would be a steady source of income.

John Holden will check in with Dan Walters and others to pursue funding of the GeoLibrary further and to get a clearer picture and look at the possibility of the $144K from the Enterprise Fund being extended for another year. Raising funds with the counties would reduce the amount we would need from the agencies.

Jim Page noted that the Board cannot rely on the kindness of strangers to keep the GeoLibrary funded.

Ray Halperin brought to the Board’s attention the fact that the state is having a budget crunch and some agencies have had their funding for a GIS SLA agreement pulled out of their budget.

We have to deal with this and the Board needs to be very careful as it moves forward during the next 15 months.

It was noted that the folks from the GIS Executive Council would be attending the May meeting

A question was raised about the Board pursuing any bond initiatives, did anyone talk with Ed Suslovic about this. Ray responded that until the Board has spent 80% of its current bond funding they cannot request more bond money from the legislature.

John Holden will follow up and get back to the Board on funding. He is meeting with Seth and Liz from the GIS Executive Council on May 11 (Liz and Seth will attend the next Board meeting). John will meet with Dick Hinkley and Tom Howker to discuss the $144K from the Enterprise Fund.

Item #4: Orthophoto Project

Larry Harwood reported that the contract has been signed and minor adjustments have been made to the original plan for fly overs. The town of Fort Fairfield has recent aerial photography and 1 foot orthophotos and will share the data with the GeoLibrary. In place of doing Fort Fairfield, the towns of Limestone and Easton will be done. The switch does not alter the figures in the contract.

Larry also noted that the ortho JFA (Joint Funding Agreement) has not come in yet. Once the weather clears up flying will start. Board members agreed to this change in plans for fly overs.

Some of the members mentioned that the Town of Islesboro had contacted them regarding aerial photography and being flown at a higher resolution. It was noted that several towns would probably prefer being flown at a 1 foot resolution rather than 2 foot, this would result in increased cost.

Kevin Jones talked about the CIO’s visit to Delorme and questioned the process that took place in selecting USGS. He noted that the CIO currently has contracts for his signature. He asked the Board of the flights that have already been flown, where are we in the process, what have we received from USGS. It was noted that areas were flown spring of 2003 and two additional steps are in progress: 1) making digital elevations models, and 2) images being converted to orthoimagery. To date, the Board has no schedule of service delivery from USGS. It was noted that the Board has only received one (1) CD of 50 quads of Digital Elevation Models but no orthophotos.

The question was raised if we were pushing them for delivery or are they just so busy. The response was, we try to push them and they are busy.

Kevin asked the Board if an analysis had been done about what Delorme has available that could be used? Larry noted we did look at their orthos but have not done any analysis of Delorme’s data. Kevin asked if the Board had considered doing a demo to see what Delorme has available vs. USGS? It was noted the Board stopped looking at other alternatives and shelved the Request for Proposals that was being worked on. This was done because of the federal match needed for the ortho project to proceed.

It was noted that several meetings were held prior to the Board making its final decision and if there is no legal requirement pending, it is too late to go back. It was important to the Board to maintain the federal match and the Board did encourage Delorme to join USGS. We cannot keep plowing over and over again each issue. The Board made its decision on the information it had.

After extensive discussions regarding this Delorme analysis, the Board members agreed they had made the right decision, considering all the facts they had, at that time. In the future, the Board will make sure all options are looked at.

At this time, Tom Howker noted that the CIO was on the State’s Contract Review Committee and it was his responsibility to make sure that all state contracts met all legal requirements.

John Holden asked for the Board to get back to the Fort Fairfield issue and how the Board felt about the minor change in fly over plans. Members agreed to leave these decisions to the discretion of the staff to work within those boundaries. If we can improve quality without increasing costs we need move forward.

Jon Giles reiterated the Islesboro issue and asked the Board what should we tell them? They need to talk with the Board staff, if it raises the project cost “no go”, and let them know the Board did discuss it. It was noted that if a town does want to upgrade, get a cost to them and they would have to pay the additional cost.

Will Mitchell brought up the issue of timeliness on the delivery of data from USGS. Could the Board request/require delivery dates in the agreements/contracts with USGS for both 2003 and 2004? Larry replied that he would try once again to get a firm schedule, but that USGS would probably not commit themselves to any deadlines due to budget and staffing problems.

Jon Giles asked if anyone had heard something about Southern Maine communities being flown every year and if anyone had more information on this. No one had anything more to add.

Item #5: Land Cover Project

Mike Smith, from the Dept. of Environmental Protection, covered this update as Barbara Charry was not able to attend the meeting. Mike noted the joint funding agreement between USGS and GIS was done, should be coming to BIS for signature and the Memorandum of Agreements with the agencies have all been signed. Once the joint funding agreement is signed, we will go forward. We expect the contract to be signed first week in May, and begin the project to have USGS obtain high resolution land cover data state wide, and related imperviousness data over portions of Maine. Completion of both projects will be by or before December 30, 2005.

Item #6: Grant Review Nominations

A list of the Review Committee Volunteers/Nominees was distributed at the meeting. The list includes:

The State Planning Office
Paula Thomson, Senior Planner
207-287-3215
paula.thomson@maine.gov

Maine Revenue Services
Judy G. Mathiau, Property Appraiser II, Property Tax Division
207-287-4786
judy.g.mathiau@maine.gov

Maine Association of Assessing Officers
Anne Gregory. Assessor, town of Falmouth
207-781-5253
agregory@town.falmouth.me.us

Department of Economic & Community Development
Orman Whitcomb, Project Development Officer, Community Development
207-624-9819
orman.whitcomb@maine.gov

Maine Office of GIS, Bureau Information Systems
Daniel Walters, GIS Manager
207-624-9435
dan.walters@maine.gov

John Holden asked about the evaluation process. Larry noted that the evaluation sheet was included in the RFP to be used by the Review Committee (RC), the RC would make recommendations to the Board, and the Board would vote based on the RC’s recommendations.

John asked if the Board was comfortable with the list, agreed they were. A motion was made, seconded, and the Board unanimously accepted the Grant Review nominations. Will Mitchell, Jim Page, and Jon Giles recused themselves from participating in the evaluation process.

Item #7: APA Review

Kevin Jones was asked if he was ready to report, for the CIO, regarding the Administrative Procedures Act as it pertained to the parcel standards. Kevin responded not at this time. The Board will bring this back to the May meeting.

Item #8: GPCOG

John Holden talked about his meeting with Neal Allen and Dick Thompson, CIO. At the meeting they reviewed the options on how to proceed. They met to review the situation, review what had transpired, and to seek a common approach to bring this matter to an amicable end. On December 30th John received a letter from GPCOG suggesting a “mediation” approach.

John noted the points that were discussed and brought up at the meeting by GPCOG.

GPCOG investment in this project took place prior to MLGI, without it the product would not be made available as it would not have been flown.

The data made available by CPGOC’s efforts was (is) at a much higher resolution than other portions of the state.

GPCOG lost its ability to recover its planned revenue. The original contractor no longer exists to recover any damage. The likelihood of recovery from any successors is small to none.

The GPCOG investment led to the provision of this data to MLGI and the public. By providing the data “free”, GPCOG could not recover its costs by future fees or data sales.

GPCOG very much wants to resolve this issue in a way that support MLGI and moves both agencies forward working together for the common goal of improved access to geo-spatial data across the State.

The circumstances are unusual and unique, with a non-profit agency representing local government. Paying for exclusive rights to this data is what we thought we were doing. As we move forward, we would attempt to treat most any agency or private vendor in this manner.

John asked the Board to permit him to appoint a subcommittee to review these and additional points and to bring back to this Board a final recommendation.

Discussions included the hearing process that was initiated, GPCOG did not want to participate in the hearing process, and GPCOG was not acceptable to having Board members on the review panel.

The Board members felt the need to follow the Administrative Procedures Act and the process as written in the legislation setting up the MLGI. At this time, John Holden read the language written in the Board’s legislation.

§1890-K. Maine Library of Geographic Information Board

1. Purposes and duties. The Maine Library of Geographic Information Board, as established by section 12004-G, subsection 30-B, has the following purposes and duties:

G. To hear and resolve disputes that may arise between data custodians or with respect to information to be placed in the Maine Library of Geographic Information, enforcement of geographic information board standards, rules or policies or other related matters, all in accordance with the Maine Administrative Procedure Act. Complainants may directly present their case to the geographic information board, which has the power to hold investigations, inquiries and hearings concerning matters brought to its attention and to make decisions with respect to the case. All interested parties must be given reasonable notice of the hearing and an opportunity to be heard. Hearings must be open to the public;

Ray Halperin commented that the reason for using the appeals process (has a rigor) already in place is that it allows for evidence to be presented and the responsibility of both parties to present their case. The process also allows for opening/closing remarks from both parties and the final decision is based on facts. There is goodness to having this rigor apply to this issue. Ray commented he was uncomfortable having another subcommittee set up to bring back recommendations to the Board.

Robert Faunce commented that the Board had make their vote, agreed to have the hearing, and did not feel that going back over this would be the right decision at this time. He felt the APA allows for a hearing process and the Board needs to do this.

At this time, Kevin Jones noted that the CIO urges the Board to bring the matter with GPCOG to a resolution/closure, and allow the Board to move forward with its business at hand.

The Board members agreed to have John Holden, Chair to the Board, review the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act, solicit the AG’s office for their opinion regarding the December 30th letter from GPCOG referencing the assertion that the APA process does not apply to this matter, and to appoint a new panel (preferably not Board members) to proceed with the hearing process. If it is found that the process is not applicable to this matter, the Board will have to review other options to bring this to a closure. At this time, Sean Myers (new to the Board) volunteered to serve on the hearing panel.

In closing the meeting, the Board reviewed agenda items for the May 19th meeting.

Update on the TSIII Subcommittee and Demo – Will Mitchell
Discussion of Board funding with staff from the GIS Executive Council
Expiring Board Member terms
Filling current Board vacancy
Gathering data already out there from other agencies to add to the GeoLibrary (Data Content Specialist in MeGIS)

Meeting adjourned at 12:30 p.m.

Next scheduled meeting date is Wednesday, May 19, 2004 | 10:30 – 12:30 | COB Conference Room 107. You will be notified of any changes.