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Home March 15, 2006 Board Meeting

Maine Library of Geographic Information Board Meeting
Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Place: Cross Office Building - Conf Room 105

Agenda Items

  • 10:00 -10:05 Approval of the February 15 minutes - Marilyn
  • 10:05 - 10:35 Presentation on the GEO Portal Development - IONIC
  • 10:35 - 11:30 Subcommittee Reports
    • Finance
      • Doing major GIS work with uncommitted funds (list of ideas)
      • State match for Tier 2
    • Policy & Marketing - Marilyn
      • Draft Policy for Acceptance of Data Sets from Outside Vendors
    • Technical - Will
    • Status on the GEO Portal - Will
    • Updates on Orthoimagery Project - Larry
      • Purchasing interim data products from orthoimagery production
    • Updates on Parcel Grants - Larry
      • Status on contracts for second round
      • Letter to towns regarding publishing parcel data with names and addresses
    • Updates on Consultant Services/County Commissioners - Dan
      • Review/comment on final report
  • 11:30 - 11:45 Term Expirations - Larry
      • Status of appointment/approval for Ken Honey from the Lincoln County Association
      • Replacement for Jon Giles
  • 11:45 - 12:30 Other Business/Updates
      • GIS Executive Council Update - Liz
      • Setting up a multi-subcommittee - see * insert below from the Feb meeting notes:


* Ray Halperin suggested it might be important enough to consider setting up a multi subcommittee (folks from the GeoLibrary Board, GIS Executive Committee, and Regional Planning Councils) to review and research the potential to distribute GIS services in the state to all constituents.


  • Ken was asked to solicit the level of interest and bring this information to the next GeoLibrary Board meeting.
  • David, Dan, and Ken will take this on an action item to move forward and report back at the March meeting.

Future Agenda Topics: Invite Jim Henderson from Archives for an update

Minutes of the Meeting

Marilyn Lutz, Co-Chair
Dennis Boston
Barbara Charry (via phone conf)
Judy Mathiau
William Hanson (via phone conf)
Will Mitchell
Ken Murchison
Sean Myers
David Blocher
Dan Walters
Carmen Fournier
Christopher Kroot, GIS Executive Council Chair
Carl Nylen, ESRI
Jon Giles, Bradstreet Consulting
Sophia Parafina, IONIC Rep

Approval of the February 15 Board meeting minutes - Marilyn

Due to other commitments, Jim was not able to attend this meeting and Marilyn as Co-Chair led the meeting.

Marilyn noted one change to include her in the attendance listing as not present. With that change noted, a motion was made by Ken and seconded by Sean to approve the minutes as written. Board members voted unanimously to accept the minutes with change noted.

Status of the "Draft Policy for Acceptance of Data Sets from outside Vendors" - Marilyn

Marilyn reported that work on the draft policy has not been happening and that she needs assistance from the other members to get it done.

Task: Marilyn will be contacting Sean, Dan, Will, and David to set up a meeting to get the draft policy done and bring it to the Board at the April meeting.

Status of the Geo Portal - Will

Will reported the Technical Committee met for an hour prior to this meeting to prepare for the Geo Portal demo. He noted the project is underway, and staff from IONIC are working with MEGIS staff; work seems to be on track.

A question was asked regarding a public date to go live. Assuming all infrastructures is in place for deployment, the response from the IONIC Rep (Sophia Parafina) was the end of May for a go live date. It was noted there were some delays on the server side and have been resolved.

A presentation of the Geo Portal was given at the MMA Technology Conference yesterday which was well received. It was noted there were approximately four GIS presentations at the MMA conference.

Special note from Jim Page via Marilyn: Marilyn, per Jim's request, shared with the Board a USGS meeting Jim attended involving a discussion regarding a USGS 50 State Initiative being implemented. USGS is looking for a coordinating entity from the states and felt the Board would be a good resource for the State of Maine. It was noted USGS does have $50,000 in grant money to work with.

Task: Marilyn will do some research on the USGS website for more information and share this with the Board.

Geo Portal Presentation - Sophia Parafina

Sophia Parafina, from IONIC, gave a presentation on the Geo Portal.

Some of the items covered were:

  • Where the Geo Portal fits into
  • What makes up the Geo Portal
  • a portal (front door into searching for data)
  • a web service
  • What the portal supports
  • What the portal is
  • What the portal allows you to do

Three (3) basic panels were discussed:

  • Query/Search area: The search area would allow a return back of all the records found and allow the selection of what you want. You can also download the data or view the metadata. The metadata is stored in a database and can be reformatted for use.

A question was raised regarding the map area constraining what you enter into the input area. It was noted they would work together; it is set up as a this and that condition.

  • Map Viewer: The map viewer has a basic map background for use and there will be specific tools set up for public use.
  • Administration Panel is used for registering services and data. There is also an administrative interface for server access of statistics and reporting.

On-line help will also be provided for all functions.

For the GEO Portal Catalog Service Interface it was noted the catalog is a database and the Portal is a client to the catalog. The catalog is fairly well populated already with data. The data has been harvested from MEGIS and all over the world.

A role out date of April is being targeted for beta testing.

A question was asked regarding specific type of data topics (e.g. wildlife data information) being supplied to the portal. How would the supplier of the data key in the data and only the data layers that apply to that issue pop up? There will be a function for general topics of interest; there will be a panel for putting in different information; themes would be available and can be populated; there is a capability of having specific channels.

The Portal Administrator could set up channels for particular data; folks would work with the Portal Administrator to implement into the portal.

Other Questions:

  • Is the list of functionalities frozen? There is a set of functionalities for the initial deployment. IONIC does have a list of functionalities that will be tested in the beta testing; there is a list of requirements and functionalities per request of the RFP.
  • Will Maine own the code and the software? Yes
  • What is the bandwidth going to be? Accessing the portal may not work very will with dial up mode; the Portal is graphically intensive and would need a broadband connection to operate efficiently; it could run on dial up but would be very slow.
  • Can the search results be passed to another web service? The Portal gives a link to a web service itself and makes use of a viewer client supplied with the portal; does not forward to other web services.
  • Can you get the results of our search string as a file and use it some where else? Can get the results of a search, add to the map in a specific format and send to someone via E-mail.

There are many web services becoming available; would be good to take the search results from the Portal and implement into another web service to do an analysis. There are many web services being built all over the country. Instead of developing our own application in the state we could buy, for some amount of money, a number of hits on that site for state/public use.

We need to know what is out there for data and how can we let people know what is out there. There appears to be a momentum toward sharing services; we need to build and take advantage of what we have out there.

Can we identify and make available static maps or just GIS data layers? Yes, information can be cataloged. Who will be administering the Portal over time? On a short term basis it will be MEGIS staff; in the long term could be the new state web portal provider. Within the MEGIS office the staff will probably be Kate King and Larry Harwood for administration purposes only.

The Portal will allow the ability to upload a metadata file into the catalog and make it searchable. Who has what data is useful; towns and municipalities will be able to register and upload data files; over time we hope to get enough participation to get a good sense of the data.

How will getting people involved/participating happen? The MEGIS User Group and the Board are working and will be actively working to encourage people to participate. Probably use something similar to the parcel grant program; create the metadata and supply the data to the Portal. The University is looking to provide metadata to the Portal; currently a pilot project for now. Do we need incentives to get folks to participate? A big incentive would be the usefulness of the tool; get service from it - give service back.

The Maine GIS Users Group is working toward focusing on getting people involved knowing that people need to be working and using it and seeing it work.

Judy from MRS (representing DAFS) noted that the GeoLibrary Board brochures have gone out to the municipalities. She also noted that some of the municipalities may have digitized maps and would this be useful to the Board/Portal.

Task: Judy will do further research and bring information back to the Board.

What about the quality of the data; metadata has to be correct; are we setting any standards behind the data? The metadata report may serve as part of that purpose; how current. The Portal Administrator will need guidelines to work with.

It was noted that everyone is working on making the data better and of good quality. The metadata should say this data is as of this date.

Task: Marilyn will talk with Jim on how to proceed with guidelines for the Portal Administrator.

One issue that was brought up that needs to be considered is the security/confidentiality of data. Some data requires a high level of security such as utility data. Have provisions been made for security of data? It would be nice in we could let folks know via the Portal the data is available but you need to contact ___________.

Will people also become aware of state agency GIS applications that are available? This is definitely part of what we hope to accomplish.

Sean noted that the Technology Committee was overseeing the GEO Portal project and invited Christopher Kroot to participate in the process.

A question was asked if the Policy Committee had anyone on their team from the MEGIS office; in response Dan will be added to the Policy Committee.

Message from Jim: Jim has had a discussion with Tim Glidden from the State Planning Office and it is unlikely the Governor will be issuing a bond this year that extends beyond BNAS and economic development issues. If the Board is not on the Governor's bond, (should there be one this year) we will have to wait another year; we could revisit the Legislature for a line item in the budget; however Jim will continue working with Tim and carry on as long as we can.

Financial Spreadsheet - Dan

Dan distributed the spreadsheet for the bond expenditures and reviewed with the Board members.

Orthos - Dan

Have received an estimate to complete Tier 2; USGS working to fly and do orthos for Tier 3; Dept. of Homeland Security will be fronting half of the amount to complete the project as they do have a great interest in getting the borders done; NGA (National GeoSpatial-Intelligence Agency) has also offered to provide funds for completion of the orthos project; this would leave approximately $223,000 that the State of Maine would have to raise. We will be getting in touch with state agencies for funding; we could lobby the Legislature for funding to complete the state project; things are looking a little more positive. There is a potential of doing the flying for Tier 3 this spring.

Acquiring Interim Products (original photo scans) - Dan

Dan reported the materials do exist and are in the hands of Photo Science. The Board can purchase the data for the amount of $4,000.00. Dan noted purchasing the data, making it available for access, and doing backups would probably cost approximately 5,000-6,000 dollars. The Board would be acquiring all the preliminary products on all the orthos that have been done and delivered.

Task: Marilyn will talk to Jim about having an electronic vote allowing the Board to spend money from the bond funds remaining to move forward with this process.

It was noted this would be a huge benefit to state and local governments; the photography could be used as a planning tool. What would be the process to get at the photography? Make copies of the imagery and data files and load it on an external hard drive; if the folks do the work themselves there would be no charge from MEGIS. Having this available at MEGIS for towns would save the town money.

Task: Jon was asked by Marilyn to write up a short summary that prefaces a Board vote either electronically (pending Jim's approval) or at the April meeting.

A question was raised if anyone knew how many towns would this benefit; has anyone checked with DOT or other agencies if they could benefit from this data; would municipalities benefit and how?

Jon noted that his company currently has 5 towns they are working with; any town using a consultant to do this work would use the data and save money; other companies like Jon's would use this data; county government could also benefit; could do cost effective mapping.

Parcel Grants - Contracts will go out for signature end of the month.

Publishing Existing Parcel Data - The current parcel data is ready for publishing and to be put up for download. This will be done next week. We will be publishing only the spatial data, no confidential information will be published at this time. Larry will compose a letter to the towns requesting that they "sign off" on the six privacy fields.
The Board needs to look at how they will handle future requests for data?

Task: Marilyn and Dan will work to draft a policy.

Consulting Services - Dan has not received the "draft" report to distribute to the Board for review.

Term Expirations

Tiffaney Leonard, Staff to the President of the Senate, has notified Larry that the President will re-appoint Sean Myers, after which he should be sworn in.

Jess Know, Staff to the Speaker of the House, notified Larry that the Speaker will re-appoint Will Mitchell and Ken Murchison, and appoint a replacement for Jon Giles in April (nomination needs to come from the municipalities governing body).

Need to get a recommendation(s) over to the Governor's Office for the newly set up appointment (replacing MSTF seat) from a state agency administering GIS functions. The GIS Executive Council at their next meeting will discuss this and bring a recommendation to the GeoLibrary Board.

Ken recommended David Sokolich, Public Works Director for Aroostook County , to fill the vacant seat representing counties. The nomination has to come from the Maine County Association to the Governor's Office for appointment.

GIS Executive Council (GIS EC) update

With Liz not being able to attend this meeting, Christopher Kroot, Chair to the GIS EC who was present, was asked to give the update. Christopher talked about the work that the Council is doing in writing up a new GIS strategic plan for the state. The goal is to identify how GIS can fit into the new OIT vision. The GIS Executive Council will focus on:

  • Infrastructure needed to meet the needs of state agencies,
  • Build a relationship with the USM; Christopher also noted the Professor Matthew
  • Bampton from the USM did serve as Co-Chair for the GIS EC,
  • Sharing resources with the University
  • GIS training (a lot of emphasis needs to be directed toward GIS training); work with the USM on training classes
  • Working with ESRI to learn amount merging technologies
  • Looking at vendors to share resources/software/training
  • Looking at other states for model enterprise infrastructure

Following an extensive discussion on how the GIS Executive Council and the GeoLibrary Board could interact, it was agreed that the two entities do need more interaction. State agencies do generate a lot of data that could be put on the portal (realizing the need of confidentiality/security); need to work toward getting the information out there to agencies on sharing data via the GEO Portal; move toward web-based training for the public and municipalities; and need to make sure the two entities are not duplicating tasks/projects, etc.

At the upcoming April GIS Executive Council meeting (April 12 - 1:00 to 4:00 pm; Cross Office Building Room 105) there will be two demos; ESRI and OnPoint. ESRI will demo ArcServer and OnPoint is a software that sits on top of ArcIMS to build applications and no programming is needed. An enterprise license for this produce would cost approximately $20,000; we could provide data and application to the public.

State offer an enterprise umbrella for GIS - Ken

Ken shared a draft letter he put together for communication purposes to bring together, under a state enterprise GIS umbrella, the Regional Planning Councils (RPCs); County Governments , etc.

In building an entity on GIS for the State of Maine , what would the governing body be; we would need to focus on the most efficient. Strategic plans for GIS within the State of Maine should include the GIS Executive Council, Maine GeoLibrary Board, and MEGIS. This would be a key to the success for all these GIS entities.

The technology does exist for a statewide GIS arena; needs coordination and management; the technology is there; the tools are there to make it happen; need to define the objectives and players; need to get the current groups involved in GIS together; GIS needs to be accessible to everybody; there needs to be a clear vision; a common vision that can serve a generic amount of people knowing needs will be different. It was noted that GIS has made a lot of progress within Maine State Government.

In the beginning the GIS Executive Council was established to meet the needs of the state and the Maine GeoLibrary Board was established to meet the needs of the public. Agencies are now developing internet mapping applications that provide spatial and non spatial data accessible by the public; MEGIS is growing and bringing in more people; core needs are not that different.

The Board was set up to foster GIS developing at the local government level for local data development; standards setting is a key charge for the Board not just the data and need to be able to perform data analysis.

Need to focus on web-based GIS activities; the interest is there and we need to start identifying partners; the RPCs are not coordinated right now; need to get a list of the key GIS folks in the RPCs and contacts for County Governments .

What is the vision? What is the list of things to offer? Sharing hosting costs, licensing pools, maintenance fees, etc.

Task: The Board needs to review Ken's draft letter and bring back comments at the April meeting .

Meeting adjourn 12:30 p.m.