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Home October 18, 2006 Board Meeting

Maine Library of Geographic Information Board Meeting
Date: Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Place: Cross Office Building – Conf Room 105

Agenda

  • Approval of the September 20th meeting minutes (attached)
  • Updates on Board Membership - Jim
  • Subcommittee Reports
    • Financial – Jim & Dan
    • Policy & Marketing – Marilyn
    • Technical – Will
      • Status on the GEOPortal – Will
      • Guidelines for Portal Administrator – Marilyn
      • Orthoimagery Project – Larry
      • Parcel Grants - Larry
      • Plan to purchase intermediate products– Dan
    • Appointment of Subcommittee Chairs/members - Jim
    • Status of MOU- Dan
    • GeoLibrary Board bond request to the Legislature; review of funding priorities
    • USGS 50-State Initiative

NEXT SCHEDULED MEETING: Wednesday November 15, 2006 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Burton M. Cross Building, Conference Room 105.

Minutes

Members Present
Jim Page, Chair
Marilyn Lutz, Co-Chair
David Blocher
Will Mitchell
Christopher Kroot
William Hanson (via conference phone)
Liz Hertz (via conference phone)
Gretchen Heldmann (new member representing Municipalities)
Staff
Dan Walters
Larry Harwood
Carmen Fournier
Vistors
Jon Giles, Guest (former member)
Ray Halperin, Guest (former member)

Waiting for a quorum, the Chair opened the meeting with agenda items that did not need to be voted on by the Board.

Former Board Members: Ray Halperin made a recommendation to have the Board issue a "Certificate of Appreciation" to those members who have retired from the Board in recognition of their hard work.

Update on Board Membership:

New members that have been appointed are: Gretchen Heldmann representing Municipalities; Jim Ward representing Municipalities; Nancy Armentrout representing Commissioner of DAFS; Christopher Kroot representing GIS functions of a state department; Ken Honey, representing Counties; Gary Duplisea, representing Public Utilities

Awaiting appointed or re-appointed: Ken Murchison, representing Regional Councils; Dan Coker representing Environmental Interests

Subcommittee Reports

Finance Report: No changes at this time. Jim did explain to the new member(s) present about the 2.3M bond package and the tracking of this money was being kept on a spreadsheet and updated accordingly. The Board is also working to formulate a campaign to get back to the Legislature asking for more bond monies.

Outcome : Jim asked Dan or Larry to mail a copy to new Board members.

Policy/Marketing: Marilyn reported no change at this time.

GeoPortal: Will Mitchell noted the Technical Subcommittee had met and shared these details with the Board:

  • GeoPortal is still under development
  • MEGIS is and has been working with the contractor
  • We do have a list of requirements that have been met and have not been met
  • The overall presentation is not very far along
  • Seeing sort of an erosion of confidence in the vendor
  • Need to get back to the vendor and let them know what the shortcomings are
  • As a "back channel" a vendor has approached us to build a portal at their own expense
  • We need to set up a conference call and flush out the details and see if the Board wants to move in that direction

We need to address these issues with the 'Big Picture" in mind. Scheduling is one big issue but the bigger problem is the product as presented is not what we want; it may become what we want, however, the project is currently a problematic matter.

A payment of $65,000 out of $100,000 has been made to the vendor. For now payments do need to be withheld. We are not getting what we expected. We need to give the vendor a deadline. There is some disagreement on what has been delivered.

It was noted that the process for canceling a contract should involve the AG's office. There needs to be a process in place for documenting, in writing, all discussion in order to allow for a paper trail. There are two aspects to evaluating if the functionality has been delivered: it does the functions but is it usable? Needs to meet the ease of use.

We could check all the boxes concerning requirements and we may still not be satisfied with it. What does the vendor say? The vendor thinks they have delivered and will continue to work with MEGIS to finalize and finish the project.

We need to work with the vendor aggressively; the subcommittee needs to look at the interface; we need a detailed evaluation and make a decision, as a group, if the criteria is met on each functionality. We do have extensive details in writing on evaluating the functions.

Need to let the vendor know the GeoLibrary Board will review the interface - give them a date for this review. At that point we will make a decision to complete the project or cancel.

Outcome: A date of two weeks from October 20 th as a deadline will be given to the vendor.

The Chair noted that, until the review is done and the Board has a position to take we will not bring in another vendor.

A recommendation was made to review the contract itself; we cannot allow ourselves to breach the contract. We need to lay out the contract and involve an AG; evaluate very closely to see where we are. Review the contract against all the performance to date and advise an AG what is going on.

Dan noted it was in nobody's best interest to NOT finish the project. We need to have a reasonable plan on what to do next.

Outcome:

  • 2 weeks complete the evaluation
  • draw up letter with supporting documentation
  • talk with the AG's office to give them a heads up and get direction from them on gathering documentations
  • David Blocher will make arrangements to meet with someone from the AG's office
  • Dan will serve as the Project Manager
  • We need to stay away from any other offers

The Chair, Jim Page noted three points in summation of the discussion: 1) draft a letter for review next meeting, 2) contact the AG's Office, and 3) avoid involving another vendor.

It is important for the evaluation process to have Will Mitchell's name/signature as a member of the Board and as the person leading the Technical Subcommittee on this project.

The meeting with the AG's office should be held before giving the vendor a two weeks deadline.

Orthoimagery Report: Larry did not have much to report; we are still owed 5 batches of imagery; 4 batches were returned to Photo Science by USGS and USGS is still waiting for these batches. A note was made the Photo Science expects a 75% delivery to USGS by end of December, time will tell. It was agreed the Board had zero leverage on this project.

Turnover at USGS has been part of the issue on delaying delivery of orthoimagery. Jim and Larry will keep in touch on this one.

We do have a contract with USGS and they, as well as us, are not happy with this delay. We are loading some additional imagery we have on the website.

What is the basis for the rejection of imagery from USGS? Shadows, DTM formulation; colorization, technically unacceptable and the issue was in the processing.

On a positive note, once the imagery is delivered it will be better than what we have now. Are there any grounds to re-negotiate the cost? No, due to matching funds.

Parcel Grants: Nothing to report at this time; three towns have come in on the new contract; all extended have come in; data is good.

Will asked about the pending issue on the attribute data. Larry is working with William on getting this completed - William will send Larry's the document needed in the next few days.

Ray asked what percentage of coverage was available now. Geographically about 25/30 percent. Do we have any indication of the use of that data? The data is available for download and as data layers. Is there any feedback going back to Liz at SPO from the digital parcel we have been putting on the website? None.

Following a discussion regarding this information being public information and recognizing the information it out there, we have had requests not to publish names and addresses, etc. The Board agreed to have a letter written up asking towns to give us permission to publish private information like names, addresses and phone numbers.

Plan to purchase intermediate products: The contract has been drawn up and sent to the vendor.

Approval of the September 20 th meeting minutes: Liz made a motion to approve the minutes and seconded by Marilyn. The Board voted unanimously to approve the minutes as written.

Membership of Subcommittee: The following Board members volunteered or were assigned to serve on Board subcommittees:

Finance:
Jim Page, Chair
David Blocher
Nancy Armentrout
Ken Honey
Dan Walters

Policy/Marketing
Marilyn Lutz, Chair
Jim Ward
William Hanson
David Blocher
Liz Hertz
Gary Duplisea

Technical
Will Mitchell, Chair
Dan Walters
Christopher Kroot
Marilyn Lutz
Sean Myers
Ken Murchison
Gretchen Heldmann
Dan Coker (not appointed yet)

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): A meeting was held with David Blocher, Dan Walters, David Kirouac and Mary Cloutier . The focus was to spend less time on the preamble and focus on what steps need to be taken; rather than get everything resolved we will do this work to get there.

The MOU has been re-drafted to show that the GIS Executive Committee, Maine GeoLibrary Board and MEGIS will do these things to get these results and the MOU will be revisited and re-written at the end of this year 2006. The MOU will be a short term document that would lead to a longer term of the document.

Outcome: Have the final draft to the Board in November for review.

Christopher reported that the GIS Executive Council was supportive of the MOU noting that some changes had been made and the Council plans to approve for signing at its November meeting. A recommendation was also made to send the MOU to the Agency Information Technology Directors; will be done.

Discussion on visibility of data ownership on Google: It was recommended and agreed to contact Google and let them know to include the Maine GeoLibrary Board as ownership of the data and MEGIS to include others as needed. We need to get the visibility of the Board out there. Both entities should be referenced. The Maine State Library of Geographic Information should be out there.

GeoLibrary Board bond request to the Legislature; review of funding priorities

The Board reviewed the nine (9) orders of priority that was given to the State Planning Office for presentation to the Legislature. Those 9 priorities are:

 

Details Follow

 

Bond Funds

 

Match

 

 

Priority

Project

FY07

FY08

FY07

FY08

NOTES

1

Complete orthophoto project

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tier B

$270,000

 

$270,000

 

Federal Match

 

Tier C

 

$330,000

 

$330,000

Federal Match

 

begin update cycle

 

$250,000

 

$250,000

Likely Federal Match

2

Parcel Grants

$750,000

$750,000

$750,000

$750,000

Municipal Match

3

Conservation Lands Maps

$200,000

$200,000

 

 

 

4

Zoning Maps Grants

$50,000

$50,000

 

 

 

5

Update Statewide Land Cover

 

$100,000

 

 

 

6

DFIRM Production

$300,000

$430,000

$300,000

$430,000

Federal Match

7

Development Tracking

$250,000

 

 

 

 

8

Build Statewide GIS Network

$150,000

$150,000

 

 

 

9

Standards, Conformity, and Upgrades Validation

$100,000

$200,000

 

 

 

 

SUBTOTAL

$2,070,000

$2,460,000

$1,320,000

$1,760,000

 

 

TOTAL

 

$4,530,000

 

$3,080,000

 

 

For more information on the funding report please see the 2005 Annual Report at: http://www.maine.gov/geolib/Annual%20Reports/annualreport2005.htm

A question was asked regarding Priority #8 and #9 as to what they were (see description below).

Priority 8. Building a Statewide GIS Network

The Board will develop a virtual network of GIS nodes linked through common standards such as the Open GIS Consortium (OGC) standards for web holdings. The strategy is to implement a grant program whereby organizations that have GIS holdings make the information available using OGC standards. The grant program would be separated into two tiers.

  • Tier A - Organizations that already have web enabled GIS data holdings would be eligible for grants up to $5000 to make their GIS data holdings OGC compliant and thus viewable through a variety of desktop GIS applications (e.g. ESRI, MapInfo, Autodesk).
  • Tier B - Organizations that have GIS holdings that are not web enabled would be eligible for grants up to $15,000 to implement a web-based GIS server and to provide assistance with making their GIS holdings OGC compliant.

Priority 9. Build Conformity and Validation Tools.

Standards conformity validation applications will allow the State to determine rapidly if the data submitted by any collaborating entity meets the Board standard for that data layer. Current GIS softwares provide very limited validation tools for Quality Assurance/Quality Control of the spatial data and of the related attribute information. Consequently, GIS users, especially state governments, traditionally invest a large amount of time attempting to evaluate the quality of data. Validation tools automate this process, saving staff time and scarce funding. Typically in validation programs, data sets are auto-scanned for spatial errors and attributes outside set parameters; simply put to see if anything "sticks out". If the data passes the conformity test, then it can move forward in the process for eventual inclusion into the GeoLibrary. If the data does not pass, it would be returned to the supplier, perhaps with a report card, so that its deficiencies can be addressed. While automated tools will be important, there will also be a need for accompanying manual quality assurance/quality control procedures.

An extensive discussion of the bonding funding included the following comments:

We need to speak to the intent and get more data online, linked and accessible (create nodes). Need to focus on data being compliant; may need to revisit the language for 8 and 9 and move #8 to the top. A comment was also made to move #9 to the top of the priority list. Data needs to be up to par.

A different perspective for moving 8 and 9 further up the list would be to give some quick hitters; the Board would be in a position to get funding for some quick hitters to move stuff out the door.

Liz noted that layers are a critical and important to the work being done by agencies; layers need to be up toward the top as well; layers are expensive to produce; monies would be matched; funding go to state needs.

It was felt that if none of this money happened, land cover would get done as many programs in the state are using land cover. Which ones won't get done if there is no money?

The goals should be statewide (orthoimagery, parcel grants, conservation lands). To get voluntary submission of parcel data is there another way for incentives? We could institute round 3 of the parcel grants and just do rapid grants. There is data sitting there that needs to be cleaned up and submitted.

If a town already has digital parcel data - why would they care to put this data on the state portal? Many towns do not have the hosting capability.

Task: Dan will check the funding on the orthophoto project Tier b and Tier C to have the funding picked up by USGS, Homeland Security and IBC.

What about funding to follow up on the County project - could parcel identification system tie in with the counties; what about identification of conservations records; could the system be modified to incorporate that information; this form of information be part of the title documents.

It was recommended to put a "Post It Note" on the side for the Board to take this up as a policy declaration later; the Board needs to adjust the paper work and take care of this problem; it might require a legislative act; it may not require any money.

Could this type of information be included in deeds? Could there be a mandate the tax number be included in deeds?

This is a starting piece for information management. This needs to be a sidebar; what would be the benefits or not be; get this over to the Legislature; could be substantial benefits. Write up a grant; this could be a future project for the Board; get standards in place for deed writing.

Parcel ID Reform: Dan will look for money to support this.

Could the title for #8 be changed to Expand Statewide GIS Network?

It was noted that 10 percent of bonding monies could be used for administering the bond. In calculating the GeoLibrary Board's bond request, was this 10 percent added to the funding request? Can the 10 percent come out of the figures we currently have?

It is important to look at MEGIS as they are doing the operational work for these things; a lot of people that have to do a lot of work.

We have a November timeframe to get back to the State Planning Office with a final report.

Regarding #7 Development Tracking - what will the money go for? Need other layers to be completed. A full report done by the SPO would be the best source for this information. A goal would be to start putting together the ability for development tracking. It was noted that development tracking is a high priority for the State Planning Office; we are not sure how to do it and get it done; we need to track where development is happening.

We could move 5 and 7 down and 8 and 9 up; parcel data needs to be standardized, needs to conform, needs to be validated and tracked. We are not done with the Portal and moving #8 up could bring about an issue.

Definition of #9: What does it look like out in the real world? Is it a person, do we need a new application, do we need a tool? Need to develop standards and build tools. We could hire somebody other than MEGIS. Bond money cannot be used to staff positions; we can build data or buy data with bond money.

The context of #9 would work to enable the data that is presented in the GeoPortal; data the GeoLibrary is funding needs to conform to standards and be consistent; need to get the data assimilated and integrated.

The Board, following an extensive discussion, moved forward with setting up priority lists and changing the priority order. Jim noted that a positive action requires 7 votes and the Chair abstains unless of a tie or to acquire the 7 votes.

Priority Lists

 

A

B

C

D

E

F

1

9

1

1

1

1

2

1

2

2

2

2

9

2

9

9

9

9

3

 

3

8

8

8

4

 

4

3

3

5

5

 

8

4

6

3

6

 

5

5

5

6

7

 

6

6

4

4

8

 

7

7

7

7

 

Comments:

  • DFIRM being so low on the chart; would benefit the state to be higher on the chart; this has driven a lot of GIS data.
  • Issue with Land Trust sharing their data publicly
  • We need to think about the priorities for the folks who will be voting on this
  • There is more interest in floodplain maps being updated; updating these maps would have benefit and would leverage other data
  • There are no state standards for parcel grants
  • A town submits parcel data under the grant - how is the data maintained moving forward? Not maintained - towns do not have to send us updates
  • DFIRM - take to the next level of accuracy = Flood Insurance Plan Updates
  • Need to consider funding vs. match funding on the priority setting

The Board was encouraged to take positive action with a consensus in voting for the Board's priority list for bond funding.

Jim called for a straw poll for the 6 (A-F) priority listings.

A = no interest, dead

B = no interest, dead

C = no interest, dead

D = no interest, dead

E = 2 votes

F = 5 votes

A motion was made by Christopher to adopt the priority listing under the letter F and seconded by Will. The Board members voted unanimously to accept the F priority listing.

In closing the meeting, Jim Page (Board Chair) noted that Carmen Fournier was retiring and would no longer be attending the Board meetings and taking the notes. He asked the Board that the minutes record a great appreciation for all the work Carmen has done and accomplished on behalf of the Board, so done.

Special Note : I have enjoyed working with everyone on the Board. I have learned more than I ever knew about GIS and even what GIS was (data layers, parcel grants, orthoimagery, etc.). I do appreciate the opportunity given me to improve my note taking skills by serving the Board in this manner. The opportunity to design the Board's website also helped me to improve my skills in this arena. I wish the Board success in getting bond funding to allow them to move forward in the important work they have been assigned by the Legislature to do. Good Luck, Carmen Fournier