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Home > Meetings > 2007 Meetings > November 28, 2007

November 28, 2007 Meeting Minutes and Agenda


Approval of the Oct. 17th  meeting minutes – Chair

Presentation on Marine GIS – Seth Barker, DMR

Subcommittee Reports
  • Financial – Larry Harwood
  • Policy & Marketing – Marilyn Lutz
  • MOU – Dave Blocher
  • InforME & OIT
  • Technical
  • Orthoimagery Project /Parcel grants – Larry Harwood
  • GEOPortal next direction – Christopher Kroot

CAT 3 Grant Status – Nancy Armentrout

Annual Report – Chair

Additional CAP Grant Possibilities - Group


William Hanson, Chair
Dan Coker, Co-Chair
James Page
Marilyn Lutz
Gretchen Heldmann
Elizabeth Hertz
Christopher Kroot
Nancy Armentrout
Ken Murchison (by phone)

Larry Harwood

Dale Rowley, nominated to represent counties
Dan Walters, US Geological Survey
David McKittrick, DeLorme
Don Garrold, Town of Searsport
David Kirouac, Office Information Technology ( OIT )
Seth Barker, Dept. Marine Resources
Erin Hatchins, InforME
Todd Tolhurst, InforME

The meeting was called to order at 10:08

1. Approval of the Oct. 17th,  2007  meeting minutes
The Chair entertained a motion to approve the minutes. One change was made; Marilyn Lutz and Dan Coker were added to the listing for the Technical Committee. Ken Murchison moved to approve the minutes as amended. Marilyn Lutz  seconded. The Board voted unanimously in favor. The motion carried. ( Note: unless otherwise indicated the Chair abstains from all votes )

2. Presentation on Marine GIS
Seth Barker opened his presentation by asking rhetorically what exists for GIS data below the mean high watermark, the answer being not nearly as much as on the land side. Although over the past ten years the amount of marine GIS data, especially coastal as opposed to ocean data, has increased it is an opportune time to introduce this area to the Board.

There have been some recent Maine coastal GIS studies. The Coastal Land Trusts in Maine  ( MCPI ) in 2005, the County GIS Study Report in 2006 ( which the Geolibrary partly funded ) the Maine Marine GIS Needs assessment also in 2006 and the Bay Management Study in 2007 which led to a number of recommendations to the Land and Water Resources Council. The Maine Marine GIS Needs Assessment proposed seven categories for improvement that would not require much investment:
•    Financial assistance
•    Shared Planning
•    Better data distribution
•    Data and metadata standards
•    Outreach and education
•    Marine data
•    Hardware, software and applications

The Bay Management Study data and information section had two very interesting points. First there is not sufficient “ecological or social data at a bay level to manage intelligently.” State government needs to conduct research, compile existing data and develop a plan. Second, it developed that GIS maps were “one of the most highly prized outcomes” of the Bay Management projects. Local governments and organizations lacked basic hardware, software and experienced personnel. The state should then support GIS map development perhaps by supporting regional community GIS centers. Expectedly an additional goal was an increase in the amount and the diversity of funding sources. In the case of “near shore data and information” up to $3M over a 5 year period.

Next the Gulf of Maine ( GOM ) regional initiatives were outlined:
•    GOM Ocean Data Partnerships
•    USGS Woods Hole IMS
•    GOM Census of Marine Life
•    GOM Mapping Initiative ( GOMMI )
The GOM Ocean Data Partnership has an impressive list of 23 participants including the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute which has taken a leading role in the GOM initiatives. The GOMMI website page was displayed and described especially areas bathymetrically mapped by advanced sonar techniques in which the Canadians have taken the lead.

Turning to national initiatives,  the FGDC Marine and Coastal Spatial Data Subcommittee was highlighted. During federal fiscal 2007 and 2008 there subcommittee will focus on these items:
1. Designing and adding substantive content to the E-Government Geospatial One-Stop Project, and participating in the Geospatial Line of Business Initiative.
2. External coordination and outreach.
3. Developing the National Shoreline Data Content Standard and enhanced access to shoreline data.
4. Advancing the bathymetry framework theme.
5. Supporting the Marine Boundary Working Group (MBWG) activities.

There was a description and display of the various oceanic administrative boundaries, i.e. “three mile limit”, “12-mile limit”, state & federal submerged lands, ect. In conclusion “ Are there roles for the Geolibrary?” As a suggestion Seth displayed again the “big seven” points:
•    Financial assistance
•    Shared Planning
•    Better data distribution
•    Data and metadata standards
•    Outreach and education
•    Marine data
•    Hardware, software and applications

Q. What is the status of ownership of sub tidal land?
A. It is complex but ownership does extend beyond the MHW. The final slide in presentation gives an overview of this.

Q. Is DMR interested in parcel ownership data?
A. Yes, it is very useful to the people dealing with shellfish potential pollution areas.

Q. What scale better than 1:24,000 would be useful to DMR.
A. Perhaps 1:12,000 for some data but more important is updating and correcting existing data, especially the coastline changes. We might be able to use the new orthoimagery for some of that.

Q. What is your highest priority data set?
A. Probably high resolution bathymetry. The latest sonar equipment called multibeam can also indicate habitat data.

Q. Do you think the National Map can be persuaded to extend into the ocean?
A. Now it stops at the MHW but there is an inter-agency group working on that conceptually.

3. Subcommittee Reports

There was no change to the financial sheet from last time.

Policy & Marketing
The MOU between MLGIB and OIT was tabled to the next meeting. 

Two representatives of InforME were present to give short report on the GIS aspect of the recently awarded contract. The current contract does in fact contain reference to a GIS component for “” but nothing was specified. InforME may or may not become involved in the implementation of the GeoPortal . They have added some mapping applications to the state network but they are particularly looking for projects that generate income by providing a new service.
Q. Could the GeoPortal have its own frame layout if on the state system?
A. Perhaps, certainly the subsequent pages could be individualized.

Orthoimagery & Parcel Grants
There was nothing new to report on the orthoimagery. Parcel data from the towns of Searsport and Winslow have come in and are in the QAQC process.

The Board took this opportunity to discuss the scanned negatives from which the orthoimagery was generated. These are about 2.3 tera worth of imagery originally purchased through OIT by a consortium of private sector companies for their own use and stored by MEGIS but not made publicly available. The original idea was that future users would be charged a fee but the details had never been discussed. After a short discussion it was agreed to instruct staff to make these images available to anyone wanting them free of charge but the user will have to do their own work of finding and downloading imagery. No motion was thought necessary as long as this policy will apply to this data set only and will not be construed as a general policy.

Status on GeoPortal
Christopher Kroot gave a very comprehensive report, supported by a 4 page handout, on progress with the new approach to the GeoPortal. What follows is a summation.

The hardware and software selection issues are essentially solved. Two Department Environmental Protection ( DEP ) servers have been earmarked for use, one for applications and one for database. These now have all the required software in the appropriate versions loaded on them ( viz:  ArcIMS, ArcSDE, Oracle, Solaris, Apache tomcat, ect. )

The Chief Information Officer ( CIO ), Dick Thompson, has agreed to let Christopher and Mike Smith ( both are from DEP ) do the initial installation of the ESRI Geoportal Toolkit ( GPT ). They have already configured GPT “out of the box” in a basic but functional state. This includes a base map the configuration of which needs to be discussed by the Technical Committee and a gazetteer which works on the USGS GNIS  data. This was demonstrated by Christopher at the last Board meeting.

A conference call is scheduled for this Friday ( 11/30/2007) to include the Technical Committee, the state CIO and CTO ( Chief Technical Officer Greg McNeal ) and other OIT staff and Board members. The object will be to determine where the GeoPortal can reside and who will administer it. There is also the question of how to pay the on-going costs of maintenance and administration.

Christopher noted that one alternative to hosting the portal at OIT would be to host it in the Research Computing Group ( RCG ) at the University of Southern Maine ( USM ). USM has excellent facilities and has already expressed interest in hosting this application. They can store any amount of vector data but probably not imagery. In addition USM receives a number of grants for community outreach projects and these would dovetail nicely with the GeoPortal.

A proposed addition to the GeoPortal was an open source software called MapServer from the University of Minnesota. Most data do not exist in a form that allows them to be readily viewed by a user with an internet browser only. Basically MapServer is able to make GIS data of all types viewable on a standard browser somewhat like existing Internet Mapping Sites, ( i.e. the MEGIS aerial photo viewer.)

The ensuing discussion covered much ground. The more salient points are listed here in outline.
•    The online services provided by the portal are going to increase and there is no operational budget from the Geolibrary.
•    The MEGIS data catalog might be replaced by the GeoPortal if the “clip-zip-ship” function was included.
•    Imagery storage in Oracle is very expensive. Alternatives to that could save potentially hundreds of thousands.
•    It is very unlikely that any part of the application could be hosted on InforME servers.
•    OIT / MEGIS will always take care of state agency data and metadata; what is needed are “regional stewards” of non-agency data.
•    USGS funding is always a good possibility, although not immediately ( the next grant applications are  Dec. 18th ). Funding would be more likely if a portal were actually up and running.
•    There is still $20,000 to spend on the portal as voted last meeting. The cost of the proposed operation will be about $14,000.

The summation of the discussion was that the Board wanted the GeoPortal running as soon as possible. If need be, this could be in a very basic form, lacking extra features discussed ( i.e. clip-zip-ship, MapServer ). The charge to the Technical Committee was to 1) determine the location and maintenance arrangements for the servers and technical equipage needed to run the GeoPortal and 2) get the portal running and branded as quickly as possible at a basic level of service.

Gretchen Heldmann handed out a sheet showing her design for the GeoPortal front page. Although a rough sketch, the basic idea was well received. Some professional artistic help was offered. The final design should be ready mid December.

4. CAT 3 Grant Status
Nancy Armentrout reported that two proposals had been received, one from the James W. Sewall Co. and Applied Geographics. The review team will begin with a conference call on Friday ( Nov. 30th ) to set criteria for the review. This will be followed by a sit-down meeting as soon as possible top grade the proposals.

An extension on the contract will definitely be needed. There was some discussion of how much additional time to ask for. The time suggested ranged from 6 months to a year. It was decided to compromise on a 9 month extension. Staff was instructed to ask for a 9 month extension from the USGS.

5. Annual Report
The main points of the yearly report were briefly discussed. The report for 2007 will once again try to put the need for funding before the legislature. Members of the Board suggested that the parcel data / land records initiative in the CAT 3 grant be given strong emphasis in the report. The Chair and staff will take the first cut at updating the 2006 report with technical data and new numbers. Then additional comments and critiques will be solicited form the full Board.
The meeting adjourned at 12:28 PM.

The next scheduled meeting will be Wednesday, December 19th from 10:00 to 12:30 in room 105 of the Cross ( state ) Office Building.