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Home > Meetings > 2008 Meetings > December 17, 2008

December 17, 2008 Meeting Minutes and Agenda


1. Approval of the November 20th meeting minutes – Chair

2. Integrated Land Records Information System – Rich Sutton

3. Strategic Plan – Bruce Oswald

4. CAP grants

5. Subcommittee Reports

• Financial – Larry Harwood
• Policy & Marketing – Marilyn Lutz

Submission of Data Sets document
Supporting the bond initiative
Hall of Flags promotion January 21st

• Technical

Status of the GeoPortal – Mike Smith

Meeting Minutes

Board Members in Attendance

Nancy Armentrout
Michael Smith
Robert Marvinney
Marilyn Lutz (by phone)
Greg Copeland (by phone)
Gretchen Heldmann (by phone)
Kenneth Murchison (by phone)
Paul Hoffman (by phone)
Daniel Coker (by phone)
Greg Davis, in process of appointment to represent Utility Interests (by phone)
Stu Rich
Aimee Dubois
Christopher Kroot
Jon Giles (by phone)


Larry Harwood


Jim Page, CEO, James W. Sewall Co. ( by phone)
Vinton Valentine, University of Southern Maine (USM) & MEGUG
Dan Walters, US Geological Survey (USGS) & Maine GIS Users Group ( MEGUG )
Bruce Oswald, James W. Sewall Co (JWS) Project Team

The meeting was called to order at 10:04 by Staff Larry Harwood. There was brief discussion of letting Dan Coker chair the meeting by phone or electing an acting chair of those present. Michael Smith proposed that under the circumstances (winter storm, 6 members physically present, no critical votes) Larry would moderate the meeting as Staff. This was informally assented to by voice vote.

1. Approval of the November 20th , 2008 meeting minutes

This item was tabled to the January meeting.

2. Integrated Land Records Information System

Due to the weather and because all concerned were not ready yet, Rich Sutton of the JWS Project Team had been excused by the Project Committee. This item was tabled to the January meeting.

3. Strategic Plan

Bruce Oswald gave his presentation of the final draft of the Strategic GIS Plan which is given here in outline form with explanations, comments, questions and nswers.

Task 1 – Update and Alignment

  1. Update & enhance the 2002 Strategic Plan:
    • Review & document activities recommended in the 2002 Strategic Plan.
    • Update the overall strategic plan/approach.
    • Bring it into closer alignment with NSGIC Fifty States Coordination Criteria
  2. Focus on:
    • Coordination with local governments, academia, private sector.
    • Developing sustainable funding sources.
    • Cultivating political champions.

Strategic Planning Process

For the benefit of the newer Board members, Bruce gave a detailed description of the process. The following is a text description of his supporting graphic:



Board kickoff meeting

Presentation Provided

Review 2002 Strategic Plan
Review of NSGIC criteria

Reports Issued

Various Presentations to Groups

Presentations Provided

Review of Current State

Report Issued

Create Content for Website

Content Created for Viewing & Download

Hold Forums: Auburn, Augusta,
Bangor, South Portland

Reports Issued

Conduct Stakeholder Meetings

Reports Issued

On-line Survey

Reports Issued

Establish List Serve

List Serve Created & Populated

Analysis of Results

Report Issued

Presentation of Issues & Gaps
Confirm with Board

Report & Presentation to Board

Presentation of Potential Solutions
Confirm with Board

Report & Presentation to Board

1st Draft Strategic Plan Report & Presentation to Board
Input from Public & Board

Report to Public for Comment

2nd Draft Strategic Plan

Report & Presentation to Board
Final Strategic Plan Report & Presentation to Board

Document – Two Sections

Strategic Plan
  1. Executive Summary
  2. Strategic Planning Methodology
  3. GeoLibrary Mission, Vision, and Strategic Focus
  4. Current Situation
  5. Programmatic Goals & Objectives and Road Map Strategies
  6. Implementation Program
  7. Future

This is the essential report, the ‘Book” of about 55 pages.

A. 2002 Strategic Plan Five Pillar Update
B. Maine GeoSpatial Stakeholder Identified Coordination Gaps
C. 2007 Maine GeoLibrary Priorities and Initiatives
D. Overall Issues & Action Items
E. Communications Plan
F. Using Work Groups Collaboratively
G. Project Plan
H. Budget for Strategic Plan
I. Developing Champions
J. Sustainable Funding
K. SWOT Analysis*
L. On-Line Survey
M. Regional Forum Reports
N. Meetings with Federal Govt. Representatives
O. NSGIC** Coordinating Criteria
P. Opening Board Questions
Q. 2008 Maine Maturity Assessment
R. Participation & Stakeholders

* A strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project. **National States Geographic Information Council, an organization committed to efficient and effective government through prudent adoption of geospatial information technologies.

This is a considerable amount of reference information, about 180 pages.

Executive Summary

Bruce read out selected parts of the Executive Summary to give some idea of its content. Parts of the Summary could be described as the elevator speech, a short and plain language explanation of the Plan that can be, at least in theory, expounded in the time of an elevator ride.

Mission, Vision and Strategic Focus

      • The Maine GeoLibrary Board has clearly defined its mission and vision as well as a strategic focus statement.
      • Collectively, the Board’s mission, vision and strategic focus statements provide a strong foundation for their strategic plan.

Current Situation

  • Vision vs. Current Status
  • NSGIC Coordinating Criteria vs. Current Status
  • Status of 2002 Strategic Plan “Five Pillar” initiatives
  • Inventory of Existing Efforts, Infrastructure, Sustainability Assessment
  • SWOT Analysis

The current situation for GIS in Maine would be “… at a critical juncture.. and in need of financial resources”

Lessons Learned

  1. Most users feel that access to updated State and local geospatial data is one of the major needs that must be addressed.
  2. Geospatial data creation and maintenance is a need that Maine’s geospatial community looks to the GeoLibrary to provide.
  3. This study illustrated a significant need for other geospatial coordination activities across the State.

These were the three key items needing coordination by the GeoLibrary.

What Does the Board Need to Do?

  1. Increase its coordination activities and secure additional help to do that.
  2. Improve its name recognition across the State and attract champions and funding to complete these important initiatives.
  3. Demonstrate how it is making a significant and measurable difference for Maine.
  4. Document its accomplishments and plans for going forward.
  5. Demonstrate to key leaders in Maine how these plans will make a difference for the State and why they should be funded.
  6. Implement the plans quickly and effectively.

It is vital to have plans in place, ready to be proposed at the right opportunity. It is also going to be necessary to have one full time person or one part time extremely capable person working on the above.

How Can the Board Do It?

  • Implement the GeoPortal.
  • Hire a statewide GIS Coordinator.
  • Establish work groups.
  • Develop a set of policies for: sharing; providing access to public and private geospatial data; and notification on new and updated data.
  • Implement the communications plan.
  • Establish a coordinated campaign to promote the use of GIS.
  • Perform an annual inventory of geospatial data across the state.
  • Develop simple-to-use web service templates for municipalities to use through the GeoPortal.
  • Implement an integrated land records information system.
  • Create and update statewide geospatial data: orthoimagery, parcel, unified roads, and elevation data.

The following chart depicts how the Geolibrary could work with a full time GIS Coordinator.

Work Group Strategy

  • Develop a pool of candidates provided by Board, Local/State Officials, MEGUG, etc.
  • Good Work Group Leaders
    • Recognized & respected experts as leaders of Work Groups.
    • Leaders w/leadership & people skills.
    • “Invite” participants.
  • Select individuals to have equal representation on committees both in terms of public/private, state/local governments, and geography.
  • Involve affected parties, experts, and leaders.

Work Group Tactics

  • Benevolent dictatorship model.
  • Each Work Group given objectives.
  • Importance of implementable results made clear.
  • Get Attention!
    • Specific deliverables outlined.
    • Detailed schedules (limited time frames) provided (“chunked down” the projects).
  • Build momentum:
    • LHF ( low hanging fruit )
    • Continuous victories/deliverables.
  • Active facilitation (don’t leave alone).
  • Provide non-partisan leadership.

Developing Champions

  • The Sewall Team recommends that the Board consider:
    • “Cultivating” multiple champions in different sectors.
    • The process of identifying and developing is not just a one-time effort.
    • Include champions in the annual planning session.
  • A number of individuals were identified as potential champions through the statewide on-line survey.
  • Working with the Project Team, the following steps have been determined:
    • Conduct a focus group with potential champions listed in the on-line survey to identify potential champions and get lead-ins for introductions.
    • Determine “hot buttons/issues.”
      • Identify issues that are important to them
      • List of those issues the GIS can clearly assist in resolving should then be noted
    • Prioritize the list of champions based on their influence & the ability of GIS to resolve their issues.
    • Assign appropriate Board member(s) to meet with each potential champion and gain their support.
    • Develop (and Nurture) Champions
      • Be prepared to assist champions in locating the GIS resources needed to achieve their goals.
      • Assign a “point person” for each champion to insure that action items are completed quickly and effectively.
      • Provide regular communication with each champion regarding providing assistance on Board initiatives.
      • Include champions in annual planning process.

Sustainable Funding

  • Establish a protocol for submitting a budget items.
    This item was particularly stressed, especially the difference between ‘capital expenditures’ and ‘operational costs’.
  • Put the budget together carefully.
    • Keep annual expenditures fairly level.
    • Look to acquire funds from multiple sources.
  • Develop a strategy up front for getting budget approval.
    • Don’t assume everyone will understand and be supportive of the GeoLibrary’s need for funding. Develop a practical strategy.
    • Identify roles and people to contact/solicit.
    • Meet with GeoLibrary’s champions.
      • Where appropriate, obtain their advice on the best approach to sell the budget.
    • Put together a plan outlining what steps are to be taken, when they will be done and who will execute them.
    • Implement the plan and track the progress.
  • Selling the Budget
    • Plan how to sell each of the items in the budget.
      • Keep the message simple and non-technical. Clearly state what problems the proposed application, data project or new service will solve for the citizens of Maine.
      • Where possible, include business cases, ROI (return on investment) measures, proofs, and defensible arguments in making the case for sustained funding.
      • Where practical, prepare a short demo to use in budget presentations.
    • Create one pager on why each of these items is required.
  • Post Evaluation
    • Include that information in your annual planning session and make the appropriate adjustments to your plans.
    • Document what was effective and where improvements in the process were needed for the following year.


Q: What does the legislation say about Dept. Administration & Financial Services support?
A: It is very vague. It merely says that DAFS will provide “staff support”.

Q: Has fee for services been used anywhere?
A: It is used in Michigan but it is not a very successful model for funding.

Proposed Budget

FY 09
FY 10
FY 11
FY 12
FY 13
Program Costs              
Parcel Grant Program*  
Integrated Land Records Program*  
Statewide Digital Orthoimagery Program  
High Resolution Elevation Data    
Development of Municipal Service Applications  
Zoning Map Grants  
Land Cover Updating    
Conservation Land Maps  
Operating Costs              
MEGIS Operating Costs
Statewide GIS Coordinator
Parcel & Data Assistant  

* Note - These numbers need to be coordinated with the final figures from the ILRIS Plan.

“MEGIS Operating Costs” includes all expenditures by OIT. The Coordinator and Data Assistant are subject to change as better information becomes available.


Q: Why is this out to 5 years?
A: It was just the way it was given to us; no special reason.

Q: The totals are unnerving. Can we eliminate them?
A: Of course if you want. I also need exact figures from Mike Smith on the position costs – what the state charges them out at.

Measuring Success

  • Establish goals up front for things like the:
    • Number of geospatial data sets in portal.
    • Number of towns using the Portal templates.
    • Number of folks trained on the portal.
    • Number of hits on the portal.
    • Number of presentations made to different conferences, legislators, legislative committees, and other groups.
    • Number of folks on the List Serve.
    • Number of deliverables from committees & work groups.
  • After 9 months, perform an independent review of the program’s success.
    • Conduct an on-line survey to measure satisfaction and define changing needs.
    • Conduct 3-4 listening sessions in different geographic regions of the State.
    • Analyze the results from the metrics, survey and listening sessions.

Plan for Improvement Annually

  • Use that information as the basis for an annual 1-day Board planning session to review progress and examine ways for improvement.
  • Determine what, if any, modifications in the plan are needed and establish goals/ objectives/deliverables for next 12 months.
  • Report back to the Maine geospatial community on the findings and how they will be used to shape its actions.

Assuming NO New Funds

  • Position the Board for success!
    • Establish the Work Groups.
    • Hire a part-time project manager or assign individuals from the Board to manage each Work Group
    • Complete the GeoPortal.
    • Reprioritize and undertake all no/low cost solutions.
    • Implement the Communications Plan.
    • Establish a coordinated GIS promotion campaign.
    • Develop policies for sharing and providing access to geospatial data.
    • Perform an annual inventory of geospatial data.
    • Develop simple-to-use web service templates for municipalities to use through the GeoPortal.
    • Document successes.
    • Move forward with cultivating champions.
    • Move forward with annual budgeting.

In the full report, Appendix D contains a long list of things that can be done with no additional funding. Cited in particular were improving communications, setting policies, acquiring champions and preparing budgets, especially budget ‘templates’. The GeoPortal will be extremely important in the future as the ‘face’ of the GeoLibrary and in the promotion of funding. This concluded the presentation.


Q: Don’t the priority initiatives need funding?
A: Not all of them. We can make a point of that in the final report.
Comment: The idea of taking the ‘low hanging fruit’ is very good. We need to always keep that in mind, funding or no funding.

Q: When can we expect the final bill from the Sewall Team? We have to journal over some of the bond funds to pay for it.
A: Probably as soon as you wish. We’ll get back to you on that.

Q: Can you draft an extract of the Executive Summary for our upcoming Maine GIS Day promotion?
A: Yes, I can pull out a one pager from the summary, the introduction and the recommendations. It will be generic enough to use in any future promotions.
Comment: That is the sort of thing we need more of ‘make once ..use many times’.

Nancy Armentrout announced that the Project Committee would accept comments from the Board for two weeks. After that time the draft report would be put out for public comment.

Hall of Flags Maine GIS Day

The Board wished to discuss this item at this time. Previously the Hall of Flags in the State House had been the site of several displays for GIS Day on November 19th. Although the displays were well done visitors were minimal and the legislature was not in session. At the time it was thought another promotion could be done on the January 21st meeting date of the Board. The Hall has been reserved for January 21st from 9:00 to 2:00.

Dan Walters suggested that January 21st could be celebrated as the State Of Maine GIS Day and that MEGUG would strongly support this. The idea had unanimous support. It was decided to move the regular Board meeting on the 21st to 2:00 to 4:00 PM in the same location – room 105, Cross Office Building. Anyone wishing to participate in the displays and promotions should coordinate with Larry Harwood or Bridgit Kirouac at OIT.

4. CAP Grants

Mike Smith is coordinating the grant effort with the assistance of Dan Walters, USGS liaison. The grants and their volunteers are as follows:

  • Category 1 - Marilyn Lutz and Gretchen Heldmann
  • Category 6 - Jon Giles and Greg Copeland
  • Category 7 - Nancy Armentrout, Paul Hoffman, Ken Murchison, Steve Weed (Bar Harbor Assessor) and Diane Godin (Somerset Register of Deeds)

The CAT 1 grant application is nearly ready. The CAT 6 grant application is in progress. There was some discussion of the practicability of applying for the CAT 7 grant. It was decided to try anyway. Rich Sutton will forward the ILRIS research document and Nancy Armentrout will set up conference calls.

There was discussion of letters of support for the applications. Ken Murchison and Gretchen Heldmann had cooperated on a generic letter of support to be filled out by whomever. It was decided to seek as many individual letters of support as possible from varied sources especially the towns.

5. Subcommittee Reports

Status of the GeoPortal

Christopher Kroot gave a brief report on development of the portal . The differences between ESRI GIS Portal Toolkit version 9.2 and 9.3 are so significant that a re-thinking of the portal development has become necessary. The new version lacks features that had been counted on for the portal’s functions. The plan is to examine open source metadata search tools of which there are some and open source mapping tools which are comparatively plentiful. A decision as to how to proceed will be made by January 1st, 2009.

There was a short but detailed technical discussion by those knowledgeable in the matter. New Board member Stu Rich proved to be well versed in the software issues involving the portal. He was summarily drafted to work with the Technical Committee on the project.

Q: Have we received a bill yet from USM?
A: No, there is some question yet as to exactly what they will be doing for us so no bill as yet.

Q: Has the GOS (GeoSpatial One-Stop) site been upgraded to this version 9.3? Have they solved the problems?
A: As of today at least, GOS is still using the 9.2 version. That is an existing and widely used service so they must remain compatible.

There were no further reports to make.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:16 pm