January 16, 2008 Meeting Minutes and Agenda
- University of
- Financial – Larry Harwood
- Policy & Marketing – Marilyn
- Orthoimagery Project /Parcel grants – Larry
- Status on the GEOPortal – Christopher Kroot
CAT 3 grant – Nancy Aremtrout
Geolibrary Yearly Report - Board
William Hanson, Chair
Dan Coker, Co-Chair
Ken Murchison (by phone)
Richard Thompson, Chief Information Officer
Tom Wood, University of Southern Maine ( USM )
Glen Wilson, University of Southern Maine ( USM )
Dan Walters, US Geological Survey ( USGS )
Mike Smith, Office Information Technology ( OIT )
Carl Nylen, Environmental Systems Research Institute ( ESRI )
The meeting was called to order at 10:06 a.m.
2. Geoportal Hosting
University of Southern Maine
USM has proposed to collaborate with the Geolibrary on the initial
build and implementation of the Geolibrary Portal. Due to time
constraints the Chair moved the USM presentation to the first
Tom Wood, Director of Operations - Research Administration, opened with
some general comments. USM is always looking for partners and external
funding sources to make its programs more cost effective. They are also
well versed in applying for grants and have a good record of awards as
a percentage of applications. They are committed to open source format
applications wherever possible. They use research as, among many other
things, a means to optimize uses of existing and proposed applications.
Glenn Wilson, Director of Research Computing Group, gave the technical
presentation. This was fairly extensive and for the purposes of the
minutes is best described in outline.
An Overview of the Research Computing Group
1. Research and Development
- Environmental Science
- Marine Informatics
- Public Health
2. Information Technology Support
- Environmental Toxicology Lab – “MCTEH”
- Aquatic Systems Group – “ASG”
- GIS lab
- MDEP Stormwater Project – “ThinkBlue”
3. Education and Training
- Environmental Education Initiative
- Research Experience for Undergraduates Support
The RCG Mission
- Create and pursue basic and applied information science
research, development, and commercialization initiatives
- Provide high level, advanced, specialized technology
consulting, collaboration, and support for research and development at
USM and beyond
- Develop, administer, and deliver technology and computer
related education and training programs
RCG’s interest in and support for GIS at USM
- Funds licenses, technical support and development for
- Designs and maintains systems, servers, archiving, and
backup for USM-GIS
- Funds GIS Laboratory Director’s Salary
- Supports development of open-source solutions for USM’s GIS
- Supports GIS innovation in departments beyond USM-GIS
- USM GIS group synergies.
Dr. Wilson listed USM faculty members using GIS, institutions
partnering with USM in GIS enterprises and linkages between USM and
other Maine based GIS groups.
The RCG and MLGI shared objectives
- Develop State-of-the-Art Geospatial Data Structures
- Develop Customized and Optimized web Delivery Solutions for
Complex and Specialized Data Sets
- Disseminate Data and Solutions to the Widest Possible
- Support Innovation in Education, Outreach, and Community
- Develop and Support Technology Infrastructure in Maine
RCG’s seeking external funding.
- National Science Foundation (NSF)
- Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research
(EPSCoR) including NSF and NASA
- National Institutes for Health (NIH)
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
At this point Tom Wood took over to conclude with the financial part of
RCG’s business practices
- 1989 Cooperative Agreement Established by Governor and
- M.S.R.A. Title 5 – Special Status of Qualified Cooperative
- USM governed by OMB Circulars.
- Monthly reporting and reconciliation.
- Annual volume of Cooperative Agreements with Maine State
Agencies: 150 to 200 agreements and > $13 Million.
RCG’s financial structure
- Core enabling funding – Research and Development Funds
(Restricted funds for Research, Development, and Commercialization)
from the Maine Economic Improvement Fund (MEIF).
- University faculty funded by the University.
- Externally funded programs with sponsors and cooperating
In conclusion, can the Research Computing Group help create
Discussion & Questions
Some Board members speculated pessimistically on how or if the
Geolibrary could fund USM in hosting the GeoPortal. This generated some
alternative ideas, for example could the RCG be funded to build
additional Web Mapping Services or other “value added” services. Other
suggestions were the loading and/or storage of non-state agency data
With the arrival of Dick Thompson, the state Chief Information Officer
( CIO ) , discussion immediately turned to the funding issue. Mr.
Thompson said he had talked to the state Controller, Ed Karras and he
was quite specific: no bond funds could be expended on operating
expenses, only on purchases. That meant that the operation of the
GeoPortal could not be funded by the Geolibrary bond funds, wherever it
was housed. Notwithstanding, USM was still interested in pursuing some
sort of partnership with the Geolibrary on aspects of the GeoPortal or
other internet based projects.
2. Geoportal Hosting
Office of Information Technology
Mike Smith, recently installed as GIS Manager, presented a proposal for
hosting the GeoPortal at OIT. The installation and basic customization
for the GeoPortal, a one time expenditure thought to be allowed from
Geolibrary bond funds, would be about $9,950.00. The remaining costs
will be absorbed by OIT but tracked. The technical hosting – server,
software, ect – will be $325/month or $4,516.00 per year. The portal
manager/metadata manager is difficult to estimate but OIT will cap
support at 25% FTE ( full time equivalent ) of a GIS Coordinator or
Q: Is this using ArcIMS not ArcServer?
A: Yes, until we switch to version 9.3 ( of ArcInfo )
Q: The $4,000 and $24,000 costs are paid by OIT?
A: Yes, bond funds cannot be spent for those costs but all costs will
Q: The costs projected by OIT are per year?
A: Yes, all totals are for a year.
Q: Can USM run ArcInfo 9.3?
A: We don’t know – haven’t gotten that far yet.
There was continued and wide ranging discussion of the GeoPortal and
what its functionality should be. The main points brought up can be
summarized as follows.
- The Geolibrary should be the sole proprietor of the
GeoPortal but is hamstrung by the funding restrictions and its
organizational structure. The Geolibrary funding sources are not
assured under its authorizing legislation.
- The basic “out of the box” functions of the GeoPortal would
be metadata storage, metadata search and perhaps web mapping services (
WMS ) but not data storage or data downloads
- USM or another ‘outside’ entity could contribute WMS or
data storage, especially non-state agency data
- What would a municipality need to do to be part of the
GeoPortal: 1) the municipality creates metadata 2) the portal
administrator approves and loads the metadata 3) the municipality
uploads the data to a spatial data warehouse 4) the data can now be
discovered using a metadata search.
- The important thing is to get the basic GeoPortal up and
running first, then work on partnerships with others
- State government will not be storing non-state agency data
nor providing WMS for non-state data.
- WMS can be created “on the fly” from uploaded data
Christopher Kroot moved to appropriate $10,000 to complete
installation the GeoPortal at OIT. Liz Hertz seconded. The Board voted
10 in favor, none opposed. The motion carried. ( Note: unless otherwise
indicated the Chair abstains from all votes )
During this discussion, Dave Blocher made the following notes on the
wallboard for the benefit of the Board and visitors:
1) complete installation of portal - $11,000
2) ongoing metadata management - $20,000 OIT
yearly expense -
$4,000 OIT funded
3) non-state metadata
4) host non-state metadata/data
USM or other
Web mapping services
Dick Thompson observed that 3 and 4 ( above ) were matters to be
decided in the future not right away. He suggested the Board might seek
cooperative agreements with USM, UMO or state government. Marilyn Lutz
volunteered, as representative of the UM system, to inquire about other
UM resources that might be interested in hosting or contributing to the
GeoPortal. The University of Maine InfoNet for example might be an
alternative option for the GeoPortal or “Maine’s geospatial one stop”.
If possible the Board would like a short list of what can and cannot be
offered by the UM system whether UMO or USM by the next meeting.
Christopher Kroot moved that the Board accept the OIT offer to host the
GeoPortal as described by item #2 on the wallboard and work with OIT on
the costs. Liz Hertz seconded. The Board voted 9 in favor, none
opposed. The motion carried.
1. Approval of the December 19th, 2007 meeting minutes
The Chair entertained a motion to approve the minutes. Greg Copeland
moved to approve the minutes as written. Christopher Kroot seconded.
The Board voted unanimously in favor. The motion carried.
3. Subcommittee Reports
The Chair moved to item 3 on the agenda.
There were some minor changes to the amounts expended for town parcel
grants. This plus the discovery of a small math error put the remaining
uncommitted funds at $100,415.00
Policy & Marketing
There was nothing to report from the Policy Committee
Orthoimagery & Parcel Grants
There was nothing new to report on the orthoimagery or parcel data.
Status on GeoPortal
In addition to the already extensive discussion, there were three short
items to report. First, the contract with ESRI has been signed. Second,
the Technical Committee hopes to have the portal up and running by
April. There have been some changes at MEGIS, most notably the
installation of Mike Smith as GIS Manager, but this should cause no
problems for the portal. Third, Gretchen Heldmann reported that she
needs digital photos to complete the new Geolibrary logo.
4. CAT 3 Grant
The ad hoc contract committee has gotten a late start. They are working
with the selected vendor, James W. Sewall Co., to get information and
complete writing the contract. For example, how can the project manager
track donated time on the project. The objective is to have the
kick-off meeting on the contract in mid February, possibly at the next
Board meeting. There was some discussion of the project manager, which
was considered to be of strategic importance. As has been discussed
before, bond money cannot apparently be spent on project management. As
in the past, there was some opinion that a certain percentage of bond
funds could be dedicated to general management. The state Controller Ed
Karras will be asked about this.
5. Geolibrary Yearly Report
The report was briefly discussed with some minor changes pointed out.
The aerial photo on the cover will be replaced by the new Geolibrary
Jim Page moved to accept the 2007 yearly report as written subject to
grammatical and spelling corrections. Liz Hertz seconded. The Board
voted 9 in favor, none opposed. The motion carried.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:20 PM.