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Home > Meetings > 2008 Meetings > July 16, 2008

July 16, 2008 Meeting Minutes and Agenda


1. Approval of the June 18th meeting minutes – Chair

2. Strategic Plan, Discussion of Gaps and Solutions – Bruce Oswald - 1 hour & 30 minutes

3. Federal Representation on the Board – Mike Smith

4. Demonstration of Custom Geoportal work – Christopher Kroot

5. Subcommittee Reports

• Financial – Larry Harwood
• Policy & Marketing – Marilyn Lutz
• Technical
• Orthoimagery Project /Parcel grants – Larry Harwood
• Status on the GEOPortal – Mike Smith, Christopher Kroot




Maine GeoLibrary Board

July 16, 2008

Meeting Minutes



Nancy Armentrout

Michael Smith

Elizabeth Hertz

Marilyn Lutz ( by phone )

Greg Copeland

Gretchen Heldmann

Ken Murchison ( by phone )

Paul Hoffman

Bill Hanson, Chair

Dan Coker, Co-Chair

Jim Page ( by phone )

Aimee Dubois

Christopher Kroot

Jon Giles



Larry Harwood



Dan Walters, US Geological Survey (USGS) & Maine GIS Users Group ( MEGUG )

Vinton Valentine, University of Southern Maine (USM) & MEGUG

Bruce Oswald, James W. Sewall Co. ( by phone )

Matthew Blanchette, University of Southern Maine RCG & CS

Bob Marvinney , Maine Geological Survey

Amy Cloutier, State Planning Office intern

David Blocher, Office Information Technology


The meeting was called to order at 9:59



1. Approval of the June 18, 2008 meeting minutes

The Chair entertained a motion to approve the minutes. Christopher Kroot moved to approve the minutes as written. Mike Smith seconded. The Board voted 13 in favor, none opposed. The motion carried. (NOTE: unless otherwise indicated the Chair abstains from voting)


3. Federal Representation on the Board

The Chair moved item three to next on the agenda. Mike Smith moved as follows “The motion is to endorse proposed legislation which would add a federal representative, who is also a resident of Maine, and who represents federal agencies which collaborate with other Maine organizations to develop or use GIS data, to be nominated by the Board via majority vote, for a 3-year term.  This motion would also endorse removal of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services appointee since DAFS already has an appointee in the CIO or the CIO's designee.  Finally, this motion would provide a framework for removal of members not attending Board meetings, either three consecutive meetings or four meetings in any twelve-month period.  This legislation would be proposed in the next legislative session."

Christopher Kroot seconded.


Q: Has the CIO been briefed about this proposal? What about the issue of the number of DAFS representatives on the Board?

A: Dick Thompson is aware of this and he concurs. This is a proposal mostly to get a federal representative on the Board. The question of how many DAFS people are on the Board can be dealt with later.

Q: What about the other proposed new representatives on the Board?

A: The e-mail discussion was rather chaotic with no clear consensus. The decision was made to limit this proposal.

Q: Three absences and you are out seems a bit harsh. Will medical or family emergencies be considered?

A: Of course. The object is to give us a method to deal with the problem.


The Board voted 11 in favor, 2 abstentions, none opposed. The motion carried.



2. Strategic Plan, Discussion of Gaps and Solutions

Bruce Oswald began his presentation by reviewing the schedule of project deliverables. The projected date to complete the strategic plan is now November 10, 2008. The project completion date is projected as November 28, 2008.


The remaining presentation is given in outline form with accompanying questions and comments.


>Topics to be covered

·     Structural Issues

·     Gaps and Solutions

·     Data Needs, including “other” vector data

·      Other items to be included in the strategic plan


>NSGIC Coordinating Criteria

1. A full time GIS coordinator and staff

2. Clearly defined authority and responsibility for coordination.

3. A relationship with the Chief Information Officer ( CIO )

4. A political or executive champion is involved in coordination

5. A tie into national programs

6. An inter-governmental working environment free of turf wars

7. Sustainable funding mechanisms

8. Contracting authority and cost sharing mechanisms

9. Statewide coordination efforts that can be a conduit for federal initiatives.



Q: What is NSGIC

A: National States Geographic Information Council, an organization designed to guide spatial information technology nationwide. Members include state GIS managers,  representatives from federal agencies, local government, the private sector, academia and other professional organizations.


>NSGIC Coordinating Criteria

A full-time paid coordinator position is designated and has the authority to implement the state’s business and strategic plans.

·   Explanation: Many states have created one or more full time positions to oversee coordination of geospatial technologies. These individuals are responsible for implementing the state’s business plan and are typically assigned to the Governor’s office, Chief Information Officer, Budget Dept. or the Technology Office. In some states these duties fall on a volunteer and in others no one is willing to assume this role. Having a full-time paid individual is advantageous and a significant portion of their energy is channeled into on-going statewide coordination council activities.


>Successful State Programs

Kentucky         New York        Indiana             Ohio                 Massachusetts


Oregon             Maryland          Texas               Minnesota        Utah


Illinois               Virginia New Jersey      Vermont           New York


Wisconsin         North Carolina


>Successful State Programs (with Statewide GIS Coordination Offices)

Kentucky         New York        Indiana             Ohio                 Massachusetts


Oregon             Maryland          Texas               Minnesota        Utah


Illinois               Virginia New Jersey      Vermont           New York


Wisconsin         North Carolina


Q: Does “state” mean including outside state government?

A: Yes, state is meant in the general case.

Q: How are other state GIS programs funded?

A: Mostly by general funding I think but I will look into that.



A discussion ensued about the history of GIS funding in Maine.  When the general fund appropriation for the Maine Office of GIS ( MEGIS ) was cut, certain state agencies funded MEGIS by subscriptions, then by negotiated Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) each year. This made MEGIS understandably focused on state government. Parts of the original legislation creating MEGIS were read out; it seemed that there was no clearly defined role outside of state government. In some opinions, this meant that  promotion and policy always got left behind.


>How Do Most “Councils” Work?

·   Policy makers

·    Develop standards

·     Strategic planners-set strategic priorities

·     Establish statewide direction

·      Provide input from their constituencies

·       Assist in obtaining and aligning funding.


>How Do Most State GIS Offices Work?

·      Respond to state agency GIS needs

·      Responsible for statewide GIS

Clearinghouse implements council’s priorities

Annual conference

Develop & update statewide data


Promote GIS, partnerships, data sharing across the state

        Newsletters, list servers, service centers, help desks


>What’s Missing in Maine?

·    “Statewide” Coordinator

·      Recognizable face

·      Consistent leadership

·      An Evangelist, someone who can dedicate time to travel across the state

·      An Implementer, someone responsible for implementing statewide Geolibrary initiatives


It was immediately suggested that Funding should be added to what is ‘missing in Maine”. It was also suggested that the Board needs information on exactly how other states fund their GIS operations. There was additional discussion on funding, staffing and how to “implement the Implementer”.


>What to Build On?

·        Geolibrary Board Achievements

·        MEGIS

·        MEGUG ( Maine GIS Users Group )

·        State University System


>Coordination Gaps – Data Sharing

·        Inability to find data easily

·        Difficulty in knowing when new data is posted or other data is updated

·        Difficulty in downloading or accessing data

·        Difficulty in posting data

·        Inability to easily get access to state and local data


> Coordination Gaps – Data Development

·        Provide updated imagery ( every 3-5 years )

·        Provide statewide parcel data

·        Develop one uniform roads – and addressing – dataset



Q: At the municipal level, creating FGDC [1] metadata is a big barrier. How do we address that?

A: It’s difficult. No one has had the resources to train or assist them. The metadata creation function of the GeoPortal may help with this problem.

Q: Looking at the “data sharing gaps”, will these be solved with the GeoPortal?

A: Yes except perhaps for the last item.

Q: Does the GeoPortal have a reporting function?

A: Not as such except that it becomes obvious when metadata & data are posted.

Q: How do we deal with periodic updates to portal data?

A: The Board needs a policy on that.



There was a discussion once again of the availability, or lack thereof, of certain state agency data. It was said this has been a continuing frustration for the Board. It was strongly suggested that a master list of GIS data be created listing agencies, contacts, availability, updating, etc. Noted in particular were restricted access to data created and maintained by Maine Revenue Service, Land Use Regulation Commission and the Maine Natural Areas Program.


> Coordination Gaps – GIS Training

·        How can I find inexpensive GIS training?

·        Where is training being given around the state and where?

·        Who can I contact for help?

·        How do I start a GIS program for my town?


> Coordination Gaps – Coordination Activities

·        Data development

·        Application development

·        Data sharing

·        GIS project partnerships

·        Training

·        Provide access to lessons learned

These are due to a lack of good communication. Possible solutions could be better use of the list servers and websites.


> Coordination Gaps – Software is Too Expensive

·        How can I find less expensive software?

·        How can I share software

·        Is there a better way to purchase software?


These are due to a general lack of capacity but two solutions are apparent. First, strengthen the Maine GIS Users Group to the extent that it can address these issues. Second provide sufficient web based services for municipalities ( and others ) so there is no need to buy software or special hardware. The second suggestion was well received; there was some discussion of web mapping services and how to get municipalities to use them.


> Data Needs ( Including “Other” Vector Data )

The “other” data refers to a list of suggestions compiled from the surveys and forums and which was available as a handout. ( see appendix A ). The list was briefly reviewed with comments pointing out certain recurring themes.


Bruce asked for a list of the Board’s top data priorities. Amid considerable discussion these developed as: #3 combined DOT/E911 roads later, #4 high resolution elevation data, #5 conservation lands. ( #1 & #2 remain as orthoimagery and digital parcels respectively) These will need to be rectified with the existing priority list as given in the 2007 Annual Report to the legislature.


4. Demonstration of Custom Geoportal Work

Christopher Kroot gave an overview of the work.

1) Phase 1 : Design

2) Phase 2: Preliminary Programming

3) Phase 3: Preliminary Upload

·        receive prioritized list of target organizations from the Board

·        contact organizations and establish a mutually agreeable timeframe

·        support the process of uploading metadata to test site

·        develop documentation supporting data upload for other current and potential metadata producers

4) Quality Control Preliminary Upload Procedure and report back to the Board

Christopher asked that the Board members e-mail him lists of metadata they would like to see loaded. This will be done over the remaining summer season.


Training for those using the GeoPortal, presumably municipal officials and staff, will be conducted at the 6 hubs of the University of Maine System. These six constitute the Maine Geospatial Curriculum Consortium ( MGCP6).

Q: What if few or none apply for training?

A: We will be proactive, asking certain communities known to be active in GIS. Bar Harbor would be an example.


Matthew Blanchette, University of Southern Maine RCG, gave a short presentation on part of the application they have been working on. This will be a function of the GeoPortal and will allow users to upload shapefiles[2] for conversion to web mapping services. There are two modes for uploading. Flash uploading works on multiple files directly and requires a free plug-in [3] . Zip uploading works on zip files and requires no additional software.

Q: Don’t users have to submit metadata first?

A: Yes, it has to be approved before they are allowed to upload data.

Q: These shapefiles are going to be then viewed on the portal right?

A: Very basically the files will be converted to a web mapping service which can viewed by going to the GeoPortal. The uploaded data essentially becomes another data layer for viewing.


The remaining items on the agenda were tabled to the next meeting.  The meeting adjourned at 12:30



Appendix A


Suggestions of "Other" Data that Needs to be Updated






Data Type





census data



Conservation Lands

conserved lands land ownership




high-resolution terrain data statewide




High Resolution Digital Terrain Model of the state




Statewide or Countywide 24k contours




how about raster-like Elevations




MEFIRS data - Maine Fire Incident Reporting System (Joe Thomas & Richard Taylor, State Fire Marshal's Office) Maine Fire Burden data base (Richard Taylor, State Fire Marshal's Office) fire/ema station location data and contact info in coordination with MM




Good digital floodplains (Statewide)




Updated FEMA Floodplain maps for all towns




Improve and maintain NHD24 and make it the default hydro dataset for Maine.




Latest information about all kinds of infrastructure and cultural features from different public agencies.




New Data for Better Land Use Planning & Water Quality/Quantity Management: Wells public & private, Sewer & Septic Systems, Update USGS Streams and watershed to accuracy needed to analyze impact of impervious surface development on 2nd order stream watershed



Land Cover

time series of land cover data (classified in a consistent manner over time and with accuracy in important categories of our state (forests)



Land Cover

Updated and more detailed land cover information (which I know isn't necessarily vector data, but it could be).



Land Cover





coastal and marine vector and raster data




elevation point data perhaps from lidar to support 2, 4 or 5 foot contour generation, better delineation of waterbodies that match orthos, terrain model data (breaklines and points),MDOT geodetic control in shapefile format,recent traffic count data, submerged lands




love to see a coordinated effort for LIDAR data collection, and i'm always interested in better ways to capture and maintain conservation lands data.




Habitat data, census data other than from 2000




wetlands, streams, roads




land cover, wet lands




elevation, transportation, hydrography, geodetic control, governmental units, structures, land cover, geographic names




roads, public lands, parcels, zoning, DEM/Lidar, hydro, utilities/transmission, other transportation such as rail and bike and trail




parcels, building / infrastructure locations, higher resolution contours, watersheds, etc. from a LIDAR base, transmission lines that are rated at less than 115kV




Conservation layers, natural resources information, zoning, etc.




Locations of structures such as houses (point or footprint), more detailed and accurate wetlands delineations, raster to vector conversion of remote sensing data, detailed maps of light pollution.




natural, political and infrastructure features




Zoning, land use/land cover




fire, police, ems, schools, commonplaces, hospitals, etc.




Road network, hydrography




A state wide parcel coverage, with - town code, map, lot sub lot, and sub-sub lot. That would allow for land records, or geocoding, or just about any other info to be attached as user sees fit.




Existing Survey Plans from Registry of Deeds, M.D.O.T., Land Surveyors, New Survey plans from those sources.




MDOT right of way data, coordinates of newly surveyed parcel corners with error estimates, LURC parcel data




Land records such as transfers (deeds) are important. I also feel that the Multiple Listing Service in Maine should be a part of this portal. An "Open" MLS policy needs to be adopted thereby providing current and accurate data to RE Brokers, Appraisers an




Landowner information, Forest Certified Landowners, Conservation Land and type of conservation




updated tax map information




Road center lines that line up with aerial photos.




single roads layer




Roads for cartography (E911 layer for our area is incomplete and/or very messy with unnecessary lines, no filter for road type like USGS DLG data), building footprints




Integrated roads data - attribute E911 roads data to make it more user friendly.




roads other statewide features












Combined E911 and MDOT Road Centerlines complete with secondary or private "woods" roads.




E-911 Roads, Structures with addresses (ideally as polygons, alternatively as points)




E911 & MEDOT




Common road center lines




accuracy of roads




Up to date road data








Road Data (especially low grade roads in northern Maine)







State, Local

Data available now seems to be becoming more limited rather than more available. Continued updates and coordination with state agencies and localities is most important. Some state agencies aren't posting certain data within the geolibrary. BIG PROBLEM!



State, Local

Better access to state data. Encourage widespread geocoding of all state data.



State, Local

Ability to secure information from State Agencies - like the location of lead poisoned children by CT, the locations of DEP VRAP sites, and to know it is the latest information.



State, Local

Make state data ready to use for local governments. Even when the data is available, I need to hire a GIS professional to project it locally. Many local governments have invested serious funding to develop local data which is now used by the state and others




Utility location data.



Wood Mills

Active wood fiber mills (i.e. saw mills, chip plants, OSB mills, pulp & paper mills, etc.)




all local zoning in common presentation format




Encourage town participation through tax incentives




all towns should be using the same software.




Remove the technical and financial barriers to using GIS




this section will not accept similar choices for each question




Make printing pictures and maps from MGIS easier to find and much easier to print. With so many other types of websites that make it easy to print FULL PAGE pictures, why does it so many twist and turns to get to printing a picture from MGIS? If you can g







[1] Federal Geographic Data Committee –an  interagency committee that promotes the coordinated development, use, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial data on a national basis.

[2] Shapefiles are a simple format for storing spatial data.  They can be used in all major GIS softwares.

[3] A program that interacts with a host application to provide a specific function on demand.