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Home > Meetings > 2008 Meetings > June 18, 2008

June 18, 2008 Meeting Minutes and Agenda


1. Approval of the May 21st meeting minutes – Chair

2. CAT 3 Grant Update – Nancy Armentrout

3. Potential Federal Representative on the Board – Mike Smith

4. Creating a coalition of well connected champions – Chair

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


Dan Coker, Co-Chair
Nancy Armentrout
Michael Smith
Elizabeth Hertz
Gretchen Heldmann
Kenneth Murchison ( by Phone )
James Page
Christopher Kroot
Marilyn Lutz
Greg Copeland
Aimee Dubois

Larry Harwood

Dan Walters, US Geological Survey (USGS) & Maine GIS Users Group ( MEGUG )
Tom Miragliuolo, State Planning Office (SPO)
Vinton Valentine, University of Southern Maine (USM) & MEGUG
Bruce Oswald, James W. Sewall Co. ( by phone )
Carl Nylen, Environmental Systems Research Institute ( ESRI)

The meeting was called to order at 10:02, Daniel Coker Co-Chair presiding (hereinafter referred to as Chair)

1. Approval of the May 21st, 2008 meeting minutes
The Chair entertained a motion to approve the minutes. Liz Hertz moved to approve the minutes as written. Mike Smith seconded. The Board voted 10 in favor, none opposed. The motion carried. (NOTE: unless otherwise indicated the Chair abstains from voting)

2. CAT 3 Grant Update
Nancy Armentrout reported on the progress to date. Nancy provided copies of the 2008 Maine Geolibrary Board Survey Summary Report prepared by the James Sewall Co. Of this she gave a brief review citing some sections of the Executive Summary and some of the raw data in the appendices.

Work is being done on the Integrated Land Records part of the project. In particular it has been decided to focus on one extensively used document, the “land transfer form” and how tax parcel data might be integrated with that. Two of the project team, Diane Godin, Somerset County Register of Deeds and Steve Weed, Assessor for Bar Harbor, will be meeting with the Maine Revenue Service. The object will be to get a spot on the agenda at the next MRS Property Tax School.

The vendor is waiting on approval of the outline for the land records research document. It was also noted that there will a federally sponsored webinar soon for Federal agencies to comment on matters related to this.

There will probably need to be an increase in the budget for the Project Manager. The amount of work required is more than was envisioned. There was some discussion of how much was left and how much more would be needed.

Mike Smith moved to add $5,000 to the budget for the CAT3 Grant Project Manager. Liz Hertz seconded. The Board voted 10 in favor, none opposed, no abstentions. The motion carried.

There was some discussion of the so called “other” vector data sets which were suggested by respondents to the strategic planning part of the survey. Although many of the suggested data additions were already under consideration by the Board or others the consensus was that time should be made at the next meeting to review the list. A straw poll showed a probable quorum for the next meeting.

3. Potential Federal Representative on the Board
Mike Smith gave a brief explanation of his proposal to add a representative of federal government to the Board. According to his research, similar boards and commissions in other states had federal representation. Federal agencies have spent a good deal of money on Maine GIS projects, especially the U.S. Geological Survey. Federal agencies have partnered with state agencies for years on long list of projects.

Mike provided the outline of a letter from the Board, the addressee to be determined later, asking that such a position be created. The letter would relate that the Board had voted “to endorse proposed legislation which would add a federal representative, who is also a resident of Maine, and who represents federal agencies…to be appointed by the ranking United States Senator from Maine..”. Mike also provided the possible text of such legislation.

Q: Originally the Maine Science & Technology Foundation had a seat on the Board until they were disbanded. The Board recommended that this seat be converted to represent land surveyors but this was changed, will that happen again?
A: Possibly but the Board will be more involved and officially on record.
Q: Dan Walters is an obvious choice, would that be a conflict of interest as he is involved in funding from USGS?
A: Not as far as we know now.
Q: How would a federal representative be nominated?
A: Traditionally the Governor would invite a federal agency to make a nomination.
Q: Should we have a legislator on the Board?
A: Originally we did, Rep Edward Suslovic was Co-Chair representing real estate interests. It was helpful but not a cure for our ills.

Discussion opened on the general topics of additional members and attendance requirements. Additional constituencies proposed were surveyors and engineers, the forest industry and marine interests, the latter two being described as powerful economic forces in the state. There were a number of opinions on how many consecutive meetings a member would be allowed to miss ( 2 to 4 ) before being asked to resign or being removed by whatever means. There was also discussion of altering the required number for a quorum. It was pointed out that this is specified in the legislation. Certainly new legislation would be required for any change in the number of Board members.

It was decided that the Board members would submit, within 2 weeks, to Mike Smith a list of their ideas on how the Board might be modified. Mike will attempt to compile this into 4 categories to be presented at the next meeting for a vote:

1) Membership
2) Removal
3) Quorum
4) Voting

4. Creating a coalition of well connected champions
This item had been suggested for discussion by Bill Hanson. Marilyn Lutz reported that she had discussed with him an overall marketing plan for the Geolibrary centering on Board members being more communicative with their constituencies. The plan in outline was as follows:

1) A letter to member’s constituents updating them on the Geolibrary’s activities. This would be issued on a regular basis, say quarterly. This could be form letter.

2) A new brochure focusing on the new GeoPortal. This would probably be similar to the last one, color graphics and offset printed in quantity.

3) Press releases on how GIS is useful to the general public. These would have to be simple and non-technical in nature

4) A direct link to the GeoPortal from the state government home page

5) A letter to each Board member’s appointing authority updating them on the Geolibrary’s activities, obviously quite similar to #1.

The question was asked “exactly what is a champion?” The consensus was that champions would promote the Geolibrary and secure funding. Some said they would be legislators, especially leadership, others said federal officials or prominent citizens. Champions would be well connected, respected people who could take the support of the Geolibrary “to the next level” based on the Strategic Plan. As examples, Evan Richert, the former director of State Planning Office, and Governor Angus King were suggested. Everyone agreed the Board must be more proactive than reactive. This will be an agenda item in future meetings.

5. Subcommittee Reports
There was nothing new to report.

Policy and Marketing
Most of the policy matters had already been discussed. It was suggested that a vendor be hired to do the writing for the press releases previously mentioned. The consensus was that the Board members could do this and save some money. Mike Smith and Christopher Kroot agreed to write articles for media distribution. Carl Nylen noted that ESRI regularly reprints articles like those discussed in its various publications.

Status of the Geoportal
1) The test platform is now running and all of the state agency metadata has been loaded.
2) The Geolibrary “branding” has been done, logo and so forth.
3) The production platform has been on hold due to delays by the database team at OIT. The target date to go live with the production version is July 1st. The production version will have basic functionality to start with. Over time and given resources this can be customized and adapted to the user’s needs – it will “evolve”.
4) USM is ahead of schedule with their application development.

There was concern that there was no official “post-implementation” plan. Publicity had been spoken of earlier but there was no plan for training. OIT staff training had been provided for. However municipal officials and others would need some training on how to use the GeoPortal, especially with respect to loading metadata. Mike Smith suggested that some money could be used from the $10,000 already appropriated for OIT staff training for this purpose.

The Technical Committee was asked to return with a plan for basic training of GeoPortal users by the next meeting. Ideally this would begin in late August.

Orthoimagery Project/Parcel Grants
There was nothing new to report.

Final Note
Elizabeth Hertz, whose position representing State GIS Functions will soon be expire, will not be seeking reappointment. The Geolibrary Board wish to express their gratitude for her participation and to commend her service to the Geolibrary.

The meeting adjourned at 12:15