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Home > Meetings > 2008 Meetings > March 19, 2008

March 19, 2008 Meeting Minutes and Agenda


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

2. CAT 3 Grant Update

3. Subcommittee Reports

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


Dan Coker, Co-Chair
James Page
Marilyn Lutz
Gretchen Heldmann
Elizabeth Hertz
Christopher Kroot
Nancy Armentrout
Ken Murchison
Mike Smith
Greg Copeland

Larry Harwood

Dave Blocher, Office Information Technology (OIT)
Dan Walters, US Geological Survey (USGS)
Bruce Oswald, Oswald Associates
Richard Thompson, Chief Information Officer (CIO)
Diane Godin, Somerset County Registry of Deeds

The meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m., Dan Coker, Co-Chair presiding.

USGS Award
After introductions, the Chair suspended the agenda for a special award ceremony. Mark Myers, Director of the USGS presented a commemorative Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey benchmark to the Office of Information Technology “…to recognize the leadership OIT has provided for geospatial programs in Maine.” and to recognize “…your organization’s importance as a key partner in the ongoing development of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) including The National Map.”

In his remarks Mr. Myers noted the rapid development of digital spatial data by OIT, helping USGS to move away from paper maps into a national Geographic Information System. Richard Thompson, Chief Information Officer accepted the award on behalf of OIT. In his acceptance remarks Mr. Thompson thanked all the staff and technicians of OIT for their efforts resulting in this award.

The full letter of citation is attached to the back these minutes.

1. Approval of the February 20th, 2008 meeting minutes
The Chair entertained a motion to approve the minutes. One correction was noted: page 9, last paragraph, first sentence changed to “On the second motion the Board voted seven in favor, 2 abstentions 1 opposed.” Marilyn Lutz moved to approve the minutes as amended. Ken Murchison seconded. The Board voted 9 in favor, none opposed. The motion carried. (NOTE: unless otherwise indicated the Chair abstains from voting)

2. CAT 3 Grant Update
Nancy Armentrout announced that Will Mitchell, Mitchell Geographics, had been selected to be the Project Manager for the Fifty States Project. He has already started working on the project.

Jim Page in his capacity as CEO of the James W. Sewall Company announced that Bruce Oswald was leaving Sewall to start his own consulting company, Oswald Associates LLC. Jim handed out copies of a letter from himself to William Hanson, Board Chair explaining the new situation. He stressed that for the Geolibrary Strategic Planning Process there will be no change. Bruce will continue in day-to-day operational control. Sewall will continue to manage the contract and will be responsible for all contract issues. “Other than some address and phone changes, the Board should not notice anything different in how the project is executed .” Bruce will retain the same e-mail for the time being.

Bruce Oswald gave his report on the project to date. He thanked everyone on the Board in general and Nancy Armentrout in particular for their work on the project. He also noted that Will Mitchell has already spent many hours in project management.

The Maine Municipal Association Technology Conference session on the Fifty States Project was very successful with 146 people in attendance, literally standing room only. There was great interest in the land records part of the session. He and Rich Sutton are working on a survey to forward to the attendees that registered. He also asked the Board members to turn in their surveys as soon as possible.

There is a Fifty States project page up on the Geolibrary website now with a registration link for people wanting information. There are 3 public forums planned in the very near future in Portland, Bangor and Lewiston plus a forum specifically for state workers in Augusta. There is also need for one or more listservers. This prompted some discussion about existing state listservers and e-mail distribution lists. Marilyn Lutz agreed to try setting up a new Geolibrary listserver for a statewide audience. Nancy Armentrout agreed to pull together the various disparate listings such as the MEGIS listings, Geolibrary stakeholders, orthoimage survery respondents and so on. Greg Copeland noted that the Maine GIS Users Group would also be very interested in such a ‘master list’ of those interested in GIS and spatial data.

Developing ‘champions’ as outlined in the project description will depend on what the needs are. In this regard, it will be important for the Board members to get in touch with their constituencies on a regular basis. Everyone should think about ideas for getting back to constituencies.

Q: What will be the agenda for these forums?
A: Basically a brief overview of the project, introductions, questions, gathering input, looking for ideas on champions, funding and so on. A lot will depend upon the groups, they will be diverse.
Q: Have we considered the “political potholes” in these forums.
A: Of course we will plan in advance as much as possible.

Q: What is the target audience for the forums?
A: Wide open actually, real estate interests, surveyors, politicians, state agencies, other stakeholders.
Q: There will be difficulty in bringing together the town governments and county governments. More importantly, how will you sell the land records plan to the county commissioners and the registrars? You should involve the Association County Commissioners and the Registrars Association at the start.
A: Obviously we will have to point to some sort of financial benefit to all these groups.

Bruce wrapped up by giving the Board “some more homework”. He had another evaluation exercise for the Board members.

Sidebar: Membership. Visitor Diane Godin, Somerset County Registrar of Deeds, was suggested as a Board member representing counties. It was recalled that the recently appointed county representative had a conflict and could not attend the regular meetings. Diane was not averse to the suggestion but made no definite commitment; staff will investigate the possibility.

3. Subcommittee Reports

Due to GeoPortal allocation votes at the last meeting, $22,000 was encumbered for web mapping services (WMS), $6,000 for metadata loading and $13,000 for the purchase of 2 servers. This leaves $57,164 in funds unencumbered.
Q: What is the “Standards conformity/data validation tools” item?
A: Originally it was thought that the MEGIS staff would need an application to help in doing the quality assurance/quality control of incoming data, especially parcel data. Nothing was ever created and in the event QAQC has not been a problem without it.

Jim Page moved to return $25,000 from the standards conformity/data validation tools item to the unallocated funds. Greg Copeland seconded. The Board voted 9 in favor, none opposed. The motion carried.

Policy & Marketing
Marilyn Lutz reported that the latest policy on data acceptance had been sent out and some comments had come back. She would like to have any additional comments back as soon as possible. There was considerable discussion of “state agency data” vs. “general data” and how the Geolibrary fits into that model:

• Data of interest to state agencies will always be stored on state servers and reviewed by state staff, including metadata creation, if not by MEGIS then by one or more other agencies.
• We need a major re-write the Data Acceptance Policy if the University Of Southern Maine, Research Computing Group (USM RCG), is storing Geolibrary data for us.
• We need to accept USM’s storage offer because we have no funding to store data on a long term basis.
• Perhaps we should alter the Data Acceptance Policy to deal with data purchased by the Geolibrary, not all data.
• The Geolibrary was after all created to advance GIS beyond just state government.
• The GeoPortal’s role in all this – we don’t know yet. There may be uses we have not even thought of yet.

In the interest of time, the Chair asked that discussion wrap up. The Chair’s charge to the Policy Committee was to take all these points into account and try to write a new Data Acceptance Policy for review at the next meeting.

Orthoimagery & Parcel Grants
There was nothing new to report. The orthos are expected soon.

The “out of the box” installation of the portal should be completed as soon as this Friday. The plan is to send around the URL to the Board members for review. Certainly it should be ready by the end of April. There should also be help files in PDF format available.

Metadata loading by USM should be taking place fairly soon. The Board and OIT will be earmarking which metadata sets will be loaded. In addition USM has agreed to store up to 40 gigabytes of vector data at no charge as part of their agreement. Suggestions for non-state agency data to be stored can sent to Christopher Kroot or MEGIS.

There was some discussion of the state data holdings. Some, perhaps most, of state agency data is not published. Almost all of the 147 data layers published by MEGIS cannot be viewed directly; a few are available as Web Mapping Services (WMS). The Board might want to see which data should be available as WMS thru the USM RCG initiative.

Gretchen Heldmann had been making new graphics for the GeoPortal and a new logo for the Geolibrary. Screen displays allowed the Board to view her creations. There were two versions of the GeoPortal headline graphic. In discussion they acquired the nicknames “Katahdin logo” and “pictures logo” based on their appearance. Both were well received.

Christopher Kroot moved to accept the “Katahdin logo” with the option to add pictures later. Ken Murchison seconded. The Board voted 9 in favor, none opposed. The motion carried.

Gretchen’s logo creation was examined in detail by passing the laptop around. It was very well received and many uses for it were suggested.

Mike Smith moved to accept the new logo for the Geolibrary. Greg Copeland seconded. The Board voted 9 in favor, none opposed. The motion carried.

The meeting adjourned at 12:30

Text of the letter of citation for the USGS commemorative benchmark.

March 19, 2008

Mr. Richard B. Thompson, CIO
Office of the Chief Information Officer
Maine Office of Information Technology
State House Station
Augusta, Maine

Dear Richard,

It is with great pleasure that I present a commemorative Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey benchmark to the Maine Office of Information Technology (OIT). This benchmark is offered to recognize the leadership OIT has provided for geospatial programs in Maine that support vital local, state and national services. The benchmark is symbolic of the USGS history in geospatial science and technology, and the commemorative award to OIT recognizes your organization’s importance as a key partner in the ongoing development of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) including The National Map.

Maine has collaborated with USGS to build framework layers for The National Map and to deliver services that allow people in Maine, and around the country, to discover and view geospatial assets through Geospatial One-Stop. Of particular significance to me is that these data and services also support USGS-led science programs focused on issues of national significance including the effects of climate change.

I appreciate your unwavering support of the Maine Library of Geographic Information (i.e., Geo-Library) and Maine Office of GIS (MEGIS). These organizations have been instrumental in our success as partners and have contributed significantly to our ability to achieve both state and national goals related to the NSDI. The Geo-Library and MEGIS play key roles in Maine's successful statewide coordination efforts which have led to improved data quality, content and coverage. Maine statewide coordination has reduced duplication of effort and as a result our geospatial dollars have been spent more wisely.

We look forward to continued coordination with Maine toward our common goals for the NSDI. Achieving these goals is important to Maine, and the Nation.

Best regards,

Mark Myers, Director
US Geological Survey

cc Steven King
Thomas Connolly
Dan Walters