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Home > Meetings > 2008 Meetings > May 21, 2008

May 21, 2008 Meeting Minutes and Agenda


1. Approval of the April 16th meeting minutes – Chair

2. Federal Funding for Flood Zone Mapping – Joseph Young, SPO

3. CAT 3 Grant Update – Nancy Armentrout

4. Southern Maine ortho share purchase – Dan Walters, USGS

5. Board Membership - Chair

6. Subcommittee Reports

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


William Hanson, Chair
Dan Coker, Co-Chair
Nancy Armentrout
Michael Smith
Elizabeth Hertz
Gretchen Heldmann
Kenneth Murchison ( by Phone )
James Page
Jon Giles
Christopher Kroot
Marilyn Lutz

Larry Harwood

Dan Walters, US Geological Survey (USGS) & Maine GIS Users Group ( MEGUG )
Tom Miragliuolo, State Planning Office (SPO)
Joseph Young, SPO
Vinton Valentine, University of Southern Maine (USM) & MEGUG
Aimee Dubois, Town of Scarborough/City of Saco
R. Michael White, Dirigo Spatial Systems Inc. & MEGUG
Rich Sutton, Reference Standard

The meeting was called to order at 10:02

1. Approval of the April 16th ,2008 meeting minutes
The Chair entertained a motion to approve the minutes. There were two changes. On page 1 correct spelling of Heldman to Heldmann; on page 2, under the section headed by “sidebar” correct the term spokesman to spokesperson. Marilyn Lutz moved to approve the minutes as amended. Liz Hertz seconded. The Board voted 10 in favor, none opposed, no abstentions. The motion carried. (NOTE: unless otherwise indicated the Chair abstains from voting)

2. Federal Funding for Flood Zone Mapping.
Joe Young, Senior Planner in charge of the Floodplain Management Program at SPO began with a short description of the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) program. The FIRMs are the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) official maps of a municipality on which are delineated both the special hazard areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the municipality. Simply put, the FIRMs map areas of “100 year” and “500 year” flood events plus other special flood hazard areas. Unfortunately the FIRMs have not been updated in all areas with new flood studies and re-mapping. The older maps are often not of a high standard with respect to geographic location of flood hazard areas.

The key factor in accurate mapping of flood areas is detailed and accurate elevation data. Ideally Maine would need between 2 foot and 4 foot interval , digital contour data in developed areas. Although a number municipalities have such data there is no state wide elevation data better than 20 foot or 10 foot contour intervals. Current LIDAR technology seems to be the most cost effective way to collect accurate elevation data but it is still expensive, perhaps $4M.

Federal funding for map modernization has been passed and it is for Maine about $10M over 5 years. The Maine legislature this session passed a joint resolution enjoining FEMA to complete the modernization of the Maine FIRMs on schedule ( by 2009 ). SPO has been directed to work with state agencies and others to get better elevation data; a report is due the legislature by January 19, 2009. To that end, SPO would like to explore a partnership the Geolibrary Board in lobbying for better elevation data and its use by FEMA in map modernization.

Extensive discussion ensued, the salient points of which are given here in outline form:

• SPO will be “quarter backing” the state agency effort. The legislature’s resolution will help to focus the agencies.
• The Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) will support this effort very strongly. The DEP has projects that are regulatory in nature and tied directly to legislation. Accurate elevation and slope data would be critical to many such projects, for example site selection law.
• If the state agencies can show quantifiable cost savings due to better elevation data, the legislature might be able to find some funding.
• The USGS has some funding available soon for higher resolution elevation data.
• It would seem that “the planets are aligning” on this. How can the Board best support the effort?
• The GIS Stakeholders recently formed an ad hoc subcommittee on high resolution topographic data chaired by Janet Parker, SPO. Their charge is to report back what they determine the state agencies need for high resolution topographic data.
• There was considerable discussion of whether or not the Board and other entities such as vendors should be involved in the Stakeholders topography committee. Some argued that more extensive participation was logically required and others needed to be heard. Others felt the Stakeholder effort was limited to state agencies and a subset of the larger “state wide” issue the Board should deal with.

Christopher Kroot moved to establish a High Resolution Topographical Data Subcommittee which will coordinate with the GIS Stakeholders topographic data committee, apprise the Stakeholders committee of the Board subcommittee’s progress and invite the Stakeholder’s committee to participate in the Board subcommittee’s work. Liz Hertz seconded.

In discussion it was pointed out that high resolution topographical data, while intrinsically valuable, was not on the existing list of Board priority data layers, which list had been created by considerable effort and had been voted on. In addition it would seem unwise to approach the legislators (and our constituencies) with a new priority when previously identified priority items had already been presented, i.e. the Annual Report. It was also suggested that this issue could be remanded to the standing Technical Subcommittee instead.

Countervailing points were that the proposed exercise did relate to the DFIRM support item in the current data priorities list. Certainly nobody wanted to open the data priorities list again. This was a funding opportunity that should not be missed and some flexibility was called for. A “business case” needed to be made for the acquisition of topographic data before involving the Technical Subcommittee, who were in any case already fully engaged with the GeoPortal.

Time pressing, the Chair called for the vote. The Board voted 10 in favor, none opposed, no abstentions. The motion carried. Dan Coker volunteered to chair the new subcommittee and assemble a team.

3. CAT 3 Grant Update
Nancy Armentrout handed out a project update from the Sewall team and a summary on the information gathering forums. Discussion opened on the previously distributed preliminary Strategic Plan submitted by the vendor team on April 15th. Nancy reported that she and Will Mitchell (Project Manager) had some questions on the form and content of the Plan. In particular section 5 needed to be changed as to content. Overall they felt that the content should focus more on data; this was generally agreed to by some Board members.

Rich Sutton, part of the vendor team, noted that it is very hard to get a concise statement of the Strategic Plan and the Board should approach it with caution. It was pointed out that this section 5 is constrained by what is stated in section 4 preceding it. Also the structure of the Plan is the important focus now, the content may be something of a distraction.

It was agreed that comments would be accepted from the Board on this preliminary Strategic Plan. Comments should focus on the outline and structure of the Plan and must be received by this Friday (May 23).

Dan Walters, Vice-Chair and Michael White, Chair of the Maine GIS Users Group (MEGUG) reported that organization is very interested in taking over storage, maintenance and updating of the “Master List” of all entities interested in GIS in Maine. This is currently being compiled by Will Mitchell as part of the CAT3 Grant project. I would be of considerable use to MEGUG in return for which they would undertake its maintenance in database format, as opposed to the current spreadsheet format.

Jim Page moved to invite MEGUG to provide a one page summary of their proposal for maintaining the Master List at the next Board meeting. Liz Hertz seconded. The Board voted 10 in favor, none opposed, no abstentions. The motion carried

4. Southern Maine Ortho Share Purchase
Dan Walters reported that in 2007, the firm Bradstreet Consultants Inc. had a number of towns in York County ( see attachment A ) flown for producing ½ foot color orthoimagery. Some towns elected to participate by purchasing orthos and some did not. Circumstances have disposed Bradstreet to sell all the orthoimagery plus related materials such as control data and the DTM to the Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission for $90,000. Dan has $30,000 from the USGS. He proposes to find 10 organizations to contribute a share of $6,000 each. Would the Geolibrary want to buy a share?

Q: Is this unrestricted use, no licensing restrictions?
A: Everything will be in the public domain. There will be no restrictions.
Q: Should we require participating towns to register their data on the GeoPortal?
A: After discussion, the consensus was not to do so. It might be counter productive.
Q: What else comes with the orthoimagery?
A: We do not have a list here but certainly the DTM, control information, flight line graphics, indices, etc.
Gretchen pointed out that once again areas already covered by good orthoimagery were getting an upgrade whereas other parts of the state not covered or covered by lower resolution imagery continue to be last on the priority list. She also pointed out that although there is a high population density in the area to be purchased, which warrants high quality imagery for many different analyses- there are many economic, social, environmental and other conditions that warrant good imagery to aid in better and more useful planning in the areas of the state that are continually last on the list. Gretchen pointed out that this is somewhat setting a precedent for the GeoLibrary of prioritizing upgrades to certain areas over others, and stated that she strongly felt the Board should make a commitment to do the same for the areas of the state with no or lower resolution imagery should a similar opportunity arise.

Mike Smith moved to appropriate $6,000 to fund a share of this project. Ken Murchison seconded. The Board voted 10 in favor, none opposed, no abstentions. The motion carried.

5. Board Membership
The Chair reported that two nominations had been submitted for vacant seats. Paul Hoffman has been nominated by the Maine County Commissioners Assoc. to represent counties, appointment by the Governor. Aimee Dubois has been nominated to represent the public, appointment by the Senate President.

Liz Hertz term expires in 07/07/2008; she has not decided whether or not to ask for reappointment. The Chair, Jim Page and Marilyn Lutz all have terms which expire on 09/26/2008. The Chair will seek reappointment, Jim and Marilyn will not. Jim will attempt to find a replacement and get him or her nominated. Marilyn will contact the UM Chancellor about designating a replacement for her.

6. Subcommittee Reports
Larry Harwood reported that the bills for the 2004-2005 aerial photography and orthorectification had been received from USGS. The aerial photography bill was $23,629.94 as expected. The orthorectifcation bill was $234,439.51 which is $29,250.00 less than expected. This increases the unallocated funds remaining to $86,414.50

Policy and Marketing
There was nothing to report on policy. There was a short ad hoc discussion of using the official opening of the GeoPortal as a publicity/marketing tool. This would be a good method of outreach to the Board member constituencies. Another suggestion was to send Geolibrary activity update letters to the nominating bodies and the authorities who appoint Board members ( the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Chancellor of the University of Maine System, The Speaker of the House, the Chief Information Officer and the Commissioner of Administrative & Financial Services).

Status of the Geoportal
Mike Smith and Christopher Kroot reported jointly on the Geoportal. The out-of –the-box portal will be running by Friday (May 23). The delay has been in setting up the requisite databases which took longer than originally expected. The ‘branding’ of the GeoPortal as Geolibrary is next on the agenda and the linkage will not be made visible until that is completed. The portal will be operational before the next Board meeting. The memoranda or agreement with the University Of Southern Maine, Research Computing Group (USM RCG) have been approved and signed. USMRCG will be creating the custom shapefile-to-Web Mapping Service application for the portal and loading non-state agency metadata. USM will also be conducting metadata/GIS training in the communities as part of a larger grant.
Q: Will the mapping service have KML output?
A: No but it can be added easily later for maybe $2000

Larry Harwood reported that he has reviewed all of the recently arrived 2 foot resolution orthoimagery and found it acceptable. The extent of aerial photography orthorectified by USGS has increased the area of coverage by the high resolution color orthos by several townships in the Millinocket area.

The meeting adjourned at 12:13