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April 15, 2009 Meeting Minutes and Agenda
Time: 10:00 to 12:30
1. Approval of the March 18th meeting minutes – Chair
2. CAT 3 Project – Nancy Armentrout & Project Team
3. LIDAR Regional Project – Mike Smith
4. Subcommittee Reports
NEXT SCHEDULED MEETING: Wednesday May 20th , 2009, 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Burton M. Cross Building, Conference Room 105.
The meeting was called to order at 10:02
1. Approval of the March 18th meeting minutes
2. CAT 3 Project
Nancy and Marilyn Lutz agreed to attempt a short version of the Strategic Plan for the next meeting. This would be something in the nature of a plan of action for the Board. Nancy asked if the Board was ready to approve the draft Strategic Plan as a deliverable and there were no objections.
Marilyn Lutz moved to accept the Strategic Plan now as a deliverable. Mike Smith seconded. The Board voted 10 in favor, none opposed the Chair abstaining. The motion carried.
ILRIS (Integrated Land Records Information System)
The first component may seem somewhat unlikely at this point but federal funding may be available to do this. The existing Digital Parcel Standards would probably have to be modified to accommodate such a diverse input. The assessor’s database would also have to be made public with the Geolibrary parcel data ,which is not the case now, due to privacy concerns.
The second component is so important that it should be settled before actually creating the statewide data set. Maintenance has been neglected and there is a good deal of data out there that has never been updated, including the Geolibrary parcel data.
The third component would involve “collateral” databases managed by parcel. This category would especially include the county registries’ legal ownership data, deeds, surveys, easements, etc. This would be a joining of legal title and ownership information with municipal assessing information.
Q: There seems to be some confusion on the number
of attributes carried.
Nancy concluded things by noting that the CAT 3 Project Team has been meeting about every 2 weeks and anyone wanting to join them would be welcome. If anyone has comments on what was covered today, please get them to Nancy or one of the Project Team by April 29th.
4. LiDAR Regional Project
Mike Smith reported that the other states in the proposed consortium are “on board” for the project. In addition certain state legislators are very interested in resurrecting the LiDAR bond issue. This bears watching and encouragement.
5. Subcommittee Reports
$80K – Spent on the Ionic portal
Compared with the current financial sheet, it would appear that $4,000 of the ESRI contract is not accounted for. Larry will look into this and report at the next meeting.
Policy & Marketing
Nancy Armentrout moved to accept the policy as written. Gretchen Heldmann seconded. The Board voted 11 in favor, none opposed, the Chair abstaining. The motion carried.
GeoPortal System Administrator Responsibility
It was asked if there existed any automated metadata/data checking software or applications. The opinion of the technicians was that there was not. There were additional questions on how upgrades to the GeoPortal software would be done and who would be involved in user support. Given the number of changes and questions, Marilyn agreed to redraft the policy and present it at the next meeting.
Mike also passed out the text of a lengthy motion he intended to make regarding the portal. He noted that the options available to the Board are limited. The ESRI portal kit version 9.2 is obsolete and eventually will not be supported. OIT cannot maintain the ESRI portal kit version 9.3 nor can they maintain GeoNetwork . USM cannot maintain ESRI 9.3 either. The choices were 1) go ahead with GeoNetwork hoisted by USM or 2) go back to the ESRI version 9.2 or 3) start all over again.
Q: Why can’t OIT support ESRI 9.3?
Q: When did the Board ever vote for or even approve
of using GeoNetwork for the portal?
Mike Smith made the following motion, slightly amended from the written
There was no further business to discuss.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:04
Maine GeoLibrary Board
CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK: Working Draft (rev04)
April 15, 2009
2. CONCEPTUAL CORE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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4. PERPETUAL PARCELS MAINTENANCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
5. INTEGRATING OTHER LAND RECORDS DATABASES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
INTRODUCTION & CONTEXT
The Maine Library of Geographic Information (“Geolibrary”) has been working with the Maine Office of Information Technology and the Maine Office of Geographic Information Systems (“MEGIS”) to help the State develop geographic information system (“GIS”) capabilities to promote efficient government administration and land use planning. Since April, 2008 the GeoLibrary has been gathering information to assist Maine in designing a GIS-based integrated land records information system (“ILRIS”) which would facilitate access to information about a particular parcel and adjoining lands. This effort has in part been funded by a $50,000 grant by The Federal Geographic Data Committee (“FGDC”) which promotes the coordinated development and dissemination of national geospatial data. The grant monies were obtained from the FGDC’s Fifty States Initiative and have been supplemented by contributions from the Geolibrary and MEGIS .
The Maine ILRIS would build upon and enhance the accessibility and utility of geographic information now maintained by data stewards at all levels of Maine government. Once implemented the ILRIS would allow all persons interested in the attributes of a particular parcel (among them, title examiners, planners, conservationists, and developers) to see a parcel on an aerial photograph (map quality orthoimagery is the desired standard), and readily access information about land cover, roads, protected lands, soils, wetlands, aquifers, geology and other pertinent geography. Under the envisioned ILRIS this information would also be linked with parcel title information maintained in the county deed registries. The current GeoLibrary project is a first step in determining how best to create these links.
This document provides a Conceptual Framework for the proposed integrated land records system. Its purpose is to compile and formalize findings from extensive research into an overall set of goals that are realistically attainable and will promote the enhanced integration of Maine land records and improve access to property ownership and rights data in the state.
The Conceptual Framework for the Maine Integrated Land Records Information System has been developed as the result of input from multiple forums, meetings and discussions with geographic data users and potential stakeholders from all levels of government and the private sector both within and outside of Maine. It is a subcomponent of a structured set of deliverables, including Research, Promotion and ultimately a Functional Specification that will be used to assign roles and costs to facilitate attainment of project objectives.
I. Document Context:
The Maine GeoLibrary seeks to develop a system of unified property records across the state. The basic principles of this initiative can be summarized in a three key assumptions about what a final system should include and about how these records should be aggregated and maintained. These include:
These three components would provide Maine with all of the critical data upon which to integrate and grow a coordinated land records system. They would also serve to build and maintain a cohesive network of data stewards compiling data at the most local levels and rolling it up to higher jurisdictions for use all the way to the federal level.
The parcels composite would include geometry and basic identifying descriptors of every individually documented property in the state. This would include digital property parcels in the form traditionally used for display and query in geographic information systems. The quality of the geometry and integrity of attached attribute data would be dictated by existing or extended Maine GeoLibrary parcel standard requirements.
Perpetual parcels maintenance would be instituted to ensure that these data remain accurate and current through time. Even if all of Maine’s 750,000+ property parcels could be delivered as an exhaustive composite tomorrow, without a working maintenance regime in place their accuracy would be compromised the following day. Rigorous data updating will ultimately require legislation to keep the many functional contributors actively participating and complying with the overall framework.
Widespread system utility and added value will be realized by integrating secondary data sources through shared attributes as well as geographic relationships. This is the functional goal which offers the greatest potential benefits to the greatest number of current and prospective GIS stakeholders. A mature integrated land records system will allow users to ask such questions as “where are all of the properties with shore frontage?” or “what is the current set of parcels in foreclosure?” or “show me all land in Maine’s Tree Growth program” and return accurate graphical as well as quantified tabular data with defensible answers.
The secondary sources, such as great ponds polygons, foreclosure filings or Tree Growth certifications, will only be accessible for map-based analysis once a parcels framework is available to integrate them with.
In pursuit of these core goals, a number of enabling tasks need to be undertaken to move the process forward incrementally. Anticipated tasks include:
Statewide Parcels composite
II. Creation of Statewide Uniform Parcel Coverage
The central pillar of a Maine Integrated Land Records System will be an exhaustive boundary to boundary digital parcels layer for the state. To satisfy the needs of an effective ILRIS, this data layer must:
If statewide data automation is to proceed smoothly, observance of
certain aspects of the geometry standard will be critical.
It is also advisable to establish grant conditions stipulating that parcels are digitized over the most accurate available base orthoimagery.
The Standard currently stipulates the following attribute fields (data attached directly to the geometric features) as the core requirement:
A significant number of additional data fields are identified in the Standard as required (19). These are keyed to the primary fields through the STATE_ID and MAP_BK_LOT identifiers. These are fully referenced in the Functional Specification document.
A core attribute set is essential to ensure that parcel features can be keyed into the maximum number of tabular data sources based on shared attribute information. Of special note in this regard are the MAP_BK_LOT attributes, which key to municipal data, and the LS_BOOK and LS_PAGE fields, used to tie the data into County Registry data.
In addition to the fields listed above, the following would provide significant utility to a functional and forward looking integrated system:
Feature Storage and Distribution
In an efficiently implemented system, a single repository could provide storage, editing and distribution capabilities for the entire state. There are no longer any meaningful technical impediments to such architectures, and substantial economies of scale could be realized by eliminating the need for a large quantity of expensive software (hundreds of licenses) along with the technical expertise necessary to maintain and operate it. The functional framework for this is currently coalescing in the state’s geodata portal.
Of course there are many benefits to keeping local, on-the-ground expertise and geographic data quality review and assurance (if not hands-on maintenance) in close contact, but the physical data does not need to be warehoused locally for this to operate most effectively. It is far more important that the data be carefully input and validated according to standards than that local expertise be maintained to edit and ensure the quality of geographic data in every town and city in Maine.
Strategies for Attaining Uniform Statewide Parcels
Three possible paths have been identified as practical options for attaining a full statewide map down of digital parcel data. These include
Incremental development through individual municipal
However, unless the disbursements are increased significantly, the resources will be inadequate to the task. The parcel grant rounds were not funded or designed to develop new content, but to incentivize standardization and contribution of existing content.
Bundled automation of locally or demographically/developmentally
similar cohort towns
Statewide blitz initiative
It is unlikely that such an approach could be undertaken without some form of statewide enabling legislation.
Recent activities at the federal level are increasing the likelihood that resources may be made available to support this sort of aggressive approach as part of stimulus funding packages. In light of these developments it is important that implementation planning for this approach should be well considered should such federal funding be made available.
perpetual Parcels Maintenance
III. Perpetual Parcel Maintenance Mechanism in Advance of Statewide Coverage
Ongoing parcels editing and checking-in must be instituted to ensure all data in the repository remain accurate and current through time. The most persistent criticism of the 70+ towns’ data presently available via MEGIS download is that they are not up-to-date and there is no mechanism in place to make them so.
Many applications using digital property data rely on accurate representations of recent changes. In order to ensure that any comprehensive system provide maximum utility, it is therefore essential that the incremental changes occurring on the ground be reflected in the data repository as quickly and accurately as possible.
In the interest of achieving this state, there is a compelling case to made that day-forward digitizing and cataloging of these incremental changes to existing parcel standard municipalities should be instituted before statewide parcel data are pursued as an objective. Such a system would eliminate the possibility of data going stale following delivery of town-wide mapping.
A significant number of municipalities with digital parcels do not update these records actively (annually or less frequently) For this reason it would be favorable to enable perpetual maintenance capability without imposing the burden exclusively on the towns. Properly implementing such a maintenance scheme would provide a profound benefit to many geospatially underserved communities.
Perpetual maintenance could be facilitated in the following sequence:
Strategic Principles for Perpetual Parcel Maintenance
Integrating other Land Records Databases
Integrate Content from County Registries and other Sources
Tabular content integration:
Integrated Land Records, marrying digital tax parcel maps with information from municipalities, counties and state agencies, are an indispensable tool for modern governance.
Over the past twenty-five years geographic information systems (GIS) have been used to enable these tools, primarily at the local level in larger cities. And the Maine GeoLibrary has taken impressive initial strides toward integrating these systems more cohesively through targeted grants and planning efforts over the past ten years.
But the overall coverage in the state remains spotty and inconsistent. Maintenance of the data that do exist is not uniform or dependable, and hundreds of towns around the state have no access to the technology and its benefits.
Digital parcel mapping is the only practical means to exhaustively inventory property records, locally, regionally or statewide. The intelligent map that this technology provides may be queried, symbolized, shared and refined to provide a common operating picture for all potential users of property records data.
And there are many. Not just property assessors or appraisers, but analysts, regulators and enforcement officers in environmental agencies, transportation, health and economic development.
What properties have shorefront access? Where is the land in the Tree Growth program? Where is the real estate in foreclosure or in pre-foreclosure status? How many private parcels abut or are in visual range of wind farms? How many individual properties lie over a particular wetland or deer yard? Where are all of the properties that have sold or split in the past year?
All of these questions can be answered with simple queries against a property database. None of these questions can be answered here now.
In Maine, where land plays such a vital role in local livelihoods
and sense of place, the tools should be available to address and answer
these and countless other questions vital to the state and local interests.
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