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Home > Meetings > 2009 Meetings > February 18, 2009

February 18, 2009 Meeting Minutes and Agenda

Time: 10:00 to 12:30
Place: Burton M. Cross Building, Conference Room 105.


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

2. Presentation on the GeoPortal – Matt Blanchette, USM ( 30 minutes)

3. Elections for Chair & Co-Chair 2009 – All

4. 2008 Annual Report - All

5. Subcommittee Reports

• Financial – Larry Harwood
• Policy & Marketing – Marilyn Lutz
• Technical

Status of the GeoPortal – Mike Smith


Wednesday March 18th , 2009

10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Burton M. Cross Building, Conference Room 105.


Board Members Present

Nancy Armentrout (by phone)
Michael Smith
Robert Marvinney
Marilyn Lutz
Gretchen Heldmann (by phone)
Kenneth Murchison (by phone)
Paul Hoffman
Daniel Coker, Co-Chair
Greg Davis
Jon Giles
Aimee Dubois (by phone)


Larry Harwood


Vinton Valentine, University Southern Maine (USM), Maine GIS Users Group (MEGUG)
Matt Blanchette, student, USM.

The meeting was called to order at 10:07. Marilyn Lutz acting as Chair. Items below are numbered as they appeared on the meeting agenda, but are listed in the order they were addressed.

1. Approval of the January 21st meeting minutes

The Chair entertained a motion to approve the minutes. Bob Marvinney moved to approve the minutes as written. Paul Hoffman seconded. The Board voted 8 in favor, none opposed, no abstentions. The motion carried.

3. Elections for Chair and Co-Chair

Item 2 being delayed by technical difficulties, the Chair move to item 3. Nominations for Chair and Co-Chair were opened. William Hanson was nominated for Chair. Daniel Coker was nominated for Co-Chair. Nominations were closed. The Board voted for both nominees 8 in favor, none opposed, no abstentions. Mr. Hanson and Mr. Coker will serve as Chair and Co-Chair respectively for 2009.

4. 2008 Annual Report

At this point, Dan Coker, Co-Chair, arrived and relieved Marilyn Lutz as acting Chair. Item 2 being delayed the Chair moved to item 4. The 2008 report to the legislature began as a simple update of the 2007 annual report by staff. Gretchen Heldmann added some significant changes and additions to the report. There was minimal discussion.

The Chair entertained a motion to approve the report. Gretchen Heldmann moved to approve the report as written. Ken Murchison seconded. The Board voted 8 in favor, none opposed, the Chair abstaining. The motion carried. Staff will deliver the report to the legislature with appropriate letters of transmittal.

5. Subcommittee Reports

Item 2 being delayed the Chair moved to item 5.


Larry Harwood presented the usual one page financial statement. There has been little change in the financial statement for some months and no change to the bottom line. The Board still has $75,370 left to appropriate.

Q: Is this money sitting in an account somewhere?
A: Not exactly. We need to call for a certain amount of money to be made available in advance.

Q: Is the $75K the true figure or are there other expenses.
A: That is the exact figure remaining, according to accounting.

Policy & Marketing

Marilyn Lutz reported that the long delayed policy statement on Submission of Data would be made available to the Board in advance of the next meeting at which time it can be voted on. Marilyn also suggested if the Board needs additional promotional materials for the future. Dan Walters, USGS, suggested a one page informational summary on orthoimagery and LIDAR should be made up; Joe Young from SPO will also need that for flood management promotion. Nancy Armentrout noted that the promotional materials used at the last GIS Day need updating. Dan, Joe and Mike Smith will work on the LIDAR summary.


Mike Smith reported on the status of the GeoPortal. Development is continuing using GeoNetwork , a free and open source software application. Mike has discussed this with the Chief Technology Officer for the State Office of Information Technology (OIT). OIT will not support the required platform for GeoNetwork. Consequently it will be necessary to find two additional servers to be housed at University of Southern Maine (USM) to support the portal.

Mike Smith moved to appropriate $13,000 to purchase 2 servers to host the GeoPortal and reside at USM. Bob Marvinney seconded.

Q: Why is USM doing this if state government cannot?
A: USM can support the operating platform needed for GeoNetwork, the state will not.

Q: Is there a commitment on the part of USM to this project?
A: We have a commitment from Prof. David Briggs, Dept. of Computer Science that students will provide support.

Q: Have they {Dept. Computer Science} done anything like this before?
A: Yes for Dept. Marine Resources and Dept. of Environmental Protection. The best know would be the GoMOOS project (Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System).

Q: With respect, students are an unreliable resource as they move out of degree programs or their school entirely. How can we be sure of professional administration of our portal?
A: That is true but the USM staff will maintain the servers and we can assume that students will be assigned to maintain the portal as an ongoing project.

Q: Is there any fee involved?
A: No, USM is not charging a fee for maintenance.

Q: Is there anything in writing from USM, a written commitment?
A: There is a letter of intent from one of their administrators. Unfortunately we do not have that to hand today.

The Board voted 6 in favor, 2 opposed, the Chair abstaining. The motion failed.

There was substantial discussion of USM’s role in the portal project and there appeared to be two main points of disagreement. First, what was USM’s exact commitment; the lack of any documentation at hand in this meeting was a problem. Second, what were the ownership issues between USM and the Board with regard to hardware, software and any applications created. Some members also wanted to see the presentation on the portal before further consideration. Accordingly, the technical problems having been solved, the Chair moved to item 2.

2. Presentation on the GeoPortal

Matthew Blanchette, a USM student who works in the Computer Science lab, gave a live demonstration of the GeoPortal in it’s current state of development. For the benefit of members calling in he also gave out the URL. There was no handout and the demo was unscripted but the following is a short outline.

The main page is now largely “out of the box” with the addition of a banner and Geolibrary logo. This can be customized to a certain extent to fully “brand” the portal as a Geolibrary application. The basic functions can be accessed without logging on. The logon section allows a user to upload metadata for review and acceptance. Metadata can also be created from scratch on this application but that is a time consuming process. Most probably users would upload metadata by the batch. The preferred format for uploading metadata is XML .

Data can also be uploaded after metadata has been approved. There are two methods available, as a zip file or by “flash” upload from a selected directory. As of now only the shape file format can be used for data uploads.

Available data can be viewed on the map preview page. As demonstrated the base map or background image was a map service available for free but this could be changed to some other web mapping service. The layer demonstrated was point locations of marine data from the MEGIS data catalog. There is also the usual identification function and search functions including a search by area or “bounding box”. Metadata harvesting at present focuses on the ISO format, not FGDC but this can be fixed.

Q: How do we change ownership of the data and who will deal with security issues?
A: The portal administrator will do that.

Q: Who will be administering the portal?
A: That is an open question right now but initially probably one of the MEGIS staff.

Q: Is there a “clip, zip & ship” function for the data?
A: Not out of the box. That was always a separate application.

Q: How do you prevent uploads of viruses and other malevolent things?
A: Basically the uploads come in a zip file and are examined before unzipping. The app will not unpack a suspected file.

Q: The portal seems dysfunctional in some respects. Is this due to the lack of development?
A: Partially, but although there are certainly glitches remember that the portal was never intended to be a functional GIS software replacement. It is a metadata search tool with display and other functions.

Mike Smith moved to appropriate $13,000 to purchase 2 servers to host the GeoPortal. Bob Marvinney Seconded. The Board by roll call vote were 9 in favor, 1 opposed, the Chair abstaining. The motion carried. (note: attendance fluctuated during this meeting)

Additional business

Mike Smith reported that the application for the USGS CAT 1 grant was denied. It was noted that this was a long shot as Maine had received CAT 1 grants before.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:01 p.m.