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Home > Meetings > January 11, 2006

January 11, 2006


January 11 - 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Burton M. Cross Building – Conference Room 105


1. Positions to fill
a. Vice Chair
b. Chair IMS subcommittee

2. Strategic Plan

a. Review objectives
b. Additions due to current GIS usage/tools/etc
c. How to move GIS forward
d. Enterprise, Shared, and Agency architecture and infrastructure

3. Funding

4. Reports from Committees
a. Financial –
b. License Pooling – Bob Marvinney, Chair
c. Technical –
d. IMS -

5. Other Business/Updates
a. PUC Secure Infrastructure Database – Joe Sukaskas


  • Research data stored in other agencies and let Seth/Christopher know
  • If there are specialized services that need GIS application, we need to identify those and pass them on to Dan or David.
  • If you know of Federal sites or clearing houses that someone in the community can access and it points back to your agency, share this information with Seth and Christopher.
  • Agencies need to identify what their GIS resources are and how they can share with other agencies.
  • We will focus on architecture and infrastructure and put a draft out to folks.
  • Will send an E-mail out to folks asking what metrics we could use to negotiate with ESRI.
  • David Blocher offered to research ESRI master agreements other states may have.
  • Need to look at other agencies that may need to secure GIS data.


Christopher Kroot, Chair DEP
Don Katnik, IF&W
Marc Loiselle, DOC
Joe Sukaskas, PUC
David Kirouac, OIT/GIS
David Blocher, Representing the CIO's Office
Conferencing In
Matthew Bampton, USM/GIS Consortium
Seth Barker, DMR
Maria Jacques, PUC/E911

1. Positions to fill: Vice Chair and IMS Subcommittee Chair

Matthew Bampton was nominated to serve as the Vice Chair for the GIS Executive Council. All members present voted unanimously in favor of appointing Matthew as the Vice Chair. Don Katnik was nominated to serve as the Chair for the IMS Subcommittee, again those present voted in favor of having Don serve as the Chair to the IMS Subcommittee.

2. Strategic Plan

Christopher and Matthew met prior to this meeting to do some brainstorming on moving forward with a strategic plan. The recommendation made to the Council was to use the " Draft " handout entitled " Strategic Plan Thoughts " below (which are not prioritized) and write up a new plan rather than look at the "Old Plan" that has been updated a number of time and not necessarily used by a lot of agencies. Also, a recommendation was made to review the Strategic Plan on an annual basis and update accordingly. This may mean that every January and February we review the plan and make updates as required. This does not mean that the plan may not be updated anytime during the year if business requirements and/or technology changes make it necessary. GIS technology changes rapidly and the GIS work being done in agencies changes on a continuous basis.

Strategic Plan Thoughts

The list below results from a brainstorming session that Matthew Bampton and Christopher Kroot had on 1/6/06. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list. We thought it might be beneficial to start fresh on the strategic plan, attempting to address the issues that are of the most importance to the members of the GIS Executive Council. This list is not in order of priority.

1) Establish a working relationship with ESRI Portland

Meeting Notes: ESRI is interested in working more closely with users. They would be willing to meet and provide support on large issues. Any thoughts you may have on this, please send them to Chris and Matt.

2) Develop an enterprise/shared/agency plan that fits within the CIO's overall vision

Meeting Notes: We need to make sure this does not get lost in the overall transformation process. We need to communicate what we have accomplished in GIS. The new strategic plan must provide direction for all state agencies and other members of the current SLA agreement, and not have OGIS as the focus. It must also address the requirement to integrate GIS with business data.

3) How to get more agencies to integrate GIS into their everyday work

Meeting Notes: Focus on the advanced users, need high level training. From the University aspect, we have learning and teaching strategies for novice users taught by higher level GIS users. Use some type of workshop environment. We have some good resources to address the need of advanced users.

4) Develop a more effective working relationship with the University of Maine System - University of Maine System is training many students who will work for State Agencies.

Meeting Notes: Students from the University will probably go into state government work. Need more effective work between state agencies and the academic world. A lot of support from the University is available and need support from the GIS Executive Council. Are there issues out there that agencies are experiencing that could be worked out/resolved using the University capabilities/resources? The most effective and direct way to deal with it, if it is going to be part of the strategic plan, or may want to consider a more direct way.

There is a GIS certificate program taught across the University GIS Consortium modeled on the national standards. We could have feedback from industry and the state if we are sending out the people with the skills that you need, if we are not, we can fix it.

5) Work on vertical integration of GIS from the bottom to the top of agencies and organizations

Meeting Notes: Senior Management and different levels of management have a better understanding of GIS and how it can benefit their organization and how it is being used in their organization.

6) Training

    • Have State develop its own training classes
    • Web based training
    • Classroom
    • Hourly support
    • Concepts - tools- application
    • Understanding spatial processes - this is essential for spatial literacy
    • Training to demonstrate how to link the physical and social sciences using GIS
    • Master contract that enables any State staff to take ESRI virtual campus classes
    • Master contract that provides significant discount for ESRI instructor led classes

Meeting Notes : Have the state get a person solely for GIS training. DEP has 8 training courses they have developed. Developing our own training courses gives us control over the content. Training is a key thing we need to do. Looking at the web to deliver training and using a classroom setting is resources to look at.

Everyone is interested - might explore web applications for training - developing alternative chat rooms - online support/training. We need to build on the initial resources, identify specific contributions throughout the state. Are the instructional materials succeeding? University can offer some assessment tools they are developing right now.

Problems with training for the new users and others; all new users learning how to use the particular tool; some have taken classes and they have specific needs to apply to their business need. We set them up, get them going, but have no support to help them with any issues they may encounter. DEP offers How To.

The University is very successful in developing their curriculum; have compressed video meeting; develop a user meeting; build user communities to work through various issues.

Need to meet with David and Dan regarding the CIO's vision to address training. Could have the more advanced user take time to go to another agency and help them. We need to start looking at our resources as not just our own. It would take time to get involved assisting another agency to learn and understand their program/business. It's a good idea - more of a mentoring system.

We need to build a learning community - shift talent around within agencies, also between University and state agencies. It would be a significant objective to move the GIS talents around. Need to maximize our resources and help out other agencies.

This is a real winner of an idea - think about prototyping that with agencies around the table. Where are the talents? Get a report from the mentor and the one that was mentored and bring report before the CIO Council. Mentoring will vary within agencies pending the business need. Let's give it a try and see what happens.

Chris will find someone at DEP; Dave give Chris some contact people at DHHS to work with (Al May).

These are some really exciting ideas. Should have training on the agenda for a full discussion at the next meeting. Taking a fresh look at things is good and maximizes the input around each of these.

Conclusions : The strategic plan needs to get done with 2 or 3 months.

How does the strategic plan differ from the work plan? Work plan focuses on data development; basically guidance for the Office of GIS. The strategic plan should have a time horizon of more than one year; update annually; talk about more than one year goals/plans for the future. GIS concepts change quickly; need a plan that is used and helps direct what people do. The concept of a strategic plan is being more a dynamic document; reflect the duration of the technology.

Need to include the Agency IT Directors; they are not GIS experts; they should know how it is being used in their agency. Need broad support from the AITDs. Need to periodically update the AITDs. Chris and Matt could meet with the AITDs. Need to have a clear message for the AITDs - brief meeting with something in writing.

Need to:

  • Have a high level plan, implement it, work it out, reach the goals that are in the plan
  • Identify general objectives
  • Map out broad strategies
  • We can all learn and show successes
  • We can gain better support within the Administration, continue to show successes
  • Snow innovative approaches to handling GIS in the state
  • Integrate social/physical sciences - the University can help us a lot in this arena. We have gathered data that could be useful to other agencies; integrate with other non GIS data.
  • Major discussion - share data across agencies; take money out of data gathering and put it someplace else

7) Budget

  • Need to develop stable funding for MEGIS
  • Need to develop funding to support growth of GIS

Meeting Notes : The financial committee has not met since April 2005. We need to meet and deal with the funding of GIS. Need to develop a stable funding for GIS; SLAs are not really working.

8) Data

  • Integrating metadata
    • Link State , Local, Academic, and Federal metadata
  • Data development
    • New data
    • Enhancements
    • Maintenance
    • Geo-coding for all State agencies
    • Access/distribution

Meeting Notes: We have done a good job of working with metadata. Where is the spatial data? Who has what and where? Data maintenance should be the highest priority, maintain what we have and process access and distribution especially to SLA members. The public is served via the data catalog. Need to focus on state operations and make the data available. Need to maintain the data we have and provide capability to use/access this data as a priority. What is the data catalog utilization? What about GIS being part of InforME with a fee for service? There is a concern for charging; students are using it; if they have to pay they will not use it.

9) Web applications

  • IMS applications
  • Application development tools that use IMS
  • Integrating with State InfoMe web site
  • Integrating with State business databases

10) Security/ emergency response

  • Data confidentiality
  • Disaster recovery
  • Supporting emergency response
  • Public communication
  • Satellite communication
  • Regional centers/redundancy

11) Integration with national efforts

  • Geography network
  • GEON project

12) Infrastructure - Security relates to all bullets below

  • Application servers
    • Citrix ArcGIS Servers
    • ArcGIS server
  • Data servers
    • File servers
    • SDE servers
    • Business databases
  • Web servers
    • ArcIMS
    • Third part applications
  • Security
  • PC's
  • Mobile devices

13) GPS


3. Funding

We need to develop stable funding for GIS in Maine State Government. The current Service Level Agreements (SLAs) we are using as a funding resource are not a good funding resource. We need to look at other mechanisms available for getting money. One option discussed was "Fee for Services" such as access to licenses, Oracle connections, etc. We should analyze what the possibilities would be.

It was noted that LD 787 bond funding for the GeoLibrary went before the Legislative Committee and the vote was ONTP.

GIS is losing capability due to budgetary constraints. To develop GIS enterprise wide requires a central administration and capability or agencies will start working more independently. Not having the appropriate funding has impacted on the capability to share data and eliminate redundant data storage. Another funding option could be across the board fee per desktop.

GIS keeps growing within the agencies and the number of staff has not grown. License pooling gives a good account of folks using GIS. We need a better handle on the growth of GIS. Can we some how measure growth? Lack of funding would result in "what programs would stop." We could survey agencies to capture the growth of GIS use and what is captured on the survey would be important.

A long term stable solution for GIS funding would be a work station fee across the board. However, agencies not using GIS on all desktops would not want to pay a fee for those work stations.

It was agreed the GIS Executive Council does need to look for a funding model outside of SLAs. The only thing on the table right now is the SLAs. David Blocher will be talking with Dick Thompson on this issue. Do we approach the General Fund aspect? In reference to the SLAs, it was noted that some agencies do sign but do not have the funds to pay. We need to look at GIS as a business and we cannot build independent GIS approaches.

4. Reports from Subcommittees


License Pooling - Marc Loiselle

Marc distributed the memorandum below to update the Council on license pooling.

Department of Conservation
Maine Geological Survey


Date: January 11, 2006
To: GIS Executive Council
From: Bob Marvinney, Marc Loiselle
Subject: Update on license pooling

The license pooling group met on January 9th to review the experiences to present. In brief:

  • there have been no issues with ArcInfo/ArcView license availability
  • ArcInfo licenses have been close to maxed out at times
  • ArcView licenses have not come close to being maxed out
  • there have been only minor issues with GRID/Spatial Analyst extension licenses (currently have 4 of them) being unavailable when requested. This may be due to people unknowingly having the Spatial Analyst extension enabled.
  • based on six months of use extrapolated to a full year, the ESRI license maintenance costs (approximately $74,000), and estimated OGIS overhead costs for license administration ($18,500), proposed rates of
  • 1.50/hour for ArcInfo
  • 0.875/hour for ArcView
  • 0.25/hour for extensions

would have provided approximately $110,000 over that past year. This would have been sufficient to cover the costs above with a surplus of approximately $17,500

  • it was noted that agency behavior will change when faced with per hour costs. There will be a shift from ArcInfo to ArcView where possible; ArcGIS sessions will not be left open and minimized when not in use; etc. This should cause a reduction in the income estimated above.
  • as a result, we recommend that
  • all using agencies be informed of the potential cost for GIS services IF their use in the coming year is similar to the past year
  • agencies be encouraged to use GIS services as they would if paying by the hour
  • review usage after 4 months of 2006, and adjust fees to reflect this more realistic usage
  • OGIS keep track of actual license administration costs over the same 4 month period and adjust overhead costs accordingly
  • new rate be recommended and evaluated
  • look to implement the per hour fee in FY07

Discussions: An option brought up for GIS funding was coming up with a rate for license fee services. Some licenses are still owned by the agency and some have been assigned to MEGIS. It was agreed that if the license pooling did not work agencies could have their licenses back. Also noted was the need for license checkout and to have this put on laptops.

Also distributed was an ESRI License Fees data sheet (but together by David Kirouac) showing the agency, type of license used, hours used and total cost of use per proposed hourly rates. A request was made to have David send out a memo to the users showing what their usage would have cost vs. the actual cost. IMS is a whole other question - IMS does not show up on the license pooling chart put together by David.

It was recommended to let people know what is happening and what the message we are looking to send out is.

IMS Subcommittee

There are concerns of depleting resources for development and maintaining custom applications. Should we start looking at third party tools for IMS that does not require programming but meets the needs of current applications that exist out there? Currently, there is no plan to support what we have. Will agencies be our there on their own? What active IMS development is going on now? DOT is doing some in-house stuff, Broadband support for the Governor's ConnectME initiative, and IF&W is doing something with natural areas.

Financial - no report at this time

Technical - meeting is scheduled for next week


5. Other Business/Updates

PUC Secure Infrastructure Database - Joe Sukaskas

Joe noted that DPS is building a separate network and the PUC will be meeting with Tom Howker at DPS for discussion. We need to have a secure network to transport confidential data needed for emergency situations by certain state agencies such as MEMA.

Within the enterprise wide infrastructure, Jon Richard is the Director for Operations where servers are located and Mark Kemmerle is the Director for the Security Office. We need to research other agencies that may also need this type of security requirements. OIT is looking at certificate based security however it does no work well with UNIX. This is a concern we do need to start addressing enterprise wide. Business Continuity is another security concern that needs to be addressed enterprise wide.

Another issue brought up from a policy perspective was the use of GPS and how the state as a whole could benefit. Christopher was asked to contact Sheldon Bird and have this put on the desktop radar. We would need standardization and common support.

In bring the meeting to and end, Christopher said he would send out a "Draft" of the Strategic Plan before the next meeting.

Meeting adjourned 4:30.