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Home > Meetings > June 14, 2006

June 14, 2006


  1. Status Report for the Infrastructure Subcommittee M. Smith
  2. Review of April 12, 2006 meeting notes C. Kroot
  3. Data Inventory
  4. Review Status of GIS positions in the context of reorganization D. Walters
  5. Discuss GIS budget for FY08 and FY09 D. Walters
  6. Discuss need of agency input for the Strategic Plan
  7. Review Strategic Plan


Attending the meeting were:
Christopher Kroot, Chair
Dan Walters, MEGIS
Bob Marvinney, Conservation
David Blocher, OIT/Policy & Strategic Planning
Seth Barker, DMR
Nancy Armentrout, DOT
David Kirouac, MEGIS
Victor Chakravarty, OIT/Policy & Strategic Planning
Mike Smith, DEP
Don Katnik, IF&W
Nate Kane, DOT
Liz Hertz, SPO

1. Status Report for the Infrastructure Subcommittee (IS) – M. Smith

Mike reported that the IS met recently and looked at the possibilities for GIS infrastructure integration and looked at various systems currently in place, looked at issues and how they could be resolved, discussed how we could do migration, and touched on issues at the University system. At the next meeting there will be a discussion about ArcIMS and security issues.

The meeting was well attended by senior management folks and many other GIS folks. The next meeting will be end of June.

What are the goals of the group? To look at GIS infrastructure in the state, identify those that can be integrated and those that cannot and come up with recommendations. Have the discussion included any relationships? We have not gone that far.

The meeting did not include a lot of detail, just a broad discussion at this point. We did focus on those issues that really stick out. We looked at systems and how to integrate.

Disaster Recovery and Data Security will be on the agenda in the near future; the University is very interested in this and possibly setting up a firewall to allow the state to pass through.

All these efforts will help in the development of the Strategic Plan for GIS and we need to bring in the involvement of the GIS Technical folks.

Who are the key players of the infrastructure that is out there?

Security is a very hot topic, need to explore some tools and discuss further in the near future. We are exploring some tools to have a neutral baseline of services. We are more worried about things that get built on top of something else; this could be more vulnerable.

2. Review of April 12, 2006 meeting notes – C. Kroot

Do we have more information on OIT reorganization? Dan will talk about this today as part of this agenda item #6.

The notes were approved as written.

3. Update on License Pool Usage – D. Kirouac

Following the dissemination of 2 handouts, David talked about the GIS License Pool Usage statistics for 2005. The report shows the agency and hours of use for ArcInfo, ArcView, Spatial, 3D, and Network hours. There are more agencies using ArcInfo and not enough using the ArcView licenses.

The results of the license pooling and monitoring have supported the subcommittee’s impression that the GIS licenses have been underutilized and the current number of licenses owned by the state could support additional users. During a typical week, 33 of the 40 ArcInfo licenses are utilized concurrently and 13 of the 39 ArcView licenses are utilized concurrently. Spatial Analyst and 3D Analyst licenses are usually all used and there appears to be a need for some additional licenses. In addition, there have been requests for adding additional types of licenses like the Interoperability license.

The GIS license pool will be funded by the agencies using the license pool. The rates and method of payment for accessing the license pool will be established by OIT. In addition to the GIS license fees, Citrix users will also be assessed a fee by OIT for the Citrix environment.

License administration includes:

  • Maintenance of the ESRI license file
  • Coordinator with ESRI
  • Coordination with OIT Unix server staff
  • Usage monitoring and reporting
  • Technical support for access to the license server

MEGIS will make the ArcGIS software available for installation to all agencies participating in the license pool over the WAN or by CD upon request. MEGIS will not be responsible for the installation of ArcGIS software on agency computers but will provide technical support to agency help desks or other appointed agency contact for the installation of the ArcGIS software on agency computers.

ArcGIS on Citrix responsibilities entail:

  • Maintenance of ArcGIS on the Citrix server
  • Coordination with Citrix server administrator
  • Administration of permissions and accounts
  • Technical support to install Citrix client

How do we get more licenses? We do have a set number of licenses right now and we will talk with ESRI to see what we can do for more licenses. This usage analyst will be pertinent information to use when we do talk with ESRI. We will be able to see where we are at and to see if we are spending too much money.

Do we know the actual hours the license(s) is being used? We do not have this particular information. Is the user actually using the license for the number of ours it is checked out? This is a concern. We could charge on actual usage to drive people to disconnect when not in use. It is possible to automatically set it up to disconnect when shutting ArcMap.

What is the period of time for this usage analyst? January to December 2005

Network license: Currently have one license. Did DOT transfer all their Network licenses (7)? Action Item: David Kirouac with check with Tom at DOT on this.

Does MEGIS fall under the Dept. of Administrative & Financial Services? Yes

We will monitor usage for a 6 month period (January to June 2006). The subcommittee will come up with an analysis of small users vs. larger users. We could possibly set up something like a SLA (Service Level Agreement). We could use the prior year metrics for the coming year to cover maintenance and administrative services.

Does the report reflect a larger use of ArcInfo that is warranted? Yes, don’t think users are switch between the two licenses.

ArcView Licenses: The ArcView number will be going down; some licenses are part of a training pool and we cannot use there (6) licenses ongoing – not legal. This will bring the count down from 39 to 33.

Can we increase the license for the ones that are getting denied? We will explore the situation with the DOT licenses first and look at how we can come up with a better licensing scheme for the state.

We need to look into setting up the next agreement with ESRI to be able to switch between produces without having to buy them. The more accurate our hourly usage is the more accurate we can make the decision to negotiate for licenses with ESRI. We could go to ESRI right now to exchange ArcInfo licenses for ArcView licenses.

What is the time frame of the next master license agreement? We are meeting next Friday to talk about that, than bring ESRI in. We need to determine what we want.

People are being denied; licenses are sitting idle and not being used; we could switch licenses now before negotiating for the master agreement.

Action Item: David K look at the DOT license situation.

Need to look at the GeoLibrary Board wanting to extend license usage to local and municipal governments.

Action Item: Christopher will research samples of enterprise agreements ESRI has with other states and send them out to folks to review. DEP: We need a certain number of licenses and whoever wants to use them can use them. We can do this with individual agencies or other folks we are doing business with.

If DOT migrates the rest of their licenses is DEP part of this negotiation? Depends on how it turns out right now and the timing. DEP agreement goes from March to March and has a huge amount of flexibility with their licenses.

We need to have a statewide agreement; DEP do the beta testing; ESRI still get the benefit, and other agencies may have an interest in other produces that DEP is not testing. There may be a wider benefit to ESRI with a wider beta testing and licensing agreement.

We need to touch bases, within our own agency, with users to remind them that they have to change or check out more than they are actually using.

Can ESRI change that licensing strategy? The users needs to remember what they are using and have to check it out – are they actually using them? We need to try to make sure we are using what the report says we are using.

ESRI needs accurate hourly information from the state. We have these many licenses and this is how much they are being utilized. We want a blanket license to use as much as we need to. There is a lot of usage that varies day to day, one day a user gets denied – one day not being used.

The state is getting 60% discount on some of its other enterprise licenses; need to get everyone’s perspective on how it should work to benefit the agencies.

There will be a master license agreement meeting on June 23.

ESRI would like to bundle up training – should this be a separate issue? We would like to have access to the virtual campus; there classes have been improved. ESRI is also open to having a state person become certified to teach and provide training materials. ESRI wants to teach the intermediate classes themselves. ESRI makes money on doing the training, give them face time.

There are a lot of different needs out there and we will bring this out at the June 23 meeting.
June 23 | 9:30 to Noon | COB Conf Room 300.

Action Item: Christopher will send out another e-mail invitation/reminder.

It is great to his this kind of analysis of usage; a step in the right direction; should help us negotiate with ESRI.

There were some eye openers as a result of this report. Thanks to David K for the report which is very helpful.

If you did not get an invitation and would like to be on the master agreement committee please let Christopher know.

4. Status Report on the Technical Subcommittee – D. Kirouac

The next meeting of the Technical Subcommittee is Tuesday, June 20th at 26 Edison Drive – Conference Room 3.

The next meeting of the GIS Executive Council is July 12th. This session will be facilitated by Ray Halperin and will focus on reviewing/developing the GIS Strategic Plan.
Action Item: An invitation will be sent out to the Technical folks.

5. Process for completing Data Inventory – C. Kroot

We need to come up with a brief description of the data that needs to be maintained and the data sets that people want or need that they do not have. We need to get an idea on the expense and planning. What would be the best process to get this done? Technical Rep from each agency take on the responsibility.

What would we do with it? Look at it as a whole and say this is the universal data that needs to be maintained. Sort of a portfolio process – what would we invest in.

There is data out there on the MEGIS website; need to avoid redundancy; what are the additional data needs that we need funding for?

We need to discuss the process; look for the data that needs to be maintained, look for datasets that we don’t have; look at multiple agencies doing multiple edits on the same layer.

Can we tell how much the data layers that are already there are being used? We can tell connections and by who; can audit and track but does have quite a bit of overhead. Could we turn on auditing temporary? Could be done but would be a huge effort. We could do a survey to agencies but the survey should not be complicated.

Does ESRI have any auditing tools? None they would give us.

We can have a good measure on what the outside is using; it’s getting usage on the inside that would be difficult. It would be interesting to know on what the outside use is? If storage becomes an issue we may have to prioritize, or move to a more important category. Layers being used a lot by outside users would be valuable to know for prioritization, storage, and maintenance. It would be worthwhile to find out what people are using or need.

Finding out the layers that need maintenance could be done; usage would be difficult to come up with; Tech folks could coordinate the survey in each agency.

Has there been any discussion on timing? This is the first time this is being discussed. If the Technical Committee ends up with the oversight of this survey, the sooner the better. We need to get this stuff out on the table. Keep the survey simple and ask basic questions, noting some layers are used only within certain agencies.

We need to:

  • Focus on why are we collecting this data
  • Data that needs updating
  • Data we don’t have and need
  • Data we may not k now is out there
  • How will this affect the Strategic Plan
  • Need resources to maintain it and capital to buy it
  • If there is data in development need to let folks know about it
  • How much data specific is being shared by agencies and could be shared that are not being shared

DOT does have a certification on data going to MEGIS, has this inhibited the sharing of data?

Meta data is not an issue in DEP, it is confidential or data has not been QAQC, confidentiality is more of an issue, we are working on developing policies where portions of the data can be released.

There are different folks updating data; let’s all work together and do it together. Details need to be worked out because of the way it is being collected; it is worth combining efforts.

There are core things we have struggled with, we continue to address and want to go there. We need integration of all our resources to get the best data not just from GIS and integrate with OIT to include business data; need to capitalize on all other resources out there outside of GIS, how do we get this integrated? Need to keep on top of meta data! It has allowed use to expand into archives which is a big aspect of archives. Meta data is ever increasing regardless of the effort involved.

Project Data: DEP has a lot of data that would probably be useful to other folks; end up consolidating our file servers and SDE management becomes extremely complicated. Rights, privileges and authorization become complex. This will require more resources at MEGIS. There are things to consider in consolidating. Need coordination with the GeoLibrary in terms of data needs.

The GeoLibrary Board will be scheduling a joint session with the GIS Executive Council in the near future.

Data Focus:

  • Current layers
  • Layers in development
  • Data needs
  • Data maintenance
  • Keep meta data updated
  • Focus on cataloging data
  • Once we have the inventory could we expand and see what agencies are using what data/

How many layers are there? Hundreds

At the next Technical Subcommittee meeting bring up having a rep from each agency come with a list of data they use and maintain, look at updating commonality. Have a rep from the Technical Subcommittee gather the data; have them discuss how to do it, we need to figure out what we are asking for, give them a spreadsheet so they are all using the same format. Stuff we k now is out there at an agency, we need to get in touch with those folks.

What is the end result: Have, Using It, Where are the gaps, needs to get data upgraded, editing the same layers (editing things differently). We need coordination and standards for maintaining data layers. It is a big effort in getting the data integrated. We need to recognize everyone is busy, there are no extra resources, we need to be realistic and ask for what we really need.

Action Item: Christopher will send out the list of data needs for review and prioritizing. This list, once finalized, will be passed on to the Technical Subcommittee letting them know this is what we want for an end result.

What is the Technical Subcommittee role? Their role covers everything that is technical. They have expertise about the data and usage.

A recommendation was made to have someone from the GIS Executive Council stay in communication with the Tech Reps to make sure everything stays on track and gets done in a timely manner. Let’s keep it to what we really need.

Can we get guidance to the Technical Subcommittee by next Tuesday?

  • Layers of use to more than one agency (planned/in development)
  • New data needed
  • Data planned
  • Data in development
  • Data maintained/updated by agency (layers an agency changes and continues to maintain that data as changed)

What is the outcome/accomplishment of this survey? Leverage resources, develop funding requests for data development, maintenance, sharing data, distribution, reduce duplication and redundancy, and to use in the Strategic Plan and upcoming budget developments.
The Technical Subcommittee is meeting next Tuesday, June 20 (see Item 4 above).

Should there be appointed folks from agencies to the Technical Subcommittee? Yes

Action Item: Christopher will send out an email to the GIS Executive Council to appoint a technical person from their agency to serve on the Technical Subcommittee and to attend the Tuesday meetings.

6. Review Status of GIS positions in the context of reorganization – D. Walters

IT positions are being moved to OIT in name and paid from OIT (not all IT positions are moving physically). For application services nothing has changed to date. For the desktop end there are changes specifically in application development. IT classes in name but not doing IT work are being reviewed individually and may be reclassified. Positions such as scientist, biologist, etc. will be not affected. In reference to seniority, we will be getting this information from Personnel Services. Also, some folks are looking into buying back their vacation time not used.

If someone has heard nothing about their position (IT position) what should they do? Contact the AITD for your agency. If an agency has enough IT work to keep that IT person busy they will stay in the agency, agency makes that decision.

Two concerns that agencies have is 1) ending up eating the cost of this IT change and 2) not being able to keep their programs going. We need to bring up these issues and get them addressed.

There was a short discussion on the importance of GIS infrastructure and keeping the Infrastructure Subcommittee in tact. GIS has learned a lot about the business side vs. the business side learning more about GIS.

DOT sees GIS disciplines in five categories:

  • Application Development
  • Production Mapping
  • GIS Analysis
  • Spatial Data Management
  • Software Administration

The current Application Development forum that was held was brought up for discussion which included a question of how is GIS different from database work? It is important to educate technical people in the agencies on what GIS is. Need to look at cross-training of developers, programmers, etc in GIS and non-GIS work. We need to use the existing skills in the most efficient way possible and using them collaboratively. Education needs to be deliberate in cross-training GIS vs. not GIS work. Take advantage of peoples’ expertise, spatial reasoning and understanding is a good skill to have.

On the business side of things career stops at GIS Coordinator. Cartographers have been revamped; agencies are afraid to use these positions that in the future may become an OIT position. We are looking for confirmation of not bringing those folks into OIT. This is a huge concern and has not been addressed properly.

This is a very logical question; we what to see a track record; time will tell.

There are some IT have and have nots out there; we need to bring everyone together and treated equally; more control on the IT budget.

Another concern of agencies is the lack of technical support within the agency.

The Application area is not being addressed right now. We will work to maintain application folks as close to the business side as possible.

7. Discuss GIS budget for FY08 and FY09 – D. Walters

Dan distributed a document “Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and GIS License Pool” for software license rates showing the “old scenario” and the “new scenario” and what the change would be for agencies.

For FY07 the current SLAs will be renewed for each agency. GIS core services for FY08 will be incorporated into IT overhead and in the OIT indirect budget. The CIO is in agreement to cover the core services – how is not yet determined.

Internet Mapping Concerns:

  • Only 25% of a position for administration and operation of software
  • Great concern the position will be needed more
  • Need to have a person in place to provide the service
  • Need more resources to meet the growing concerns
  • Need a skilled IMS and internet mapping person
  • We could train more staff
  • AITDs need to project an increased need for their agency
  • Maintenance of what is already in place is a concern
  • Need to have a much larger pool available with the proper skill sets
  • Keeping what you have is important
  • In-house application development is also a concern to keep it running

Action Item: We need to project the future use of IMS; staff needs to be skilled in IMS applications; it is good to have more than one person with these skills; need to capture this in the Strategic Plan.


Action Item: Folks need to attend the July 12 meeting for review/developing the GIS Strategic Plan.

Attached are excerpts from the notes of the September and December 2005 GIS Executive Council meetings which included a discussion of revamping the GIS Strategic Plan.

September 2005 Meeting Notes

Revamp Strategic Plan: It was agreed that Seth, Chris, Dan, and Liz would draft a new Strategic Plan and send to the entire Committee for review/comments. The time frame would be to revamp the report in October, send out for comments in November, and finalize at the December meeting.

The main agenda item for this meeting was to review, discuss, and work to finalize the “Draft” “Improving the Development and Delivery of Geographic Information” Executive Council Strategic Plan for 2002-2007. It was noted this draft was presented to the Information Services Policy Board on December 19, 2002 for review/approval. At that time, the ISPB made recommendations for revisions to the report. The report remained in “Draft” form and did not get ISPB final approval.

Seth asked the EC members present is there were important changes to be made, noting the Vice Chair, Chris Kroot felt the report needed extensive review and editing as IT has changed and we use GIS differently. The EC members present agreed to have a general discussion, review and recommendation of any changes to the report.

The process started with reviewing the Goals 1 through 10. It was felt there may be too many goals and perhaps some of the goals could be broken down into objectives. Having fewer goals with objectives seem to be an agreement among the team. As discussed, there are four general areas for goals: 1) Maintain, Enhance, and Support; 2) Data; 3) Partnerships; and 4) Funding. The idea is to minimize the goals and be more specific with the objectives.

The outlined discussed was as follows with possible rewriting of each goal and objectives for each goal:

  • Goal 1 remains a goal and reword to include “Integration”= (Maintain, Enhance, Support, Integrate)
  • Goal 2 remains a goal (Data)
  • Goal 3 rolled into Goal 2 (Data)
  • Goal 4 to be included within the text of the report
  • Goal 5 becomes Goal 3 (Partnerships)
  • Goal 6 an objective under Goal 3
  • Goal 7 becomes Goal 4 (Funding)
  • Goal 8 Will be included in Goal 1
  • Goal 9 an objective under Goal 2
  • Goal 10 an objective under Goal 2

The four sections of the Strategic Plan: (1) roles of state agencies, MEGIS and organization outside state government; 2) GIS architecture; 3) GIS data, and 4) governance and funding) were discussed and agreement was to edit these sections to coincide with the new goals/objectives and reflect the new OIT changes.

Notes for consideration when revamping the “Strategic Plan” are:

  • Need maintenance and access to reliable data
  • Who is this plan being written for? Guidance document?
  • Goals need to be understandable
  • Limit marketing in the Introduction (GIS needs to be seen differently)
  • “Architecture” section which includes infrastructure and data perhaps should become “Applications” covered under Goal 1.
  • Keep folks aware of the process and planning and where GIS is going
  • Keep communication going between the GIS Executive Council and the GeoLibrary Board to avoid the two groups from moving forward in opposite paths.
  • Remove current dates from the document and include a revision date only.

FUNDING: Under the funding issue it was noted the need for more support from the Office of the Chief Information Officer. Currently, we are still using the SLA process for 2005/2006.

APPROVAL: With the ISPB being abolished, the new model will have to go before the CIO and the CIO Council for approval.

Also discussed for consideration was the possibility of having two (2) separate reports. A goals plan and a business implementation plan with strategies that would lead to the workplan.

TASK/TIMEFRAME: It was agreed that Seth, Chris, Dan, and Liz would draft a new Strategic Plan and send to the entire Committee for review/comments. The time frame would be to revamp the report in October, send out for comments in November, and finalize at the December meeting.

Also as part of the December meeting agenda, need to discuss taking GIS to the next steps:

  • Finalize past 3 years strategic plan
  • Figure out how we are going to do the next strategic plan
  • Need to have a good strategic plan in place

December 2005 Meeting

Item #1: State of Strategic Plan 2002-2007 – Revisions

Seth noted the Strategic Plan needs to be a living document which will require periodic review and revisions. He commented on the good work that was accomplished at the September 13th meeting in reviewing the goals from the Strategic Plan.

Currently, no Strategic Plan revisions have been implemented. We are waiting to get a better idea of what is happening within OIT and what the significance will be as it relates to GIS. The benefit of planning and moving ahead, and moving GIS ahead, is an important element.

Going back to the Strategic Plan and being aware of all the changes taking place, we need to make sure when drafting new directions that they are inline with the goals of the CIO’s office.

There was good work accomplished on the Strategic Plan at the last meeting. We need to keep the organization of goals. For now, we will focus on architecture and infrastructure and put a draft out to folks. The current goals are not inconsistent with the CIO’s tasks. We need goals and infrastructure underneath the outcomes.

Meeting adjourned 4:50 p.m.

The next GIS Executive Council meeting is July 12. This meeting will be devoted to the GIS Strategic Plan. Currently this meeting is booked on Conf Room 105, however, we are looking to book elsewhere. If the location for this meeting changes, you will be notified.