By David Blocher, CIO’s Designee to the Board
On April 9, 2002 Governor Baldacci signed into law "An Act to Establish the Maine Library of Geographic Information", and in November of that year, Maine voters passed a bond issue which provided $2,300,000 to fund the GeoLibrary’s mandate to "improve citizens' access to public geographic data, make grants to municipalities and participate in intergovernmental data development agreements".
Since its founding the GeoLibrary has:
- developed and maintained data standards for non-state (primarily local tax) parcel data submitted to the GeoLibrary or developed with GeoLibrary managed funds,
- implemented, in conjunction with the Federal government, a $3.2M project to produce digital orthophotography (photomaps) for the state’s organized townships (to see your neighborhood displayed, take a look at http://megisims.state.me.us/website/orthomap/viewer.htm ), and
- created a municipal grant program to digitize property tax maps with awards varying from $1,000 to $10,000. The first round of awards to 44 towns is complete. The second round of awards to 29 towns is underway.
In addition to State agencies, who regularly use spatial data to make analyses of regional and statewide land use, growth patterns etc., who has been using the GeoLibrary’s orthoimagery data and why? The GeoLibrary conducted an online survey.
A Maine municipal mapping company reported: "We estimate that for a town of approximately 2000 parcels, the savings in a tax mapping project is $20,000 or more by using the orthoimagery."
Brown University, Rhode Island reported that using the orthoimagery for mapping wetlands saved "over 3 weeks of intensive manual labor by 2 individuals, say 240 hours or $12,000".
During 2006, the GeoLibrary started to construct an enhanced web-based portal as its "front door" for public access to statewide data and to facilitate the development of a virtual GIS network linking statewide geospatial data holdings. This project is nearing completion and we anticipate it will be available for all to use by this summer.
Although the GeoLibrary also has partially funded 1) an updated Maine’s Land Cover Map (in cooperation with several State and federal agencies) and 2) a GIS needs assessment for Maine county government, most of the spatial information available to the public hails from MeGIS and state agencies .
The GeoLibrary Board has provided a more detailed accounting of its achievements in the 2006 Annual Report to the Legislature, and will seek additional funding to continue its work into the future.