GIS: Minutes November 15
Agendas and Minutes

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GIS Council Meeting


3:00 PM – 4:30 PM





Members Present

Andy Asaro, DOT

Tyler Kleykamp, DPH

Patrick Ladd, Town of West Hartford

Mike Varney, DOIT

Diane Wallace, DOIT

Richard Gallacher, Town of Manchester

George Pohorilak, DPS

Dan Morley, OPM

Stephen Lowrey, Town of Tolland

Stuart Fitzgerald, DECD

Sandy Prisloe, UConn

LTC Gerald Luwkowski, Military

Steve Fish, DEP

Skip Thomas, DEMHS

Derek Phelps, Siting Council

Dennis Barry, DSS

Scott Roberts, Town of South Windsor

Bill Palomba, DPUC



Members Absent

Wayne Kasacek, DOA

Raymond Philbrick, DPW

Tony Andosca, CSU

Erik Snowden, Regional Planning (CROG)



For a full recording of this meeting, please click on the following link:


Call to Order

Meeting called to order at 3 p.m.



Opening Remarks

Chairman Diane Wallace, CIO, Department of Information Technology, welcomed the Council, council workgroup chairs, participants and members of the public.  She reported the meeting will be televised on the Connecticut Television Network (CTN) and reviewed a few housekeeping items.  Each Council member then introduced themselves.


Chairman Wallace reported that November 15 was a special day.  Honorable M. Jodi Rell issued an official proclamation naming it Connecticut National Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) Day.  She talked about the GIS posters representing the activities of the GIS Council.  She reported there were a large number of events happening across the country this week in recognition of GIS activities:  in six of the seven continents, in 81 different countries and in all 50 states.  These events demonstrate real world applications that are making a difference in our society. 


Chairman Wallace reported that the Northeast Arc Users Conference (NEARC) bestowed a very prestigious award to an individual who demonstrates excellence in the use of technology to achieve success in natural resource conservation.  The Peter S. Thatcher Award was given to Council member Sandy Prisloe, of the University of Connecticut. 


Review of Minutes

Chairman Wallace asked for acceptance of the minutes to the September 27, Council meeting.  A motion was made by Council member Patrick Ladd and seconded by Council member Steve Fish.  All in favor, none opposed.  Motion carried.


Training and Education Workgroup Report

Council member Sandy Prisloe and Workgroup member Peter Sandgren reported that 17 GIS posters were submitted for display at the Legislative Office Building (LOB) during GIS week, as well as some shared at the NEARC Conference.  Council member Prisloe acknowledged one poster in particular which was developed by UCONN students who are participating in a program sponsored by NASA, and applauded their contribution.


Based on a previous request for the GIS Day Committee, towns, municipalities, RPOs, and other entities were asked to submit a one page synopsis of their GIS activities for showcasing on the GIS website.  Several submissions were received and will be available on the GIS website, along with the online services they provide. 


Council member Prisloe reported status on hiring staff to assist their workgroup and the Data & Inventory Workgroup.  They are interested in surveying other states who have established councils or organizations similar to the CT GIS Council, aimed at how training and education is being handled. The CT GIS Council has some real opportunities to reach-out to these entities with established networks.  Council member Prisloe reported their workgroup continues to define the training components of who, what, where and when.


Workgroup member Sandgren reported on the Northeast ARC Users Conference (NEARC) that was held in Groton, CT with attendance pushing 500.  NEARC is a regional GIS group that meets several times a year.  The keynote speaker at this year’s conference was Chris Kapelli from ESRI, remarked that NEARC is the premiere regional users group in the country.   The conference included technical workshops, whitepapers and many presentations on public safety and homeland security.  The Hartford Fire and Police Department gave outstanding presentations on their GIS applications.  He suggested anyone who has not been to this conference should take the opportunity and attend next year, scheduled in Burlington, VT.  Chairman Wallace supported this suggestion.


Council member Derek Phelps recommended conferences, training opportunities and other events be presented to the Council early on.  Council member Sandgren responded that this kind of information will be posted on the GIS website.     


Laura Cadmus, CT and RI Account Manager for ESRI gave an update of the GIS Solutions Expo scheduled in Danvers, Massachusetts on December 5, 2006.   It compares to a mini NEARC.  Conference attendees are GIS users and business partners.  It is a great networking opportunity.    


GIS Data and Inventory Assessment Workgroup Report

Chairman Wallace told the Council that Howie Sternberg has resigned as co-chair of the GIS Data and Inventory Assessment Workgroup due to heavy business commitments.  He will continue to be available as a reference. Workgroup Chairperson Jim Spencer asked for help and volunteers to participate on this and other critical subcommittees still needing establishment.  The only subcommittee established to date is Transportation.  He stressed the criticality of having the right, and most accurate data as this is the foundation of the GIS application.  Workgroup Chairperson Spencer then gave an update on:


Data Inventory & Assessment Working Group Charge

  • Identify Connecticut’s framework data-sets
  • Establish Framework Subcommittees
  • Develop Recommendations
  • Draft a Framework Data Report

Data Inventory & Assessment Working Group Current Activities

  • Framework Subcommittees
  • Coordination for the DEMHS GIS project needs
  • Research and Development of Data Standards for recommendation to the Council
  • Drafting of the Framework Data-Set Report
  • Drafting of the Data Inventory & Assessment Working Group Yearly Report
  • Coordination for access to other State’s information in the region (NY, RI, MA)

Chairman Wallace, Workgroup Chairperson Spencer, and Council member Steve Fish reiterated the criticality of having additional participants in the workgroup. 


Finance Working Group Key Points

Workgroup Chairperson and Council member Steve Fish reported that Public Act 05-03 formed the Council, but did not call for any allocation of funds for the operation of the Council or, more importantly, for the acquisition maintenance of data, hardware and software that could be needed by representative agencies, municipalities and other entities within the Council.  There are significant recurring costs – hardware, software, and people.  At present, there are few funding mechanisms available to state agencies and municipalities.  He reported several options:  seeking funding from the Legislature; seeking funding via grants, however, many are highly competitive and are not a sure thing; and working collaboratively with other key stakeholder agencies where the sharing of funds can take place.  Workgroup Chairperson Fish then reported on the following:


Funding needs identified

  • Acquisition and ongoing maintenance of framework and critical infrastructure data.
  • Acquisition of hardware and software with enabling technology for the delivery of GIS data and related information throughout the State.
  • GIS Staff positions or consulting services - at the present time, other states are in the process of training their staff.  In particular, dedicated staff support for the Department of Information Technology (DOIT) as they build out the Geospatial office and keep an enterprise application such as this up and running.
  • State funds set aside for grants to municipalities to assist the acquisition of GIS hardware, software and training.

Recommendations for further discussions:

  • Amend the language of Public Act 05-03 to establish an appropriation of state funds to support all components of GIS and a minimum of two GIS technical positions for the Department of Information Technology.
  • Align the Finance Workgroup and it’s objectives with the Council’s Strategic Business Plan Workgroup.
  • Begin collaborative efforts to secure funds as a partial payment for the next flight targeted to take place in the fall of 2008 to capture statewide orthophotos.  He stated that The Department of Public Safety (DPS) would be willing to contribute again to the next flyover as his agency needs updated information every year.  Council member Spencer suggested that the Legal and Security Workgroup be brought into the process at an early stage to ensure the MOU is secure prior to the flight.
    • Council member George Pohorilak requested that the $700K shown in the Finance Working Group Recommendation’s slide, item number 3. Short-term Funding – acquisition of the next flight to capture statewide orthophotos - be removed as this dollar amount represented the cost for the state’s acquisition of a combination of street centerline and orthophotography imagery.
  • Identify and pursue short-term funding grant opportunities.
  • Explore the feasibility of long term funding mechanisms.

Workgroup Chairperson Fish stressed that the Finance Work Group should align its objectives with the Council’s Strategic Business Plan and work very closely with the Data and Inventory Workgroup and the Strategic Planning Committee.   He stressed the criticality of obtaining funding and reported that Council members George Pohorilak and Dan Morley are joining with the Finance Workgroup to help facilitate recommendations that can be brought to the Legislature for help in funding GIS Council activities.  However, more is needed.  Workgroup Chairperson Fish reiterated the need for those key stakeholder agencies to work with the Council in contributing funds to those areas identified.


A question was asked if the Finance Workgroup’s recommendations were to be considered action items already taken; or a request for endorsement.  Workgroup Chairperson Fish responded they are items the workgroup will dig deeper into and yes, was looking for Council endorsement that these are the right items to pursue.


Another question was asked regarding who (which agency) would be the gate keeper/central repository of the data as its being collected.  Chairman Wallace responded that the recommendation would come from the Data & Inventory Workgroup.  However, on an interim basis, DOIT is helping to coordinate and gather data, especially with the DEMHS project.


Chairman Wallace commended the Finance Workgroup.  ACTION ITEM:  She gave the Council an assignment for the next Council meeting.  She asked that each Council member take a closer look at each of the recommendations and come back with some options as to how they can contribute funding and/or point the Finance Workgroup to potential funding sources.


Legal and Security Workgroup Report

Workgroup Chairperson Brenda Bergeron asked for changes to the “Draft Geospatial Information Systems Council Vendor Contact Guidelines” and “Draft Guidelines for Freedom of Information and Security in the release of GIS Data”. 


Draft Geospatial Information Systems Council Vendor Contact Guidelines:

Remove the sentence “would chair like to sign this?” This was a note on the original draft and not part of the guidelines.  She reported that these guidelines were first created by the Attorney General’s office for many other different state agencies to use with regards to vendor contracts.  The Legal & Security Workgroup felt these guidelines would be of assistance to the GIS Council.


Draft Guidelines for Freedom of Information and Security in the release of GIS Data:


Remove the last sentence of paragraph 5 “Attached please find an example of an actual DPW response, which has been appealed to the FOI Commission” was for Council review in the first draft and is not part of the guidelines.  She reported that this information was taken directly from the Department of Public Work’s website.


Workgroup Chairperson Bergeron thanked Janet Ainsworth, Ray Philbrick, Sonja Shuford, Jeff Beckham and Gus Cavalleri for their contributions to the Legal workgroup.


A question was asked to clarify item number five of the Vendor Contract Guidelines.  Workgroup Chairperson Bergeron stated the process when seeking information from a vendor regarding their product or service is to put out a Request For Information (RFI).  Even if the vendor is already on contract with the state, they may not be providing the product or services required.  Executing a RFI brings all the vendors to the table resulting in fair and equitable opportunities. 


DEMHS GIS Project Update

GIS Project Manager Mike Varney reviewed the scope of the project.  The goal of the Connecticut DEMHS-GIS project is to develop statewide enterprise GIS architecture to support DEMHS-GIS application deployment and to provide further capabilities to the broader Connecticut GIS community.


The following general principles have guided the development of the overall vision of this project:

  • The system will be able to be activated quickly.
  • The system will be rolled out imcrementally with the objective of gaining development meomentum built on early successes.
  • The system will be standards based, will leverage existing standards to the maximum extent possible, and will be designed with interoperability in mind to support the multiple software platforms in use by the various stakeholders.
  • The system will employ a fundamentally extensible and scalable architecture.
  • A Web services-oriented architecture with future support of a service-oriented architecture (SOA) will be pursued.
  • The architecture will be flexible to facilitate the integration between GIS and a wide variety of legacy and third-party systems.
  • The Connecticut HLS-GIS will not be a replacement for existing Connecticut GIS activities; rather, it will provide new resources and tools that those programs can exploit while also bringing in new GIS participants.
  • Strong Connecticut departmental GIS programs will remain intact.
  • However, unlike the existing departmental GIS implementations (some of which function as "small enterprise" systems for the department) the Connecticut HLS-GIS will span, and provide resources to, all state government departments and agencies.
  • The enterprise GIS architecture will be composed of four technology components:
    • Development of a centralized geospatial data repository containing the best available data for the state.
    • Utilization of an appropriate network infrastructure so that all state agencies can access the shared resource.
    • Development of a service-oriented architecture (SOA) for distributing both data and GIS capabilities to a wide variety of users.
    • Development of an application infrastructure that provides specific tools to GIS users and a framework for the efficient development and deployment of additional Web and desktop application tools.

The kick-off meeting for Connecticut's Enterprise and Homeland Security (DEMHS) Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) Project was held on Thursday, September 28 at the DOIT facilities in East Hartford.  The following deliverables were discussed:

  • Design and construction of the core architecture and service oriented architecture that will support Connecticut DEMHS-GIS.
  • Design, collection and loading of the core Connecticut DEMHS-GIS database.
  • Inventory and collection of data related to critical infrastructure assets within the State of Connecticut from Municipal GIS programs.
  • Design and development of the initial Connecticut DEMHS-GIS applications:
    • Simple Event Awareness Portal
    • Flood Response Planning Tool
    • Emergency Evacuation Planning Tool
    • Emergency Operations Center Map Request Application
GIS Project Manager Varney updated the Council on the project progress:
  • Steering group meets weekly to address project scope, planning, fiscal and operational issues.
  • Geolab at the EOC.
    • Hardware and software have been procured and installed.
    • Personnel and process are being developed.
  • System Architecture Meetings were held September 28 & 29. A final draft of the system architecture is being reviewed.
  • Database Design Meetings were held October 12, 13 & 20. Specific 1/1’s are being held with key stakeholder agencies identified as having the most critical data.
  • Application Design and Review meetings were held November 2,3,6,and 7.  A document for review should be completed in early January.

Next steps:

  • Finalize infrastructure design and order hardware.
  • Continue database inventory and assessment process.
  • Approve application design.
  • Schedule meeting with regional and municipal partners (early January) to share GIS data and information. 

GIS Project Manager Varney asked Council member Fish to give an update on oblique imagery.  Connecticut executed the contract for this imagery with Pictometry in April of 2005. DEP and DEMHS have funded the purchase of pictometry oblique imagery (license fee to use the software and the data) on behalf of the state, region and towns for the coverage area. It’s anticipated this data will be available for distribution in early 2007.  Oblique imagery is low altitude, color, four directional (N, E, S, and W), very sharp and clear, flown in a sector square of very large areas within the state.   The coverage expands across the Connecticut coastline, flood zone, and includes the CT River Valley of Greater Hartford.  It is a critical tool for first responders.  The imagery will be built into the Homeland Security GIS application.  Council member Commissioner Thomas reported that this was a very good investment and necessary for the Governor and other key decision makers to make the best decisions. 


Council member Fish said the next flight will occur within the next several weeks with turnaround in February (as they are digital photos).  A proprietary package is required to view the imagery and we are working very closely with ESRI to ensure the proprietary viewer works seamlessly with the GIS application.  Project Manager Mike Varney reported that the DEMHS GIS application architecture will allow towns and municipalities to access the oblique imagery through license sharing.  They can, however, receive a copy of the software and imagery to install locally, but the intent is to allow access. 


Other Business – State Library 1934 Aerial Survey

State Librarian Ken Wiggin of the Connecticut State Library reported that his agency is the largest and most heavily used state archive.  They have the only surviving copy of the 1934 Aerial flyovers.  His agency took on the project of preserving the 1934 photos and now has 8,731 new digitized negatives of high quality.  Approximately 5,500 negatives are now available on-line via their website, with completion of the remaining expected within the next few months.  He reported that individuals can do a search by town, five digit photo number or street map to identify the photo they are seeking.  The cost of this project was funded through historic preservation funds and is a major asset to the state.  He asked that the Council and his agency work together in preserving the data being collected now.  Chairman Wallace asked if a member of his staff might want to join the Data and Inventory Workgroup.  State Librarian Ken Wiggin then reported that the next effort for his agency is to link information directly from the photographs and add the 1965 photos.  Also available on their website are the history of Aerial photos in CT, research guides to Aerial photos, and the history of their projects.


New Business

Chairman Wallace asked if there was any new business.  There was no response.


Public Comment

Chairman Wallace asked if there was any public comment.  There was no response.



Chairman Wallace asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Council member Sandgren motioned to adjourn, Council member Asaro seconded.  All in favor, none opposed.  Motion carried. 







Content Last Modified on 1/9/2007 12:36:17 PM