Region 5 GIS Coordination Team Meeting Minutes
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Office - Hadley, MA
R5 GIS Coordination Team Meeting Minutes - December 18, 2001
Chris Castiglione/FR-Lower Great Lakes FRO (by telephone)
Team members not in attendance:
Michelle Babione/NWRS-Conte NWR
Todays meeting started at 1:35 pm.
We discussed the results of the GIS User survey conducted between Nov. 26 and Dec.
10, 2001. We emailed surveys to 111 users and received 50 responses via email and
fax for a respectable 45% response rate. Chris compiled the results into an MS Excel
spreadsheet and we used his summary for today's review. He had to interpret some
of the responses, for example, where instead of rating items the respondent placed
Andrew noted that we received responses from 40 field offices. For some offices, more
than one staff person responded.
We reviewed Chris' summary of the results and made the following comments:
1. General Question
2. Technical Support Questions
- 24 out of 46 respondents considered themselves active GIS users, while 11
indicated their awareness of GIS and desire to implement the capability.
- We surmised that this was an increase in active users over our last survey
where more respondents considered themselves as novice or GIS-aware.
- The results of this survey are the opinions of users who are relatively confident
in their GIS knowledge and abilities.
3. Spatial Data Library Questions
- Most respondents (58 out of 93 attempts for technical support) rely on other
FWS employees (predominantly in R5) for their technical GIS support needs.
- They are mostly satisfied (48 generally successful attempts out of 58 attempts
with Service staff) with the support they get from their Service colleagues.
- For those using either free or fee ESRI support (13 out of 93 attempts), most (7
out of 13) were generally successful.
- More respondents attempted to get technical support from colleagues outside
the Service than with ESRI (11 vs. 7).
- Speaking from our own experience (not as indicated in the survey), we agreed
that most GIS users request technical support from other GIS users within
their ecosystem or within close geographic proximity (e.g., refuges near ES
Coastal Program offices tend to call those offices for GIS support).
- Results for question #2 (In the last year, did the lack of GIS technical
assistance prevent you/your office from successfully or completely using these
tools?) showed that most respondents were not seriously hampered (37 out of
42 were either not at all or only slightly prevented). Chris noted that only 5 or
6 respondents answered this question.
- The results for question #3 (Where did you need the most support?) showed
that a few respondents selected "Setting up a new GIS system". Andrew
proposed that for those offices, the R5 GIS Team could set up a team, in
cooperation with NCTC GIS staff, to visit and assist in setting up a GIS.
- The top 3 votegetters for where respondents need support are: ArcView, data
acquisition, and data analysis techniques. Hardware ranked last and very low.
- Overall, the results indicated to us that there is no overwhelming need for
technical support; respondents are doing well on their own and by consulting
4. Outreach Questions
- The results of the data layer ranking were not a surprise - large scale land
use/land cover and digital orthophotos ranked highest with vegetation coming
- Digital Elevation Models ranked lowest. Chris mentioned that one respondent
wasn't aware of what they are. This indicates the need for some education.
- Chris noted that for the "Other:" fill-in the blank, entries included soils data,
digital raster graphics, 1:100k land cover, wildlife habitat, bathymetry, benthic
data, subaquatic habitat data, more frequently updated refuge boundaries, and
seamless base map datasets for the entire region.
- The preference for spatial data library implementation model is consistent with
the Spatial Data Library Subteam's leanings - a combination of a website
serving centrally-managed, downloadable, consistently projected and formatted
base map data with a page of links to more detailed, study-area-specific
- Overall, the information is valuable and allows the Spatial Data Library
Subteam to continue their work on an implementation plan and
recommendations with the added confidence that the users are in agreement.
Overall, the Team is pleased with the results of the survey and find them to be useful
for directing our agenda.
We then discussed alternates for the Team. Bill noted that Alison Whitlock, Lindsay
Krey, and Tom Bonetti are interested in participating. Linda noted that John Eaton is
interested in serving.
All the old action items are closed, since they were related to the survey.
New action items:
- There is a lot of enthusiastic support for the efforts of the Outreach Subteam.
- In regard to which groups within the Service should be targeted for outreach,
there was a fairly even split supporting outreach to the RDT, Project Leaders,
and field personnel.
- Support for outreach outside the Service received only moderate support which
may indicate the feeling that we should concentrate on our own Service GIS
No date was set for the next meeting of the full R5 GIS Team.
- Linda will write up the minutes for this meeting and send the draft to R5 GIS
Team and all subteam members for review. Once the draft is finalized, we will
send the minutes, along with a thank you note to all those who responded to
the survey. We should probably also send the survey results to all those who
received but did not respond to the survey.
- Linda will ask Marci Caplis to arrange a date in early March for us to brief the
RDT on Team activities and accomplishments, including the survey results.
- Andrew will prepare a summary of who responded to the survey.
- Subteams should schedule their next meeting and proceed.