Region 5 GIS Coordination Team Meeting Minutes

Minutes from the December 8 Region 5 GIS Coordination Team Meeting The third meeting of the Region 5 GIS Coordination Team was held on December 8 in the Regional Directorate Meeting Room. Linda Shaffer organized and chaired the meeting, which was attended by the following team members:
RDT Mentor, ARD Budget & FinanceKris LaMontagne
Realty/Cartography and Spatial Data Services Linda Shaffer
Realty/Acquisition PlanningBill Zinni
Refuge Field OfficesBeth Goettel
Coastal Ecosystems ProgramsAndrew MacLachlan
Ecological Services Field OfficesKimber Sprankle
FisheriesMichelle Babione
FisheriesChris Castiglione (via telephone)
Atlantic Coast Joint VentureChuck Hayes (via telephone)
Representatives from the National Wetlands Inventory and the Refuge Planning/CCP Group were
unable to attend.

Subteam Reports

Training and Technical Support Subteam Kimber Sprankle
Kimber contacted NCTC and ESRI regarding the R5 GIS workshop.  NCTC agreed to provide
training opportunities at the workshop, and ESRI agreed to provide a technical support person for
a Doctor's Office, possibly more.  Most of the Subteam's objectives will be accomplished at the
R5 GIS workshop, such as developing a list of contacts.  It was suggested that the Subteam
develop a handout on options for technical support that could accompany the point of contact list. 

Data Issues Subteam Andrew MacLachlan
SNEP has collected and assembled multi-resolution land cover data for Region 5, and will provide
CD's of these data to the R5 GIS Library.  The data source is Thematic Mapper satellite imagery,
30m pixel resolution.  In addition to the native format, the data have been converted into an image
for each state and an image for Region 5.  Documentation is also available.  

Andrew will pursue developing a formal inventory of available GIS data through Region 5
contacts, and Chuck Hayes is exploring the possibility of acquiring GIS data from non-
government organizations such as the Appalachian Mountain Club, Trout Unlimited, and The
Nature Conservancy.  With regards to state points of contact, SNEP is currently working on a
MOU with New York City to accompany the one they have in place for New York state. 

The R5 GIS Library now has full Region 5 coverage of USGS DRG's (digital raster
graphics scanned, geo-referenced topo quads) at three scales: 1:24k, 1:100k, and 1:250k. 
Composite DRG's are available for nearly all refuges in the region.  At the meeting, Linda
provided Kimber with a copy New England's data, a stack of about 20 CD's.  The feasibility of
managing this data library was discussed, and it was suggested that the DRG's serve as a pilot for
library data distribution.  An Access database of all 1:24k quads in the region (and which refuge
falls in each quad) is under development by John Eaton.  This database may be helpful in
distributing the Library's data.

Review of National FWS GIS Workshop
Linda and Andrew reported on the Service's National GIS Workshop, held in November in
Phoenix, Arizona.  Overall they felt it was too heavy on the basics, good for networking but not
great for training.  Andrew added that more field presentations and greater representation from
upper management would have been beneficial.  Of the approximately 90 people who attended the
workshop, a high proportion (about 20) were from Region 5.  Indicators of Region 5's strength in
GIS were discussed by the Team, including inquiries about GIS jobs in the Region and requests
for the R5 RW GIS strategic planning document.  A joint national GIS conference between the
USGS Biological Resources Division and the USFWS is currently being proposed and is being
advocated by the Team's chair.

The Team's chair also attended the first meeting of the New England Federal GIS Information
Consortium (NEFGIC), where she made some contacts with the NRCS and the Park Service. 
The Park Service is contracting vegetation mapping of all their parks, and is willing to extend this
effort outside (but near) park boundaries if there are interested partners.  The funding ratio is
attractive an example funding ratio was 1:9 (partner:Park Service).  Linda will look to see which
refuges in Region 5 might be good candidates for this partnership.

Region 5 GIS Workshop
A survey was sent to R5 GIS users to determine interest in holding a workshop this winter. 
About 20 responses (out of 55) were received.  Nearly all respondents were interested in
attending the workshop, with the greatest areas of interest being discussing GIS coordination
issues and attending training.  The training/technical support survey sent to all field stations also
indicated a high interest in attending training in the "off" season (winter).  The GIS Team was
asked (via email) to decide whether or not to hold the workshop.  There was some hesitation
from GIS Team members, who didn't want our workshop to be like the national workshop.  So
the decision was left for the 12/8 GIS Team meeting, where it was decided that the workshop will
be held sometime next winter.  Michelle will announce this to the GIS list, and will concurrently
publicize the Internet location of GIS Team meeting minutes ( RDT
approval for the workshop was also discussed, and is required for a meeting of this size. 
Workshop details will be discussed at the next Team meeting.

GIS Strategy
Discussions regarding a strategy for advocating GIS in the Region resulted in a two-phase plan:
RDT Presentation
Kris will give a presentation at the next RDT meeting (January 14) that advocates GIS in the
region: where we've been, where we are, where we're going, and challenges.  The following
materials will be provided to Linda by the listed Team members.  Linda will then synthesize the
materials for Kris.
Hardware/software requirements for GISMichelle
Example GIS applicationsAndrew (will get these from field people)
Available data in the R5 GIS library & map order formAndrew
Training options and opportunitiesKimber
Jump Start GIS
The idea of developing a Jump Start GIS to provide GIS capability and data to all field stations in
the Region was discussed at length by the team.  A Jump Start GIS package would contain GIS
software, GIS data, and the all of the GIS information listed above (under "RDT Presentation"). 
Information on other data sources will also be provided.  Digital topo quads were the
recommended data set, to be sent along with a copy of the free lightweight GIS ArcExplorer. 
Andrew will begin organizing this effort, and will work with Linda to develop a data distribution
method for the GIS Library.

Ecoteam Updates
GIS Team members who attend Ecoteam meetings will take the opportunity to give a
presentation advocating GIS in the region.   So far, Beth has offered to brief the Connecticut
River/Long Island Sound Ecoteam, Bill will do the Chesapeake Bay Ecoteam, Linda will brief the
Great Lakes Basin Ecoteam, and Andrew the New York Bight Ecoteam.

Next Meeting
The next GIS Team meeting will be held on March 23, 2000, from 10:00-2:00 in the Regional
Office.  Linda Shaffer will organize and chair the meeting.