May 9, 2001


Mr. Chris Boudreaux, Conway Corporation
Mr. Bill Bush, Arkansas Geological Commission
Ms. Susan Cromwell, Department of Information Systems
Mr. Randy Jones, First Electric Cooperative Corporation
Mr. Bob Harris for Dr. Fred Limp, CAST
Ms. Shirley Sandlin, Benton County Assessor
Mr. Phil Schoettlin, Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce
Ms. Tandy White for Mr. Jubal Smith, Entergy Corporation, Inc.
Ms. Phyllis Smith, UALR
Ms. Suzanne Wiley, U of A Cooperative Extension Services
Mr. Jim Wells, Wellsco Graphics Solutions

Not Attending

Ms. Cathie Matthews or Mr. Cecil Smith (alternate), Department of Arkansas Heritage

Special Representatives

Mr. Shelby Johnson, State Land Information Coordinator
Mr. Learon Dalby, GIS Specialist

LIB Advisory Board Members Attending

Mr. Randy Everett, N Arkansas Electric Cooperative
Dr. Paul Medley for Dr. Robert Weih, UAM School of Forest Resources
Mr. Tom Riley for Mr. Mike Daniels, UA Cooperative Extension Service
Mr. Mike Mitchell, FTN Associates, Inc.
Ms. Margaret Sithong, Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department
Ms. Tracy Ford, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Mr. Jim Sweena, City of Fort Smith


Mr. Jim von Tongelen, Writer for Arkansas Municipal League


The meeting was called to order in the Union Plaza Building 17th Floor Conference Room. The minutes from April 4, 2001, were unanimously approved.

Suzanne Wiley welcomed the Advisory Panel members who were attending.

Report of the State Land Information Coordinator


Shelby Johnson showed various graphics illustrating the delivery schedule of the NAPP project, areas remaining to be flown and areas that were reflown. He explained that the graphs showing MrSID and the TIF files indicate that all of Lafayette County, half of Columbia County, and a portion of Miller County have been received from the contractor. They are in the process of reviewing the files. Another graphic illustrated the 2nd generation DOQQs sent to the Mid-continent Mapping Center for review, and Shelby explained that all data that has been sent to the USGS for review has been accepted into the national database. Things are progressing very smoothly. Shelby explained that they hope to have all data from the contractor by September or October.

Corps of Engineers River Project

Shelby explained that data from the river corridor flights will be loaded into GeoStor at one-foot resolution by June. The LIDAR DEMs have been delivered and the five-foot vector contours are being processed. He added that the Corps of Engineers have already been using the terrain data on some of their projects and are pleased with the results.

Old Business


Bob Harris, team leader for the GeoStor project, reported that they have tracked approximately 5,000 downloads since GeoStor was made accessible. He explained that they are working on documentation of the system. They are working on moving all the metadata in the database into the FGDC clearinghouse and that is proceeding well and all data should be moved in the next month. Bob explained that one of the big pushes is raster functionality. They are moving to the new server and that will allow better delivery of raster data. They are tuning the programming in order to allow a queuing system for data requests, and there will be file size limits in place.

Bob described the data development and said that the 1:25,000 DRGs will be available as soon as they move the data to the new server. Soils for Madison and Clay Counties will be available very soon. The DOQQ data is waiting on the new server. Some winter TM scenes from 1999 and 2000 should be available within a few days.

Bob described the new server as being an E4500 Sun Server, and said that the system administration people are working on loading the operating system and hardware up and running. They’re starting to load application software and then they will begin migrating data to that new system. Hopefully, it will be turned on for the public in about six weeks.

Regarding the initial certificate requirement, he said that this is not needed any longer. He explained that for Java code to write to your computer, a certificate was needed. He said that the certificate installation was complicated and so they have contracted with Verisign and the certificate is installed in Java products already. CAST is now certified by Verisign so that the certificate download is not necessary anymore and it has made the data available to some people who couldn’t access the system previously. He added that being certified by Verisign shows that you’re a legitimate organization and is a lot like buying insurance.

Bob explained that they had been doing testing based on realistic circumstances and that the response times will improve a great deal on the new system, particularly for the raster data.


Suzanne Wiley thanked the Advisory Panel Members, Shelby Johnson, and Learon Dalby for their efforts in supporting legislation affecting GIS issues. She then reviewed the legislative outcome of pertinent bills:

  1. Act 1250 makes changes to Act 914; appointments will be staggered, the State Land Information Coordinator will now be the State Geographic Information Coordinator and the Arkansas Geographic Information Office has been created; statements are included to charge the Land Information Board to investigate cadastral issues for the state.

  2. Act 1249 creates the GIS Fund; this fund will operate and maintain GeoStor and provide a holding account for GIS funds.

  3. Act 453 issues guidelines for the duties of all board members by the Governor.

  4. House Bill 1534 failed, which would have set term limits for board members.

  5. Act 1691 is the list of agencies approved for General Improvement Fund distribution; the LIB made the list for $1.5M, but funds are limited and it isn’t know how much funding the Board will receive, if any.

  6. Act 1128 approves soil and water improvement funds for the Arkansas Water Conservation Commission.

  7. Act 374 approves $450,000 for the first year to U of A at Monticello for the Spatial Information Systems program, which will be funded in the future under the Department of Higher Education.

  8. Act 1042 creates the position of the State Chief Information Officer, to whom the State Geographic Information Coordinator will report; the position should be filled by August 1.

  9. Senate Resolution 22 directs that a commission be formed for an interim study of electronic plat filing for the state.

  10. Act 1417 moves the State Surveyor under the Commissioner of State Lands.


GPS Standards

Learon Dalby reported that the proposal to set standards for GPS usage was discussed in the GIS Users Forum meeting on May 9. He explained that he has been posting comments and answers to the web site for public viewing. Some of the comments were:

  • There is a difference between recreational and mapping GPS units and there are concerns that there will be restraints on people as to what to buy, which is not the intention of the standards document. A list will be compiled of recommended units for GPS mapping.'

  • Questions regarding whether GPS data that is not collected to standards will be considered “poor data.” The answer was that the standards are set up to be a baseline and different projects may warrant different standards. Metadata will address different needs.

Learon explained that he will be proposing a significant changes to the Board regarding lowering the number of points required to three points and have in the metadata how many positions were acquired for a point feature. He added that he’s had some very positive support for this standards document. He said that May 20th closes the open public review. Learon will summarize the changes that have been suggested and will submit those to the Board for consideration.

Mike Mitchell pointed out four benefits of having GPS standards:

  • It will provide a baseline for procedures for collecting data

  • It will provide some basis for contractual agreements

  • It will provide some level of dependability and consistency in data sharing and this requires standards

Emphasis will be put on the capabilities of GPS units as opposed to price, and this will provide support for the user in the field regarding purchasing the proper equipment

Discussion followed regarding GPS guidelines versus GPS standards and the different needs of various user groups. Learon suggested that the document remain a standards document, but that guidelines be used regarding GPS units themselves, and that metadata be used to clarify the accuracy of specific data. A committee was formed consisting of Mike Daniels, Randy Jones, Tracy Ford, and Paul Medley to assist Learon regarding guidelines for GPS accuracy and settings for better accuracy.

GeoStor Metadata Standards

Shelby Johnson explained the need for metadata standards for GeoStor. He pointed out that any data from federal sources will be properly documented and loaded, but that there will be many other sources of data that have no properly document metadata. By requiring documented metadata, it will streamline the process of doing data loads into GeoStor. He shared that he and Learon attended a metadata training class recently in Nashville by the Federal Geographic Data Committee and a “Train the Metadata Trainer” workshop. He said they networked with a number of other states to see how they are addressing these issues. He consulted with Debbie Harmon from CAST, who is building the metadata in the geolibrary, and the Arkansas geolibrary, which is now going to be connected with the linkages from GeoStor. Shelby says there is a draft recommendation as to what the state should adopt as the standard, so that user could address the metadata elements and provide their data and have that loaded into GeoStor.

Shelby described how his office has started negotiation with a company called RTSE, which makes a software called SMMS, a metadata creation tool. He said his office is exploring the possibility of doing a statewide license for this software, which will include training, support, and documentation. He said that SMMS will work reasonably well with all the different products being used across the state.

He talked about how federal standards are strict in the seven sections of the metadata content standard, and the Board will not have to deal with actually developing standards. The issue will be which parts of the federal standards the Board will need to adopt that facilitate moving data into GeoStor.

Board Reappointments

Suzanne Wiley explained to the Board members that they will all be sent letters before their terms expire. The three agency Board members will be appointed under old law for four-year terms. The other nine board members will fall under the new legislation and will have their terms staggered. She pointed out that about one-half of the board members are fulfilling the original 1997 appointment terms of other members. That means that even though they have not fulfilled a full term, it will count as being appointed to a term. The other nine members will be reappointed to one-year, two-year, or three-year terms. This may lead to very short active terms for some members.


Suzanne Wiley explained that Learon Dalby drew up a grant proposal, it was edited, and then sent to the Association of Users of Telecommunications and Information Systems group. This grant would provide some funding to train stakeholders in the use of GeoStor.

New Business

I-Team Initiative

Shelby Johnson explained that about two years ago, the Federal Geographic Data Committee commissioned a study in which they looked at alternative methods to fund the development of current spatial data, particularly the seven layers of the framework. It gets away from state and federal budget cycles and looks at creative ways of funding such as bond financing. FGDC had an opportunity to present the study to the Office of Management and Budget of the president and that spawned a new initiative focusing on NSDI. The points are that partnerships should be state/local/federal/private and all could share costs; mechanisms for allocating and sharing would encourage data development and stewardship; investors in spatial infrastructure could use common criteria. Shelby pointed out that these points are already subscribed to by the Board. He explained that the fourth point made by the study is new, and is that creative financing outside of government appropriation cycles, such as infrastructure bonds or other financial products, could supplement and de-politicize the funding process, providing the liquidity to deploy and sustain shared spatial infrastructure.

Shelby went on to explain that Implementation Teams have been initiated from this effort. The I-Team initiative is to have federal/state/local/private representation sitting together to plan the development of the framework layers and other layers of statewide or regional importance. What the FGDC brings to the table is a financing solutions team. What they do is take all the layers, look at the issues, look at building a business case with a value proposition for financing, and then explore better uses of budgeting and procurement processes and look at alternative funding. Shelby said that one of the good points is that because it is being sponsored by the OMB, they can go to the federal agencies in state like NRCS, and they can ask that federal agency what part of their agency budget aligns with the direction the state is going. And if there is a part of that federal agency budget that does align with the state direction, the federal agency can be directed to cooperate.

Shelby explained that one of the key elements that the Board and Advisory Panel will have to do is write a strategic plan.

AmericaView Project

Shelby Johnson explained that the USGS manages the Landsat missions. The EROS data center in South Dakota has the downlink station, and they have developed a model project where the State of Ohio is able pay up front and have direct link to data by FTP. This allows them to receive new data in days instead of weeks. Ray Fox from USGS has sponsored a meeting with representatives from the EROS data center, Mid-Continent Mapping Center, CAST, Suzanne Wiley, and Shelby Johnson. They shared information regarding GeoStor and the EROS data center and discussed doing a pilot project to have satellite imagery from Arkansas sent to GeoStor within 36 hours after acquisition. A test will be run on June 14th with using Landsat 7 as a proof of concept, from getting the satellite imager to Fayetteville and CAST will provide the raw and processed data.

Shelby said that users will be invited to examine the data to see what the value might be. Shelby explained that if the technology works, it would be possible for the Board to enter into an agreement with the USGS to do satellite acquisition by this model at a much reduced rate. He thinks the advantage is the turnaround time to have a timely dataset in the hands of users who could benefit from this data in such a short timeframe, such as farmers. Following the success of the first test, on June 30th a whole path of three scenes would be processed and put out on GeoStor for review.

Shelby pointed out that this is a chance to develop a program that has never been done before by any other state.

Smart Moves

Suzanne Wiley described a recognition program called Smart Moves, which is administered through the Governor’s Office and that recognizes proactive uses of technology by state agencies. It was agreed that this would be a good opportunity to publicize the work of the Board and CAST by highlighting the GeoStor initiative, and an application will be submitted.

Future Meetings

A tentative meeting was set for June 6th, at which time officers will be elected. There will be no July meeting, and the August meeting will be scheduled at a later time.

Suzanne Wiley thanked the Advisory Panel members for attending and encouraged them to share their suggestions and recommendations with the Board in the future, since they represent a wide range of GIS users in the state. She also invited panel members to participate in any of the special subcommittees if they are interested.

The meeting was adjourned.