GIS Pro TFTN Workshop
CONFERENCE : GIS Pro TFTN Workshop
LOCATION: Orlando, FL
September 29th, 2010,
PARTICIPANTS: Steve Lewis, Patricia Solano, Richard Grady & Michael Terner
Workshop attendance was approximately 17 people beyond the project team (Steve Lewis, Todd Barr and Michael
Terner) and invited panelists (Al Butler, Bruce Spear, Skip Parker and Danielle Ayan).
Al Butler pointed out that a key “lesson learned” from Boulder County road centerline data sharing was that the sharing
should be “two-way” and aim to create a “co-dependency” among the partners.
Steve Sharp, Vermont Center for Geographic Information (VCGI): Respected All Butlers “school of hard knocks
perspective” on the challenges of data sharing at the local level. He concurred that outreach and engagement to local
government stakeholders is something that’s important and has not yet taken place within the strategic planning project.
Steve Sharp also observed that the best incarnation of NSDI is found within the private sector in the form of Navteq,
TeleAtlas, Google and Bing and posited that TFTN could amount to finding the “best available” public-private partnership.
Kim McDonald, TN DOT: Observed that attributes are the biggest challenge. “There’s lots of geometry kicking around
getting good attributes on the best geometry is the hard part.”
Kim McDonald also offered that TN has a “use case of what to avoid” insofar as the state has two separate, high quality
road centerline efforts that cost “millions of dollars” and were developed without coordination. One was developed by TN
DOT for “road inventory” and LRS, and the other was developed by the State GIS Office to support E911. Mr. McDonald
observed that the Federal Government helped create this situation by independently providing 80% funding for each effort
without asking the state to coordinate its efforts. This was a classic case of the “left hand not knowing what the right hand
was doing.” One downside that points to a benefit of TFTN is that neither effort was planned for or funded for long term
maintenance. Maintaining one resource would be less costly than maintaining two.
Randy Fusaro from US Census requested that the “core needs of users” be identified in the strategic plan. She offered
the “federal study that surveyed 19 Federal agencies” as a starting place for that assessment.
Randy also observed that there is “too much talking about how TFTN would work without enough emphasis on finalizing
what will be included in the baseline and urged the strategic plan to identify “what’s to be in the common baseline?”
Bruce Spear urged that the common baseline “should include as little as possible.” He also stated that each “layer or
attribute adds complexity” and decreases the likelihood that a successful nationwide data set could be pulled off.
Bruce also observed that some state DOT’s semi-marginalize their HPMS groups and that they sit far away from the core,
operational activities of the agency. This results in situations where HPMS data may be poorly QA/QC’ed and not used
operationally by the DOTs.
Bruce also observed that the “1990 TIGER files serve as a monumental achievement” in creating a quality (if imperfect)
base map that greatly expedited many GIS efforts by unburdening these programs from needing to buy or create base
map information. This shows the promise of public domain data.
Al urged that any TFTN data model consider compartmentalization of geometry, attributes, LRS and other characteristics.
With compartmentalization the pieces any one user wants can be “put together like Leggos.” He pointed to his book, from
ESRI Press, that presents an option for this kind of data model. Note to project team: we should obtain and review Mr.
Paul Couey from OregonMetro in Portland observed that “the timing is different and positive for this kind of effort” when
compared to previous efforts (e.g. NSDI). He observed there’s now huge demand for road data in the private sector to
drive GPS devices. The project team observed that in US DOT interviews others within US DOT made the same
observation with US DOT’s increased emphasis/interest in Safety and Asset Management (Bridges) which require
Mr. Couey also asked Mr. Butler whether ESRI’s software would support editing in his new, proposed compartmental
model. Mr. Butler responded, “yes, at version 10.1” (which has not yet been released).
Participant from Indiana observed that Indiana served as a model of states providing funding incentives to counties to
provide their data to a statewide resource. Currently ~85 of ~92 counties participate to obtain access to “homeland
Steve Sharp observed t hat TFTN challenges are “not about technology”, rather “90% of the problem is organizational,
governance, politics, funding and standards.” The project team observed that the HPMS model addresses funding and
standards but acknowledged that further work on organizational and governance issues is warranted and should be
looked at in the strategic plan.
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GIS Pro TFTN Workshop
Peter Croswell observed that there are some potential “knotty issues” pertaining to licensing of public data that potentially
has contributions from private sources. He pointed the project team to a 2004 study from the National Research Council
of the National Academy of Sciences titled “Licensing Geographic Data and Services” that provided good guidance on
these matters. Note to project team: we should obtain and review this study. Steve said that TRB may be able to obtain a
copy on our behalf. Here’s a link to the doc via a Google search: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11079
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