[UW-GIS-L] Re: Spatial Data at the UW - addressing a grand
pwaddell at u.washington.edu
Fri Aug 19 13:46:59 PDT 2005
I missed this meeting as I am finishing a sabbatical abroad, but just wanted to offer one modest suggestion as this discussion proceeds. Although I have used ESRI tools for many years, including supervising the development of an online data warehouse some years ago, I suggest looking beyond this obvious choice to also consider Open Source options. I believe that there may be competitive alternatives (definitely from a price perspective, but potentially also from a managenent and maintenance standpoint also), worth considering. If anyone is interested in this option, I'll be happy to try to help identify some possibilities.
On Wed, 17 Aug 2005, Phil Hurvitz wrote:
> Here is the list of participants at the meeting yesterday:
> Michalis Avraam, michalis at u.washington.edu
> Jesse Ayers, jrayers at u.washington.edu
> Arnab Bhowmick, abhowmick at esri.com
> Tom Carlson, carlsont at u.washington.edu
> Harvey Greenberg, hgreen at u.washington.edu
> Phil Hurvitz, phurvitz at u.washington.edu
> David Jensen, daj5 at u.washington.edu
> Bill Jordan, bjordan at u.washington.edu
> Charles Kiblinger, cek at u.washington.edu
> Myung Jwa, Kim, myungkim at u.washington.edu
> Eileen Llona, ellona at u.washington.edu
> Karen Meagher, meagher at ess.washington.edu
> Matt Parsons, parsonsm at u.washington.edu
> Phil Hurvitz, MFR | PhD Student, Urban Planning | Gould 440
> College of Architecture and Urban Planning | Box 355740
> University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-5740, USA
> phurvitz at u.washington.edu | http://gis.washington.edu/phurvitz
> On Wed, 17 Aug 2005, Timothy Nyerges wrote:
>> Michalis and all,
>> Thanks to Michalis for providing those notes on the meeting to discuss a new
>> approach for campus-wide spatial data infrastructure. I concur that this
>> topic (what I call improvements in UW geospatial data infrastructure" is
>> indeed an important one for the fall meeting of the UW Consortium for
>> Geographic Information and Analysis (UWCGIA). Anne Zald has agreed to work
>> with me to convene the fall meeting. Please forward any other agenda items
>> to Anne.
>> Just a little background about UWCGIA and its value to this effort...
>> UWCGIA is an adhoc group of all units on campus who have an interest in
>> geospatial information and analysis. UWCGIA was formed in response to a
>> request for UW to join the University Consortium for Geographic Information
>> Science (UCGIS). UCGIS is an organization of 70 institutions nationwide to
>> promote GIScience research and education natiowide. The College of A&S
>> pays the dues for campus, and thus as of this past year, I am the current
>> delegate to UCGIS from UW (taking over for Nick Chrisman who has now left
>> campus), and Anne is the Alternate Delegate.
>> So, it seems we can actually make some productive use of UWCGIA as a
>> campus-wide organization interested in geospatial data infrastructure
>> support for research and teaching. UWCGIA as an adhoc organization, has
>> languished over the years, and there are several reasons. Nonetheless, it
>> would be convenient to work through that organization as its mission is what
>> that meeting was about, and of course more.
>> Participants in the uw-gis-l should be aware that all "movers and shakers"
>> in spatial data infrastructure might not be members of uw-gis-l (I was not
>> until 10 miutes ago), and many of those not on the list can have significant
>> input to such an effort.
>> Thanks to Phil Hurvitz for taking action to arrange the meeting and Michalis
>> for reporting on it. I look forward to working with you all, and taking
>> this message to the Deans (with the help of faculty and respective chairs)
>> and the Provost's office once we have proposal in hand.
>> Next steps...
>> What is needed in a proposal are at least three options - configurations
>> with pricing. Michalis and I will be working on putting some ideas together
>> and will gladly share them with anyone also interested in working on this.
>> To be transparent...
>> My Departmental interest is in developing a "regional geospatial data
>> infrastructure for urban coastal watershed manangement - a sustainable
>> development approach". I have been discussing this issue with several
>> faculty at West Coast Universities (but some East Coast as well) - and they
>> all seem to be interested. It seems one of the grand challenges in research
>> and education for the next ten years (and beyond) is to formulate a "an
>> interdisciplinary science of sustainable development". One cannot do this
>> without major investements in geospatial data infrastructure
>> on a regional level. Many units on campus have a similar interest, although
>> it might be called something a bit different. Nonetheless, there is an
>> opportunity an this time to do something about it. We should remember that
>> asking for funds to manage data always gets met with the response - for
>> what? You need a "grand challenge" that is meaningful to many to direct
>> resources in useful ways.
>> Prof. Tim Nyerges, Geography, University of Washington
>> Box 353550, Seattle, WA, 98195, USA
>> voice: 206-543-5296, fax: 206-543-3313, email: nyerges at u.washington.edu
>> On Tue, 16 Aug 2005, Michalis Avraam wrote:
>>>> Dear all,
>>>> Before I continue with the message, please let me make it clear that I
>>>> am simply a participant in the discussion about spatial data at the UW.
>>>> My interest in the subject comes from the fact that I am a user of
>>>> spatial data at the UW, both as a Graduate student and a Research
>>>> Assistant. The following is an overview of what I recall of the meeting.
>>>> The purpose of this message is simply to inform everyone in this list
>>>> about the meeting, as well as a way for me to keep my notes in
>>>> electronic form (as I will be away from the country for a couple of
>>>> An informal meeting was held among the concerned (or informed) parties
>>>> on the issue of spatial data warehousing at the UW. Participants
>>>> included representatives of the UW Libraries (Map Library, WAGDA Admin
>>>> and IT infrastructure) as well as members of our GIS community. A
>>>> consultant working for ESRI (Olympia?) was present as well to give input
>>>> on possible solutions. Phil Hurvitz was the organizer of the meeting,
>>>> and I would like to extend my gratitude to him, as well as all the
>>>> people that participated.
>>>> The meeting was focused around a few issues that we all seemed to face
>>>> on a regular basis through our academic work (either research or
>>>> teaching). The following list is not comprehensive, but what I do recall
>>>> from memory:
>>>> - Issues regarding the discovery of data located at various places at
>>>> the UW
>>>> - Data access issues (right now WAGDA is the only way of accessing
>>>> vast amounts of data)
>>>> - The availability of numerous spatial data in non-spatial formats
>>>> (i.e. Census data, traffic data, etc)
>>>> The obvious solution that came up was enhancing WAGDA by changing the
>>>> way data are kept. Rather than using WAGDA as a collection of flat
>>>> files, it was proposed that all the data be migrated into a spatial
>>>> database. An "obvious" solution is ESRI's ArcSDE, which could also be
>>>> accompanied by other ESRI services, like the Geospatial Portal, to
>>>> enhance accessibility to the data (by improving the process of discovery
>>>> of data, allowing easy publication of data and a centralized
>>>> administration system).
>>>> While not explicitly mentioned during the meeting, the impression was
>>>> given that people do agree that a spatial database is in order to
>>>> increase productivity of those working with spatial data. There were a
>>>> number of solutions proposed on a possible architecture of such a
>>>> system, and I am certain many more had more ideas that did not have a
>>>> chance to formalize during the brief meeting.
>>>> Another issue raised was the fact that many research projects that
>>>> heavily use spatial data, also have confidential data in their hands.
>>>> There is an issue on how these data will be protected, and whether
>>>> people are willing to (or even allowed to legally) store such data on a
>>>> centralized spatial database. Solutions were proposed on how to overcome
>>>> this problem as well, yet none are mature enough to the degree to be
>>>> opened up to the whole community for discussion.
>>>> The participants agreed to bring up the subject with their respective
>>>> departmental chairs (or related GIS faculty) as a step moving forward,
>>>> hoping to gain some more "official" support for such a project. Also, a
>>>> project was undertaken by Jesse Ayers (Map Library GIS Assistant - sorry
>>>> if I got the title wrong Jesse) and Phil Hurvitz (PhD Student in Urban
>>>> Planning - I may have gotten the name wrong) to identify all active
>>>> users of GIS technology in the University of Washington and allow them
>>>> an opportunity to raise their concerns and voice their opinions on the
>>>> subject (as well as perhaps provide support).
>>>> As a further note of interest, below is an overview of my discussion on
>>>> the subject with the head of GIS Education at the Department of
>>>> During one of my discussions on the subject with professor Tim Nyerges,
>>>> I became aware of the University of Washington Consortium for Geographic
>>>> Information and Analysis (UWCGIA -
>>>> http://wagda.lib.washington.edu/uwcgia/). This consortium's purpose is
>>>> to enable collaboration among GIS users and GIScience researches across
>>>> departments within the University and those outside of the UW. As this
>>>> consortium already has members in the UW community, it is perhaps a
>>>> logical organization to oversee efforts geared towards a campus-wide
>>>> Spatial Data strategy at the University.
>>>> As an ending note, I would like to remind you that these are not the
>>>> official notes from the meeting but rather my own personal notes as a
>>>> participant to the meeting. The purpose is again to archive
>>>> electronically my notes, as well as inform other GIS users of what is
>>>> happening in the UW regarding spatial data; perhaps an incentive for
>>>> more users to participate in the discussion.
>>>> Many thanks are in order once again to Phil Hurvitz for organizing such
>>>> a meeting as well as to all that have participated.
>>>> Yours sincerely,
>>>> Michalis Avraam
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