Wisconsin Geospatial News

Statewide GIS planning is in high gear

The year 2006 is shaping up as the “year of GIS strategic planning” in Wisconsin. Two separate but complementary activities have the potential to set the foundation for defining how GIS evolves in this state for years to come.

The first activity, which had its kick-off event on April 12 in Stevens Point, is a Wisconsin Land Information Association (WLIA) initiative to develop, write and publicize a strategic plan for GIS in Wisconsin. The WLIA’s strategic planning work is financially supported by a $20,000 grant from the Federal Geographic Data Committee. The plan is intended to provide a blueprint to address organizational, fiscal, and technical needs of a statewide, integrated geospatial infrastructure.

WLIA’s inaugural planning event on April 12 was a professionally facilitated activity with the primary purpose of identifying the vision for what may be accomplished through a statewide GIS strategic plan. WLIA issued an open invitation to all its members to attend, and sent invitations to 33 additional stakeholder groups and organizations around the state. Approximately 80 people attended the day-long event. Input collected from the group included GIS changes and trends, current strengths, critical success factors, and a listing of desired end results.  The participants also recommended individuals to continue the strategic planning work as members of a “core” planning team.

A week later, WLIA announced that twenty people were selected to be members of the core planning team, and the next meeting date which will be held in Wisconsin Dells on Tuesday, May 23rd. It is anticipated that the core team will meet four or five times over the next several months with the goal of writing a draft strategic plan. 

Planning team members include:
  • Al Blencoe, WI Chapter of the National Emergency Numbering Association, and La Crosse County
  • Tony Bellovary, Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission
  • Brian Braithwaite, WI Real Property Listers Association, and Washington County
  • Diann Danielsen, Land Information Officers Network, and Dane County
  • John Ellingson, WI County Surveyors Association, and Jackson County
  • Fred Halfen, Ayres Associates, and WLIA
  • Tyson Halla, WI Realtors Association
  • Bill Huxhold, UW-Milwaukee
  • Ted Koch, State Cartographer’s Office
  • Mike Koutnik, ESRI
  • Terrance McMohon, WI Towns Association
  • David Mockert, WI Department of Administration
  • Lisa Morrison, WI Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection
  • Kent Pena, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Kevin Pomeroy, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin
  • Jay Shambeau, Clark County
  • Thomas Tym, Reukert & Mielke, Inc.
  • Jay Yearwood, City of Appleton
  • Dick Vraga, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Cindy Wisinski, WI Register of Deeds Association, and Portage County

GIS coordination council in the works
The second planning activity, which has not yet formally begun, involves support from another FGDC grant. The purpose of this activity is to create and implement the operation of a Wisconsin GIS coordination council. The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA), under the direction of Geographic Information Officer David Mockert, applied for this grant earlier this year.

With the demise of the Wisconsin Land Information Board nearly a year ago, no recognized state government-affiliated organization with a broadly representative membership currently exists to address critical GIS issues facing the state. The planned coordinating council will function as an advisory policy group to the state’s Chief Information Officer, located in the WI Department of Administration. The council will be composed of members representing diverse sectors within the state. The council will be established by charter, and governed by an appropriate set of bylaws to be written with the support of the grant funding. 

We will keep you updated on the progress of these two efforts as they unfold.