Members of the Wisconsin Geographic Information Coordination Council (WIGICC) handled several important business items at their December 17th meeting in Green Bay, in addition to developing criteria for identifying high-impact projects to tackle in the coming months.
Harry-Webne Behrman, a professional facilitator who has helped guide the formation of WIGICC over the past two years, opened the meeting by encouraging members to “build a strong sense of community within the Council” and to “discover each other as new resources, and keep in touch between meetings” in order to maintain momentum from the day.
After much discussion about the responsibilities of each position, the Council members solicited nominations, and then elected Gregg Moore (Chair, Eau Claire County Board) as their Chair, Dick Vraga (U.S. Geological Survey, Madison) as Vice-Chair, and Jennifer Nieland (Integrys Business Support, Green Bay) as Secretary. All will serve throughout the interim-period of the Council, ending in September, 2010.
In other business, the Council unanimously adopted their bylaws and charter, and set a meeting schedule for 2009 (see sidebar). The group also discussed the applicability of open meetings laws, and decided that although they are not yet a formal government body, they will operate under the principles of open meetings in order to ensure an open and transparent process.
Process for defining high-impact projects takes the stage
Council members then received briefings of the October 28th WIGICC “Network” meeting held in Appleton. The original goal for the day was to mold the topics discussed on the 28th into a handful of actionable projects that could be further developed by the Council.
After hearing the updates, the group determined that it was premature to identify specific projects, and instead decided to focus on creating an objective decision-making “framework” that would help them define projects most likely to have tangible impact for the community. Broad criteria discussed for identifying these key projects included: meaningful to a target audience, actionable, politically meaningful to policy/decision-makers, clear scope/resources/milestones, demonstrates the value of and need for WIGICC, measureable outcomes, and improved effectiveness and efficiency for the target audience. Council member Andy Schwartz (City of Sun Prairie) volunteered along with Geographic Information Officer (GIO) Curtis Pulford to further develop the project decision-making process for the next meeting.
Regardless, there was clear consensus among members that the Network will drive the process, and that the Council will lean heavily on volunteers to accomplish the bulk of the work identified. The State Cartographer’s Office and Department of Administration through the GIO will also have a significant role in carrying out the priorities of the Council.
While the specifics are sorted out, the Council is encouraging members of the geospatial community to bring additional issues and ideas to the council through their respective sector representative(s).
DMA support approved
In other action, the Council voted to lend their name in support of the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs’ ongoing work with a 5-year homeland security strategic plan for Wisconsin. GIS is an important part of that plan, and the endorsement by WIGICC sets the stage for the Council to have a role in defining broad geospatial strategies for emergency management and homeland security at the state level.
Also worth noting, this was the last meeting to be facilitated by Harry Webne-Behrman. Harry was a significant factor in keeping the process moving through a series of listening sessions, a Fall 2008 “summit,” and many planning meetings in between. The Council expressed their gratitude to Harry for his able assistance.
The Council will meet again on February 11, 2009 at a location to be determined. In order to minimize travel costs and keep the process open to a wide audience, they are currently exploring video and teleconferencing options for future meetings.