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Steering Committee Meeting

August 30, 1999
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers HQ, Washington DC

A steering committee was established at the first Interagency meeting in Herndon, VA. The current meeting included persons from that group and some new persons.

  Participants
  Review and Participant Reports
  Discussion
  Summary and Conclusions


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PARTICIPANTS:

USACE: Charles Chesnutt (Moderator), Nancy Blyler (HQ); Joan Pope, Jim Clausner (WES); Andy Bruzewicz (Hanover NH); David Inglin (SAIC, Newport)

USGS: Frank Manheim (Reston/Woods Hole)

MMS: Roger Amato, John Rowland (Intermar, Herndon)

NOAA-NESDIS-NODC: Wayne Wilmot, Charles Sun (Silver Spring)

NOAA-NOS Coastal Services Center: Cindy Fowler planned to attend and give special presentation, but flight was cancelled due to hurricane warning.

NOAA-NOS/Coast Survey (Silver Spring): Bruce Parker and Maureen Kenny

OAO Corporation: Steve Sickels planned presentation on data interoperability and web compatibility, but could not attend.


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REVIEW & PARTICIPANT REPORTS:

Introduction

(Chesnutt) - Goal is linked virtual databases to share coastal information for aggregate-related purposes. Three types of people are involved in such databases and their visual expression: 1) Data generators and populators, 2) compilers and synthesizers, and 3) users. USGS and NOAA most heavily involved in data generation and synthesis: USACE and MMS heaviest users.

Review of Activity

Charlie Chesnutt: The Corps has more projects, but not more money. It needs ways to do things cheaper. One approach is collaborative research and data management, including helping others builds and maintains databases. A complicating problem is political interagency concerns.

Bruce Parker and Maureen Kenny: Coast Survey tasks include compilation of nautical charts & hydrographic survey data. CS is building a national bathymetric database with a goal of seamless coverage for coastal areas spanning Alaska and the Lower U.S. Current completion targets include Tampa Bay (cooperation with USGS), integrating land and sea data. The Coast Services Center seeks cooperative agreements and demo projects with other agencies to heighten its effectiveness. Another agency involved in coast surveying is the National Geodetic Survey (whose name and linkages have changed over the years). [See also federal offshore boundaries, later].

Wayne Wilmot: NODC’s main task is oceanographic data compilation and distribution, including current, direction, pressure, salinity, temperature, conductivity, and limited backscatter information. It is developing a global metadata depository. Estuarine-Coastal Ocean Laboratory (Charles Sun) has developed a proposal (to NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Lab.) for a Distributed Object Technology concept to link centers online in real time. Current limitation: NESDIS has policy of maintaining central servers for database distribution. This poses problems for distributed databases. Sun traveled to Taiwan and Korea Ocean Data Center; found interest in shared data. Approximately 10,000 stations total, with 1.5 million coastal profiles.

Joan Pope and Jim Clausner: (WES, Vicksburg, MI): A major initiative is developing integrated software for dredging project management: These include information on dredging and disposal sites, including beachfill sites. One of the initiatives is DMSMART (Dredged Material Spatial Analysis model (management tool). The first phase of software development is under contract to SAIC.

Dave Inglin (SAIC, Newport, R.I.) Dredged Material management. Monitoring and disposal sites (DANY database system): Managing information and developing GIS interfaces simple to use for clients in the NY Bight area.

Roger Amato, John Rowland: MMS-Intermar; International Minerals ("Sand") program is a small part of MMS activity, which is dominated by income-bringing Oil & Gas activities in Gulf of Mexico. Its main mission is in federal OCS. MMS is a data user and does not generate data, but funds coop agreements with states. Main GIS system is TEMS, designed mainly around oil and gas issues in Gulf of Mexico, not currently designed to handle sand and gravel data. Intermar frequently get requests for database data. Need sediment, shoreline, and bathymetry data quickly. Cadastral work is being done in Denver to attempt to define Three-mile line.

Nancy Blyler: GIS Coordinator at USACE, HQ; Committee member FGDC. Blyler reviews Corps GIS activities and performance across districts. One emphasis is on geotechnical mapping and civil works; central serving of data that all people have in common, such as flood control, navigation and standards. Collecting appropriate data and maintaining standard formats is a key. : Mapping (geotechnical side) and other civil works for each of districts. Much data is now available to the public on the web and this trend will continue.

Frank Manheim: Unified USGS relational database for Atlantic Margin sediment legacy databases is in late stages of design; supplementary data are being digitized. Cooperative contributions to linked and coordinated database system for Atlantic margin now in hand include North Carolina and South Carolina (State geological surveys). Data from coastal Virginia are partly published. Raw data on grain size, desired for many purposes, is often not immediately available from State data and must be tracked down could not be present. USGS has interest in compression software systems that may facilitate presentation of detailed GIS maps on web and on CD- ROM. (J. McFaul and C.: Polloni).

SPECIAL PRESENTATION by Andrew Bruzewicz, Head, Office of Remote Sensor Evaluation, Hanover NH Cold Regions Lab. Among review of remote sensing systems:

High-resolution hyperspectral imaging satellites (IKONOS - Litton Industries), evolution of military-civilian sensing systems; IFSARE, Quickbird, acoustic systems, Lightsar (JPL-NASA), Scanning LIDAR (laser scanning of shorelines and bathymetry).

Servers and databases: NT, geospatial DBMS (toxic and hazardous material); moving toward multi-federal agency next generation system with coregistered sites and same projection.

Open GIS Consortium: Land management system and model validation.


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DISCUSSION

Bathymetry: Must be digital, high-resolution (not contours). Coast Survey noted that it would be extremely useful to obtain from all Corps Districts digital hydrographic data, which includes latitude, longitude, and depth data. Common format and metadata would be desirable.

GIS System compatibility: Many Corps Districts still base GIS on Intergraph because of its use for Civil Engineering CAD systems. However, ESRI products are being increasingly added. Users indicated some problems with ESRI/Intergraph compatibility.

Geospatial data: Implementation of spatial data in database (GIS front end) requires advanced database systems (e.g. Oracle); i.e. ACCESS cannot use GIS front end.

Metadata: Proper data description is key issue. NOS provides "metadata training". Once one figures out type of data involved, templates are available.

Legal Boundaries: State territorial waters are not agreed upon. Nautical charts serve as de facto legal boundaries. This may pose problems because coastal boundaries change (as we note in current Hurricane weather). However, federal EEZ is established. N. Blyler has congressional boundaries, and MMS Denver cadastral unit (Lee Thormalen) is developing suggested state territorial boundaries. NOAA Coast Survey is undertaking cadastral survey of various U.S. federal boundaries).

Permissions for cooperation: "Linked databases are something users would rush at";  i.e. identification and linkage of already existing products is straightforward first step. Extensions or partnerships may ensue.

Other initiatives: Space Studies Board; remote sensing initiatives in coastal environment; USGS coastal erosion research initiative (A. Sallenger). USACE Lidar surveys. Corps National shorelines study is being proposed.

First target areas: Consensus agreed that that target area not be too ambitious. It should be at least a two-state area to permit cross-state generalized study. Port systems should be included. Begin with two-state area and expand. Candidates: NewYork- N.J. (Sandy Hook - Montauk Pt.), with Middle Atlantic (Cape Henry to Hatteras) secondary objective.


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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

Objective: Purpose of the demonstration exercise is to assess the ability to link spatial, temporal, physical oceanographic and geologic distributed data sets and make them accessible to a wide user group using http and standard browsers. This should be done in user-friendly format. Appropriate levels of descriptors (metadata) allow users to gauge the purposes of the data and the areas of applicability. The secondary goal is to assess ability to develop a faster access mode of data distribution.

Initial focus of effort: New York-New Jersey from Cape May to Montauk Point as combining many concerns, and economic importance Sediment management. Active charting and coast surveys (N.J.), channel dredging and information harbor database, local academic partners and USGS/Corps swath mapping cooperation. A second focus would be Cape Hatteras to Cape Henry, and areas in between.

Meeting Place: Corps of Engineers HQ, Philadelphia District. Time to be determined, late October?


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