Exciting news from Pat Moulton, Secretary of ACCD:
Lucy Leriche and I are excited to announce that John Adams has been selected as the new Director of the Vermont Center for Geographic Information! Most recently, John served as Planning and Policy Manager at the Department of Housing and Community Development within the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
John brings to VCGI experience and enthusiasm for using data and mapping to guide decision making processes across state government. Since beginning at DCHD in 2012, John has been a leader in land use policy, legislative initiatives and managing special projects – notably using GIS to improve workflows and to ensure Vermont’s public investments are supported by data. He is the primary author of Vermont’s new Planning Manual and has been a key figure in a wide variety of interagency initiatives relating to land use, housing, transportation and energy. As someone with track record of building consensus and commitment to improving customer service in state government, he was the recipient of a 2016 Public Service Recognition Award.
John is a certified professional planner who has worked at the municipal level and has taught Land Use Policy and Economics at the University of Vermont. He holds a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Arts in Environment and Development from McGill University. In his personal capacity, John volunteers on the Montpelier Planning Commission, roasts coffee and brews beer.
A search committee involving multiple agencies and partners selected John from a pool of incredibly well qualified candidates from around the country. John will start with VCGI on Tuesday, September 9th, 2016.
Please join us in congratulating John on this exciting new position!
The 2016 Vermont Remote Sensing Workshop will provide hands-on training with a broad range of remote sensing technologies, including Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), lidar, and thermal satellite imagery. The workshop is designed to help federal, state, regional planning commission, and local GIS users improve their ability to harness the power of remotely sensed data. Funding for this workshop is provided by AmericaView and the US Department of Transportation.
Dates and Locations
- August 9, 2016: 9AM-11AM, UAS flight operations in Waterbury, Vermont. This is an optional session and is dependent upon the weather.
- August 10, 2016: 9AM-5PM, University of Vermont, Aiken Center (81 Carrigan Drive), Room 101. Lunch will be provided!
Register here for only $10: https://secure.vermont.gov/ACCD/eventreg/event.php?eid=75
There are 18 seats available for the August 10th training. Priority will be given to government (federal, state, regional planning commission, and municipal) employees. Participants should be very comfortable working with geospatial data and have experience with desktop GIS software.
Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne – firstname.lastname@example.org
Tayler Engel – email@example.com
Noah Ahles – firstname.lastname@example.org
Register here for only $10: https://secure.vermont.gov/ACCD/eventreg/event.php?eid=75
2016 GIS Training at VERMONT TECH: Registration Open!
VTC hosts an Introduction to GIS and GPS class taught by VCGI staff. NEW THIS YEAR: Two different time/formats and times of year! We will be offering this course in the spring as an 8-week series of 2-hour evening classes in Williston. In the fall, we will offer it as a two-day course completed over two Saturdays. Choose the time frame and location that works for you!
Intro to GIS/GPS ($100) :
Participants will gain an understanding of fundamental geospatial concepts which they will then apply in learning how to use online mapping applications, consumer grade GPS receivers, and QGIS open source GIS software. QGIS will be used to explore and display geospatial data, to create new geospatial data, to perform simple geospatial analysis, and to compose basic maps appropriate for printing or publishing. Participants will develop a mapping question or project that they will explore and build on throughout the course.
April 14 – June 2 (Williston Campus) – Eight Thursday evenings, 6:30 – 8:30 PM. Click here to register: http://greentrainings.vtc.edu/gis-trainings.html
September 10 and 17(Randolph Campus) – Two Saturdays, 9-5 each. Click here to register: http://greentrainings.vtc.edu/gis-trainings.html
Lots of news re: orthophotos and LiDAR in Vermont!
- Vermont Orthophoto Request for Proposals: Vintage 4 – VCGI is soliciting competitive sealed, fixed price proposals for a new digital orthophotographic base from qualified bidders. The RFP provides details on what is required to submit a Proposal in response to this RFP, how VCGI will evaluate the Proposals, and what will be required of the Contractor in performing the Work. More info and links here:http://vcgi.vermont.gov/rfps
- Two major LiDAR collection projects were completed during our lovely dry October and November! The maps above show the large swath of central/western VT that were finally completed (it took a few years!) and the majority of Windham County that was also collected. It will still be quite some time before this data is available for release – at least 6-9 months.
- The 2015 orthos (covering Bennington and Windham Counties) were released recently for download, and will be reflected in imagery services and online map viewers within the next few months. http://vcgi.vermont.gov/warehouse/imagery
You might be aware of a widespread software vulnerability named Heartbleed, which has affected a large number of servers on the internet.
We want to let you know that VCGI’s website (vcgi.vermont.gov), web map services (maps.vcgi.org), and mapping sites (maps.vermont.gov/vcgi/vtmapviewer) are not vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug. We have come to this conclusion by reaching out to our vendors to determine if any of their software products are vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug.
For more general information on Heartbleed, visit http://www.heartbleed.com/
VCGI’s webinar line up for December:
Getting Started With Python
- December 5, 2013, 1:30 – 2:30
- More info here: http://vcgi.vermont.gov/events/dec_5_python_webinar
- Register for free here: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/339178166
Learning to Map in an ”App” World: discover the power of mapping with your phone
- December 10, 2013, 1:30 – 2:30 PM
- More info here: http://vcgi.vermont.gov/events/dec_10_mapphoneapps
- Register for free here: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/867309614
Quantum GIS: Data Acquisition and Transformation (a repeat due to technical difficulties and lack of success recording)
- December 17, 2013, 2:00 – 3:30
- More info here: http://vcgi.vermont.gov/events/nov_12_qgisdata_webinar
- Register for free here: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/501402662
David Brotzman, VCGI
Why Does VCGI Need To Change?
In order to ensure that VCGI can continue to provide a level of service consistent with our legislative mandate, VCGI staff and the Board of Directors have undertaken a Strategic Planning discussion aimed at reducing the organization’s overhead costs and the costs of doing business. At this time, VCGI employees, in aggregate, spend in excess of 40% of our time on grants and projects. Our yearly appropriation covers the costs of the other 60% of our time. These grants and projects are important work, but they do not generally provide more data to the public, more support to state agencies or more coordination within our community. Our state appropriation has stayed the same or gone down over the last 3 years while, just like any other business, our yearly costs continue to rise. Moving inside state government eliminates the costs of incorporation and will lower our organizational overhead costs thereby reducing our need for grants and contracts. The continued viability of the organization is limited without a change in our business model.
What Is The Change VCGI Is Pursuing?
As a result of those Strategic Planning discussions, the VCGI Board of Directors gave approval for me to pursue moving VCGI into state government, specifically, within the Dept. of Information and Innovation (DII). The commonality between the two organizations is clear as we are both technology service organizations. Richard Boes, the Commissioner of DII, and I have been in discussion with the House Government Operations Committee this legislative session to draft language that would effectively move VCGI to become a Division within DII. As of today that language has been put into a Bill for public review. The Bill (linked in the title below) is;
The statutory changes being suggested deal only with language related to our non-profit status and the Board of Directors. All other language, as of this writing, will leave our statutory requirements as they are. Further committee discussion may change that and VCGI will report on any substantive changes that seem to have traction.
Will VCGI Still Serve The General Public, RPCs, Etc. If This Change Happens?
Yes. Everyone involved with this effort so far has had the same concern. The Board of Directors, the staff, members of the GIS community, House and Senate Committee members and I, all want to be sure that VCGI is still able to provide the same level of support to our public and outreach goals as we have in the past. I believe we will and possibly more. As long as we retain our yearly appropriation there will be funding that supports our numerous coordination and public outreach statutory requirements. Additionally, I expect that Leslie Pelch will be making the transition with us so you will not lose her public advocacy and coordination within the community. I believe we will have more time to aggregate and distribute data and data services if we have the resources free to pursue those goals. Also, there should be no impact to the statewide Orthophoto Program if VCGI moves into DII.
Contact Us With Questions
Read the Bill, form your own opinions. Contact Leslie (email@example.com) or myself (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions. Contact your legislators if you want to tell them your opinion of the Bill. Polite public comment is always welcome on the VGIS-L listserve, our Facebook Page, and Twitter.
Leslie Pelch, VCGI
There are a number of GIS training and professional development events coming up in the next few months:
- July 17 – VCGI Roundtable Conference, Montpelier – $60
- July 30/31 – Intro to GIS/GPS – Lyndon State College – $75
- August 7/8 – Intro to GIS/GPS – VTC, Williston – $75
- August 13/14 – Intro to GIS/GPS – VTC, Randolph – $75
- Sept. 11-13 – Intro to ArcGIS 10 – S. Burlington – $495/$350
- Oct. 24-26 – Intro to ArcGIS 10 – W. Lebanon, NH – $495/$350
- Nov. 11-14 – Northeast Arc Users Conference, Rockland, ME ~$300
Improve yourself! Sign up now…
David Brotzman, Executive Director, VCGI
First, and probably most importantly, the staff at VCGI is now back in the offices at 58 South Main St. in Waterbury. We are still getting organized and not all of the replacement equipment has been delivered, but we are back and the doors are open. We really appreciate the terrific work done by Ed Steele, our building owner, and his contractors for the seven days a week / 30 day effort they did in getting our space completely reconditioned after the flood. Its great to be back in the Waterbury community.
I want to express my personal appreciation to the staff at VCGI who continue to do extraordinary work under extraordinary conditions. Everyone worked to clean out the space, move salvageable equipment to storage, set up temporary capacity, home offices etc., and then move equipment back out of storage and do what was necessary to bring the organization back into our offices. All of this was done while trying to recover from the disruption of our normal systems and still support those in the public and private sectors who needed geospatial
data and services. Everyone was flexible, creative and selfless in their efforts and I am proud to work with you. We are not back to normal yet, but I think we can see normal from here.
I also want to thank everyone who provided support to keep our organization and our services functioning, most notably the folks at the Department of Information and Innovation, VT Telecommunications Authority, and the UVM Spatial Analysis Lab. We also appreciate the support and services offered by all of you in the larger community immediately following the flooding. This is a caring and generous community we work in, but we all already knew that.
There have also been some positive changes at VCGI that I want to make you aware of.
Dejung Gewissler has been promoted to Senior Project Manager. Dejung’s skills, abilities and contributions to the organization certainly warrant this promotion. Dejung supports our state partners in Public Safety as well as the Regional Planning Commissions. Along with his project management responsibilities Dejung also supports VCGI’s website and web services, both of which are areas that we plan to focus on for further development.
Steve Sharp has had a job title change. Steve is now Director of Enterprise GIS Services for VCGI. This title change reflects VCGI’s recognition of the priority focus that Enterprise GIS support requires from our organization in the future. It also reflects the knowledge and skill set that Steve Sharp is able to bring to the task of supporting enterprise GIS development for the state. Steve will still have many of the same project management responsibilities that he has supported in the past, but more of his time will go to supporting the Enterprise Geospatial Consortium and the enterprise needs of the state.
I want to offer apologies for the brief interruptions in service and availability that have occurred over the last month, but under the circumstances I believe VCGI has done very well. Many homeowners and businesses were impacted much worse than VCGI was and our thoughts continue to be with them in their recovery. As we all move forward in the upcoming months and years there are clearly more challenges and opportunities ahead for all of us. I believe VCGI can make the best of the creative destruction that this experience brought to us and come out better for it.
Thanks everyone, congratulate Steve and Dejung when you see them, hopefully this is the last you will hear from me about flood damage for a long while.