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About MetroGIS > History

Executing GIS Data & Cost Sharing Agreements

Fourth Generation Agreement (January 2009-December 2011)
Third Generation Agreement (January 2004 - December 2008)

Second Generation Agreement (January 2001 - December 2003)
First Generation Agreements (March 1996 - December 2001)

Fourth Generation Agreements (January 2009 - December 2011)

Project Manager: Randall Johnson, MetroGIS Staff Coordinator
Lead Negotiators: Randall Johnson, MetroGIS Staff Coordinator and Trudy Richter, Richardson, Richter & Associates, Inc. (MetroGIS staff consultant)
Key Participants: Ramsey County Commissioner Victoria Reinhardt (MetroGIS Policy Board Chair); David Theisen, Metropolitan Council Associate Legal Counsel; and the County Data Producers Workgroup
To review the actual agreement, click here.

FUNDING PROVIDED

The funding provided to the seven Metro Area counties via this Fourth Generation Parcel Data Sharing Agreement remains the same as for the final four years of the previous agreement: a $4,000 payment to each county, annually, to partially compensate for out-of-pocket expenses that the counties would not have incurred had they not been supporting the Regional Parcel Dataset. This funding recognizes that insufficient data (quantitative and qualitative) continue to exist through which to definitively show that the counties are benefiting (in excess of their costs to participate) from the MetroGIS's efforts (e.g., centralized data discovery and distribution via DataFinder both as a producer and a user and staffed forum for collaboration and knowledge sharing).  An objective of MetroGIS's Performance Measures Reporting program is to provide the data needed to provide a more definitive foundation for future negotiations.

TIMELINE

Discussion of policy considerations began May 2008. Consensus was reached by mid-summer with the members of the County Data Producers Workgroup on all aspects of a proposed agreement.  Agreement was reached with Chairperson Reinhardt in July 2003.  The proposed agreement was then forwarded to the seven counties and the Metropolitan Council for review of the legal aspects of the agreement and licensing procedures.  Approvals from each of the county boards was received in November and December.  Council approval was received in early January and the agreement was fully executed. 

PROVISIONS

All of the provisions achieved with the third-generation agreement were continued.  Two new provision were added: 1) authorize broader access to the data via a protocol referred to as “view-only” access.  Licensed users of the regional parcel dataset can now offer view-only access to parcel data via applications they host.  2) Permission was also grant to permit an electronic signature process for users to execute their license agreements at such time the Metropolitan Council acquires the required technology.

Third Generation Agreements (January 2004 - December 2008)

Project Manager: Randall Johnson, MetroGIS Staff Coordinator
Lead Negotiators: Trudy Richter, Richardson, Richter & Associates, Inc. (MetroGIS staff consultant) and Randall Johnson
Key Participants: Ramsey County Commissioner Victoria Reinhardt (MetroGIS Policy Board Chair); Kathy Scott, Assistant Dakota County Attorney; Gayle Hendley, Assistant Hennepin County Attorney; David Theisen, Metropolitan Council Associate Legal Counsel; and the County Data Producers Workgroup

OBJECTIVES
The primary objectives sought and achieved with the "third generation" parcel data sharing agreement were as follows:

  1. Expand the term of the agreement beyond three years, which was the case with the first two agreements, to add stability for the user community.
  2. Implement a single license document and related licensure procedures for access to parcel data produced by the seven counties that comprise the Minneapolis - St. Paul Metropolitan Area (Metro Area), which is acceptable to all seven counties and MetroGIS's data user community.
  3. Authorize the Metropolitan Council, acting in its appointed capacity of regional custodian, to continue (as it had under the Second Generation Agreement) to assemble parcel data produced by each of the seven Metro Area counties into a Regional Parcel Dataset and coordinate its distribution, in whole or in part, to the MetroGIS community via MetroGIS DataFinder (www.datafinder.org).
  4. Expand the domain of the user community that can access the Regional Parcel Dataset, without fee, to include all government and academic interests with jurisdiction within the United States. The previous policy had been to restrict free access to government and academic interests with jurisdiction within the seven-county Metro Area and/or within the counties that surround it, including three counties in Wisconsin. (The expanded access was pursued to advocate for the type of cross-jurisdictional data access policies that are needed to successfully achieve the vision of the Minnesota Spatial Data Infrastructure (MSDI) and the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).
  5. Reduce the amount of entitlement funding to counties that had been part of the two previous agreements to level the playing field among county GIS capabilities and complete one-time programming to modify county processes needed to support the Regional Parcel Dataset and migrate to an environment where MetroGIS's resources can be used to support a variety of regionally significant GIS projects, on a case-by-case basis, based upon priority to the entire community.
  6. Implement an online licensure application capability to expedite and streamline the process for both the licensees and licensor. (The agreement established a goal of December 31, 2004 to implement web-based application procedures. Approval of a prototyped process had been received by six of the seven counties as of December 17, 2004.)

To review the actual agreement, click here.

FUNDING PROVIDED
The funding provided to the seven Metro Area counties via this Third Generation Parcel Data Sharing Agreement consists of a $7,000 payment to each county in 2004, followed by a $4,000 payment to each county, annually, for 2005-2008. The 2004 funding was primarily to compensate for one-time programming expenses incurred to expand the attributes associated with the Regional Parcel Dataset from 25 to 55. The funding in years 2005-2008 is to partially compensate for out-of-pocket expenses that the counties would not have incurred had they not been supporting the Regional Parcel Dataset. The 2004-2008 funding represents an acknowledgement by MetroGIS that insufficient data (quantitative and qualitative) exist to definitively show that the counties are benefiting (in excess of their costs to participate) from the MetroGIS's efforts (e.g., centralized data discovery and distribution via DataFinder both as a producer and a user and staffed forum for collaboration and knowledge sharing). An objective of MetroGIS's Performance Measures Reporting program is to provide the data needed to provide a more definitive foundation for future negotiations.

TIMELINE
Discussion of policy considerations began in May 2003 to set the stage for negotiating the specifics of a third generation parcel data sharing agreement. Consensus was reached by mid-summer 2003 with the members of the County Data Producers Workgroup on all aspects of a proposed agreement, except compensation to the counties. The workgroup deferred to the Policy Board Chair to negotiate the specifics of compensation to the counties. Agreement was reached with Chairperson Reinhardt in November 2003 on the funding provisions outlined above. The proposed agreement was then forwarded to the seven counties and the Metropolitan Council for review of the legal aspects of the proposed licensing procedures, which were modeled after the procedures associated with the previous agreement. By January 2004, it was clear that a significant rewrite of the proposed licensing procedures was required. The most prevalent problem was that the proposed license did not require licensor to sign the document, as the thinking had been that the multi-party agreement, itself, addressed this need. Over the next three months, the Licensor issue was resolved with the Metropolitan Council accepting designation as the "Licensor" on behalf of the seven counties, subject to language that limited its liabilities. Negotiations of issues with other highly legal aspects of the licensing provisions and remedies for noncompliance extended into August. The Policy Board and its Chair engaged at that point to achieve closure on the issues that the parties' negotiators had not been able to resolve. The formal board approval process was initiated in mid-September 2004. The last of the county board approvals was received on December 14, 2004, followed by the Metropolitan Council's approval the following day.

The result of the expiration of the previous agreement on December 31, 2003, without a new agreement in place, was that no authority existed for assembling the seven individual county parcel datasets into a Regional Parcel Dataset or to distribute county-produced parcel data via DataFinder for most of 2004. During the same period in 2003, there were over 400 downloads of the Regional Parcel Dataset, or portions thereof.


Second Generation Agreements (January 2001 - December 2003)

Project Manager: Randall Johnson, MetroGIS Staff Coordinator
Lead Negotiator: Trudy Richter, Richardson, Richter & Associates, Inc. (MetroGIS staff consultant).
Responsible Advisory Team: Policy


BACKGROUND

Policy formulation for the second-generation MetroGIS data sharing agreements began in February 2001, under the guidance of the Policy Advisory Team. The initial discussions referred to these next generation agreements as "umbrella agreements". Staff's initial concept was to acknowledge, in a single statement or "letter of intent"-type document, all of the organizations that produced, assembled, or distributed data integral to each of the MetroGIS community's priority information needs. The goal was to use a letter-of-understanding format to provide maximum flexibility as MetroGIS's policies and needs change. The document would have set forth the expectations of all parties and, more importantly, permitted the parties to be added or removed without the need for action on the part of the other parties as the needs of MetroGIS changed.

From February to July 2001 the Policy Advisory Team, which was expanded to include the representatives to the Coordinating Committee from each of the seven counties, discussed options for the second-generation agreement. The Team concluded that the agreement should apply only to public data subject to licensure and that the agreement itself should be in the form of a standard agreement executed by each of the parties. The change from a letter of intent to a standard agreement format was necessitated, in large part, because the final agreement involved a continuation of supplemental data maintenance payments to the counties.

Parcel data, produced by the counties, were the only data that had been thus far identified as being subject to licensure and, therefore, the only data addressed by the next generation agreements. Refer to the Policy Advisory Team's meeting summaries for more information on the range of policies that were discussed.

The counties had previously agreed via letter of understanding or resolution to allow the Metropolitan Council, serving in its role as regional custodian, to assemble and redistribute, without fee or licensure, city and county jurisdictional boundary data. These data are the only other county-produced data required to address the thirteen priority common business information needs. Subsequently, each of the counties also agreed that they would continue to share these non-licensed data without need of formal agreement subject to the terms of the first generation agreement. In addition, MetroGIS had also previously made arrangements with other producers of data needed to address the MetroGIS communities' priority business information needs to share their data without licensure or fee.

OBJECTIVES

The primary objectives of the "second generation" agreements were to:

  1. Authorize the Metropolitan Council, acting in its appointed capacity of regional custodian, to assemble the parcel data produced by each county into a regional parcel dataset and coordinate the distribution of this dataset, in whole or in part, to the MetroGIS community.
  2. Attempt to reach agreement among the counties on a single license document. Six of the seven counties agreed to a common licensing document, which also requires only the user to sign. Hennepin County concluded that they wanted to continue to sign off on each license and retain language that is not included in the common licensing document.
  3. Expand the domain of the user community to include government interests with jurisdiction in the counties that surround the seven Metro Area counties (collar counties), including three counties in Wisconsin. This objective was added subsequent to the Policy Board's July 11, 2001 request of the MN Governor's Council on Geographic Information to investigate development of a statewide parcel dataset that incorporates the regional parcel data policies adopted by MetroGIS and, in particular, fosters widespread parcel data sharing among government interests with jurisdictions in the metro and collar counties.
  4. Secure data sharing policies consistent with those in the first generation agreements that expired December 31, 2001, through December 2003, the end of the current business planning horizon.

The funding for county-defined projects that was provided with the first generation agreements was not offered for the second generation agreements, as had been stipulated when the first generation agreements were negotiated. The provision of a "supplemental data maintenance payment" to each county that was part of the first agreement carried over to the second-generation agreement with the same level of funding ($75,000). The distribution formula, which was based on square miles of area and number of parcels, was also retained. The understanding reached was that once MetroGIS's Internet-Enabled Data Distribution Mechanism (DataFinder Café), which was expected to be operational by the following summer, had been operational for several months, a study would be initiated by MetroGIS to evaluate benefits to the counties as a result of servicing data requests through MetroGIS DataFinder, as opposed to servicing all of them manually by county personnel. The Council's goal was to redirect the $75,000 in supplemental data maintenance payments into enhancing MetroGIS's functionality, assuming the counties received an equal or greater tangible benefit from MetroGIS's automated, centralized data delivery mechanism supported by the Council as part its support of MetroGIS DataFinder.

STATUS

Formal approval of the second-generation agreement from each County Board and from the Metropolitan Council was obtained by March 2002. At that time, the Council began distributing the regional parcel dataset in accordance with its regional custodian responsibilities, subject to licensure but without fee, to government and academic interests via CD-ROM until DataFinder was upgraded to support distribution via the Internet, which occurred in July 2002. The second-generation agreement permits government and academic interests to access the regional parcel dataset until December 31, 2003. Negotiations for the 3rd agreement were initiated in mid-2003.


First Generation Agreements (March 1996 - December 2001)

Project Manager: Randall Johnson, MetroGIS Staff Coordinator
Responsible Advisory Team: Policy

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES

MetroGIS's Interim GIS Data and Cost Sharing Agreement Initiative was financed by the Metropolitan Council, in accordance with its pledge to sponsor and support critical MetroGIS program needs. Several of the seven initial agreements with the seven Metro Area counties, those that went into effect January 1997, expired December 31, 1999. In December 1999, extensions were executed to extend the terms of the expiring agreements to December 31, 2001, the same as the other agreements that were in place.

Minnesota law permits cost recovery for government-developed datasets that have commercial value and whose development involved substantial public investment. Geospatial data assembled by local governments within Minnesota are often distributed for a fee and with restrictions. For instance, most counties within the region maintain some cost-recovery policy for their parcel data.

These agreements were sought to foster a collaborative environment for testing solutions to technical and organizational obstacles to data sharing; an environment where the data access rules were the same for each county. Prior to the agreements, no two of the counties had the same policies and some required other government units to pay cost recovery as well as cost of reproduction fees for access to parcel and other geospatial data. The agreements applied to a wide variety of geospatial data produced by the counties and the Metropolitan Council, including parcel data boundaries and 30+ parcel attributes. The agreements provided a combination of GIS project funding and supplemental data maintenance payments to each of the counties in exchange for the counties agreeing to share their geospatial data, in particular parcel data, without fee, other than for modest reproduction costs, with other government organizations, subject to a single set of access policies.

As an incentive for the seven counties to enter into these agreements and share their geospatial data with all government units, without fee other than modest costs for reproduction, the Metropolitan Council provided more than $700,000 to the counties to assist them with local GIS data and systems enhancement projects that have regional significance - projects important to achieving the MetroGIS vision.

A detailed explanation of the objectives of the agreements, projects funded in each county, the contact for data sharing information, and the data made available via the agreement to all government interests serving the seven-county Metro Area are outlined in a document entitled "An Overview of the Metropolitan Council's Interim GIS Data and Cost Share Agreement Initiative with Metro Area Counties".

Under the agreements each of the seven counties received funds ranging from approximately $50,000 to $120,000 for GIS program and data enhancements that have significance for defining and implementing components of a regional data sharing mechanism. In exchange for these funds, each of the Counties agreed to do the following:

  • Share their geospatial data with all government organizations serving the region during the term of the agreement
  • Facilitate the creation and foster operation of a GIS Users Forum for local government within their respective boundaries
  • Actively participate in these forums and in the MetroGIS decision making process to address GIS issues and opportunities of common interest
  • Abide by common rules for data access/distribution
  • Maintain logs of the data they share
  • Provide the data sharing logs to MetroGIS to support research on the benefits of data sharing

PROJECTS FUNDED

County Executed / Expired Regionally Significant Projects Funded Status
Anoka 12/29/97 - 12/31/01 Improve accuracy and completeness of parcel base map MetroGIS phase completed
Improve Internet/Intranet access to GIS data Completed
Help I-35W Corridor Coalition develop an integrated GIS to serve its member communities Completed
Carver 8/08/96 - 12/31/01 Develop digital parcel boundary coverage Completed
Develop digital street centerline coverage Completed
Dakota 12/19/96 - 12/31/01 Update physical features (planimetric) database  Completed
Data access via Internet Completed
Hennepin 9/4/98 - 12/31/01 Implement effective ways to distribute data in and among government that serve the County  Deferred to MetroGIS Project
Improve the accuracy and completeness of their parcel base map Completed
Facilitate a collaborative county-wide method to create and maintain online orthoimagery and related planimetric coverages Completed
Ramsey 12/23/96 - 12/31/01 Update physical features (planimetric) database  Completed 
Assist County in creating an internal, one-stop, electronic data retrieval system Completed
Help I-35W Coalition develop an integrated GIS to serve its member communities Completed
Scott 12/31/96 - 12/3101 Complete development of seamless digital parcel boundary coverage  Completed
Assist with completion of digitizing soils survey and improving accuracy of street centerline data Completed
Assist with automated transfer of parcel attribute data from assessor database to GIS compatible format Completed
Washington 7/29/97 - 12/31/01 Assist with development of metadata / GIS data accessibility  Completed 
Assist with the refinement/correction of jurisdictional boundaries procedures (MCDs, schools, watersheds) MetroGIS Phase Completed

DATA SHARING DOCUMENTED

Each of the seven counties maintained logs through December 2000 of the data they shared under the provisions of the Interim GIS Data and Cost Sharing Agreements. These logs were one source of information used by Dr. William J. Craig and his associate in their 1999 study of the benefits of MetroGIS. They contain about a hundred instances of data sharing that are directly attributable to the agreements, that is, sharing that would not have occurred had it not been for the agreement. Will Craig's 1999 study found that MetroGIS's efforts, not withstanding MetroGIS was in its early phases, had in fact made a significant positive impact on the data sharing climate in the Twin Cities.

   
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