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CIC Geospatial Data Discovery Project Charter


Goal Statement

This is a collaborative pilot project to provide discoverability, facilitate access, and connect scholars across the CIC to geospatial data resources. The project will launch and populate a geoportal instance for CIC institutions and will support the creation and guide the aggregation of discovery-focused metadata describing geospatial data resources relevant to researchers at participating institutions. The project will also provide the technology project staffing and infrastructure to host the services.

Administrative Info

Project Name: CIC Geospatial Data Discovery Project

Project Sponsors: For the CIC Directors: Wendy Lougee (Minnesota), Cliff Haka (Michigan State), James Hilton (Michigan) and CIC CLI Director Mark Sandler; for operations at the University of Minnesota: John Butler and Claire Stewart

Project Manager: Karen Majewicz

Charter Prepared by: Ryan Mattke

Date Prepared: July 1, 2015

Date Edited: May 4, 2016

Primary Resource Providers:

  • Kirsten Clark, Director, Access & Information Services, University of Minnesota
  • Len Kne, Associate Director, U-Spatial, University of Minnesota
  • Ryan Mattke, Head, John R. Borchert Map Library, University of Minnesota
  • Managers of the members of the CIC Geospatial Task Force.

Consulted for Charter Development:

  • Mara Blake, Spatial & Numeric Data Librarian, University of Michigan
  • John Butler, Associate University Librarian for Data & Technology, University of Minnesota
  • Kirsten Clark, Director, Access & Information Services, University of Minnesota
  • Kevin Dyke, Spatial Data Analyst/Curator, University of Minnesota
  • Len Kne, Associate Director, U-Spatial, University of Minnesota
  • Mark Sandler, Director, CIC Center for Library Initiatives
  • Claire Stewart, Associate University Librarian for Research & Learning, University of Minnesota
  • Kathleen Weessies, Head, Map Library, Michigan State University

Project Background & Updates


Scholars across academia increasingly demand access to geospatial data to facilitate their research. The 2012 CIC CLI conference (Finding Our Way: Collaborative Strategies for Developing Geospatial Services) focused on this demand. A group of CIC geospatial librarians has been working on how to best provide our users access to geospatial data.

Including the University of Minnesota, nine CIC institutions have expressed interest in this project. By collaborating, we can more effectively combine our efforts and expertise for the benefit of the consortium. Participant institutions include: the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Iowa, the University of Maryland, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, the University of Minnesota, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Project info:

Communication Plan:

A formal communication plan will be finalized at the two-day conference in Fall 2015. This will likely include monthly or bi-monthly remote meetings of the entire CIC Geospatial Task Force, monthly or bi-weekly remote meetings of the Steering Group, and regular email check-ins for the Task Force. Remote meetings will be conducted via WebEx.

Project work will be tracked on Asana with monthly progress summaries. Ongoing work will be visible to anyone via a public Google Site containing project documents, progress summaries, etc.

An Executive Committee, comprising the library directors at the University of Minnesota, University of Michigan, and Michigan State, as well as Mark Sandler (or designee) representing the CIC CLI, will serve as the primary sponsors of the project and the link between the project and the directors/CIC CLI leadership. The Steering Committee will provide written updates to be shared with the Directors at their bi-annual meetings, and additional updates as requested.

Once the project has achieved significant milestones, the Steering Committee will consider how best to report on the project accomplishments, via conference presentations, poster sessions, etc.

Scope & Expectations

Scope (Year 1 & Year 2):

  • Staffing considerations
    • Hire a CIC Geospatial Project Metadata Coordinator
    • Utilize 0.25 FTE of the University of Minnesota Libraries’ Spatial Data Analyst/Curator as a project manager
  • CIC Geospatial Task Force
    • Establish a CIC Geospatial Data Task Force including representatives from each institution
    • Establish a Steering Group for the purpose of efficient decision making
    • Evaluate existing and emerging open source geoportal software options and determine most appropriate application for project execution
      • Specifically, will review Open Geoportal (originally planned application) and. GeoBlacklight (emerging since time of original proposal)
  • Metadata creation & coordination
    • Create geospatial metadata records for ingest into the geospatial data portal
    • Determine the most appropriate data sets for geospatial metadata creation
    • Identify unique CIC resources for possible inclusion in specialized geoportal instances
  • Geoportal creation
    • Create and host a production-level geospatial data portal that will act as the primary access point for CIC geospatial data resources

Out of Scope:

  • Asset data storage
  • Data curation and management
  • Extensive interface customization (Year 1 & Year 2)
  • Access to licensed data requiring authentication (Year 1 & Year 2)

Resources: Project Staffing, Timeline, Costs

Roles and Effort:

A small team of project staff at the University of Minnesota will manage the day-to-day work of the project:

  • Ryan Mattke, project owner, 10% FTE
  • Kevin Dyke, University of Minnesota, project manager, 25% FTE
  • TBD, University of Minnesota, metadata coordinator, 100% FTE
  • Graduate Research Assistants, University of Minnesota, variable FTE

For individuals from participating institutions, please see the CIC Geospatial Data Task Force Roster.


  • Pilot: July 2015 – June 2017
  • Possible extension: July 2017 – June 2018

Year 1 ‒ Beginning July 2015

Month 1-3:

  • Hire Metadata Coordinator
  • Establish CIC Geospatial Task Force
  • Metadata standard review - examine OGP Metadata Working Group documentation
  • Metadata template creation

Month 4-9

  • Two-day kick-off conference to determine wants/needs/priorities & metadata bootcamp
  • Geoportal software application evaluation (likely before and at the two-day conference)
    • To include infrastructure hosting and technology management options review by U of Minnesota’s Data & Technology staff
  • Metadata standardization and/or creation at individual institutions
  • Regular check-in meetings with metadata creators

Month 10-12

  • Configure server infrastructure
  • Roll out geoportal instance

Year 2 ‒ Beginning July 2016

Month 1-3

  • Continue to ingest metadata for additional CIC data sets
  • Identify if there are configuration, interface, or custom programming needs and prioritize

Month 4-12

  • Develop and implement high priority configuration, interface, and code enhancements to the core application.
  • Continue to ingest metadata for additional CIC data sets
  • Identify unique CIC resources for possible inclusion in specialized geoportal instance(s)
    • Great Lakes data, Agricultural data, Land Use data, etc.

Year 3 ‒ Beginning July 2017 (prospective)

Month 1-6

  • Two-day update conference to evaluate progress and facilitate any needed training
  • Coordinate metadata for additional CIC institutions
  • Customize interface instance for additional CIC institutions
  • Customize and launch any specialized geoportal instances
  • Identify any additional custom programming needs

Month 7-12

  • Roll out geoportal instances for additional CIC institutions
  • Evaluate successes, failures, and lessons learned
  • Create a strategic plan for the future of the project

Estimated Costs:

Direct cost is $135,000 per year. Cost equally split between all nine participating institutions will be $15,000 per institution per year for two years.

There will also be in-kind contributions related to staff time for participating institutions. These contributions will vary depending on institutional capacity.

Assumptions, Constraints, Risks, Dependencies


Limited emphasis on customization to the geoportal interface in the pilot of the project.


Coordination of metadata standards and creation between nine collaborating institutions will likely be difficult.


The bulk of the work over the first year will take place during fall and spring semesters, which could limit the availability of individuals at the various institutions.


Project success will be dependent on successful collaboration and coordination between all nine participating institutions.

Expected Outcomes

Key Deliverables

The pilot will create a production­-level interface that will act as the primary access point for CIC geospatial data resources, including GIS data, imagery, and scanned historical maps.

Additional deliverables include a publicly available collection of standardized geospatial metadata relevant to CIC research interests and a set of workflows for collaborative metadata creation.

Success Criteria

Pilot evaluation would include an assessment of satisfaction with pilot participants, including an evaluation of workflows and of the interface itself.

Additional and supporting documents: