Ken Tozier is founder and
CEO of International Computer Works (
In August 1995, the state of
County training involved individual attention and hands-on experience.
Among the requirements for the Wyoming County Clerks project award was a statewide training strategy. Representatives from the 23 county clerks' offices had to become skilled at editing and updating the TIGER/Line files. Issues critical to the training plan included economy and an ability to address the needs of an audience consisting of predominately first-time GIS users.
Twenty-five workstations were purchased: one for each of the
23 counties, one for the Secretary of State's office, and one for the project
manager. The hardware selected included Pentium 120s (Intel,
MapInfo is a general purpose GIS application that performs mapping and GIS-related tasks. The software's features and functionality extend well beyond the initial requirements of the TIGER update project; however, the specific steps used in the workflow for performing each type of edit are not defined. The MapEdit ToolKit is a MapBasic application that appears as a seamless addition to the standard MapInfo menu bar. MapEdit is specifically designed to guide users through the editing workflow to turn repetitive tasks into standard procedures, perform preedit validation, and manage multiple tables transparent to end users. Additionally, the toolkit manages changes to the feature information necessary to maintain the integrity of TIGER topology such as Version, TLID, sequence, sum values, and so forth.
The logistical challenges to
designing the training strategy included the vast area to be covered -
During the project's implementation phase, the 1995 Block Boundary Suggestion Program (BBSP) version of the TIGERs were released. Also, automated participation in the BBSP or Census Redistricting Phase I (Public Law 94-171) had to be added to the MapEdit ToolKit and included in the training plans.
With this information, the ICW team outlined the following requirements for the program.
1995 TIGER/Line files in purple, overlay parcel data in green before editing (left). TIGER/Line files in black and overlay parcel data in green (right) after editing.
Fortunately, the ICW team was not alone. The Secretary of State's office provided logistical support and the services of Richard Memmel - GIS coordinator for the information technology division - as project manager. The U.S. Census Bureau provided people for several classes who were knowledgeable in TIGER or BBSP, and MapInfo conducted a special one-day "Introduction to MapInfo" course for each of the training sessions.
TIGER/Line files before alignment with a parcel map.
Working with the Secretary of
State's office in
Because of the regional nature of the training sessions, five to seven counties attended one or more of the classes. Each county was represented by one to three people. Several counties attended more than one session. Each of those counties brought their workstations with them to maintain the hands-on orientation of the training.
Prior to the training, Memmel and an assistant organized and set up the workstations. The morning of the first day, he provided participants with the necessary introduction to the hardware and a brief overview of the Windows interface.
Knowing what MapInfo skills were necessary to effectively use the MapEdit ToolKit, the ICW team recommended the content for what became a one-day "Introduction to MapInfo" course. A MapInfo trainer then prepared the class for two days of MapEdit ToolKit training by ICW personnel. The MapInfo training typically commenced by and ran through the first day, which ended well after
Secretary of State Ohman was
present the first day of each class, delivering a kick-off message for each of
the respective groups. In speaking to the county clerks about the GIS
reapportionment project, Ohman said, "This is an important project,
important to our state, and important as a model for other states to follow. We
are the only state tackling this project [together] and it is an opportunity
On the morning of the second day, the ICW trainer and the representative from the U.S. Census presented a discussion about the structure of TIGER/Line. This helped the attendees understand the differences between TIGER topology and MapInfo topology.
The balance of the morning revolved
around demonstrating the MapEdit ToolKit and how each of the editing functions
were intended to be used. ICW provides TIGER/Line files of the city of
The results of the translation provided the attendees with their own county data ready for use in training on the third day. After a brief review of the material covered in the two preceding days, the third day of training was spent editing their own 1995 TIGER/Line Files. This approach allowed the instructors to move from workstation to workstation offering assistance on an individual basis. At the end of the third day of training, representatives from each of the counties packed up their new workstations - loaded with their own county data and ready for updating.
These training sessions were conducted in the months of September and October 1995. In
March 1996, two advanced courses were taught - one each in
With good hardware, software,
training, management support, and - most importantly - a dedicated group of
participants, our national treasury of digital geography with attribution is
being updated one county at a time in