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Indiana University Northwest

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Northwest Indiana GIS Forum Minutes
April 16, 1998

Meeting Notes

Introductions - New attendees were welcomed.

Notes from February 19, 1998 were read.

Committee members from IU Northwest offered to become official note takers for the NWI GIS Forum meetings.

Kathy Baird reported on a presentation scheduled for Tuesday, April 21, 1998, 9:00 am, at NIRPC. Personnel from the University of Connecticut will discuss the Nemo Project. This GIS based project links water quality with land use. Any interested party is invited to attend.

The training committee reported that ArcView training sessions have been scheduled for the week of June 8th. Two day sessions sponsored by IDEM will be held in the geography computer lab at Valparaiso University. Certified ArcView trainers will provide free instruction. Training will take place on Monday and Tuesday (8th & 9th) and Wednesday and Thursday (10th & 11th). 10 seats will be available for each session. Participating NWI - GIS members will receive priority for enrollment. Any additional seats will be offered to interested parties from Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties who currently have the ArcView software or will have it soon. Kevin Miller of IDEM will do the scheduling for the sessions and all questions should be forwarded to him. A sign up sheet was circulated.

The group was made aware that the Gary Planning Office had received computer hardware and will be receiving ArcView for use in their office. The hardware and software were made available in conjunction a grant received for Brownfields study.

Discussion turned to the purpose of the NWI - GIS Forum. The group agreed that its mission is not to set standards. Our goal is to facilitate data sharing, data consolidation, and to help regional GIS users in any way we can, including set-up. It is not our intention to interfere with other organizations. We see the need to catalog existing data to see what is available.

It may be advantageous in the future to seek committee members from the private sector. This could provide funding for some of our projects.

Subcommittee Reports

Tim Sutherland reported on the status of the Data Clearinghouse subcommittee projects. The Northwest Indiana Environmental Justice Resource Center's progress has been slowed somewhat due to University bureaucracy. Problems have been recently solved and he expects the project to keep moving forward. Input regarding funding for the Clearinghouse has been put on hold due to Jerry Long's illness. Richard Whitman and NIRPC's Environmental Information Task Force are involved in drafting a survey to determine what kind of environmental data including GIS exists in the area. The final form of the survey is unknown.

Goals for the Clearinghouse subcommittee included; gathering information from other environmental/GIS organizations regarding clearinghouse designation, web page development including member mailing list and committee minutes, research of funding possibilities, and development of a survey to determine what data exists.

Kathy Baird discussed problems in recognizing the goals of the Infrastructure committee. Guidelines need to be suggested that suit the needs of the user, but ultimately produce compatibility so that data can be shared. Standards for hardware and software should be avoided. General guidelines for hardware necessary to run existing software can be made. Information about what people are using might also be helpful.

Becky Galambos reported on a full day metadata workshop she attended at UIC in March. She noted that the software used was hard to understand and quite complicated. She suggested that the group adopt the minimum content standard of approximately 24 fields as their goal. This would produce an electronic file of metadata that meets content standards yet is not overly complicated to produce. Kevin Miller stated that he had used a tool that worked within ArcView to create metadata. He seemed impressed with its ease.

Becky also discussed the Woolpert seminar held at the Radisson. Woolpert has been contracted by the USGS to produce digital ortho photos for the entire state of Indiana. The finished product should be released by the end of the year.

Carolyn Bury of the EPA gave some current information regarding the update of the National Wetlands Inventory Maps for Northwest Indiana. They are in the process of determining what wetlands will be field checked. Hopefully this information will be used for ordinance development.

Lake County has hired a GIS consultant who will be in-house soon. The consultant will be in contact with municipalities and private industry to see what data they have and what they are doing.

Next meeting tentatively scheduled for June 18, 1998, at the Lake County Government Complex. 10:00 am. - 2:00 pm.


Milo Anderson presented a demonstration of FIELDS. FIELDS is a tool used within ArcView. His presentation showed how GIS could be used to determine the type, concentration, and location of contaminated sediments in the Grand Calumet River and Indiana Harbor. 328 sample locations were sited creating approximately 33,000 chemical records. By linking various tables, different data can be visualized.

Group breaks up for subcommittee meetings.

Meeting Notes Prepared by:

Cecile Morris
Northwest Indiana Center for Data and Analysis
Indiana University Northwest