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Indiana University Northwest

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Northwest Indiana GIS Forum Minutes
September 17, 1998
IDEM Northwest Indiana Office,
504 Broadway, Gary

Meeting Notes

Attending: Kathy Luther, IDEM NWI Office; George Budwash, Robinson Engineering; Becky Galambos, Hammond Sanitary District; Tom Geishecker, USEPA; William Henderson, Lake County Public Works Dept.; Kevin Miller, IDEM; Cecile Morris, IU Northwest/NWI Center for Data; George Olmsted, IU Northwest Bus. & Econ. Div.; Tim Sutherland, IU Northwest/NWI Center for Data; Mark Wilkerson, NIRPC; Sandra Wilmore, Save the Dunes Conservation Fund;

Previous meeting notes were distributed. Attendees were asked to submit any corrections if needed.


Kevin Miller announced an upcoming IDEM presentation to be held at IU Northwest (Hawthorn Hall #104) on October 20, 1998, 11:30 a.m.-3:00. Topics will include GPS, an explanation of the new Web site being constructed by IDEM and the Indiana Geological Survey, and a report on the Calumet River Project. The Web site discussion will include information about FCID numbers and how to access an EPA database connecting these numbers with corresponding environmental data.

Four ArcView training sessions were held this summer at Valparaiso University and were deemed quite a success.

Becky announced that there is no change in the status of the Woolpert digital ortho quads. Photos are now being scanned to create raster files. If anyone is interested in having Woolpert massage data, now is the time. It will be less expensive to get the job done now as opposed to Woolpert going back and doing it later. Aerial photos are still accessible on the Web via the USGS. It's unclear how long this situation will remain. Becky also mentioned that it's possible to pull DOQQ's into ArcView using a "script".

Subcommittee Reports

Cataloging Subcommittee

Becky explained the effort made to obtain grant funding from the EPA. A meeting was held including our group, Northern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC), and CAGIS to discuss their joint effort to create a browsable catalog of metadata for the Chicago Wilderness Society located on the Web. There is hope that we may be able to "piggyback" on their efforts, ultimately creating something similar. Since they already have the metadata production knowledge, this would be a good place to learn the labor intensive, complicated process. The goal is to have someone study the method with them so that in the future NWI has someone competent in metadata writing. A proposal outlining this plan was submitted to the EPA this summer. Tom Geishecker gave a brief explanation of how projects are funded by the EPA as well as on what happened to the group's proposal at the EPA. Due to short notice, the EPA - NWI Team had little time to digest this material and missed the deadline for explaining the proposal. The proposal has been unfunded at this point, but not rejected. It is hopeful that with adequate explanation of the technical aspects our project will be funded next go-round. Tom also stated that he hopes to get funding through his division by introducing some local GIS projects as results of our group's efforts.

An EPA listing of funding sources was distributed.

Becky distributed a letter she forwarded to Elissa Speizman at the EPA in support of IDEM's EMPACT Project.

Clearinghouse Subcommittee

Tim Sutherland distributed a handout outlining activities of the Clearinghouse Subcommittee as well as a draft of the Web site. The group has received approval to add the Web site to the IU Northwest library server. The initial draft of the site will hopefully be up and running by October 1. If IU Northwest is unable to get the site online by October 1, Lance Reinsma of the Town of Munster has offered to load it onto their site temporarily. Work is ongoing to obtain a server for the NWI Environmental Justice Resource Center that would house the GIS Web site. Software and hardware requirements for designations as a Clearinghouse node are also being investigated. Identification of other GIS related subjects and databases is an ongoing project. The Federal Drug Enforcement program is using GIS in conjunction with its Crime Analysis Data Center at the University of Denver.

The possibility of representation of Porter County in our group was discussed since that county is presently dealing with a contractor to update their aerial photos (Sidwell).

Training Subcommittee

49 people were trained in ARC View this summer at Valparaiso Univ. Participants from the region represented a good variety of municipal, university, county, and industrial organizations. Planning for training session for next summer are underway.

The E Coli Task Force is currently searching for funding for hardware. If they would like to share the funding, this could be a good joint project where we could step in and provide data cataloging for them. The Health Dept. is another data cataloging funding possibility.

Becky announced that ESRI is currently supporting a local government grants program. Recipients would receive Arc Info for NT. ESRI is also celebrating Geography Awareness Week with educational versions of Arc Voyager for grades K - 12 at a very low price. This is a slightly different version of Arc View but worth it for the small price.

George Van Til, Lake County Surveyor, and Dan Parr, Dan Parr Associates, Inc., arrived to offer details of the county's GIS status. George related that Dan had been hired by the county to do an assessment on how to dovetail possible Surveyor's Office GIS projects with other efforts in the county. The Surveyor's Office will directly benefit from Dan's assessment but if other county offices get on board the benefits will increase greatly for all involved.

Lake County has the chance to plan a GIS program that can be implemented in the future. The assessment will develop a design of what Lake County GIS will look like. If a clear plan is created, GIS will get reasonable consideration. Any GIS databases that are created should be versatile so that if todays technology changes the data can be used with new technology.

Presently there are no funds for countywide GIS, but when money is available, the plan will be ready to implement. At this point the foundation for GIS is being created for the coordinated for the county organizations.

The question of public access to the county data is a sticky one. Would it be possible for the county to sell the data to the public or other businesses? Public access laws are another area to investigate.


Grants Subcommittee

The Cataloging subcommittee will now channel its efforts to Grants investigation. Kathy Luther will search for funding available for creation of a Clearinghouse, instruction to create metadata, and cataloging data.

Discussion on various avenues for funding included sustainable development grants, corporate funding, and environmental justice grants. It could be advantageous to team up with another agency/organization to search for funds. If another project is being planned maybe we could share the funding by cataloging the data.

Next meeting is planned for Thursday, January 14, 1999, 10:00a.m.-2:00 p.m., IDEM Northwest Indiana Office, Gary.