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Indiana University Northwest

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Northwest Indiana GIS Forum Minutes
April 15, 1999
Patrick Marina, East Chicago

Meeting Notes

Members in Attendance: Gwen Adams, City of Gary Planning Dept.; Milo Anderson, USEPA; Ken Chapman, City of Gary Planning Dept.; Becky Galambos, Hammond Sanitary District; Tom Geishecker, USEPA; Ivan Gregory, City of Gary Planning Dept.; Johnnie Jordan, City of Gary Planning Dept.; Noel Kohl, USEPA; Betty Lipton, Lake County Surveyor's Office; Kathy Luther, IDEM; Cecile Morris, IU Northwest/NWI Center for Data and Analysis; Scott Russell, Analytical Surveys, Inc.; Charles Smith, City of Gary Planning Dept.; Jim Smith, IDEM; Tim Sutherland, IU Northwest Library/NWI Center for Data and Analysis; Mark Wilkerson, NIRPC;

Introduction of those in attendance / comments on notes from January 21, 1999, meeting.

Kevin Miller advised the group that the GPS trainer for IDEM will be leaving in the near future. This will affect the IDEM program announced at our last meeting for GPS training and use in their Northwest Office.

Project Updates

Lake County
Betty Lipton reported that a GIS plan is being developed for the Lake County Surveyor's Office. Since it is so expensive, the Surveyor is looking into cooperating with other county agencies. The project has been broken into four phases. In Phase 1, over 75 interviews will be conducted with agencies that interact with the Surveyor's Office. During Phase 2 a draft of GIS requirements will be compiled along with an examination of its potential. Phase 3 includes a GIS system design. Implementation of the plan occurs in Phase 4. At this time no decisions have been made regarding who will participate with the Lake County Surveyor's Office.

Wetlands Project
It is expected that fieldwork will be initiated shortly. Wetlands will be investigated to determine specific characteristics.

Gary Planning Department
Gwen Adams of the City of Gary Planning Department reported that Gary is currently researching all aspects of developing a GIS for the City. At this stage Gary is interested in any information and expertise to help in GIS creation and implementation. Gary's Planning and Development Council (council meets first and third Tuesdays of the month) would welcome any presentation relating to GIS.

Woolpert DOQQ's
Woolpert will deliver aerial photography of Lake County (possibly Porter and LaPorte as well) formatted for compatibility with ArcView software. Discussions regarding dissemination of the data have yet to take place.

Kevin Miller announced that ESRI is offering its free seminar, Digital City, in both Chicago and Indianapolis on June 8, 1999. Information can be obtained through the ESRI website. The presentation is geared towards state and local government personnel.

Statewide GIS Initiative
Kevin Miller reported on discussions to facilitate statewide GIS development. Kevin has been participating in a group out of IDEM that has been meeting every other month for 8-12 months to consider a statewide GIS program. A Steering Committee has been formed for the purpose of generating a proposal for the creation of a State GIS Office. Kevin foresees the possibility of the Office creation by the end of the year.

The POLIS Center at IUPUI is also interested in statewide GIS. They propose to develop base level data for all municipalities statewide. Such a project would be funded through the state tax structure. POLIS would own the data. This strategy could possibly take away local control of GIS, but it allows for data compatibility. Kevin commented that the two programs appeared to compliment each other with POLIS as a data creator and the State Office behind the GIS education.

Kevin's IDEM colleague, Jill Saligoe-Simmel, has submitted a grant proposal to the FGDC that our group has been able to take advantage of by including our request for monies to create metadata. This grant has a good chance of being funded since monies have never been awarded to any organizations in Indiana. The FGDC is known to have a fondness for granting monies to organizations not previously awarded. A response by the FGDC is expected shortly. Any grant money received would be managed by the state. Later in this meeting the Cataloguing Committee will discuss what guidelines for metadata creation are needed if the money is received.

Training Committee Report
Valparaiso University is interested in hosting ArcView training sessions again this summer. A tentative schedule (for sessions in mid June) will be ready in a couple of weeks. Milo Anderson noted that the EPA might be able to provide GPS training.

Funding Committee Report
Becky Galambos reported that a group from NWI GIS Forum met with a group from the EPA in March to discuss possible funding through an EMPACT grant. The group felt that an EMPACT grant was not really geared toward what our forum wants to accomplish. It appears that EMPACT programs are looking for new data creation while our group wants to work with what's already available. Kathy Luther suggested that it still might be in our interests to consider thinking ahead to next year for an EMPACT grant. Another meeting with the Northwest Indiana Team at EPA is scheduled for Wednesday, April 21, 1999, 2:00 p.m. The NWI GIS Forum will have a chance to introduce themselves to the group and describe what we are doing, our goals and possibly ask for some funding. Any NWI GIS Forum members are invited to participate.

Clearinghouse/Web site Committee
Cecile Morris noted that the NWI GIS Forum web site has been updated since last meeting. IU Northwest is trying to get funding for a GIS instructional lab. 12-14 GIS workstations would be installed this summer in preparation for a business GIS related course to be taught this Fall. Milo suggested that a link from our web site to the Lake Rim web page be activated. Sample maps would be a good addition to the web site as well.

Becky announced that a regional conference for URISA (Urban and Regional Information Systems Association) will be held August 21-25, 1999, at Navy Pier. It was suggested that NWI GIS Forum should have a presence at the conference. Dan Parr is the program chair and tickets to the conference can be obtained from him. Becky will call Dan to inquire about what he suggests we do to participate in the conference.


Cataloging Committee
There are approximately 30 organizations represented in the NWI GIS Forum membership.

Data Selection criteria

  • What data will be used to create metadata?
  • Should we only consider data created by our membership?
  • If we do not own the data, it should be data that's unique to NWI.
  • A set of criteria should be created to prioritize data.
  • A survey should be sent to owners of data with a telephone follow-up to get information.
  • Should data not be considered if it is too old?
  • Historical data can be of use also.
  • Data considered should be of the widest interest to many users.

Becky will compose a letter to NWI GIS members who have been absent from recent meetings to encourage their participation.

Next meeting scheduled for Thursday, June 17, 1999 - 10:00 - 2:00 at NIRPC.

Meeting notes submitted by Cecile Morris

Factors for Inclusion of Data in Metadata Node:

  • Data unique to Northwest Indiana
  • "Best" data of a certain theme
  • Data "owned" by a FORUM participant
  • Data of widest interest
  • We know who "body" is
  • Digital
  • Governmental Agency interest
  • Local datasets
  • Data owned by nonparticipants
  • Data of interest to few agencies
  • Data that has already been catalogued by Chicago Wilderness Society or IDEM
  • Non-digital
  • Other similar data layer exists that has already been selected for inclusion
  • National datasets