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Indiana University Northwest

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Northwest Indiana GIS Forum Meeting Notes
Thursday, October 21, 1999
IDEM NWI Regional Office

Meeting Notes

Members in Attendance: Sue Davis, Army Corps of Engineers; Becky McKinley, Hammond Sanitary District; Kevin Miller, IDEM; Cecile Morris, IU Northwest/NWI Center for Data and Analysis; Ken Smith, IDEM; Tim Sutherland, IU Northwest/NWI Center for Data and Analysis; Terrell Waddell, NIRPC

Introductions and recap of last meeting's notes.

Thanks to all those who helped man the booth at the Aug. 21-25, 1999, URISA Conference. IDEM provided a nice presentation as well as a color brochure. Many conference participants stopped by to inquire about our group.

Indiana GIS Initiative

Kevin provided an explanation and update on the Indiana GIS Initiative Group. Copies of the group's first newsletter were distributed. A spin off of this group has formed that includes representatives of the POLIS Center of IUPUI and other GIS users from various State of Indiana Departments as well as from the private sector. Becky has been attending these meetings in an effort to keep others aware of our presence.

The Indiana GIS Initiative Committee is presently trying to determine how to create a State Office of GIS. Currently, how the office should be created and funded is being discussed. $300,000 has been secured for the staffing and operation of the office. The possibility of a central GIS server is being explored. ESRI is being considered for software vendor to the State.

A state GIS conference will be held in Indianapolis, March 3-7, 2000. Participants from Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio are expected to attend. The conference will include a metadata training session. Papers and presentations are being requested. Contact Kevin Miller for more information.

The new address for the Lake Rim web site.

The Grand Calumet River Restoration Fund is anticipating the creation of a new web site including information regarding sediments and wildlife along the Grand Calumet.

Subcommittee Reports

Training - No plans for any training are presently underway. Decisions about training will be made as the demand increases.

Clearinghouse/Webpage - Tim Sutherland reported that the 14-station GIS lab at IU Northwest is progressing slowly, but nearing completion. Computers are in place - cabling needs to be completed. Work must be completed by December 1 in preparation for a GIS geosciences course scheduled for the winter semester. A course this summer, offered by the Division of Business, will be taught be George Olmsted.

Questions about the lab included the possibility of contracting work for the 2000 census and fee based training. The group agreed that a non-vendor related intro to GIS would benefit Northwest Indiana since presently one must travel out of the area to pursue instruction.

The NWI GIS Forum web pages are in the process of being updated. Updated links and minutes have been submitted to the IU Northwest Library Web Master this week. The IU Northwest Data Center is currently working on a project with NIPSCO to develop an economic development web site. The Helpful Links section contains Mapping/Geographic Information links on interest.

Funding - Funding for personnel for the GIS Resource Center to be located at IU Northwest continues to be investigated. Activities of such a position would include acting as liaison to the State Initiative group, metadata compilation, training, GIS related help to the community and research into funding.

Kathy Luther mentioned that the 319 Project could be a possible source of funds for the Resource Center. Coordinators for various water quality projects have been funded from 319 in the past. By including study of the EPA's BASINS software use for our area with the general operation of the Resource Center, monies from the 319 Project might have potential. An In-Kind requirement of the funding might be satisfied by IU Northwest taking care of the Center's overhead.

FGDC Metadata Project - A meeting with Nina Savar at NIPC to finalize a contract for compilation of metadata from selected data files is anticipated to be held in the near future. After our group has determined what data will be selected for metadata creation, NIPC staff will contact the prospective for an in-depth interview to collect the information necessary to compile the metadata. Prospective metadata recipients may require additional prodding from our group for completion of the project. Work on this project is expected from November 1, 1999 - January 31, 2000. At least 16 data sets are expected to be used to compile the metadata.

Firm commitments for metadata creation have been received from East Chicago and Munster. The Lake County Surveyor's Office, City of Gary, Duneland Group and LaPorte County have all been contacted as possible participants in the project. IDEM data from the Lake Rim site could be considered.


Discussion on funding sources for the GIS Resource Center continued after lunch. US Steel still looks like a good source of funds. Kevin offered to contact Rick Chapman again about whom to submit a proposal to. The NWI Center for Data and Analysis will follow up if needed. Becky will follow up with Gwen Adams, Gary Department of Planning and Development, who offered to bring the IU Northwest GIS Resource Center Proposal before the Executive Committee. This Committee was formed as an advisory panel to the mayors of Hammond, East Chicago, Gary and Whiting. Hopefully this committee will bring the proposal before the mayors.

Next meeting: Thursday, January 20, 2000 - location to be determined

Demonstration of IDEM Sediment Viewer - Kevin Miller and Ken Smith
This application showed the concentrations of various substances such as benzene, mercury and arsenic found in sediments sampled along the Grand Calumet and in monitoring wells at Inland Steel. Aerial photographs are incorporated into the presentation as the viewer zooms in.