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Indiana University Northwest

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Northwest Indiana GIS Forum
Meeting Notes
Thursday, May 9, 2002
Meeting Location: Indiana University Northwest

Members in Attendance: Alex DaSilva IDEM, NWI Office; Miklos Ferenczy, Pangea; Beth Hodge, Pangea; Betty Lipton, Lake County Surveyor's Office; Becky McKinley, Hammond Sanitary District; Kevin Miller, IDEM; Cele Morris, IU Northwest/NWI Center for Data and Analysis; Lauren Rhein; NIRPC; Robert Strimbu, City of Gary Planning Dept.; Tim Sutherland, IU Northwest/NWI Center for Data and Analysis; John Tanger, NIPSCO.

Local Implementation
NIRPC is getting ready to update its 20-30 year transportation plan. IU Northwest will help with an environmental justice component that will be incorporated into the plan focusing on minority populations in the region. An intern will be hired this summer. Lauren advised the group that the US Census Bureau is in the process of a state-by-state release of its Census 2000 SF-3 data. This will be an extremely large amount of data covering 34 census questions.

Lake County aerial photography exists at a scale of 1:100 for urban areas and 1:400 for rural areas with one ft. contours. 3000 sq. ft. tiles are available at $200/ea. It is anticipated that the photography will serve as a GIS basemap for the county. All '98 and '99 photos were scanned by early June. Since the county is currently putting together a training program, Betty L. asked the group for information regarding ESRI's new ArcGIS 8.x products. It was explained that at the lower level, ArcView GIS 8.x replaces ArcView 3.x and, on the more robust, data creation level, ArcGIS replaces ArcINFO. Both new programs are more MS Windows related than the older versions. Members of the group who have used the newer products advise those with no experience to go directly to the upgraded products. They feel that going back and forth between the old and new versions can be confusing.

The Intro to GIS course taught at IU Northwest this spring semester is finished. It will be offered again next fall. George Olmsted conducted ArcView training for employees of several Departments of the City of Gary. The POLIS Center has contacted the Data Center at IU Northwest and requested that they be a part of their proposed GIS Needs Assessment project with the City of Gary.

In addition to the POLIS Center proposal, the City of Gary has received a proposal from Pangaea for a GIS Needs Assessment. PLANGRAPHICS, Inc. will also submit a proposal to the City of Gary. A committee made up of members from various city departments has been formed to examine the proposals.

Pangaea is currently working on a variety of projects with clients such as the Department of Defense, IDEM, USGS, the City of Chicago and Bloomington. Pangaea has a reseller agreement with Kodak to offer their CITIPIX aerial, georeferenced images with 6" resolution for metropolitan areas. There is a set price per km2 for the data. The data will be updated every two years. For more info visit Pangaea's website.

IDEM is currently engaged in a number of groundwater studies around the state. Kevin advised the group the Indiana Geological Survey (IGS) is in the process of updating the LakeRim GIS website. The Survey is also creating a statewide GIS site. There was concern that with the creation of the statewide site, LakeRim might be discontinued. Due to the unique nature of datasets residing on LakeRim it is anticipated that it will remain online. IGS Groundwater studies related to Northwest Indiana will be included on the LakeRim site.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is working with the Indiana GIS Initiative (INGISI) towards assembling a state I-Team report. The I-Team will be responsible for investigating the status of local GIS implementation around the state. The I-Team Plan is a FGDC promoted project to encourage national teamwork by GIS professionals. The Data Sharing Team will soon be contacting counties in an attempt to determine what GIS framework exists in the state. A report on their findings is anticipated for late summer.

Kevin Miller attended a workshop related to watershed mapping at the office of EPA Region 5 recently. Web applications using public domain data for water management were the focus.

NIPSCO's MapGuide Server has been pushed to the limits. They are currently working to upgrade their system, software and applications. A great deal of data related to utility poles is currently in the process of clean up. New customer service data is being employed. Future links with digital photography is envisioned.

Due to replacements in the Lake County Surveyor's Office, investigation into the status of their GIS is underway.

The Hammond Police Department has completed implementation of the New World system in tandem with East Chicago (Gary also has the same system). While the application creates mostly tabular data, there is a Map Objects component included that can be used for geocoding. Roll out of the new system is expected July 1.

Due to the importance of Homeland Security, some grant programs may be expanded to include mapping. When police departments are looking for grant money, they should keep this in mind.

The INGISI I-Team will begin compiling an inventory of local GIS projects shortly. The GIS Forum will help with the effort for Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties as part of their EPA grant to catalog Northwest Indiana GIS data.

There will be an Indiana GIS Initiative Statewide Open Quarterly meeting on May 16, 2002 at 9:30-12:00. An INGISI Council meeting from 1:00-4:00. The meetings will be held in Indianapolis at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Additional information and directions can be found in INGISI's Newsletter found on their website.

EPA Grant Status
Becky, Tim, Kevin and Cele met with EPA Northwest Indiana project leaders to discuss the status of the NWI GIS Forum's grant. The grant period was coming to an end and a one-year extension was requested and granted. Discussions included a request for an expansion on the scope of the grant since the participation level for local metadata creation is low. IU Northwest will be actively involved with Indiana I-Team activities for Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties in an attempt to identify local framework data. A request for NIRPC's mailing/telephone list was made.

Another area that the Forum will tackle for the grant will be to update some of the data layers and possibly add some new layers on the LakeRim GIS website. The EPA appeared satisfied with our new scope and pleased with our efforts to date.

Training & Workshops
A workshop for Census SF-3 data is anticipated for later this summer after the release of the data.

Other Business
Lauren Rhein of NIRPC discussed an initiative that is being proposed by regional decision makers that encompasses the seven county area (Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper, Newton, Starke and Pulaski). The initiative is an attempt for an economic development vision within the seven county region making up Northwest Indiana. One component is to look at GIS and how it ties into the initiative. The area is redefined as three zones that disregard county boundaries and appear to be based on watersheds: the shoreline zone, urban development zone and Kankakee watershed zone. GIS might be used as a tool to visualize various data. NIRPC and IU Northwest being included in these discussions and are considered to be neutral parties in this project. This initiative is in very early investigative stages and there is no money available at this time. Three committees have been formed based on the previously mentioned map zones. The NWI GIS Forum has been discussed as an entity for feedback for GIS related to this initiative.

The major question posed to the above initiative: What does the group want to analyze? Land use maps of the Lake Michigan based on NOAA satellite data are currently being prepared and might be of interest for the project.

The URISA conference will be held in downtown Chicago the last week of October. NWI GIS Forum has been offered a booth in the exhibition area free of charge. Forum members are encouraged to submit local projects for display. There will also be a poster session. Anyone who would like to volunteer to coordinate booth activities, contact Becky for further information [mckinleyb@hmdin.com].

Next Meeting: Thursday, July 18, 2002 at Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) Portage - 9:00 am.