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Indiana University Northwest

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Northwest Indiana GIS Forum
Meeting Notes
Thursday, July 18, 2002
Meeting Location: Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission

Members in Attendance: Deb Conley, Elkhart County; Cornelius Davis, NIRPC; John Hannel, Woolpert Engineering; Beth Hodge, Pangea; Matt Keiser, Duneland Group; 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; Rob Neary, LaPorte County Planning Dept.; Lauren Rhein; NIRPC; Robert Strimbu, City of Gary Environmental Affairs Dept.; Tim Sutherland, IU Northwest/NWI Center for Data and Analysis.

Local Implementation
Elkhart County is in the process of GIS implementation with assistance from consultants and the Michiana Area Council of Goverments (MACOG). A flyover was completed this spring. All Elkhart County Government departments will be involved in future GIS projects. Technical and executive committees to oversee implementation are in place.

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.

Due to illness of key personnel, there has been a delay in the City of Gary's selection of a consultant for their GIS needs assessment project. The Polis Center, Pangea and Plangraphics have submitted proposals. The city's Planning, Police and Environmental Affairs Departments are currently using the basemap data.

NIRPC has upgraded one of their workstations to ArcView 3.3. They will be working on their 20-30 plan. A new planner, Cornelius Davis, has been hired. He will be developing GIS data for traffic volume and analysis. In the future they would like to include data related to accidents (possibly related to intersections). The Census Bureau has recently released updated Urbanized areas for counties. A few federal organizations have contacted NIRPC for data related to homeland security.

Pangaea continues to work with the City of Chicago on projects. They completed a project with Chicago's Dept. of Environment and Com Ed to help determine the location of power outages.

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 Geosciences Department at IU Northwest will offer an Intro to GIS course this fall. SPEA will offer a social science based Intro to GIS course in the spring. The NWI Center for Data & Analysis is currently working on a GIS project related to the COPC grant the University received. The maps will include information about demographics for the Glen Park area of Gary. The Forum has received a one year extension on it's grant from EPA.

Rob Neary, Planner for LaPorte County, reports that discussions with the Polis Center regarding a GIS needs assessment are underway. The County has no digital data at this time. They are hoping to request bids for orthophotography this fall. Redistricting of LaPorte County was achieved using ArcView 3.2 and data from Legislative Services Agency. The County's Health Department and the Purdue Extension are using GIS to some extent. The County would like to coordinate its GIS implementation with the cities of LaPorte and Michigan City as they create programs.

John Hannel of Woolpert Engineering is currently working around the Indianapolis area on projects. He is also a member of the INGISI Conference Committee

Hammond is in the process of cleaning up the attributes associated with muncipal parcels. The parcel layer is currently in CAD format and Becky has had trouble converting the attribute data to GIS. Geocoding to a point may be a way to attach data to parcel.

The next meetings of the Indiana GIS Initiative and Council will be held August 23, 2002. All interested parties are welcome. See the INGISI website for the time and location.

EPA Grant Status
The INGISI I-Team has been compiling a statewide inventory of GIS Framework Data this summer. The GIS Forum has been helping with the effort by contacting counties and municipalities in Lake, Porter and LaPorte Counties as part of the EPA grant to catalog Northwest Indiana GIS data. To date, surveys have been completed and submitted to INGISI for: Porter and LaPorte counties, Gary, Hammond, East Chicago, Munster, St. John, Porter, Chesterton, Valparaiso, and NIRPC. Cele will continue to contact Northwest Indiana communities regarding their framework data.

Cele and Kevin met with the Indiana Geological Survey in June to discuss helping them update TIGER shape files on the LakeRim GIS website. This work will be funded through the NWI GIS Forum's EPA Grant. The IGS were receptive to our proposal and requested that any data layers submitted include metadata. TIGER 2000 shape files have been clipped to Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties for the following layers: County boundaries, minor roads, highways, lakes, hydrology, railroads, and urban areas. FEMA HAZUS '99 data has been obtained for schools.

Training & Workshops
Becky has been certified for ESRI ArcView GIS 8.x training. Cele, Lauren and Beth will be attending "Migrating to ArcGis" Workshop in Indianapolis on July 30th.

Training is not planned at this time, but contact Becky if you have an interest. Various workshops could be planned in the future if there is interest. New technologies such as Lidar and web GIS could be investigated. Contact Becky if you have any suggestions 219-853-6413x516, McKinleyB@hmdin.com

Meeting notes will be posted to the NWI GIS Forum website as quickly as possible after we meet.

Other Business
The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) conference will be held at the Chicago Hyatt Regency Hotel, October 26 thru 30. The NWI GIS Forum has been offered a free booth in the exhibition hall. Tim and Cele will also help with preparations. Kevin will see if INGISI would like to participate in the booth. Becky highly recommends that local organizations showcase their GIS projects in a poster presentation at the conference. Any suggestions for material to be presented in the booth, info about poster presentations, or persons wishing to help staff the booth should contact Becky - 853-6413x516, McKinleyB@hmdin.com, Cele - 981-5612, cmorris@iun.edu, or Tim - 980-6946, sutherla@iun.edu.

Next Meeting - Thursday, September 12, 2002 at 9:00 a.m. - Indiana University Northwest - 2nd Floor across from the GIS Lab (Room 230).