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Indiana University Northwest

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Northwest Indiana GIS Forum
Meeting Notes
Thursday, June 19, 2003
Meeting Location: Indiana University Northwest

Members in Attendance: Wayne Becker, SEH; Martin Brown, Gary Sanitary District; Rick Chapman, US Steel; Alex DaSilva, IDEM; Cornelius Davis, NIRPC; Roy Evans, Purdue Calumet; Tracy Foreman, Joe Gomeztagle, IBRC; Ryan Holmes, US Attorney’s Office; Michael Jabo, DLZ, Indiana LLC; Denarie Kane, City of Hobart Econ. Dev.; Todd Kesselring, Elkhart County; Betty Kiechle, Lake County Surveyor’s Office; Mark Lopez, American Cons.; Morton Marcus, IU Kelly School of Business; Becky McKinley, Hammond Sanitary District; Kevin Miller, IDEM; Kathryn Mohlke, DLZ, Indiana, LLC; Michele Napier, Lake County Parks Dept.; George Olmsted, NWI Center for Data & Analysis; Dan Parr, Daniel Parr Assoc, In; Dan Rieden, Lake County Parks Dept.; Robert Strimbu, City of Gary Environmental Affairs Dept.; Tim Sutherland, IU Northwest/NWI Center for Data and Analysis; John Tanger, NIPSCO; George Van Til, Lake County Surveyor; Josh Waldron, US Attorney’s Office; Joyce West, Sidwell Company

(Please note that these meeting notes were transcribed from a tape recording and portions of the discussion were inaudible and are not included).

Local Implementation
Hammond is presently evaluating ArcPublisher software. An extension of the ArcGIS suite of software, ArcPublisher allows you to create maps within ArcGIS and then create a map document that an end user can download to a free “reader” from ESRI. Easy tools to view, query, etc. are included. Users can be trained to use the reader in a small amount of time. Additional information regarding this software can be found at the website. While the City Engineers Office makes the most requests for maps, other departments within the City of Hammond currently requesting maps from Becky include Planning, Economic Development, Environmental Management and the Mayor’s Office. The Police Department makes their own maps.

IU Northwest will be offering introductory GIS classes through Geosciences (fall 2003) and SPEA (spring 2004) that utilize the GIS lab. The Data Center is helping with a GIS component to the COPC (Community Outreach Partnership Center) project. Glen Park businesses, churches, parks and schools have been geocoded. 2000 Census data will also be used in the GIS. IU Northwest also acts as host institution for the NWI GIS Forum/EPA Grant.

Joe Gomeztagle – IBRC, Operation 10, MBERG (Midwest Business Economic Research Group) – An attempt is being made to speak with the local universities to see what is currently being done with GIS in the region.

Mark Lopez of American Cons. is interested in learning more about GIS in the area.

The Lake County Surveyor’s Office reports that cooperative efforts between their office, DLZ, Indiana and The Sidwell Company are underway to continue work on a GIS for Lake County. Areas of the county that had not been included in previous aerial photography have been completed within the last few months. One-foot contour information is also complete for the county. Street centerline data has been compiled and is now in the hands of DLZ for QA/QC. Data has been gathered in a massive effort to microfilm subdivision class, survey information, etc. and are now being organized by Sidwell. The Lake County Sheriff’s Department is working with a number of local police departments in an effort to share ideas. Fieldwork for section corner recovery by DLZ is complete and undergoing QA/QC. This preliminary work will be of use for parcel conversion.

George Van Til reflected on the status of GIS in Lake County. In the past, a number of other expensive problems faced Lake County that prohibited GIS implementation. There is frustration regarding communication between the County and other local organizations utilizing GIS. Prior to implementation, the County held discussions with other organizations including NIPSCO and the Northwest Indiana Forum regarding GIS. Funding is a problem and it was decided to wait until prices were lower. A slower startup allowed the County to see what mistakes were made by other organizations in an attempt to avoid the same problems. Lake County now feels that the time is right to proceed and there is a need to communicate with organizations having successful GIS programs in place. Consultants having a proven track record were chosen as partners. Funding for Lake County’s GIS program has been set up on a yearly basis for the next five years. The program is set up so that at year’s end the County will have good information for certain areas for specific uses. In this manner, if something should happen to future funding, some useful information will be available. Countywide GIS implementation presently has good support from the Lake County Commissioners and Council. The County would like to provide a GIS product in a format that can be used for many different types of uses, i.e. economic development. The uses of what is created via GIS are limited only by imagination and money. There is a long way to go and input is needed for future success.

Becky suggested that both Hammond and Gary have centerline data that the County might find helpful. She encouraged that the County investigate a data dissemination policy that is inclusive of all Northwest Indiana communities and organizations.

The US Attorney’s Office uses GIS for crime analysis. They promote cooperation and data sharing throughout Northern Indiana District Police Departments.

SEH continues to work with the Town of Dyer on their GIS program. The town’s parcel map was completed two years ago but corrections and fine-tuning continue to be made. They are also helping with the migration to ArcGIS.

Kelly School of Business has been involved with county level data since 1969.

NIRPC is working on their Connections 20-30 regional transportation plan. Plan completion will be in February 2004. Data linked to origin and destination of trips within Northwest Indiana Traffic Analysis Zones will be included in the plan. The location of Environmental Justice traffic zones are also involved. Demographic layouts are being created. Some maps have been included on NIRPC’s website.

US Steel corporate officials located in Pittsburgh are showing a spark of interest in GIS. Environmental issues would be an area that GIS could be used to tackle for US Steel.

PlanGraphics has been contracted to conduct a needs assessment for the City of Gary as the first phase in the enterprise GIS design and implementation process. The Dept. of Environmental Affairs is also creating environmental layers.

NIPSCO currently maintains their networks of pipes and wires in AutoCAD. They will be purchasing a database driven GIS this year. Migration is scheduled for sometime this year. They are working to improve positional accuracy in their system. This project will continue into next year. NIPSCO is experimenting with data sharing. Marshall County, recipient of the data, has not yet commented on how they felt about NIPSCO’s product.

State government is actively sharing data between agencies such as DNR, Dept. of Health and IDEM. State agencies have negotiated a deal with ESRI for special software pricing available to local government that includes extensions to the software. A good website where Northwest Indiana GIS data can be downloaded is Lake Rim GIS.

Roy Evans – Purdue Calumet – Investigating how GIS can be used for economic development.

Elkhart County interested in finding out what is going on in Northwest Indiana.

Indiana GIS Initiative (INGISI)/Indiana GIS Council
This is a statewide effort to coordinate local GIS at a statewide level. The group is responsible for legislative lobbying, putting together guidelines for data creation, education and other GIS information. More information can be found on the group’s website. The council is presently updating their clearinghouse software. Metadata is being submitted to the State node (Clearinghouse) that is searchable based on area or discipline. All metadata that is submitted in the future will be formatted differently than the previously submitted metadata due to the change in software. Contact Becky, Tim or Cele if you have any metadata to submit or if you have any questions about metadata or how to submit it. If you are interested in creating metadata, we will do all the work based on an interview about your data. This work can be accomplished through an EPA grant the Forum received and is complimentary. Be aware that we do not want you data, we just want to catalog it for you. If you are a data compiler, complete the online survey located on the INGISI website. The questions you will be asked refer to framework datasets.

At the Council’s meeting being held today a vote will be taken to approve a joint project involving the POLIS Center and the Indiana Geological Survey to create an interactive interface to a project called the Indiana Map consistent with the national effort. The council is also working with state legislators to include GIS in their next round of Homeland Security efforts. The council also plans to include language in the project requiring counties to share their data with the state if they want to participate in any source of funding coming from the Federal government through the state for homeland security (required by the government).

The Jill Saligoe-Simmel, President of the Indiana GIS Council, has suggested that the topic of our next meeting be homeland security. She has offered to attend our meeting as a representative of C-TASC to talk with our group about some of the efforts that are happening in Indianapolis about homeland security as well as the Indiana Map project. The next meeting of the Indiana GIS Council is August 21, 2003. All Council meetings are open to the public and are using held in Indianapolis.

INGISI has become involved with Indiana’s homeland security dept., C-TASC (Indiana Counter-Terrorism and Security Council). C-TASC is involved in the identification of framework GIS data statewide.

INGISI is in the process of creating a new interface for their website. You can visit their “in progress” site.

Training & Workshops
IDEM has agreed to fund two ESRI certified, ArcView GIS 8.3 training sessions this fall. Contact Becky: 219-853-6413 x 516, McKinleyB@hmdin.com or Cele: (219) 981-5612, cmorris@iun.edu. Additional information will be emailed to NWI GIS Forum members shortly.

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

EPA Grant Status
If you are compiling data in Northwest Indiana and have not participated in our program, please contact Cele, cmorris@iun.edu. The Data Center reports that we have used approximately 2/3 of our grant monies to date. Tim has contacted our grant administrator at EPA Region 5 and requested an extension so that we might accomplish our goal. We have been advised that we will be able to continue our metadata cataloging efforts via the grant through next summer.

Other Business
Presentation – Morton Marcus –IBRC – Maps and Economic Development
There are three aspects related to economic development.

  1. Jobs in community
  2. Jobs as they relate to people who live in community. (Geographic component is important in locating the jobs.)
  3. Real estate as it relates to economic development.

Pieces of land need to be developed so that they can be added to the tax base of the community. What kind of information is needed for economic development – info re: land use, jobs, people? Census information is often used to describe people. We don’t have information about jobs and where the people in those jobs live. We need a geography of employment. Where are people working, what are their skills? How much commercial activity is taking place in residential areas? There are lots of people running businesses from their home or garage. When we discuss land use we have to consider nominal vs. real. We may perceive an industrial area that is actually residential with a homeless population. These types of situations don’t paint a true picture. It is very difficult to take an inventory of present land use in an urban area and update it to see how the property is used over time. These types of activities are not necessarily what we are involved in right now, but the systems that we are building presently will help to determine these thing in the future. The systems that we are developing are important to people who are concerned about economic development. These people have to be able to see reality. When you drive down the street, you don’t see what’s actually there. You see the façade of the building or your memory of what used to reside in the building. Economic development should be based on realistic not historic data. Tax data related to parcels is necessary so that changes in revenues over the years can be measured. This type of data is hard to locate. Market value of property is one of the measures of economic development. It is a measure of how desirable it is to be in a certain area. We also want to know what is happening to the income of people in areas – again, difficult information to uncover due to privacy issues. If the state government and department of revenue could be convinced that there is little harm in letting us have this data. A better understanding of what is happening to people. It is important to people who make decisions to have maps to see this data.

A different group of persons interested in economic development and GIS have met recently to discuss possibilities of interacting with the NWI GIS Forum. A more comprehensive view of using GIS as a tool for economic development throughout the county if not the region was discussed and it was suggested that we form a subcommittee of this forum. The subcommittee might also search for funding, possibly develop some pilot projects and create some data sets. Perhaps a regional office of GIS could be funded. Such an organization could become a resource for GIS use in Northwest Indiana. Northwest Indiana economic development could really benefit from such a group meeting to explore what other groups have done and how they have benefited. Contact Cele, cmorris@iun.edu with any information about any additional persons you think might be interested in participating with such a group. Roy Evans will chair meetings for the Economic Development subcommittee. Meeting date will for emailed in the near future. Presentation by Martin Brown regarding ESRI –Visioning Sessions – This forum brings middle managers and decision makers together to brainstorm what GIS can mean within a community. A minimum of 25 people is necessary for a session. These people will then take the information back to the elected officials. This session would encourage ending duplication of efforts and begin the data sharing process. Such a discussion would help us as a GIS community to map out a 3 to 5 year plan that we would like to see for GIS within Northwest Indiana. There is no charge for the session, but you must be a licensed ArcGIS user. It is not a hands-on session but a brainstorming activity. It is not training or how to use software. URISA is sponsoring an addressing conference in Providence, RI, in August. Check their website for more information.

Next Meeting – Thursday, August 28, at 9:00 a.m. – NIRPC – Presentation on Homeland Security by Jill Saligoe-Simmel.