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Indiana University Northwest

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Northwest Indiana GIS Forum
Meeting Notes
Thursday, January 15, 2004
Meeting Location: Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission

Members in Attendance: Jackie Anders, NIRPC; Martin Brown, City of Gary Planning Dept. (GSD); Cornelius Davis, NIRPC; Don Homan, Jr., ESRI; Betty Kiechle, Lake County Surveyor’s Office; Tim Lacy, Plexis Group; Becky McKinley, Hammond Sanitary District; Sergio Mendoza, City of Hobart; Kevin Miller, IDEM; Melissa Mischke, LaPorte County; Jim Moening, ESRI; Cele Morris, IU Northwest/NWI Center for Data and Analysis; Lauren Rhein, NIRPC; Dan Rieden, Lake County Parks Dept.; Tim Sutherland, IU Northwest/NWI Center for Data and Analysis; John Tanger, NIPSCO;  John Toleikis, City of Whiting;  Karen Wallisch, School City of Hammond; Dwayne Williams, Chesterton; Rudy Wunder, City of Whiting.

Local Implementation
Hammond – The new city administration is in favor of implementing new technology.  Work is underway so that the independently created zoning layer will be compatible with Hammond’s parcel map.

 At IU Northwest, the Northwest Indiana Center for Data & Analysis is currently working with the University’s Center for Cultural Discovery and Learning.  Maps showing areas of possible restoration north of campus along the Little Calumet River as well as campus gardens are being created for meetings with involved university personnel and community organizations.   Demographic maps created by the Data Center related to Glen Park have been posted to the University Park Plan website.

 ESRI is currently involved in setting up User’s Groups in Indiana.  This February, technical presentations will be offered to groups in Ft. Wayne and Evansville on ESRI’s “Geodatabase” data model.  Don Homan, the state rep for ESRI, has offered the GIS Forum speakers for future meetings.

 Hobart is interested in learning more about GIS so that they may educate their Board and Staff for future development and growth applications.  They have not migrated to GIS yet and are using CAD.  Work is presently underway on a grant to help initiate their program.

 IDEM is working on a feasibility study with the Army Corps of Engineers related to the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal to develop a mega-database including compilation of all GIS files for the area.  Update of the previously created “Sediment Viewer” application to ArcGIS 8.3 is anticipated for the near future.

 NIRPC is working on their Connections 20-30 regional transportation plan.  Evaluation and scoring of proposed projects for the plan is underway.  Delays in the release of data needed for the Plan, have pushed the completion date to this summer. 

 Lake County reports that a network is in place for future GIS implementation.  An additional meeting is planned in the future for investigation of the Pictrometry aerial product.

 A database server is up and running in Gary.  They will attend ArcSDE training in March.  A T1 line will be functioning soon.  Their Enterprise GIS is expected to be operational sometime this year.

 The School City of Hammond is using GIS to study various scenarios related to changes in school boundaries.  They have received a grant and will use GIS to investigate school boundary as they relate to transportation issues.  They are also looking for ways to bring GIS into their curriculum.

 NIPSCO has been in the process of evaluating vendors for a new GIS system and have chosen ESRI.  160 seats of ArcGIS 8.3 for concurrent users have been purchased.  They will run on a CITRIX server.  The system is presently being tested.  All AutoCAD files will be converted to geodatabase.

The new GIS system will be used for both gas and electric utilities.  Methodology to improve their positional accuracy is being investigated. 

 The City of Whiting is interested in learning more about GIS.  They presently use an AutoCAD system.  Becky directed them to information at the University of Texas web site.

 LaPorte County is working towards a GIS program.  Aerial photography was flown last spring.  They are currently working with a vendors re parcel conversion and software.  The county is working with Michigan City and LaPorte to coordinate GIS sharing opportunities.

 Plexis Group is currently working with LaPorte County.  They have also done work with Newton County.  They currently Host Newton County’s GIS website.

 The Town of Chesterton is interested in updating an older 3.2 version of ArcView to new ArcGIS 8.3.  They are working on a watershed grant for land use issues to fund a GIS. 


The State GIS conference will be held in Indianapolis on February 25-26, 2004.  Early conference registration and accommodation rates (at the Indianapolis Sheraton Hotel and Suites, 8787 Keystone Crossing, Indianapolis, IN) can be obtained until January 30, 2004.

Senate Bill 160, currently in committee, is the first legislative attempt to fund statewide GIS coordination. At present, there are some aspects of the Bill that would make some changes to the Indiana GIS Council that are not entirely as expected.  If there are any important updates to this proposed Bill, Becky will alert the NWI GIS Forum via email to let them know or to solicit help from the group.  

In the summer of 2003, the US Department of Agriculture contracted for the acquisition of a new set of statewide aerial photography for Indiana. The new 1-meter, color images (3 band) were captured in mid-summer (leaf-on). The first release of this new data in December, 2003, included a set of 89 county mosaics (Jay, Jennings, and Huntington counties will follow in a later release). Geotiff quarter-quad-based image tiles are expected to be released by the USDA in early 2004.

Download and additional information about the aerial photography can be found at the website.  

Training & Workshops

In 2003, Becky conducted four ArcGIS 8.2/3 sessions at the IU Northwest GIS lab, training approximately 50 local users.  There are no trainings sessions planned in the near future.  If interested in future training, Contact Becky: 219-853-6413 x 516,  McKinleyB@hmdin.com.


The first annual GIS Day was held in Northwest Indiana at Indiana University Northwest on November 19, 2003.  DLZ, Sidwell and ESRI helped sponsor the event with donations.  The day included a number of interesting presentations on a variety of GIS topics.  It was suggested that a committee be formed at our next meeting to begin preparations for next year’s GIS Day.


Meeting notes will be posted to the NWI GIS Forum website as soon as possible after meetings.

EPA Grant Status

Work continues to create and post metadata to the Indiana GIS Data Clearinghouse.  66 metadata files have been created to data.  49 of those files have been posted.  Shapefiles were created and loaded on the IGS Lake Rim GIS website.  Metadata workshops and presentations have been held.  Additional work creating metadata is anticipated.

The following subcommittee was formed to investigate funding for future GIS projects:  B. McKinley, T. Sutherland, K. Miller, C. Morris, M.Brown.

Vision Workshop

This free, ESRI sponsored, event is a two day workshop intended to bring together decision makers in an attempt to promote regional GIS coordination.  It is suggested that specific goals for the workshop be stated prior to the meeting.  Investigation of economic development issues would be a good area to pursue for this workshop.

Economic Development Subcommittee Report

There has been no subcommittee activity since the last regular NWI GIS Forum meeting.  The Vision Workshop was discussed as being a good arena for looking into how GIS might be used to promote economic development in Northwest Indiana.

Meeting Format /Frequency

It was suggested that we change the format of our meetings to longer, quarterly meetings that include guest speakers.   The group decided to continue meeting every other month, but to have longer meetings (9:00a.m. – noon) at three meetings a year (every other meeting) that include speakers.  Topics might include:  GIS success stories, information that focuses on a particular issue such as health, or waste water treatment, transportation.  At what level should the presentations be geared?  A subcommittee was formed to coordinate topics and speakers.  ESRI will give a presentation that will be applicable to all levels of GIS users at our next meeting on the geodatabase.

Other Business


Next Meeting – Thursday, March, 25 at 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon, Indiana University Northwest – Library Conference Center – Room 110.