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Indiana University Northwest

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Northwest Indiana GIS Forum
Meeting Notes
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Meeting Location: Indiana University Northwest

Members in Attendance: Sheri Bianchin, USEPA Region 5; Marisol Flores, Lake County Surveyor’s Office; Dan Gin, Town of Schererville; Kim Holmquist, School City of Hammond; Becky McKinley, Hammond Sanitary District; Kevin Miller, Indiana Department of Environmental Management; Cele Morris, IU Northwest/NWI Center for Data and Analysis; Dan Rieden; Lake County Parks Dept.; Alan Rosenwinkel, Lake County Parks Dept.; Denise Sulek, Town of Schererville; Tim Sutherland, IU Northwest/NWI Center for Data and Analysis.

Local Implementation

Becky McKinley will be presenting information about a GIS application tool created for the City of Hammond by Greeley and Hansen. The dynamic segmentation tool provides a link between street segments and related sewer and pavement information. Data is stored in an Access Database and viewed with ArcReader. Tool users can click on a street segment and receive information related to that section. The tool will provide information to keep track of city street repaving and sewer projects. The project will be presented at the State GIS conference to be held in Indianapolis on March 9 - 10, 2005.

Tim Sutherland at IU Northwest has been selected Interim Director of the Center for Regional Sustainable Vitality. A GIS based course is being taught by George Olmsted through SPEA this semester. The GIS Forum will be sponsor a training session in the IU Northwest GIS Lab later this month (see Training below).

Peter Wilkin, a biologist at Purdue North Central, is a newcomer to GIS and would like to use the technology for conservation projects. As a professor of environmental science courses, he is interested in studying the effects of sprawl, especially the at risk areas of Porter County.

Kevin Miller with IDEM is currently working on a feasibility study with Army Corps of Engineers related to restoration along the Grand Calumet River. Data is being compiled and categorized in a GIS database. He is also merging layers to create statewide layers. He is working with local sources to procure additional data.

Sheri Bianchin with USEPA Region 5 is presently using GIS as it relates to institutional controls as part of a five year comprehensive review for region 5 sites in the Superfund program.

GIS is in the beginning stages for the Planning and Building Department in the Town of Schererville. Hardware has been designated for GIS use. They are currently using Auto Desk Map.

The School City of Hammond uses GIS to map boundary changes. Bus routing is an area that they hope to add to their GIS in the near future. Demographic information is used to visualize the student makeup of the district.

The Lake County Surveyor’s Office continues to work on GIS development. QC for Lake County parcel data from Sidwell is progressing. They are also working on a layer for 911 dispatches. Cleanup continues on the center line file. Becky applauded George Van Til, Lake County Surveyor, for his efforts in getting the necessary backing from the Lake County Commissioners to upgrade the upcoming 2005 aerial photography to 6" resolution. Funds for the project will come from the Surveyor’s county mapping budget.

Lake County Parks Department is working on a project to be included for the Huck Finn program. They would like their project to show the location of some of their parks via the aerial photography. They hope to get involved with youth organizations such as the Girls Scouts and Boy Scouts.

NWI GIS Forum Activities


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

Road Show

On November 10, 2004, the Polis Center presented a full day of GIS seminars through its Road Show held in Northwest Indiana at the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC). The event was a great success and the Polis Center predicts that they will be back in the area to cover additional topics in the future.


Becky will hold an ArcGIS 9.0 training session on Thursday and Friday, January 27 -28, 2005. The session will be held in the IU Northwest GIS lab – Room 230, 2nd floor of the library. IDEM will continue to contribute the training materials. Additional training sessions may be scheduled based on interest. More information about additional trainings sessions will be forthcoming.

K-12 Workshop

GENI (Geography Educator’s Network of Indiana, Inc.) will sponsor a workshop geared towards Northwest Indiana K-12 geography educators on January 21, 2005, at Purdue University Calumet. The three hour, interactive, computer workshop will provide local educators with a brief introduction to GIS. Local GIS projects will be showcased in a presentation by Becky. The object of this workshop is to show educators what kind of GIS information is available in the area. It is requested that members pass this information along to relevant educators and education students in Northwest Indiana.

Economic Development

No update at this time

ESRI Sponsored Users Group Seminar

ESRI has scheduled a full day seminar for Tuesday, January 25, 2005 in LaPorte. Registration is requested at the following website. The City of South Bend will give a presentation in the morning session. ESRI plans an ArcGIS 9.0 Tips and Tricks session in the afternoon.


2005 Orthophotography Project update – Lake and LaPorte Counties have agreed to "buy up" to 6" resolution photography. The deadline for counties to "buy up" is January 16, 2005. EarthData has been selected as the vendor for the project. Additional funding was received so that the entire state will be flown for at least one foot resolution. Additional details for the project are pending. Visit the following website regularly to keep track of program updates.

Huck Finn Project – This project being sponsored by GENI and IGIC coincides with the 2005 orthophotography flyover. Educational materials to introduce geographical ideas to K-12 students will be created based on the ortho project. K-12 institutions will be asked to create art work covering a large area of their property (such as a parking lot, etc.) that may be viewed via the 2005 orthophotography. The "Keep Track" link on the website will provide postings of vendor status to show areas of the state that have been flown. Flights will occur primarily during March and April of 2005.

Annual Conference – The annual state GIS conference sponsored by INGISI will be held March 9-10, 2005, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Indianapolis. Registration is now open. A local government reception will be held this year on the night prior to the start of the conference. This new event will be a good opportunity to network with other local government personnel. There is a $15.00 fee for the reception. See the following site for more information.

In an attempt to focus their efforts, INGISI has developed a strategy document to outline legislative goals to be achieved during this upcoming session. The following four items will be stressed:

  1. Framework data program to create a basemap for Indiana
  2. Development of GIS Office and GIS advisory board
  3. Emphasize University participation in statewide GIS coordination
  4. Create local overnment GIS technology grant.

A bill to establish the above goals is currently under review. The bill is called SB493 and you can read the text and follow its progress.

Other Business

A statewide economic development website is being developed and is sponsored by the Indiana Department of Commerce with input from economic development personnel from utilities NIPSCO and Cinergy. Local planning departments have been contacted to provide available site information. A GIS component to the site reminiscent of Map Quest is being planned for the site. It will be up to local entities to add any detail to the site that they would like. Local planners should be aware of this project. The site is currently being tested. Becky will forward a URL when it becomes available.

Next Meeting: Thursday, March 24, 2005, Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission, Portage, IN - 9:00 - 11:00 am

Metadata Tool Presentation – Demonstration of a draft metadata tool created for the Northwest Indiana GIS Forum by the Indiana Geological Survey using funding received through the Forum’s EPA grant.