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Indiana University Northwest

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Northwest Indiana GIS Forum
Meeting Notes
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Meeting Location: Indiana University Northwest

Members in Attendance: Joe Alamillo, City of Hammond; Lorraine Bank, City of Hobart; Roy Evans, Purdue Calumet; Brian Gallego, Town of Merrillville; Betty Kiechle, Lake County Surveyor’s Office; Bryan Lane, Town of Dyer; Amy Manke, NPS – Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; Becky McKinley, Hammond Sanitary District;  Bill Meeks, City of Crown Point Engineering;  Kevin Miller, Indiana Department of Environmental Management; Cele Morris, IUN/NWI Center for Data & Analysis; George Olmsted, IUN; M. Scott Rediger, City of Crown Point Engineering;  Lauren Rhein, NIRPC; Susan Rizer, OCS Environmental, Inc.;  Craig Shillinglaw; Tim Sutherland, IUN/NWI Center for Data & Analaysis; John Toleikis, City of Whiting

Local Implementation

Becky McKinley hopes to hire a new GIS Assistant in the near future for the City of Hammond.  Property parcels have been delineated within a quarter mile buffer zone of the Grand Calumet River in Hammond in conjunction with a restoration feasibility study project coordinated by IDEM and the Army Corps of Engineers.  Layers for lot lines and parcel ownership were created for the restoration project.  A kiosk application allowing community members to search for current zoning of property is waiting for final approval before implementation.

The Town of Dyer has been using GIS for its storm water management program.  They have been busy collecting data for their MS4 report.  Information collected includes location of outfalls.  Pictures were taken of pipe sizes.  The system is being televised and can be related to their GIS. 

Lake County is waiting for year four money on their five year GIS implementation project.  Work on the County parcel layer continues and includes verifying accuracy by researching property deeds from the Auditor’s Office.  They are talking with local municipalities regarding the data.  Release of the data is unknown at this time due to the immensity of the project.  Maintenance records for creeks and drains in the county are also being included in the GIS.  3-D coordinate section corners are almost completed.  All corners use the HARN system as a foundation.  A website is planned for access to the section corner data.

Roy Evans at Purdue Calumet would like to rekindle GIS ideas for ongoing economic development and transportation projects in the region.  Work continues to secure additional funding for the Marquette Plan.   Roy has been named a co-coordinator of NICE (Northern Indiana Consortium for the Environment).   In this position, he will be meeting shortly with the mayors of lakeshore communities to create a checklist of regional environmental problems.  The list will be prioritized for research activities to be undertaken by participating universities and funded by grant monies

The Hammond Department of Planning and Development reports that the Mayor’s Housing Taskforce has begun a long term project to inventory all of the city’s housing and commercial stock.  A new database has been adopted to help tract the inventory activity.

The Data Center at IUN is working with PlanGraphics, Inc, and the City of Gary to write metadata for their existing spatial datasets.  Metadata presentations have been scheduled to comply with the Federal Geographic Data Committee grant being administered through the Data Center for the GIS Forum.  Presentations will be offered at the State Conference in March and the at the POLIS Center Road Show at NIRPC in April.  Future workshops will be scheduled for metadata education and training in conjunction with the grant.  The Data Center provided a final GIS workshop for Save the Dunes Conservation Fund/Indiana Coastal Restoration Action Team grant in December.  The half day workshop provided hands on GIS activities for restoration activities.  The Data Center has been included in several IUN based mini grants to provide GIS services.  One project will involved geocoding regional companies presently involved in international trade.  GIS Services will also be involved in a project that will seek to inventory regional restoration projects.  The Data Center and NWI GIS Forum hosted a successful GIS Day on November 16, 2005, at IUN.  Numerous presentations were offered by some of our members during the half day event.  The Hammond Times covered the event and published a nice front page article the next day.  IU Bloomington included IUN’s GIS Day activities on their website.

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) has upgraded to ArcGIS 9.1 software.  They await new hardware for complete implementation.    On the transportation side of their activities they will be working with a database containing traffic volume and accident data.  The environmental section will be dealing with watershed data for the region.  NIRPC is also involved in a cooperative project with Chicago Wilderness that seeks to define natural areas in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

The National Lakeshore will be using GIS to document prescribed burns.

The City of Hobart continues work for their storm water management program. 

The Town of Merrillville looks forward to future GIS activity including acquisition of software.  Town departments including Engineering and Police anticipate benefits from the technology.  A new website for the city has recently been rolled out:   http://www.townofmerrillville.com

The City of Crown Point is progressing with its GIS implementation.  They are currently working with The Schneider Corp. as their contractor.  A number of GPS units have been purchased.  Data currently residing in AutoCAD format needs to be converted in the future.

George Olmsted is working on a project with the Public Safety Institute – Police Web mapping at Calumet College of St. Joseph.

Kevin Miller with IDEM is currently working on the Grand Calument Feasibility Study with Army Corps of Engineers.  This project is related to restoration along 12 miles of the nonfederal portions of the Grand Calumet River and Indiana Harbor Ship canal.  Data is being compiled and categorized in a geodatabase.  Kevin has also been involved in assembling four catalogs of historical aerial photography compiled by the EPA.  The photography covers northern Lake County from the 1950’s through the 90’s.  The method of future accessibility of this data is presently unknown.  Ways to fund update and maintenance of the Lake Rim GIS interactive mapping website are being investigated.  The site, providing numerous downloadable GIS layers relative to Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties, was developed by the Indiana Geological Survey for IDEM in the late 90’s.   

The City of Whiting continues to seek information about GIS.  They presently operate with AutoCAD.

NWI GIS Forum Activities


A successful ArcGIS 9.1 training session was held Feb 13-14 at IUN.  Thanks go to IDEM for again generously donating the instruction materials and to Becky McKinley for providing the instruction.  Becky anticipates holding another session in April.  An email will be sent to announce the future session.  Due to the popularity of this training, a waiting list has been started from those not able to participate in the last session.   Be sure to contact Becky McKinley to express interest in participating in any upcoming sessions.


The Data Center now has the ability edit the NWI GIS Forum website.  Meeting notes will continue to be posted to the NWI GIS Forum website as soon as possible after meetings (click on Minutes).  Resource links were recently checked and updated/removed where necessary.  Please contact Cele Morris with any comments or input on the website.

The Polis Center will hold a Road Show at NIRPC in Portage on April 19, 2006.  This will be a full day workshop.  The morning will include presentations related to the 2005 statewide orthophotography project.  It is expected that information will be offered about how the deliverables can be utilized.  Regional projects will be showcased in the afternoon including the Online Metadata Tool.  Lunch will be provided.


IGIC has changed to a fee based membership organization.  The fees will be used to support overhead.  Legislators had suggested that a fee based membership organization would increase credibility for IGIC.  Members will now participate in the election process for the organization. Information about membership fees can be found at: http://www.in.gov/ingisi/member/membership.html  A free annual membership is currently being offered with registration to the Annual State GIS conference.

 2005 Orthophotography Project  update – All of the aerial photography for the state was flown in the spring of 2005.  Date of delivery for Northwest Indiana photography is presently unknown. Lake County was one of the last counties flown since it opted to upgrade to 6” resolution.  Due to the lateness of the flight, there were some leaf-on conditions visible on the photography for Lake County.     During Quality Control procedures, 13 tiles in Lake County failed requirements for acceptance due to excessive leaf-on conditions.  These areas will be re-flown this spring to provide photography with leaf-off condition.  Delivery deadline for the photography for Lake County from last spring (containing leaf-on) is scheduled for May 31, 2006.  The re-flown photography will be exchanged for the unacceptable tiles and will be redelivered as a complete set next spring.  Information related to deliverables can be found on the IGIC website.  The Lake County Surveyor’s Office will be responsible for delivery of the county data to interested parties.  The Lake County Data Board will meet on 2/24/06 to finalize how the data will be distributed. 

The 2006 State GIS Conference will be held on March 7-8, 2006 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Indianapolis. 

Contact Betty Kiechle if you would like to participate on the IGIC Standards Committee.

Contact  Becky McKinley if you would like to participate on the IGIC Education Committee.

Other Business

In lieu of our next meeting in April, we encourage NWI GIS Forum participants to attend the April 19, 2006, POLIS Center Road Show at NIRPC.

Indiana University Information Technology Services (UITS) has partnered with the Indiana Geologic Information Council to host an enterprise geodatabase service for the Statewide Digital Orthophotography Program.  Be sure to periodically check the progress the the program by visiting the Indiana Spatial Data Service.

Next Meeting:  Friday, July 28, Indiana University Northwest, Library, 2nd Floor 9:00 11:00 am

Some useful links:

Online Metadata Tool

POLIS Center Emergency Management Seminars: http://www.in.gov/dhs/

National Map

Google Earth

Track the 2005 ortho project.  Steps to delivery include:
Yellow:  Recieved by Dewberry
Green:  Returned to EarthData (for correction)
Blue:  Received by Pinnacle (for packaging and distribution)
Burgandy:  Delivered to County & State