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Indiana University Northwest

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Northwest Indiana GIS Forum
Meeting Notes
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Meeting Location: Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) Offices

Members in Attendance: Joe Alamillo, City of Hammond; Dan Gin, Town of Schererville; Kim Holmquist, School City of Hammond; Eman Ibrahim, NIRPC; Naida Lehmann, EcoNatives; Joy Marburger, National Parks Service; Elizabeth McCloskey, US Fish & Wildlife; Becky McKinley, Hammond Sanitary District;  Chris McNamara, Indiana Department of Natural Resources;  Javier Mercado, Jr., Hammond Sanitary District; Kevin Miller, Indiana Department of Environmental Management; Cele Morris, IUN/NWI Center for Data & Analysis;  Richard Morrisroe, City of East Chicago; Dan Niksch, City of Crown Point Engineering;  George Olmsted;  Matt Popiela, Town of Schererville; Tim Sutherland, IUN/NWI Center for Data & Analysis; Diane Taylor, IUN Student

Local Implementation

Becky McKinley reports that Javier Mercado, Jr., has joined the Hammond Sanitary District as her assistant.  She continues to make changes to basemaps using the 2005 orthophotography.  She has been rolling out the free AccuGlobe application to interested departments, including Planning, her bosses laptop and the Mayor's Desk.   She has created a handbook for those using AccuGlobe in the City and is willing to share it interested parties.  The handbook is 12 - 15 pages and includes basic functionality steps for AccuGlobe.  She continues work on building footprints within the City.

The Data Center at  IU Northwest, working with its School of Education just completed a series of 3 workshops to encourage local High School Social Science teachers to incorporate GIS into their lesson plans.  Free ArcVoyager Special Edition software lesson plans and Google Earth applications were showcased.  Cele helped with geocoding locations of environmental restoration projects in Northwest Indiana for a grant received by a local environmentalist.  A glossy poster was created with the results of the project.  IUN Division of Continuing Studies is offering an Introduction to GIS in late March.  The three session class will provide GIS basics for non professionals. 

Kevin Miller of IDEM has been working on local projects for the last 12 years.  He is currently involved in a project to restore the Grand Calumet/Indiana Harbor Ship Canal.  The project includes partnership with the Army Corps. of Engineers and Indiana Department of Natural Resources.  He is creating a GIS database for the project.  During a project scoping meeting with the public, it was asked if the data would be publicly available online.  The question was taken to the Army Corp. and it was decided to seek funding to update the Lake Rim GIS interactive mapping website built by the Indiana Geological Survey a number of years ago.  Funding from the Army Corps. and Indiana Department of Natural Resources has been secured to update the website.  Local data creators will be invited to meetings in the near future to discuss the possibility of including their local datasets on the updated Lake Rim website.

The City of Crown Point has completed their zoning map and will continue to update it as needed .  They are currently accumulating data for a utility grid.  Work on accurate TIF districts updates continues.   To aid local contractors, "as built" information is being scanned to attach to the GIS.  Dan Niksch worked with a local elementary school to provide information related to Crown Point geography.  The students will create a walking tour using that information.

The Town of Schererville is currently laying the groundwork for projects.  They are looking for funding to buy GIS software.  Their street mapbook is in the process of being updated.  They are in the process of moving projects from paper to digital.

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) is using GIS for land use planning.  They are responsible for creating a comprehensive land use plan for the region.  The will collect municipal plans and incorporate them to determine how well communities are cooperating with each other across common boundaries.  The project will require working with both GIS and AutoCAD format.  They are also planning to use GIS for transportation safety issues.  With data from the Indiana State Police, they will determine the locations of high concentrations of automobile accidents in Northwest Indiana. 

The City of East Chicago is working with a consultant to create a comprehensive plan.  Their Engineering Department is using GIS.

Naida Lehmann has been involved in a program at the Chicago Botanical Gardens dealing with plants of concern.  She would like to bring the same project to Indiana. 

George Olmsted has been working with the Public Safety Institute at Calumet College of St. Joseph on a crime mapping pilot project using Munster PD data.  The plan includes using the data to create an intranet for Police Departments.

The National Parks Service is presently mapping vegetation in the Indiana Dunes National Park.  Using NatureServe protocol, they plan to have the the project completed by Fall of 2007.  Color infrared photography is being used for analysis.  A GIS workshop to be held in July is being planned in partnership with the US Geological Survey.  The workshop is developed and presented by WETMAAP will be geared towards teaching educators how to interpret aerial photography.  This workshop is sponsored by Purdue University North Central.  Contact Joy Marburger if you would like to volunteer to help train the teachers involved in this workshop.

Elizabeth McClosky with the Dept. of US Fish and Wildlife uses the ESRI tool LINK that determines the possible locations of birds based on land cover data.

IUN Geosciences student, Diane Taylor is involved in GIS analysis using historical aerial photography of Mt. Baldy to determine the migration of the dune over time.  She is attempting to georeference older photos for her GIS project.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Law Enforcement is in the process of switching to a new records management system.  The mobile system will allow personnel to input geographic coordinates of incidents for crime mapping. 

School City of Hammond uses GIS to determine school boundaries for enrollment issues. 

The City of Hammond Planning Department utilizes GIS for City's  Adopt a Neighborhood program.  Working in conjunction with Purdue Calumet, they are also involved with the Mayor's Housing Task Force.  It is expected that another city neighborhood will be surveyed soon. 

The USGS will sponsor the 133 Cities project in 2008.  The project will involve producing aerial photography for 133 urbanized areas in the US.  The Chicago urban area will be included in the project and includes urban areas in Northwest Indiana.  The USGS would like to confer with local governments included in these areas to allow them the opportunity to provide matching funds for higher resolution products. 

There has been local press coverage recently indicating that Porter County is in the process of GIS implementation.  Newspaper articles relay that the County Assessor's Office has committed $2 million towards the program.  Sidwell has been contracted to begin parcel conversion and software purchasing is underway.  Intensions are to have an online mapping system with public access to county data.

NWI GIS Forum Activities


IDEM continues to support GIS training in Northwest Indiana by donating training materials for two ArcGIS 9.2 sessions this year.  Free, 2 day,  certified ArcGIS 9.2 training session conducted by Becky McKinley in the IUN GIS lab are expected to be scheduled for this summer and fall.  Training sessions will be advertised via the NWI GIS Forum listserv.  Contact  Becky McKinley  for additional information.

Lake Rim GIS Update

As mentioned earlier in the meeting, funding has been secured to update the Indiana Geological Survey interactive mapping website,  Lake Rim GIS.  Meetings will be conducted in the near future with local organizations that possess digital data to encourage their participation in the website update.  Input regarding website content and mapping tools will be sought during meetings.  Personnel at Purdue University are being consulted for inclusion of specific watershed analysis tools to be included with the update.  Participation and ideas are encouraged.  Watch the listserv for meeting dates.


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.

Due to changes in Indiana Geological Survey hardware and software, the Online Metadata Tool is not currently functional.  The IGS advises that they hope to be able to upgrade the Tool to provide a more user friendly interface by the end of summer.

Last Fall, the Data Center received an extension for its Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) CAP Category 1 - Metadata Outreach and Training Grant through this summer.  A grant proposal for a 2007 CAP grant was submitted at the end of January 2007.  If awarded, the new funds will be available at the end of August.

The Data Center at IU Northwest has received an extension from the Federal Geographic Data Committee to continue using up their funding to support metadata outreach and training in Northwest Indiana.  Cele participated in the IGIC Road Shows last spring and summer by introducing the Online Metadata Tool through presentations around the state as part of the activities associated with this grant.  Cele and Becky will give a presentation on the Online Metadata Tool at the state conference later this month. 

IGIC Report

The annual Indiana State GIS Conference will be held March 13 - 14, 2007.  The conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Indianapolis.  Click on the link above for more information.   There will be presentations by several members of our Forum during the conference.

IGIC has changed to a fee based membership organization.  Members of IGIC receive a discounted conference rate.  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 

The IGIC Education Committee is scheduling a number of classes and seminars for next year.  Presentations will be free until August of this year.  After August, non members will be assessed a fee for future presentations.  Send  Becky or Cele any GIS topics that you would like to see included in the schedule.  Presentations will take place at the State Library in Indianapolis.  The possibility of some of these presentations being held in other areas of the state is under discussions.  Broadcasting presentations via the internet is also  being investigated.

Follow the progress of Senate Bill 461 defining the role of statewide GIS.  The Bill promotes the Indiana Map and coordinates GIS in Indiana.

Next Meeting: The next meeting -  August 9, 2007, 9-11, at Indiana University Northwest.