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Indiana University Northwest

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Northwest Indiana GIS Forum
Meeting Notes
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Meeting Location: Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission

Members in Attendance:  Rex Burton, Highland Sanitary Board; Joe Eberts, Lake County Parks; Tricia Gleason, Elkhart County; Shannan Lefever, NIRPC; Morton Marcus; Becky McKinley, Hammond Sanitary District; Cele Morris, IUN/NWI Center for Data & Analysis;  Dan Niksch, City of Crown Point Engineering;  George Olmsted, IUN; Lauren Rhein, NIRPC; Jim Sparks, Indiana Geographic Information Officer, Indiana Office of Technology; Joyce West, The Sidwell Company

Report by State of Indiana, Geographic Information Officer, Jim Sparks

On July 1, 2007, a state Geographic Information Office was created by Indiana Code 4-23-7.3 to coordinate geographic information technology activities statewide, and specifically, to:
  • Facilitate GIS data cooperation among units of the federal, state, and local governments;
  • Integrate GIS data and framework data developed and maintained by state agencies and political subdivisions into the statewide base map;
  • Acquire, publish, store, and distribute GIS data;
  • Coordinate with state educational institutions to promote formal GIS education opportunities and informal GIS learning opportunities throughout Indiana.

Jim Sparks was hired in October 2007, as Indiana Geographic Information Officer.   Jim reports that he has been meeting with various state departments that are currently engaged in GIS.  Infrastructure is being developed by a number of departments and centralization of activities is needed. In the past, each state agency has had its own license agreement for GIS software.   Licensing to Indiana state agencies as a whole would be more advantageous and a proposal is being considered.  A multi-year state orthophotograpy project is being investigated. In conjunction with IndianaMap, a pilot  project  is underway to integrate and distribute county data via a web feature service.  Over 15 Indiana counties have volunteered to participate in the project.  Multiple partners will be involved in the technicalities of the project.  In early June, a Joint Data Request Letter will be forwarded to local government entities including county commissioners, economic development and emergency management personnel encouraging their participation in data sharing related to the IndianaMap project.  New educational materials outlining IndianaMap will also be delivered to appropriate local government levels.  The 2008 National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) is under way.  The entire state will be covered this summer.  Help locating ground control points will be requested via letters to counties.

Local Implementation

Becky McKinley has completed the City of Hammond Master Address File in conjunction with the US Census Bureau Local Update of Census Address (LUCA) program.  She had time to go back over the database to reflect multifamily status of housing units where appropriate.    She used the ESRI tool to help prepare the address data for this program.  The Sanitary District is now overseeing the Sanitation and Recycling programs in the City.  A study was undertaken to match the number of garbage cans to each street segment.  She is helping the Police Department with a project correlating instances of crime to the status of street light outages.

The Highland Sanitary Board is creating a sewer atlas and is collecting locations of manholes using GPS equipment. Sanitary sewer smoke testing will take place this summer.

Lake County Parks will  have the help of three interns this summer.  They continue to create base data including location of park trails.

Elkhart County also participated in the US Census LUCA program and submitted an update recently.  GIS work includes revision of a zoning layer.

The Sidwell Company reports that parcel conversion for Lake and Porter Counties is complete.  Delivery was made to Porter County last month and is currently underway at Lake County. 

The City of Crown Point has determined that maps for their water distribution model are somewhat inaccurate.  They are in the process of making corrections and additions to bring them up to date.  Work continues to match addresses to building footprints.  The Fire Department is looking into acquiring laptops equipped with GIS for use in their trucks.  An updated list of resident sex offenders is being used to check proximity to schools and childcare centers.

The search is on for a one year visiting librarian position at Indiana University Northwest.   An interest in GIS is included as a desirable quality in the job description.

NIRPC has been involved in the Census 2010, Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program.  An accurate count is based on every appropriate address receiving a census form.  Address lists have been resubmitted to the U.S. Census Bureau.  Those participating in the LUCA program will have the opportunity see how their updates were processed and to appeal, if necessary.   A Comprehensive regional plan is being developed that includes transportation, environmental and economic development components.  GIS will be incorporated into each component of the plan.  Applications for land use and traffic analysis zone data are currently being developed.


Kevin Miller with IDEM has approved funding for future GIS training.  Becky will be conducting free ArcGIS 9.2 training sessions in the near future.  Ten trainees are currently on the waiting list.  The IUN lab has been reserved for training on Thurs./Fri., May 29-30 and June 26-27.  Becky will send out an announcement in the near future for the June training session.  An additional session will be scheduled this fall.  Contact Becky for more information about enrolling in training.

Other ArcGIS training is available periodically in Indianapolis.  Price of the training material is the only cost.

Visit the ESRI website for any additional free webinars currently available. 

Lake Rim GIS Update

Work to upgrade the Lake Rim GIS interactive mapping website continues.  The Indiana Geological Survey is coordinating testing and development of an updated Arc IMS viewer.  Finalization of aquifer system maps is underway.  Several years of Lake Michigan coastal aerial photos have been scanned and georeferrenced.  An integrated DFIRM/Q3 floodplain data layer is being developed.   All data on the site will include metadata.  The Army Corps of Engineers have made comments on the site and those suggestions are being implemented.  The addition of local datasets is highly desired.  Anyone interested in participating by providing datasets is encouraged to contact Cele or Becky .  IGS is on schedule for a public release of the revised site in July.

Administration - FGDC 2007 CAP Funding - Metadata Outreach and Training

A half-day Introduction to Metadata workshop was held at IUN on April 23, 2007.  Eleven attended the training that included basic metadata information as well as help creating a personal metadata template in ArcCatalog based on the Indiana metadata Profile.  Contact Cele Morris if you require assistance with metadata issues.

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.

IGIC Report

A number of IGIC activities have already been addressed at the beginning of these meeting notes by GIO, Jim Sparks.

Jill Saligoe-Simmel, Executive Director of IGIC will not renew her contract this August.  In light of this development, review of IGIC organization, administration and staffing is proceeding by the Executive and Finance Committees to plan for long term funding and planning.  Though Jill will step down as Executive Director, she intends to continue her involvement with IGIC but plans to pursue other GIS interests.

The 2009 Indiana GIS Conference will be held February 17 - 18 at the Bloomington Convention Center in Bloomington, IN. 

A number of educational opportunities are available through IGIC.  See the  IGIC  website for information about a July 14th webinar:  Mashable Maps: An introduction to Web-Based Mapping with Google and Microsoft.  Arrangements are being made to host an IGIC GIS Roadshow sometime later this year.  See the IGIC website for updates.

IGIC is restarting the Orthophotography workgroup.  Their mission is to establish an ongoing statewide program and to define the specifications for the photo collection and products.  If you are interested in either being involved in the workgroup or being included in the ortho ListServe, contact IGIC Committees.

ESRI sponsored a State Government Day April 10, 2008, in Indianapolis.  A full day of activities was offered for free to State employees and IGIC members.  This is scheduled to be an annual event that will be publicized better next year.

Next Meeting: Next meeting:  Thursday, July 17, 2008,  at Indiana University Northwest