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Indiana University Northwest

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Northwest Indiana GIS Forum
Meeting Notes
Thursday, April 23, 2009 -  9:00 - 11:00 am
Meeting Location: Indiana University Northwest

Members in Attendance:  Lorraine Bank, Witchwater, Inc.; Eric Blush, Town of Schererville; Kim Holmquist; School City of Hammond; Elizabeth Loudermilk, Indiana American Water; Joy Marburger, National Park Service; Becky McKinley, Hammond Sanitary District; Cele Morris, IUN/NWI Center for Data & Analysis;  Dan Niksch, City of Crown Point Engineering;  George Olmsted, IUN; Scott Sandberg; IUN; Tim Sutherland, IUN; Anthony Sutphen, National Park Service; Phil Worrall, IGIC; Michael Zabrecky

Local Implementation

Becky is currently involved with the Lake County Housing Task Force as it keeps track of foreclosures in the county.  Her project involves downloading and geocoding data from the Sheriff's foreclosure reports.  Clusters can then be identified for local decision makers.  Based on this data, funding can be requested from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Neighborhood Stabilization Program to provide emergency assistance to state and local governments to acquire and redevelop foreclosed properties that might otherwise become sources of abandonment and blight within their communities. The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) provides grants to every state and certain local communities to purchase foreclosed or abandoned homes and to rehabilitate, resell, or redevelop these homes in order to stabilize neighborhoods and stem the decline of house values of neighboring homes.  of and various housing issues . The City of Hammond is also in the process of purchasing parcel data from the Lake County Surveyor's Office.  She will be working on joining County Auditor's data to the parcel data.  

The City of Crown Point has just completed a map brochure project.  Identification of city properties previously not billed for its associated storm water fee is underway.  A contractor has been hired to videotape city streets to create a georeferenced, "street view" type product.  It is anticipated that utility data will be used with this application.  New GPS equipment is to be purchased in the near future.

The Data Center at Indiana University Northwest has been involved in mapping East Chicago assets with Geminus Corp.  The project includes a sampling of billboard types on I 80-94 between the IL/IN state line and Porter county as well as along Cline and Indianapolis adjacent to East Chicago.  Anticipated funding via the Lake Michigan Coastal program will provide funding for the creation of basic GIS educational workshops.  Training is intended to serve persons working on projects in the Lake Michigan watershed without access to expensive GIS software.  Free GIS software such as Accuglobe, Arc Explorer and Google Maps will be utilized for training. 

Vegetation mapping at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is being completed and should be available this summer.  The data was collected and cataloged by the USGS and NatureServe.  They will also be mapping restoration sties.  Data for the National Parks can be downloaded freely at the following location:   http://www.nps.gov/gis/data_info/.   Obtaining a future GIS position at the National Lakeshore is of interest if funding can be secured. 

School City of Hammond uses GIS in conjunction with a school site program for redistricting.  Databases including student and teacher information such as demographics and ISTEP scores and grades exist and could be used for different types of analysis in GIS.

Indiana American Water reports that their engineering department is responsible for the maintenance of maps for their systems.  Sidwell is under contract to map infrastructure such as pipe length, fittings, valves and hydrants in their service area.  That process is now complete and QC is proceeding.  Customer information will be added in the future.  The goal is to be able to provide service personnel with information on laptops for work in the field.  They look forward to learning more about GIS through participation in the NWI GIS Forum.  A position currently exists for someone with GIS certification.  It will most likely be available in the northwest district office.

The Public Safety Institute at Calumet College is working on a proposal to local police chiefs to provide an improved crime mapping system.  A GIS class will most likely be offered at IUN through the School of Public and Environmental Affairs in the next year.

Town of Schererville has used Map Guide Server in the past and hopes to reinstitute it in the future.  Data is prepared and updated by their engineering department. 

NIRPC is organizing creation of a Multi Hazard Mitigation plan for Lake and Porter Counties.  FEMA requires the  report from municipalities requesting funds for planning purposes.  There is a strong GIS component related with this project.  POLIS Center has been contracted for the GIS work.  This should provide a comprehensive view of flooding in these counties and will hopefully provide some answers on how to alleviate future flooding problems.  All communities in Lake and Porter County will be involved in meetings.


Becky will be conducting free ArcGIS 9.3 training session in the future.  Training will take place in the GIS lab at IU Northwest.  Contact Becky for more information about enrolling in training.

IGIC provides educational opportunities throughout the year.  Check their website regularly to see what is currently being offiered.

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

Lake Rim GIS Update

The Indiana Geological Survey has updated, Lake Rim GIS,  an interactive mapping website.  Many data layers for Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties have been updated and some local data has been added.    


Meeting notes will continue to be posted to the  NWI GIS Forum website as soon as possible after meetings (click on Minutes).  Please contact Cele Morris with any comments or input on the website.

IGIC Report

Phil Worrall, Executive Director of the Indiana Geographic Information Council provided the following report on current IGIC activities.   

  •  IGIC has been officially awarded a 2009 FGDC, CAP Grant - IndianaMap Data Sharing Initiative ($75,000).  This is a one year project to start June 1, 2009.  The project will continue the process of integrating 4 framework datasets (parcel boundaries, centerlines, jurisdictional boundaries and address points) for inclusion in the IndianaMap.  The process will be documented as a model for other states.

  • Funding is available for the following projects in the Lake Michigan watershed from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).

1.       Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2009 Great Lakes Initiative Area Funds –  National Hydrology Dataset (NHD) Maintenance and Updating Program ($200,000) – Phil presented a map showing the area that would be included in this initiative.  This project will update the scale of an existing 30 year old model from 1:24,000  to 1:2,400.

2.       Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2010 – 2011 Great Lakes Initiative Area Funds – Orthophotography & LiDAR ($200,000 each year).

The Indiana Department of Transportation has turned on its Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS).  The system will improve height measurement accuracy.

52 Indiana counties have agreed to participate in the IndianaMap project.

A new committee to IGIC, Indiana GIS Volunteer Corps, is being formed.  The goal is to create a statewide base of  volunteer GIS professionals to call upon in times of disaster.  Additional information about the formation of this service will be forthcoming.

The IGIC website has been redesigned.  Look for additional changes in the future.  Suggestions are being encouraged.  The IndianaMap is also under development.  It will eventually have its own domain.

Mark your calendars for the following events.  The 2010 GIS Conference will be held in Bloomington, IN, February 23 & 24.  The 2009 Local Government GIS Coordinator's Forum will be held on September 25.  The location will be announced in the near future.

Next Meeting: Next meeting:  Tuesday,  August 18, 2009, 9:00 am  - 11:00 am, at Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission.