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Indiana University Northwest

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Northwest Indiana GIS Forum
Meeting Notes
Thursday, February 18, 2010 -  9:00 - 11:00 am
Meeting Location: Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission

Members in Attendance: Kolawole Awosika, United Water; Rosemarie Ciaccio, United Water; Bridget DeYoung, Highland Redevelopment Commission; Jason Dravet, Town of St. John; Mathew Hay, NIRPC; Kim Holmquist, School City Hammond; Eman Ibrahim, NIRPC;  Naida Lehmann, EcoNatives; Becky McKinley, Hammond Sanitary District; Jim McShane, Grants, Inc.; Cele Morris, IUN/NWI Center for Data & Analysis;  Dan Niksch, City of Crown Point Engineering;  George Olmsted, IUN; Cecile Petro, Town of Highland; Lauren Rhein, NIRPC; Tom Rogers, Seiler Instrument;  Randy Smith, 39 Degrees North; Joyce West, Sidwell; Greg White, Lake County Surveyor's Office; Michael Zabrecky

Local Implementation

Hammond, has completed an appeal to the 2010 US Census, Local Update of Census Addresses program (LUCA).  Over 300 changes have been requested.  The Housing Task Force is in the process of locating properties within the city that are incorrectly claiming a Homestead exemption.  Approximately 500 properties have been identified as misusing the exemption.

NIRPC is in the process of digitizing existing and proposed bus routes in the three county region.  Sidewalk data is also being collected for digitization.  Data is also being assembled to determine fair distribution of landuse and transportation as environmental justice issues.  Analysis includes walking distance and sidewalk condition in low income/minority areas to help determine access to public transportation.    NIRPC is also working on updating their website.  April 1st is Census 2010 day.  Forms containing only 10 questions will be mailed out to all households soon.  All social characteristics will now be covered in the American Community Survey. 

The Town of Highland Redevelopment Commission is an end user of GIS tools created by the County Surveyor's Office.

An Intro to GIS course, offered through the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, is underway at Indiana University Northwest.   The Data Center is assisting GEMINUS, Corp. as they assemble their annual epidemiology report for East Chicago.   Work has begun constructing basic GIS educational workshops as part of funding received from the Lake Michigan Coastal program.  Training is intended to serve persons working on projects in the Lake Michigan watershed without having to access expensive GIS software.  Online mapping services will be demonstrated.  Free GIS software options such as Accuglobe, Arc Explorer and Google Maps will also be explored.  The Data Center may have the opportunity to provide basic GIS instruction in partnership with grant funding received by the Wildlife Habitat Council.  The reference area of the library was recently remodeled and reopened as the "IUN Information Commons".  Efforts continue to administer  LSTA ( Library Services and Technology Act) grant funding, creating an Adaptive Technology Room outfitted with computer equipment for members of the underserved public, students, and persons with disabilities in a room adjacent to the Info Commons. 

The Lake County Surveyor's Office has provided the POLIS Center with GIS data to prepare models for the Lake County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan.  Completion of a county-wide address point dataset is anticipated in June.  Work continues on a unincorporated county zoning layer.  Combining this data with zoning within municipalities is difficult due to differences in styles.  The possibility of conducting a feasibility study to investigate implementation of a City/County GIS that includes a web feature service may be investigated.  Lake County continues participation as co-chair on the IGIC Legislative Committee.  They continue to discuss ways to fund a state GIS program.  A possible funding mechanism for the program is to charge a fee for any changes to property legal descriptions.

The City of Crown Point reports that they are catching up on many projects.  Using their new Street View application, they are able to report street light outages to NIPSCO by viewing the pole number on the photography without having to go into the field.  Sidewalk analysis is underway.

Doug Sharp, a student at University of Illinois, Chicago, and current intern with the Metropolitan Planning Council, is working on a project  involving a number of transportation routes.

The Town of St. John is updating zoning classifications.  Their zoning data includes overlays for commercial areas along US 41 and 231.

Sidwell works with many Northwest Indiana counties currently using their Parcel Builder product.  They are currently assisting the following Lake County departments:  Assessor's Office - reassessment activites, Highway Department  - sign inventory and bridge inspection, Voters Registration - political boundaries, and the Parks Department - facilities inventory.  They currently host the Porter County GIS Feature Web Service.

Grant's Inc./Non-Profit Institute has12 grant writers ready to help local non-profits/municipalities.  Their goal is to write 5 to 10 grants per month.  They would like to include GIS within proposals for extra emphasis.

The Street Department for the City of Hobart plans to work with GIS.  The plan is to collect data so that it can be input to a GIS.


IDEM continues to fund certified ArcGIS training for NWI GIS Forum participants.  Becky plans to schedule a three day, ArcGIS 9.3 Intro II - Tools and Functionality class later this year.  This training assumes a basic knowledge of the ArcGIS interface.  Prior to this training, a free, ESRI virtual campus course is required for those not previously familiar with ArcGIS. 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

  • The 2010 IGIC conference will be held February 23-24 at the Bloomington Conference Center.  A call for abstracts has been issued for presentations during the conference.  Nearly 300 persons are already registered for the conference this year.  The GIS Volunteer Corp, a new committee formed this year, will sponsor a half day session the first day of the conference.  They hope to acquire information from participants that will be helpful as the group continues to organize.  The second day of the conference will begin with three new "Birds of a Feather" breakfasts.  This format will provide breakout sessions for county, city and education personnel.
  • The IGIC Education Committee schedules lots of interesting workshops, seminars and webinars during the year.  Click on the above link for upcoming events.
  • 85 of 92 counties have agreed to participate in the IndianaMap Data Sharing Initiative.  The Indiana Department of Homeland security has begun to migrate some of the data layers acquired under this project to theIndianaMap.  The layers named "Address Points (IDHS)" and "Street Centerlines (IDHS)" can be found in the following folder: INFRASTRUCTURE > Roads. The layers named "Land Parcels (IDHS)" and "Government Boundaries (IDHS)" can be found in the following folder: DEMOGRAPHICS > Political & Other Boundaries. Some of these layers are now currently available for download.  See the metadata for each layer to see which counties are represented.
  • The Great Lakes Regional Height Modernization Consortium Meeting and Workshop will be held in Lafayette  March 23 - 24, 2010

Special Presentation by Dan Niksch, GIS Coordinator for the City of Crown Point - Street View Project  This project uses imagery from the street level to survey, inspect and analyze infrastructure within the city.

Next Meeting:   Thursday, 2010, 9:00 am - 11:00 am, at Indiana University Northwest, Gary, Indiana.