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Indiana University Northwest

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Northwest Indiana GIS Forum
Meeting Notes
Friday, July 22, 2011 - 9:00 - 11:30 am
Meeting Location: Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission

Members in Attendance:  Steve Bertrand, Porter County; Martin Brown, Gary Sanitary District (guest summer interns from GSD, Joshua Stacker, Miranda McClendon, Derek Johns, Nathaniel Williams, Demetrius Brown); Dave Bullington, Surdex; Dennis Fendrich, US EPA; Mary Fisher-Dunham, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; Brian Frank, LaPorte County; Matt Hay, Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission; Tim Kingsland, Hobart Sanitary; Joy Marburger; Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; Carmen Masó, US EPA; Becky McKinley, Hammond Sanitary District; Chuck Miller, Porter County; Melissa Mischke, LaPorte County; Cele Morris, IUN/NWI Center for Data & Analysis;  Dan Niksch, City of Crown Point; John Owens, US EPA; Jeff Padgett, Woolpert; Elizabeth Patz; Tom Ramker, Hammond Sanitary District; Tom Rogers, Seiler Instrument; Debbie Scurlock, City of Hobart; Justin Sell, Indiana811; Lucy Stanfield, US EPA; Tim Sutherland, IUN; Joyce West, Sidwell Co.; Greg White, Lake County Surveyor's Office; David Wright, Gary Public Transportation Corp. 

Local Implementation

The Lake County Surveyor's Office has focused recent GIS attention towards support to create a conservancy district to provide funding for the Little Calumet levee system.  Policy Analytics is providing services to research TIF properties in the county.  GIS is being used to determine correctly recorded TIF properties.  The Lake County online mapping service is located at the following site:   http://www.lakecountysurveyor.org/gis.html

Using GIS, properties previously incorrectly recorded as TIF, have been identified in Crown Point providing ~ $2 million that can be used for other city projects.  A tree inventory is being created to help determine which may be endangered by possible ash borer damage. 

As of May, Tom Ramker has been hired as a GIS assistant in Hammond.  Work is underway to reconcile Census 2010 geography to municipal basemaps providing mapping assets for city grant writers.  Supporting the Mayor’s Housing Task Force, current data has been collected by Purdue Calumet students to gauge housing stock in the city.  The project provides information to identify areas in need of services.

Indiana University Northwest Library/Data Center is working with the Department of Geosciences to offer an Intro to GIS course in the spring or fall of next year.  The GIS lab will undergo an upgrade prior to the start of classes this fall.  In addition to ArcGIS 10, HAZUS MH 2.0, EPA Metadata Editor for ArcGIS 10, Accuglobe, Minnesota DNR Garmin and Google Earth   will be installed on lab computers.  FGDC Metadata Workgroup advises that known ArcGIS 10 metadata editor problems are being addressed by ESRI and a patch and tool kit are scheduled for release in August. 

Indiana American Water has competed GIS infrastructure associated with their CMMS.  Asset management is included in their project.  Customer service will be added to the system in the future.

Surdex provided aerial imagery as a public service to Joplin, Missouri after the devastating tornado.  The online viewer can be accessed at the following location:  http://cpat.surdex.com/ArcGIS/rest/services/ImageServices/JoplinTornadoDamage/ImageServer?f=jsapi  They also assist with hosting basemap data and e-commerce.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is included with a GIS network of Midwest national parks.  They are involved with invasive species mapping, time series maps and predictability and change issues.

The City of Hobart is in the process of GIS implementation through the Sanitary District.  The GIS system has recently gone live.

LaPorte County GIS has been working closely with their 911 Center to create an interactive system.  The Master Street Address Guide and Public Service Access Points need to be coordinated.  Besides working with dispatch, mobile units are being implemented in cars.  Grid data is being collected for the system.  They are also assisting their Highway department as they collect sign information such as reflectivity.  They have upgraded to ArcGIS 10.

Indiana 811 joins us to hear about the Statewide Orthophotography program.

US EPA Region 5 advises that updated GIS data is downloadable for regulated facilities through the EPA Geospatial Data Access Project.  They have created training that includes data for a GIS environmental course utilizing ArcGIS 10.  The “Info Where You Live” Web app exists for citizens to analyze environmental issues in their neighborhood.

Porter County is mapping voting district data/senate districts.  GIS is being used to map septic systems and wells.  Assistance is given to the Parks Department as the 5 year comprehensive plan is assembled.

Sidwell Co. works with Lake and Porter counties on a number of projects including hosting interactive websites.  They are working with the Lake County Board of Elections to align the 2010 Census data to the county basemap.  Information will be posted on their website regarding educational opportunities associated with their Parcel Fabric model.

The Gary Sanitary District has the assistance of summer interns to help field validate their sewer network with GPS.  Time was spent last year rebuilding their network.  They plan to begin the processes of refreshing their data.

Besides attending to normal cartographic responsibilities, The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission is investigating implementation of an online mapping service. Research and development for an Open Source GIS system is underway.

Report submitted from The Town of St. John:  We have received the 2 Trimble Junos which we intend to use to map all of the street signs in town per the federal mandate.  We found a place (idlabelinc.com) that sells barcodes that should last between 10-12 years outdoors and are not prohibitably expensive.  We will purchase 2 Bluetooth enabled barcode readers.  We need to find someplace to rent a reflectometer, if anyone knows of a place please let me know.  We are waiting for Lake County to send the database schema that they used for their street sign database.  We would like to follow that to make data sharing easier.  The Cartegraph software has been put on hold.  This software is asset management for public works departments.  It will hold the data for the MS4 program, street signs, fire hydrants, streets, manhole cleanings, sidewalks, street lights, etc.  If we don't get the software we will have to change plans for the projects we have to get done this year.  I am hoping to use IU GIS interns to do the street sign mappings. 

 ME Simpson will map and paint the town fire hydrants.  The fire hydrants mappings will go into Spillman.  Next year they will exercise and map all town water valves.  The data will be accessible from their website.  I am hoping to get a copy of the data to put into Cartegraph.  I only found out about these ME Simpson projects by accident and after it was too late to do much.  Now that we have some decent GPS equipment we hope to verify the locations of the towns water mains, sewers, and storm sewers next year.


ArcGIS training is presently on hold.  IU Northwest is investigating the possibility of hosting HAZUS training through the POLIS Center after the GIS lab is upgraded.

Options for GIS training include the POLIS Center and ESRI.

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


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

Next Meeting – Joint meeting with the Northeast Indiana GIS Council:   Thursday, October 27, 2011, Plymouth, Indiana.  A   meeting announcement will be forwarded with morning meeting time and location in the near future.

Special Presentation:  Jeff Padgett, Woolpert, Project Director - Indiana’s Imagery Program

History – 2005 Statewide imagery program.  Cost - $8.5 million – return on investment $1.7 Billion in less than 3 years (34:1)

IGIC Orthophotography workgroup set about defining specifications for new project.  Request for project proposals was announced fall of 2010.  Woolpert was selected as contractor in late February 2011.  Acquisition of Ortho and LiDAR data for central one third of Indiana began March 18 and ended with re-flights on April 20th.  Project will continue in the spring of 2012 with the eastern section of Indiana flown and in 2013, the final year of the project, will record data for the western portion of the state.  Base products include 1-foot pixel resolution, 4-band imagery (red, green, blue and near infrared).  USGS compliant LiDAR and digital elevation model.  Woolpert also offers additional buy up products such as increased resolution ortho and LiDAR, digital terrain model with contours, oblique imagery.  Contact Woolpert or Jim Sparks (info@indianaimagery.com) for more info on additional available products.