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Indiana University Northwest

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Meeting Notes

Northwest Indiana GIS Forum
Meeting Notes
Thursday, March 15, 2012 -  9:00 - 11:00 am
Meeting Location: Indiana University Northwest

Members in Attendance:   Martin Brown, GSD/GSWMD; Michael DeMory; Lake County Surveyor’s Office;  Jason Dravet, Town of St. John; Mia Goulding, Save the Dunes; Le Leng, GSD/GSWMD; Becky McKinley, Hammond Sanitary District; Cele Morris, IUN/NWI Center for Data & Analysis;  Dan Niksch, City of Crown Point Engineering; Tom Ramker, Hammond Sanitary District; Scott Sandberg; IUN; Debbie Scurlock, City of Hobart; Tim Sutherland, IUN; Joyce West, Sidwell; Gregory White, Lake County Surveyor’s Office;

Local Implementation

Joyce West of Sidwell has been a GIS service provider for over 15 years.  Besides working in Lake and Porter counties, Joyce also has clients in Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky.  Sidwell has been active doing data conversion.  ArcGIS has a new Parcel Fabric tool that could be helpful for updating parcel data.

The City of Gary sees renewed interest in GIS from the new administration.  An intern is working on projects with zoning and planning department.  Applications are being designed for specific departments within the city.  GIS is being seen as a tool for everyone to use.

Hammond is working on creation of an asset inventory.  Mapping of foreclosures continues with the city and county housing task force.  Vacancies within the city are also being mapped and cross referenced with utilities that have been turned off.  Maps of current and historical street projects are underway as well as existing and proposed locations of bikeways and trails.  The City Planner is of assistance as parcel and zoning layers are being reconciled.

The Save the Dunes water program is working on watershed management plans. 

As St. John is mapping fire hydrants they are discovering some are leaking.  Future work includes mapping valves.  Eventually this mapping will be tied into management software.  MS4 is a major priority at present.

Crown Point is also involved with MS4 work.  They currently have a server in office housing their GIS.  ArcGIS Online has been used for some projects.  Districts are being redrawn based on new census data.

Hobart has a GIS website up and running.  Updates to the system are keeping them busy.

Lake County is working with DLZ on verification of field data.  They expect delivery of point address data later this spring.  The Health Department received a grant for equipment and software to map nonpoint source data.  Hope is high for upgrades of orthophotography and lidar data produced during the 2013 aerial photography season. Greg W. has presented GIS to Cub Scout/Boy Scouts in conjunction with their orienteering projects. 

The Data Center at Indiana University Northwest will give a presentation to the Indiana Library Federation District 1 conference at Valparaiso University on May 1 focused on what GIS is as well as various GIS resources available to librarians.  The Data Center has submitted a proposal to the Lake County Substance Abuse Council to produce a directory of resources available related to substance abuse issues.  Some mapping may be involved in the project.  Work is just about finished on a project with the Northwestern Regional Planning Commission on impervious surface mapping.  This semester has seen an increase in the number of students requesting information about GIS.  Cele M. delivered a GIS presentation to an Intro to Archaeology Class in January.


Opportunities for future ArcGIS training will be forwarded through the listserv.

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

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


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.

Becky M. queried those in attendance about the possibility of electing an official for our group.  There was no decent, so a request for nominations via email will be pursued in the near future.

IGIC Report

Dan Niksch has been named as a replacement to Greg White on the IGIC Board of Directors.   Dan reports that the IGIC Membership committee is seeking to increase members this year.  Informational Road Shows will be presented this spring and summer in the western third of the state to coincide with the 2013 aerial photography project.  It was decided that this year the Local Government Forum will include state and federal GIS personnel.  Perhaps door prizes will be awarded to attract attendees.  The annual State GIS Conference will be held May 8-9 in Bloomington.  A golf outing will be included on the 7th prior to the conference.  Dan will present a Crown Point project at the conference.

Presentation by Becky M. & Tom R. of Hammond Sanitary District: “How to Implement On-Line Mapping Using ArcMap and Google Maps”

Next Meeting: Next meeting:  Thursday, May 31, 2012, 9:00 am - 11:00 am, at Indiana University Northwest. 

Special Presentation: 

Eric Kurtz
Chief, Public Health Emergency
Response & Preparedness Section
Porter County Health Department

Eric also serves as the Team Leader of the Northwest Indiana District 1 District Response Task Force's Incident Management Team (IMT).   District 1 covers Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton and Jasper counties.  The team was recently deployed to the southern Indiana tornados in Clark and Washington Counties to support response and recovery operations.  He would like to share his experience as well as start a discussion on how we, the GIS community in northwest Indiana, can better prepare for a potential disaster up here.  He would like to discuss how to integrate GIS capabilities into their emergency response preparedness capabilities as far as collecting, assessing, and sharing data elements for major incidents or events such as floods, tornados as well as cataloging critical infrastructure, etc.  He would also like to assess GIS subject matter experts willing to participate as part of their team.