Contributed by: Phil Worrall
Executive Director, Indiana Geographic Information Council, Inc.

In 2012 Jim Sparks, Kevin Mickey and I were discussing over drinks [coffee not beer] our disappointment over the lack of effective National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) programs to develop key framework data layers at a state and national scale. During this same period of time, with no budget and no permanent funding, Indiana had been very successful in our own State Spatial Data Infrastructure (SSDI) efforts. Why? To simplify, we will chalk up Indiana’s success to Hoosier Hospitality.

Fantastic World of Fables, Copyright 2013 Wabush

A few Indiana examples: The IndianaMap and Indiana Spatial Data Portal were built with over 260 layers of statewide geospatial data freely available, our 2005 statewide orthophotography and 2011-2013 Ortho-LiDAR projects, our County Data Sharing Initiative, our Local-Resolution NHD development project, and our Broadband Mapping program. Looking at Indiana's success we recognized that we had a story worth sharing, and we also saw key pieces of the puzzle that we could identify [morals to the story] as best practices / lessons-leaned from a number of previous, current and planned state and national efforts that we could document and share.

We also conjured the notion that a strong NSDI would make our jobs easier here in Indiana. We wanted to see Federal Agencies stop using our tax dollars to build redundant and closed geospatial silos of framework data layers. We wanted to see the “Build-Once, Use Many Times” model of the IndianaMap show the way. We wanted to see Federal Agencies become true partners in NSDI initiatives by not only sharing their standards, management, technology, data warehousing and distribution - like we do every day, but also their money. With Federal Agencies as true financial partners we believe the problem of inadequate geospatial data development funding for national initiatives can be solved simply by pooling and reallocating a portion of the existing budgets to go directly to the data producers and stewards wherever they exists at the Local, State or Federal level for each of the framework data layers.

NSDI Funding.jpg

Each framework layer has to be evaluated separately by looking at a "Federal Government->State Government ->Private Industry->Local Government" partnership model and workflow that best fits the data. There are three basic workflows that we have successfully used here in Indiana - we just need a larger Federal contribution/partnership in the first two to make them work perfectly. In each of these models the State serves at the “Middleware” (to use a software term) to make it all work and flow up and down the stack.

1. Top-Down: (Ortho, LiDAR). Federal structured and funded program and nation-wide contracts in place. Feds partner with States for support and coordination within their geography. States serve as liaisons with agency/local/regional governments for state government financial contributions, local/regional buy-ups, quality control, data distribution, and local support.

2. Bottom-Up: (Addresses, Parcels, Centerlines, Jurisdictional Boundaries). In most of the 50 states, Locals governments are the authority for these layers, and in the others the States are. A bottom-up approach with federal and local funds pooled to support the creation and maintenance at the local levels, with support at the state level for data roll-up, cleanup, and improvement (State effort with private industry support), followed by State roll-up of data to the different Federal Agencies for their specific uses.

3. Middle-Out: (NHD, Broadband). States serve as Stewards for statewide data development, maintenance and management (working with private industry). Feds provide technical and financial support to states, and locals provide local knowledge to state to help build the data, perform quality control and maintain the data.

Based on this thinking we collaborated to write the following paper to describe this model and to identify the existing best practices to make it work:


Just this week the new URISA GIS Management Institute (GMI) published our paper on their web site. GMI plans to occasionally publish GIS discussion papers on their site to stimulate thought and open discussion about issues related to GIS management that are important to the GIS community We are very pleased to be the first paper that GMI has published, and we look forward to the discussion.

Link to the URISA GMI Home page: http://www.urisa.org/main/gis-management-institute/

Direct link to our paper: http://www.urisa.org/clientuploads/directory/GMI/Discussion%20Papers/GMIDiscussionPaper1.pdf

The moral[s] of our Geospatial Fable are documented throughout the paper, but it’s still to be determined if we can successfully piece them together at the national level. Until then – we will keep on moving forward in Indiana!
NSGIC's Data Sharing Work Group researched ROI and CBA methodologies during 2012 and 2013 to develop a new reference library and general advice for GIS professionals. The Work Group members hope that this information will be used to help improve data sharing and maintain open access to government geospatial data.

To help explain the value of ROI and CBA methodologies to the GIS community NSGIC has also published this new flyer - Economic Studies for GIS Operations


For more information visit this new NSGIC resource page by clicking HERE
Clark County, Indiana received a County Achievement Award at the 2011 Annual Association of Indiana Counties Conference in Fort Wayne, IN.
For more information click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qasN-2jf9bs&feature=player_embedded
South Bend's GIS department has a feature story in the Spring 2011 ArcNEWS

CLICK HERE to Read the Full Story

Deb Kuehn, the GIS Manager for the City of South Bend is a long time member and current Board Member of IGIC!
Contributed by Christina McCullough, Geospatial Analyst, Joint Forces Headquarters of Indiana, Joint Operations Center

The extent and impact of the BP's Oil Rig disaster is difficult to comprehend. All levels of government, the media and the public are frustrated by the lack of information and transparency. It is understandably difficult for one single entity to track and report on such a geographically far reaching disaster. ESRI has stood up an interactive GIS web-map site to help track the spill and document its impact on the Gulf Coast environment. This mash-up integrates Official federal and state data; News Media RSS feeds from Reuters, CNN, New York Times and others; Social Media (crowd-sourced) posts from YouTube, Twitter and Flickr, as well as other Crowd-Sourced Shared Content that can be input directly onto this site. The Shared Content layer is very interesting and simple, yet powerful.

bp oil spill map

To open up the interactive map click on this link: http://mapapps.esri.com/disasters/oil-spill/gulf-2010/index.html
Contributed by: Leane Welsh, GIS and Information Systems Analyst, Informatics, The City of Westfield

The City of Westfield made the cover story of ESRI's Telcom Connections (GIS for Telecommunications) Spring 2010 newsletter. To read the full story click here: http://www.esri.com/library/newsletters/telecom/telecom_connections_spring10.pdf

The Secretary of State’s office will make the application available to all state agencies and the Indiana General Assembly

Indianapolis, January 11, 2010– Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita announced today that his office launched an upgraded version of Indiana’s online legislator search application. Hoosiers can now use the application to more easily search for and contact their elected officials at the state and federal levels through geographic information system technology. The application is available on the Secretary of State’s web site, as well as other state of Indiana sites.

“My office continually looks for ways that we can use technology to make government more accessible,” Secretary Rokita said. “Over the past few years, we have been able to harness geographic information system technology for economic development, natural resources and disaster recovery. We were able to use that same technology to empower voters and taxpayers to easily connect with their elected representatives.”

The upgrade to the online legislator search application provides a more intuitive user interface and more accurate search results. Hoosiers can either enter their address or point and click on a map of the state to search for their elected officials. Previously, search results were based on zip code. The upgrade provides search results based on a specific address or a pinpoint location on the map. This eliminates the confusion of finding a legislator when more than one legislator in the same chamber serves the same zip code.

The upgrade provides search results that include all state and federal elected officials, including contact information for each legislator. The previous version produced results for one chamber at a time and required users to open a new window for contact information. The upgrade provides Hoosiers with a more easily accessible way to contact their elected officials.


The new application will be available to all state agencies and the Indiana General Assembly at no cost. The application was developed by 39 Degrees North, based in Bloomington, Indiana. The application is available HERE.

Story submitted by: Jim Stout, IMAGIS Program Manager

“What drew the attention of the governmental agencies like a beacon was the national reputation of Kevin Mickey….”

When you’re overwhelmed by flooding or storm damage and you want to mitigate the damage through better planning, who do you call? If you are the State of Indiana and facing pressure from the federal government to implement disaster mitigation planning, you call The Polis Center at IUPUI.... To read the full story click here.

Quick Look, Quick Response
When ten inches of rain fell on saturated Indiana soils, it flowed into streams already swollen from a wetter than normal spring. The heavy rainfall resulted in severe flooding, causing three deaths, evacuation of thousands of residents, and hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to residences, businesses, infrastructure and agricultural lands. In all, 39 Indiana counties were declared Federal disaster areas. To make informed decisions, timely flood data were needed by Federal, State and local agencies.

Purdue’s School of Civil Engineering, Geomatics Engineering produced flood maps and a Google Earth application for Indiana using Landsat satellite images. The images were acquired during the height of the flooding period and made available courtesy of the US Geological Survey (USGS). Once the areas of water were identified, basic information was layered over the images, including topographic elevation, city and county boundaries, roads and hydrography. Stream gauge data from USGS was used to determine water depth, and compared with normal levels found in Landsat images from earlier in the year.

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The information was published to Google Earth and as static maps. This information was made available to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and other emergency management officials who were coordinating the disaster response and recovery efforts.

These data layers, Landsat images, high-resolution aerial images and most importantly, flood inundation areas, provided a quick-look flood damage estimate for emergency managers from all levels of government. Having pdf files of the inundation maps and a Google Earth application gave users, many of whom did not have a GIS background, a choice between a static map of the state and a user-defined area of interest. Access to user-friendly quick-look flood inundation data provided officials with vital information to mitigate, respond and recover from this and other flood disasters.

The Purdue School of Civil Engineering, Geomatics Engineering were the winner of IGIC's 2009 Excellence in GIS Award in the Education & Nonprofit category for this project.


Click here to view the interactive Google Earth Map and the Static Map produced.
IGIC board member Anna Radue, Indiana University UITS, attended the ESRI International User's Conference in San Diego, CA last month. When she came back she shared with me the following two presentations from the keynote and plenary sessions:

(1) Maryland's Governor Martin O’Malley presented on the State's themes - “One Maryland, One Map”, and “State of Maryland – Leading the Way to Transparent Government Using GIS”. The Governor gave a very informative presentation at the opening regarding using GIS to manage government.

(2) Hernando DeSoto, an international economist who has pioneered the development of cadastral systems in the developing world. He argues that parcel boundaries are the foundation for the market economy – “something which sticks out to organize everything else”.

Anna told me that these presentation were of specific interest to her because they made her step back and reflect on what we are doing here in Indiana.

I feel these presentation both mirror and reinforce Indiana's statewide efforts in the development of the IndianaMap and our current data sharing initiative with local government. But they can also challenge us to do more!

Thanks to ESRI, we can view many of the presentations from the 2009 UC at the following link: http://www.esri.com/events/uc/agenda/plenary.html

Direct links to the two presentations Anna recommended are below:
Governor Martin O’Malley's Presentation

Hernando DeSoto’s Presentation