IndianaMap Geodetic Control Archived Minutes

February 21, 2013

The committee has generated its strategic plan for 2013 (

August 16, 2012

The committee met on July 9, 2012 to hear a presentation from Dr. Boudewijn van Gelder on an overview of the Indiana Coordinate Reference System (INCRS) – Joint Transportation Research Project (JTRP). The project report has been completed and will be uploaded for review by the Study Advisory Committee. A presentation will be scheduled for Dr. van Gelder to present the results of the study to the Committee.

INDOT has been notified by the US Federal Highway Commission that the $350,000 Height Mod Pilot proposal our committee submitted under the 2012 US Federal Highway SPR Grant has been approved. Eric Banschbach, Manager, Land & Aerial Survey Office will be running the grant for INDOT. This is a wonderful opportunity to advance Height Modernization for Indiana since NOAA – NGS has not had any grant funds available for several years.

June 21, 2012

The Workgroup met once during this period. INDOT has submitted a Height Mod Pilot 2012 US Federal Highway SPR Grant Proposal.

April 19, 2012

The Workgroup met twice during this period and is actively working with INDOT on a height modernization grant proposal for Indiana.


February 16, 2012

The Workgroup developed goals for the coming year. In 2012, we will continue to pursue Height Modernization initiatives. Dedicated national-level funding for Height Modernization is non-existent. The potential benefits of Height Modernization to Indiana’s Local Governments, our State Government, Indiana agriculture, our construction industries, and our citizens are huge, but very poorly understood. The IGIC/ISPLS Workgroup will continue to work to devise new and creative ways to help educate and fund Height Modernization for Indiana.


October 20, 2011

This joint ISPLS & IGIC Workgroup update will be given at the October IGIC Board Meeting.

April 28, 2011

This joint ISPLS & IGIC Workgroup continues to work on topics of importance to both organizations. The Workgroup has a lot of initiatives under way for 2011.

  • JTRP County Coordinate System Research grant (Purdue University)
  • INDOT Benchmark Program
  • Geocaching Opportunity for Bench Mark recovery
  • NSPS Surveying USA 2011 Event results and plan for 2012 and beyond
  • Hamilton County Height Modernization Pilot Project
  • LightSquared GPS Signal Issue


At the April 20, 2011 meeting Ryan Swingley made a presentation on USI’s surveying efforts and initial results for the 2011 Ortho/LiDAR project Ground Control.

February 28, 2011

The Workgroup has been very active in 2010, and will continue to pursue Height Modernization initiatives in 2011. Dedicated National-level funding for Height Modernization has become non-existent, and the current method of using ear-mark budget line items is under general attack by the Administration. The potential benefits of Height Modernization to Indiana’s Local Governments, State Government, agriculture, construction industries, and citizens are huge, but very poorly understood. The IGIC/ISPLS Workgroup will continue to work in 2011 to devise new and creative ways to help educate and fund Height Modernization for Indiana.

December 3, 2010

The committee met on November 17, 2011 and discussed a number of items. Those included the research project the Purdue Geomatics team is performing for INDOT into the potential use of low distortion projections for Indiana counties. This project was submitted to JTRP who decided to fund it. Another potential research projects include assistance with updating the INDOT design manual with respect to surveying. A number of new technologies have come into use since the last update. Some of those technologies include airborne LiDAR, static LiDAR, and mobile LiDAR. A third potential research project involves the state’s active GNSS network. Points to be researched with respect to INCORS, as it is known, could include signal latency and its effects as well as repeatability of results throughout the state.

As for height modernization, Indiana continues to participate in the Great Lakes Regional Height Modernization group but no one from Indiana attended the October workshop in Columbus, Ohio. And with little federal funds on the horizon and earmarks looking less and less likely to happen, the committee discussed alternative approaches to keeping Height Modernization going in Indiana. Joe Mullins suggested a height modernization pilot project in and around Hamilton County. The idea is to plan out a GNSS survey to be performed in accordance with NOAA Technical Memoranda 58 and 59, obtain NGS’ approval prior to a field collect, actually collect GNSS data and submit that data to NGS for inclusion in their National Spatial Reference System with the hope that our project leads to an additional control monument in Indiana that will be used to compute the next version of the geoid model.

October 21, 2010

Due to a change in schedule, there was no Workgroup meeting in September. Regular meetings have been switched to the third Wednesday of each month beginning in October.

August 19, 2010

No new report submitted for this period.

June 17, 2010

At the Workgroup meeting this period Phil Worrall gave an update on IGIC’s work regarding a letter to the offices of Senators Bayh and Lugar in regards to their support of Height Modernization in Indiana and obtaining funding. The plan is to get a meeting with one of their aides to explain Height Mordernization to them and gain their support.

Steve Jones expressed his interest in the Indiana Coordinate Reference System (INCRS). Steve said that the INCRS, if implemented, would be helpful in maintaining the direct link between local project coordinates and Lat/Long. There was group discussion about this topic and the general consensus was that surveyors use many different methods to transform from Lat/Long or state plane coordinates to a local system and depending on how well it is explained in their report it is sometimes difficult (or impossible) to follow. There was also discussion of the review committee’s progress in testing the INCRS. Not all were in attendance, but it was decided that everyone should complete their tasks before next month’s meeting. The members of the committee as determined at the April meeting are:

  • Ryan Swingley
  • Joel Bump
  • Boudewijn van Gelder
  • John Kurtz
  • Derek Fuller
  • Matt Healy

The discussion turned to having a presentation at the next meeting on June 15, 2010 on the INCRS. Presenters will include:

  • Matt Badger – overview and development of the INCRS
  • Steve Jones – real world examples of problems related to coordinate systems
  • Boudewijn van Gelder – mapping 101
  • Eric Banschbach – INCORS and the Indiana Design Manual Part III

April 15, 2010

The Elevation and Geodetic Framework Workgroup has been preparing since the beginning of the year to host the Great Lakes Regional Height Modernization Meeting and Workshop. The meeting was held on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 with the workshop following the next day. The meeting was attended by representatives from Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan. The focus of the meeting was doing more with less, leveraging techniques and technologies to keep moving forward with height modernization when federal funding is not available. Approximately 50 people attended both the meeting and the workshop. This event was jointly sponsored by IGIC and ISPLS. Registrations for the Wednesday workshop paid for the cost of both the workshop and the meeting without either sponsor having to cover any losses.

February 22, 2010

The Elevation and Geodetic Control Workgroup is part of the Upper Great Lakes Region, National Height Modernization Consortium. The group meets twice a year and at the last meeting Dr. Van Gelder volunteered Indiana to host the spring meeting of the Great Lakes Region of Height Modernization Consortium. The spring meeting will be at the Plaza Hotel in West Lafayette, Indiana on March 23 & 24, 2010. National Geodetic Survey will be discussing alternative funding sources on how to do Height Modernization with little or no money.

IGIC is helping put the event together and will be doing a 70-30 % with ISPLS. It is hoped that the money IGIC receives can help the Elevation and Geodetic Control Workgroup. Currently there are 40 people registered for the first day and 47 registered for the second day. There should be somewhere around $1,200 left over after all expenses are paid. Detais on the meeting can be found at

December 3, 2009

Before describing the 2009 activities of the joint ISPLS/IGIC Committee, a little background is in order. In 2007 the Committee began focusing on height modernization. Height modernization is any activity whose purpose is to make the estimation of elevations cheaper, faster, and/or more accurate. The Indiana Height Modernization forum was held in Indianapolis in October 2007.

The goal for the remainder of the 2007, following the height modernization forum, was to get Indiana to show up on the NGS Height Modernization map as an ‘Interested State’ as opposed to the previous label, ‘uninterested.” We did that.

What we learned at the Height Modernization Forum was that NGS had a competitive grant process whereby states could submit plans and compete for a pool of height modernization money. The grant opportunities would be posted on typically some time in the summer. That did not give us much time to develop a height modernization plan and get ready to apply for a grant. So it was decided to spend 2008 developing the plan and have it ready when the summer of 2009 grant opportunities were advertised. The plan was completed in December 2008.

With the plan ready for submission, the Committee developed a contingency plan. That plan was to seek outside funding in the event the NGS grant opportunity did not materialize. In order to get support from an alternative source of funding, the Committee would need to build a series of support documents. 2009 was spent developing those documents.

As it turned out, preparing for a potential alternate source of funding for height modernization was a good idea. While we have yet to identify one, the NGS height modernization fund ran dry. There was no at-large pool of money to support height modernization in 2009. Four states, however, did receive congressional earmarks for height modernization work. Two of those included Wisconsin and Illinois. The lesson learned is that if we want to progress height modernization in Indiana we need to take our supporting documentation, created in 2009, and seek congressional support.

October 15, 2009

The Workgroup continues to look at the use of a County Coordinate System, CORS Build-out, and Height Modernization ROI Case studies. For the status of these supporting documents CLICK HERE

Matt Badger, from Bernardin Lochmueller and Associates, was invited to present his thoughts on county coordinate systems to a slightly larger audience than earlier in the year.

August 20, 2009

County Coordinate Systems: Matt Badger from BLA has investigated the use of a county coordinate system. He would like to present his findings to the Committee in the near future for some input. It was decided a couple of Committee members might have a particular interest and an effort should be made to schedule a time when they could all be in attendance. Those individuals are Jim Sparks, Joel Bump and Boudewijn van Gelder. Van Gelder could not attend the next committee meeting, in August, due to conflicts with classes. However, once classes start he will be able to adjust his schedule in time for a September meeting.

CORS Update: All 45 INDOT (Indiana Department of Transportation) CORS stations are up and streaming data to the central servers. There are a total of six servers all together – Two to collect data, two to crunch numbers, one to achieve data files, and one to operate the web interface. INDOT did not purchase the web interface package from their vendor, Leica, so they are contemplating developing their own, or at least with state forces. INDOT was also in the process of developing coordinates for all 45 stations. They would like to use NGS’ PAGES software but were not sure they had the resources to do that. Internally, INDOT was working with Verizon Wireless to secure data plans for their telephones.

INDOT also got the Proxy server working. As a result, they were able to stream data. INDOT is also investigating ways of maintaining the CORS system which might include internal maintenance, or external by one of the GPS vendors. They issued an RFI in an effort to estimate potential operating and maintenance costs but have made to final decisions. There was a bit of good news. The original software provided to operate the INDOT CORS was GPS only. It did not have GNSS capabilities. After discussions with INDOT, Leica offered to provide updated software such that solutions include GPS and Glonass Height Mod. Ryan Swingley e-mailed Renee Shields of NGS a question concerning the use of OPUS. He asked if we might take advantage of the OPUS database option on 1st and 2nd order bench marks for inclusion in the calculation of the next geoid model. Renee had not considered this before but would give it some thought.

Outreach: A number of outreach opportunities were discussed. They included attendance at the Indiana State Fair by Bob Wilkinson, the fall AIC/IACC conference in French Lick, Road School in February/March 2010, the ISPLS annual conference in a vendor’s slot since most presentations have already been reserved at the annual IGIC conference.

June 18, 2009

The National Geodetic Survey (NGS) did not post a Request for Proposal on for height modernization this month as expected because no funding was available for 2009. NGS ‘may’ post next in December 2009 for 2010 grants.

The Workgroup discussed a new strategy to find funding for the Phase 1 height modernization plan. The group will attempt to get a budget earmark sponsored by Senator Richard Lugar and/or Senator Evan Bayh. This method appears to be the only way these types of projects are being funded. All the states currently actively developing a height modernization program have received earmark funding.

The Workgroup plans to document eight different cost-benefit examples by the next meeting.

May 20, 2009

Indiana Department of Transportation’s (INDOT) Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) is streaming data to servers from all base stations. The anticipated operational date is June 30, 2009 but without final station coordinates. INDOT is collecting data at the seven primary CORS stations to be submitted to the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) for inclusion into the cooperative CORS network. NGS has indicated that for a network the size of INDOT’s, they may accept somewhere in the area of 4-6 stations as cooperative CORS stations.

The 2009-2010 federal budget for height modernization came out in early May. With the exception of earmarked projects in four states, Wisconsin and Illinois being two of there, there was no federal monies set aside with NGS for height modernization.

NGS Technical Manuals 58 and 59 apply to GPS surveys used to establish elevations. The group discussed recommending the use of these two manuals to various State and local agencies to establish elevations on projects involving GPS surveying. Such surveys could include INDOT transportation route surveys, county drainage ditch surveys, county bridge surveys, and Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ leveling surveys.

Perry Cloyd will check with ISPLS lobbyist for entities looking for shovel ready projects to potentially fund with stimulus monies.

April 15, 2009

CORS Update: All 45 INDOT CORS stations are up and streaming data to the central servers. There are a total of six servers all together. Two to collect data, two to crunch numbers, one to archive data files, and one to operate the web interface. INDOT did not purchase the web interface package from their vendor, Leica, so they are contemplating developing their own, or at least with state forces.

Height Mod Project Web Site: The Woolpert project web site has been ported to a new server with new software. While the majority of data developed by the ISPLS-IGIC committee will continue to be housed there, the public Indiana Height Mod web page will be provided by IGIC under the Geodetic-Elevation Workgroup page. Only those documents that the committee wants to be public will be posted there. Such documents include the Indiana Height Mod report, Power Point Presentations, and the various height mod flyers the committee has developed.

Height Mod Grant RFP: According to Phil, the NGS Height Mod grant RFP will be posted sometime in June 2009 for 2010 monies. Our actual proposal cannot be posted until the RFP is posted. In order to complete our proposal, Tom Mahon needs to develop an executive summary.

Other Grant Opportunities: The committee will continue to look for other potential grant opportunities. One such lead was flood recovery monies that Lisa Gehlhausen discussed at an earlier IGIC meeting.

Other Potential Avenues to Explore for Height Mod in Indiana:

  • Changing Chapter Three of the Indiana Design Manual that deals with location control surveys. The committee discussed the possibility that INDOT might entertain the idea of modifying Chapter Three to implement NGS Technical Memoranda 58 and 59 as a way of advancing the cause of height mod. These two technical manuals outlines steps to be taken to achieve 2 and 5 cm ellipsoidal and orthometric heights using GPS.
  • Approaching IDNR about using NGS technical memoranda 58 and 59 during the course of their work.
  • Complete development of the Indiana 10-20 km grid of GPS bench marks. The intention would be to recover or set a bench mark close to each grid point during the application of NGS Technical memoranda 58 and 59 in order to build a statewide grid of GPS bench marks.

March 25, 2009

The Committee modified the Height Modification report to include all phases at one time. The Height Modification Project is now a single-phase, shovel ready, geospatial information infrastructure project that is a candidate for funding under the anticipated federal stimulus package. A new program flyer was handed out at the February IGIC Board Meeting.

The Joint Committee of ISPLS/IGIC Geodetic Control and Elevation Workgroup met on Wednesday, March 25, 2009. The goal of the meeting was to discuss the positive financial benefits hoped to be realized once a height modernization program was implemented in a state, in particular Indiana. Potential benefits and the committee member charged with investigating those benefits are:

  • Aerial Support for Airborne Mapping – Joe Mullins
  • INDOT Bench Marks and the 1929 Datum Issue – Bill Schmidt
  • Aerial Mapping for Targets on non-INDOT projects – Ryan Swingley
  • Aerial Mapping for Targets on INDOT Projects – Eric Banschbach
  • Conventional Surveying Control – Matt Healy
  • Benefits of Accurate Flood Mapping – Perry Cloyd
  • Impacts on Flood Evacuation Routes – Ryan Swingley
  • Impacts on Private Development – Matt Badger
  • Impacts on Subsurface Utility Engineering – B.H.W. van Gelder

Preliminary status on these activities were presented with follow-up scheduled for our next committee meeting on Wednesday, April 15, 2009, at Woolpert.

February 16, 2009

The Committee modified the Height Modification report to include all phases at one time. The Height Modification Project is now a single-phase, shovel ready, geospatial information infrastructure project that is a candidate for funding under the anticipated federal stimulus package. A new program flyer was handed out at the February IGIC Board Meeting.

January 15, 2009

The main focus of the Geodetic Workgroup for 2008 was to develop the height modernization report. A flyer was made for the project and a PowerPoint presentation to support height modernization. The report, flyer and presentation have been submitted to National Geodetic Survey (NGS). In 2009 the focus will be to get grant funding.

October 16, 2008

The joint committees of ISPLS (GPS-GIS Monumentation) and IGIC (Elevation-Geodetic Control) is scheduled to meet on October 22nd at Woolpert’s NEW office location at Park 100, 7635 Interactive Way, Suite 100, Indianapolis, IN to continue work on the Indiana Height Modernization Plan for submission to National Geodetic Survey (NGS).

Eric Banschbac has been named INDOT’s new head of aerial engineering. Eric met with Tom Mahon on October 1st. Tom summarized the state’s activities with respect to the Indiana Department of Transportation Continuously Operating Reference Stations (INDOT CORS) and Height Modernization. The INDOT CORS is the main benefactor (and primary justification) for Phase 1 of our height modernization plan.

Tom Mahon and B.H.W. van Gelder, the Indiana State Geodetic Advisor, attended the Great Lakes Regional Height Modernization Forum in Madison, Wisconsin on September 24-25. Those active in height modernization among the Great Lakes states met with representative from the National Geodetic Survey to discuss activities and efforts. Tom made a presentation to the group concerning Indiana’s height modernization efforts. The local lead for height modernization, as it turns out, was the head of the aerial engineering group at each state DOT. Tom explained that INDOT was taking Indiana’s lead and that their new head of aerial engineering was just hired. As follow-up a conference call is anticipated later in October to discuss the structure of the Great Lakes Height Modernization group.

August 21, 2008

The joint committees of ISPLS (GPS-GIS Monumentation) and IGIC (Elevation-Geodetic Control) met on July 15th to put the finishing touches on the Indiana Height Modernization Plan. The plan will be used to solicit support around the state for improved heights from GPS. These improvements will benefit citizens, governmental entities, and corporations across the state in the form of economic development, decreased cost of surveying and mapping, increased accuracy from surveying and mapping, precision farming, environmental monitoring, and construction to name a few. The Committee will discuss the draft with the IGIC Executive Director at the August committee meeting, scheduled for the 19th at Woolpert’s Waldemar Drive office. A draft of the report, for those interested, can be found at User name is: ISPLS_2007, password: HARN.

June 19, 2008

The joint meeting of the ISPLS GPS-GIS committee and the IGIC Elevation-Geodetic workgroups met on Tuesday, May 20, 2008. The group reviewed the material compiled so far that will be used to prepare the Indiana Height Modernization Report. That material is to be pulled together, in a rough form, for discussion at the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 17, 2008.

April 17, 2008

The Elevation-Geodetic Control Workgroup and The Indiana Society of Professional Land Surveyors GPS-GIS Committee have met three times since the last IGIC Board Meeting (February 26th, March 18th, and April 15th). During those meetings the group welcomed new members, Kevin Johnson and Sean Suttles from Bernardin, Lochmueller & Associates and summarized work on Height Modernization. The following documents have been developed by the Committee:

  • A report outline to support height modernization
  • A list of potential supports have been developed
  • A draft of the first of two phases for the project
  • A document explaining how height modernization can be used to leverage the State’s investment in the INDOT with Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS)

February 18, 2008

The Elevation-Geodetic Control Workgroup held the Indiana Height Modernization Forum October 25, 2007. As a result National Geodetic Survey (NGS) now recognizes Indiana’s interest in Height Modernization. NGS has joined IGIC to form the joint ISPLS/IGIC Geodetic-Elevation Workgroup. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is going to take the lead for the State for height modernization. The combined groups will be assisting INDOT with Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS), and have developed a web site at:

User Name: ISPLS_2007
Password: HARN

The Workgroup is developing an Indiana Height Modernization Plan and will submit it to NGS for funding. The plan will be used to identify and build support for height modernization throughout the state.

It has been a very busy and productive year. All committee members offered to serve throughout 2008 to continue our work. We welcome all new members.

January 17, 2008

At the December 18th workgroup meeting, it was agreed that after a very busy year, members would all take the holiday off and re-assemble in January just after the annual surveyors conference. At that point the workgroup will distribute assignments to plan the first two phases of the height modernization project. This includes planning leveling routes between existing bench marks, INDOT CORS stations, and any HARN points that are convenient. Once the plans are developed the workgroup will be able to assign some cost estimates. The goal is to complete this effort by March. After that, other sections of the proposed plan will be assigned to workgroup members with a proposed completion date of June 30, 2008. Once the plan is complete, it will be used as a basis to submit to the National Geodetic Survey for Height Modernization funding.

November 15, 2007

The Elevation and Geodetic workgroup met along with the Indiana Society of Professional Land Surveyors October 25th as part of the Indiana Height Modernization Forum. This forum was used to kick-off height modernization in the State of Indiana. Representative from the National Geodetic Survey, the Indiana Departments of Transportation (INDOT), Natural Resources (DNR) and Environmental Management (IDEM), US Geological Survey, county surveyors, professional land surveyors, the Indiana Land Office, the Indiana Department of Agriculture, the Indiana Geographic Information Council, and interested members of the public attended this all-day event. Height modernization is a program to improvement height estimates and is administered by the National Geodetic Survey. INDOT stepped up and offered to be the state representative for this important project.

September 20, 2007

This workgroup meets and works with the GPS-GIS Monumentation Committee of ISPLS. Chair Tom Mahon has set up a project website for committee members to exchange information, documents, and keep abreast of current activities, including assisting INDOT with the CORS Height Modernization project.

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