The USGS Streamer web site is a very cool and easy way to explore our major waterways. Click here to visit the new USGS Streamer web site: http://nationalmap.gov/streamer/webApp/welcome.html

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With a simple map click, anyone can trace rivers and streams from a starting point all the way downstream to where a stream drains.
Streamer Downstream 2.jpg

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Streamer also produces a report that includes a map and information about the people and places encountered along the streams traced.
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Even more impressive, they can click on a stream and trace all others that drain to that point.
Streamer Upstream 1.jpg

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A new map layer displays the locations of real-time streamflow stations across the country. Streamer updates this information hourly and symbolizes these stations to illustrate current streamflow conditions compared with each station’s observed mean streamflow on the same day of the year. You can tell at a glance whether conditions are above, below, or at normal levels at each station.
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Another new map layer has been added that shows weather radar across all 50 States.
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Click here to visit the new USGS Streamer web site: http://nationalmap.gov/streamer/webApp/welcome.html
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!

The theme for our 2014 conference is “Mapping a Difference”. Presentations that will tell stories about where GIS is Mapping (Making) a Difference across Indiana. How are GIS mapping initiatives; from the small to the large, and from local, regional to statewide – making a difference in our communities’ infrastructure, services, safety, health, economy, efficiencies and in our lives?

We hope to see everyone back with us again this year in Indianapolis for two days of……

  • Networking - Meet with other Indiana GIS professionals and leaders in the GIS industry

  • Hands on and classroom workshops - Get in-depth instruction and hands on experience taught by GIS experts.

  • Inspiring presentations - Learn new techniques and how GIS is changing the state.

  • Vendor Booths and Sponsorship opportunities - Showcase your products and services and show your support to Indiana’s GIS community.

This year we have packed in over 60 outstanding presentations into this two-day event, including the following featured presentations:

  • 8:30 am Wednesday morning we open our 2014 Annual GIS Conference with our featured Keynote Speaker, Indiana’s Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann.

  • At Wednesday’s Lunch Session we have two featured speakers – IGIC’s 2014 President, Dave Estes from Allen County, and our second Keynote Speaker Jim Poyser, Executive Director, Earth Charter Indiana.

  • Our Wednesday evenings Vendor Reception is shaping up to be unlike anything we have ever done before. All we will say right now is that you must be present to win!

  • Back by popular demand this year we will also include two CLUSTERS of IGNITE presentations. The first will be at Wednesday’s General Session led by Indiana’s Geographic Information Officer Jim Sparks, and the second at Thursday’s General Session led by IGIC’s Executive Director Phil Worrall.

  • Finally, at Thursday’s Lunch Session, IGIC will present all of our 2014 Annual GIS Awards and Poster Awards!

For more Information: http://www.igic.org/conference/
Tomlinson is generally recognized as the "father of GIS.” He is the visionary geographer who conceived and developed the first GIS for use by the Canada Land Inventory in the early 1960s. This and continuing contributions led the Canadian government to give him its highest civilian award, the Order of Canada, in 2001. Text for that award reads, “he pioneered its uses worldwide to collect, manage, and manipulate geographical data, changing the face of geography as a discipline.”

Tomlinson tells the story of how this came to be. In the early 1960s he was working as a photo interpreter for Spartan Air Services in Canada. They had a contract to identify the best location for a tree plantation in Kenya. They turned to their young geographer Tomlinson and asked him to develop a methodology. He tried various manual methods for overlaying various environmental, cultural, and economic variables, but all were too costly. He turned to computers and found the solution. Subsequently he sold this approach to the Canada Land Inventory that had the responsibility of using data to assist the government in its land use planning activities. His GIS approach reduced the task from three years and eight million Canadian dollars to several weeks and two million dollars.

He went on to serve the community in many ways. He chaired the International Geographical Union’s GIS Commission for 12 years, where he pioneered the concepts of worldwide geographical data availability. He is a past president of the Canadian Association of Geographers a recipient of its rare Canadian Award for Service to the Profession.

Other awards followed including the James R. Anderson Medal of Honor for Applied Geography (1995) and the Robert T. Aangeenbrug Distinguished Career Award (2005) from the American Association of Geographers. He was the first recipient of the Aangeenbrug award and also the first recipient of ESRI’s Lifetime Achievement Award (1997). National Geographic gave him its rare Alexander Graham Bell Award for exceptional contributions to geographic research (2010). He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the recipient of multiple honorary doctorates – in addition to his own PhD from University College London.

Since 1977 he operated Tomlinson Associates, Ltd., Consulting Geographer which has advised clients like the World Bank, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the U.S. departments of Commerce and Agriculture, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of the Census, the Canadian Forest Service, and numerous U.S. state and Canadian provincial and municipal government agencies. The Order of Canada award documents the impact of that work. “Governments and scientists around the world have turned to him to better understand our environment and changing patterns of land use, to better manage urban development and our precious natural resources.”

His book, Thinking About GIS: Geographic Information System Planning for Managers, provides guidance for both senior managers responsible for a broad range of activities in their organization and the more technical managers responsible for actual implementation of GIS. The 4th edition of this popular book was published in 2011.

Here is a link to a nice NPR p​iece about Roger Tom​linson: http://www.npr.org/2014/02/13/276522411/tech-innovator-and-master-of-maps-dies-at-80

Story Contributed by:
Tony Hendricks, LaPorte County Surveyor,
and Christine Keil, Crew Chief ckeil@laportecounty.org

It is possible to utilize the vast amount of geographic data available from the Indiana Spatial Data Portal and IndianaMap while working in AutoCAD Civil 3d. A FREE software add on in from ESRI is available to help the autodesk engine connect to the vast amount of useful information these web sites make available. (http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/arcgis-for-autocad)

From highway routes to watersheds, from voting districts to multiple years of aerial photography the information is connected by server inside your cad files to be used as you need them. No need to download the myriad of information and store it on your computer. IndianaMap has it ready for you 24 hours a day and it’s updated consistently to give you the best available information.


At the LaPorte County Surveyor's Office we have just begun using this invaluable data services and its potential seems limitless in saving time and bringing information together. These data services give us the ability to bring in information quickly and efficiently to give us the chance to work on the details and leave the base data to the IndianaMap and the Indiana Spatial Data Portal.
Warren County Commissioners signed an agreement last week to share four key GIS data layers with the Indiana Geographic Information Office. The ongoing Data Sharing Initiative began in 2008 when commissioners from all 92 Indiana Counties were invited to augment the value of their GIS data by allowing the Indiana Geographic Information Office to access and integrate land parcels, road centerlines, point addresses, and local administrative boundaries in order to create and distribute statewide versions of these critical data layers.

90 Participating Counties.JPG

Jim Sparks, Indiana Geographic Information Officer offers his congratulations to the citizens of Warren County and the state of Indiana who will soon receive additional benefit from their data investment: “Thank you, Warren County Commissioners! With this agreement, Warren County will fill the void that currently exists for their county when site selectors, consultants, contractors, educators, and others look for these four state wide data layers on the IndianaMap (www.indianamap.org).”

Statewide geographic information is especially important to economic development because site selectors are increasingly interested in understanding data about regions rather than a specific city or county. These data are also critical in times of crisis, as demonstrated in Clark County after the 2012 tornado ripped through that county: “We wanted to be able to quickly produce field maps and other geospatial data products to help our community, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, and FEMA understand and best respond to the rapidly changing situation in our county,” said Vicky Kent Haire, Clark County Assessor. “Having accurate land parcels, road centerlines, and other data already integrated in statewide data layers before the event saved a lot of time in a situation in which every minute was critical.”

Only Boone and Marshall Counties have yet to share their public information with the IndianaMap.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A powerful Web-based system enabling people worldwide to better predict such things as damaging floods and potential effects of climate change is the goal of a $4.5 million, four-year project begun by Purdue University researchers. To read the full Press Release click HERE


This is a satellite image of flooding on the Wabash River between Lafayette and West Lafayette, Ind., in 2013. Shown are variations in the wavelengths of light reflected from the surface to highlight the extent of water and features such as vegetation and bare ground. The last version represents a grouping of the data into various land cover classes. (Information Technology at Purdue image)
We are happy to report that a new release of Indiana's OpenTopography Server is now available. OpenTopography Server provides FAST and FREE access to download custom LiDAR and DEM data products derived from the IndianaMap Statewide Ortho-LiDAR program.

Available today users can freely access all of Indiana's 2011 & 2012 LiDAR & Hydro-flattened DEM products covering 2/3 of Indiana [Central Tier & East Tier]. Note: The 2013 elevation data products for the West Tier of Indiana Counties will be available in early 2014. Indiana's updated OpenTopography Home page, which provides access to the LiDAR data is shown below, and can be accessed HERE.


The new Hydro-flattened DEM products menu for the Indiana Stateplane Coordinate System East Zone & West Zones are shown below. These DEM menus can be accessed by selecting the Rasters [East] or Rasters [West] options on the LiDAR Home page [see the arrow pointing to these options above the map on the above image].


The Stateplane East menu below also illustrates an area of interest being selected, output options for the Indiana DEM file format with the optional SRTM DEM product also selected.

Within seconds of clicking on the Submit button, a custom product result page [shown below] will display with active links to download the newly generated Metadata and DEM products selected.
2015 “still the goal,” says FAA administrator, for figuring out how to support UAS in national air space. Story by: Dee Ann Divis, InsideGNSS.com

UAS illustration FAA roadmap.jpg
In major step toward enabling unmanned aircraft to operate freely in the U.S. the federal government released a set of plans Thursday (November 7, 2013)on how it plans to integrate unmanned aerial systems (UAS) into the national airspace, including a policy to help protect the privacy of those living near drone test sites.
. To read the full story, click HERE.
Contributed By: Chris Dintaman
Geologist/GIS Specialist Center for Geospatial Data Analysis
Indiana Geological Survey, Indiana University
812 856 5654

IndianaMap has added 3 NEW layers to the Hydrology folder for “Water Bodies Lakes LocalRes,” “Water Bodies Rivers LocalRes,” and “Water Bodies Streams LocalRes.”

These three layers represent the latest release by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) of Local-Resolution National Hydrography Data covering Indiana. The new Local-Resolution NHD is being developed by AECOM for the State of Indiana Geographic Information Office (GIO) with support from the Indiana Geographic Information Council (IGIC) Waters Workgroup, and the USGS. This week the first eight [8] HUC-8 Subbasins covering Indiana are being published . These HUC-8 Subbasins are: 05120104 (Upper Eel), 0712002 (Iroquois), 05120105 (Middle Wabash-Deer), 05120107 (Wildcat), 05120204 (Driftwood), 05120205 (Flatrock-Haw), 05120207 (Muscatatuck), and 05120110 (Sugar).

The image below is an example of the new Local-Resolution NHD data displayed in blue over Indiana's new orthophotography. Notice that not only are flowing rivers, lakes, ponds, streams and ditches included in the new hydro-model, but even drainage swail lines in farm fields are being captured. This new "Local-Resolution" detail provides Indiana with a map and model of Indiana's surface waters beyond anything previously available.


INDIANA'S NHD HISTORY: Indiana's NHD data was originally developed by the USGS digitizing all of the hydrographic features published on their 1:100,000 scale USGS Topographic Map Series.


Later, the USGS developed a High-Resolution NHD dataset for Indiana by digitizing all hydrography features shown on their 1:24,000 scale (1"= 2,000') printed USGS 7.5 minute Quadrangle Map Series. Many of these maps are from 30 to 60 years old, and much has changed across Indiana that is not reflected in the High-Resolution NHD.


Indiana's new Local-Resolution NHD IS NOT being developed from an existing set of maps, but by using the best available Orthophotography and Elevation data to create a new hydrography map of Indiana. Data sources include Indiana's 2005 Statewide Ortho and Elevation data, and the new 2011 - 2013 Statewide Ortho-LiDAR data. The Local-Resolution NHD is being mapped at a scale of 1:2,400 scale (1" = 200') to a resolution of 6-acre sub-catchments. This Local-Resolution mapping is creating a new statewide map of Indiana's surface drainage that is 10-times more accurate than its High-Resolution predecessor and also adds more than 400% more streams to Indiana's NHD dataset than before. In the example below the High-Resolution NHD data is shown in Red and the new Local-Resolution NHD data is shown in Yellow.


IndianaMap Links:
These new Local-Resolution NHD data layers can be downloaded from the IndianaMap in Esri Shapefile format using the links provided below. The layers available from the IndianaMap represent all the basic NHD geometry for these new features, but DO NOT include the full set of USGS NHD attributes developed for hydrological modeling and analysis.

Click to launch the IndianaMap with all three 2013 Local Resolution NHD layers visible, as well as the 2009 HUC08 layer.

Click to launch the IndianaMap Layer Gallery for “Hydrology >> Waterbodies”

The complete USGS NHD data model, instructions, and documentation can be downloaded for each HUC-8 in Esri Geodatabase Format from the USGS NHD web site here http://nhd.usgs.gov/.

The complete USGS NHD dataset containing all Local-Resolution NHD graphics and attributes can be downloaded here http://viewer.nationalmap.gov/viewer/nhd.html?p=nhd