You are currently viewing archive for December 2009
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.

Our Conference Committee is in the process of finalizing the schedule for presentations at our 2010 conference to be held February 23-24, 2010 at the Bloomington Monroe County, IN Convention Center.

One complaint we hear is: "You guys always schedule the sessions I want to see at the same time, so I have to make a choice." This is your opportunity to rank all current presentation topics, and we will try to schedule the presentations with the greatest interest at different times!

Simple idea, but to be effective we need your feedback!

Even if you are not sure you will be able to attend, please take 2-minutes and click on this link to take our survey - http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WP5PS9Q

There were 9 Board Member seats open for election this year. Elected Board Members serve 3-year terms, beginning with our annual meeting in February. Board terms are staggered so that each year we elect about 1/3 of our Board of Directors.

Results of the 2010 vote can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/7W1DKL. IGIC was very fortunate to have a great slate of candidates for this election, and as you can see the voting this year was very close.

I would like to thank all of the candidates who ran for the Board of Directors positions. Congratulations to the winners, and for those of you who did not get elected this year we would like to encourage you to continue to volunteer on committees and workgroups as this is how we get things done, and name recognition is also a great help at election time. We would also encourage you to run for the Board again next year!

Finally, remember all IGIC Board Meetings are "open meetings" and they are posted on the IGIC Calendar - http://igic.org/calendar/index.html, so please get Involved and stay Involved!

By Phil Worrall, IGIC Executive Director.

I want to take this opportunity to thank our 300+ individual, student, corporate, institutional and enterprise members for all of your support in 2009. A special "Thank You" to our 30 Elected Board Members for you vision and support in 2009, and also to all of our hardworking volunteer members on our 19 standing committees and workgroups for your hard work and accomplishments in 2009.

IGIC will be publishing a formal Annual Report in early 2010, but I wanted to highlight just a few of our 2009 accomplishments at this point and to also look forward to 2010.

The most significant single step toward realizing the vision of the IndianaMap is being made through our ongoing Data Sharing Initiative. Led by our Data Sharing Committee along with partners from thirteen different organizations, and county funding provided through local EMA's by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, currently 78 of 92 Indiana Counties have agreed to share their local authoritative parcel, address point, road centerline, and boundary data with the State of Indiana and the IndianaMap. This initial program funding will continue through 2011, and Jim Sparks, our State of Indiana GIO has already identified potential funding for an additional three years through phase 2 of the State of Indiana ARRA Broadband Mapping grant!

IGIC Finances & Funding

IGIC's operating income is largely based on project grants. This soft money funding is a challenge in effectively planning ongoing and future operations. Federal entities such as the USGS, EPA, FEMA, and the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) provide IGIC the opportunity to pursue a variety of both competitive and cooperative grants each year. State funding comes from grant/project opportunities for IGIC in collaboration with the State's Geographic Information Office and other state agencies to support programs like the Data Sharing Initiative, National Hydrography Dataset updates, and the new ARRA Broadband Mapping initiative.

Membership dues and our Annual Indiana GIS Conference also contribute to our income. The Finance Committee and the IGIC Board implemented increases in our 2009 membership dues, as well as offering different membership levels to encourage more participation and increase revenues. Our paid membership numbers remained stable in 2009, but we plan to grow in 2010.

2009 Grants
I think we had a very successful year, with almost a half-million dollars in new grant awards to IGIC. The majority of these grants will help us advance the development of key framework data layers on the IndianaMap. Although awarded in 2009, work on all of these grants will continue well into 2010:

2009 IndianaMap Data Sharing Initiative - FGDC CAP #7 Grant:.............$75,000.00
Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Hydrography Updates:......$25,000.00
Great Lakes Initiative Area (GLI) Hydrography Data Upgrades:............$200,000.00
Upper Eel Subbasin Hydrography Data Improvements:........................$29,000.00
IndianaMap HAZUS-MH Structure Data:.........................................$83,660.00
Indiana ARRA Broadband GIS Mapping (IndianaMap Support):...............$57,200.00
Silver Jackets Web Site Development:..........................................$24,500.00

IGIC Committees and Workgroups

Our committees and workgroups are essential to achieving our goals. In the past year alone, these groups logged over 1,400 volunteer hours on projects ranging from emergency response efforts to hydrography stewardship to legislative initiatives. Some of their accomplishments include:

IndianaMap Steering Committee: With the growth of the IndianaMap came a need for improved communications and coordination. IGIC, together with the State Geographic Information Office, the Indiana Geological Survey, and Indiana University – UITS became managing partners of the IndianaMap. Recognizing the benefits of closely involving stakeholders, a new IndianaMap Steering Committee was also formed. The 25-member committee has representatives from universities, state and local government, planning organizations, the private sector, and the Chairs of IGIC's Framework data Workgroups. Since April 2009, it has been developing and outlining priorities for the data, technology and integration.

Elevation and Geodetic Control Workgroup: In collaboration with the Indiana Society of Professional Land Surveyors (ISPLS) and the Indiana Department of Transportation (NDOT), this IGIC workgroup has completed a plan and proposal to the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) for a Height Modernization program for Indiana. The Workgroup is currently developing grass-root level support to implement the program as well as seeking funding.

Waters Workgroup: The Waters Workgroup has finalized two major documents: The RFP for work to improve Indiana's National Hydrography Data (NHD) from high-resolution to local-resolution, and formalizing a NHD Stewardship Agreement for Indiana with the USGS. The RFP will be released this month (December), and the NHD Stewardship Agreement is in the process of being signed. The workgroup has also developed the program for GNIS name updates for Indiana. These three key initiatives already have some initial funding through three new NHD project grants awarded to IGIC this year.

Orthophotography Workgroup: This group was responsible for the 2005 Statewide Orthophotography Project. This groundbreaking program quickly showed an astounding return on an initial investment of $8.5 Million by supporting over 200-times its value in projects and operations. Recognizing the critical need for this data, the Workgroup has developed a new program to update the statewide orthophotography on a regular rotating basis. This work has included developing planning documents with technical specifications, Request for Proposal materials, and documents to educate the public and our elected officials on the benefit of this program. IGIC and the State GIO are currently seeking initial funding to start this vital program.

CAD/GIS Integration Workgroup: This workgroup in 2009 has been developing a CAD-to-GIS data model template with electronic data submission guidelines for local governments to use to streamline the integration of new CAD data submissions into the local government's GIS. The committee has strong leadership from the engineering, utility and local government sectors. An initial template and documentation is planned for release in 2010.

Streets and Addresses Workgroup & Boundaries-Cadastre-PLSS Workgroup: These IGIC framework data workgroups represent the four data layers that are being harvested as part of our statewide county Data Sharing Initiative (Street Centerlines, Point Addresses, Jurisdictional Boundaries and Parcels). These workgroups have been active participants in 2009 and their work will continue in 2010 as part of IGIC's CAP Grant.

Legislative Committee: The committee has been active on a number of key initiatives to advocate for GIS funding at the local, state and federal levels. This past year the committee developed an Advocacy Agenda documenting key GIS programs, and a “Talking to your Local Elected Officials" grass-roots initiative to help educate elected officials and advocate for GIS funding.

The committee supported Indiana's High Speed Internet Service Initiative, and a bill was passed and signed by the Governor this summer to develop a statewide broadband GIS layer and disseminate it through the IndianaMap. As a direct benefit of having this legislation in place, the State of Indiana was awarded a $1.3 million dollar ARRA State Broadband Mapping grant this fall by the NTIA. The State Geographic Information Office is currently leading the development of this initial broadband GIS layer for Indiana to meet a February 2010 deadline.

IGIC's Legislative Committee had most recently been working with the Indiana Association of County Surveyors Legislative Committee to figure out how in these difficult economic times to pay for local and statewide GIS data development and maintenance. As a direct result, we will be working together in 2010 to draft some preliminary legislation to seek permanent base-level GIS funding for Indiana.

Conference Committee: Our 2009 Annual GIS Conference in Bloomington Indiana was a great success. Our 2009 conference was the first one we have held outside of Indianapolis. The Bloomington venue offered IGIC significant cost savings, new opportunities for hands-on workshops, and proved to be extremely popular with all attendees. Despite the additional travel and economic downturn, attendance remained strong with nearly 300 attendees.

The committee has been hard at work on our 2010 Conference (also in Bloomington, IN), and we believe it will be even better. Looking forward, the Conference Committee has already selected Muncie IN for our 2011 & 2013 annual conference, and we are working on plans for West Layette, IN in 2012.

Education Committee: IGIC presented seminars and workshops on the IndianaMap Data Sharing Initiative, GIS Basics, GIS Grants, LiDAR, Web development, and E911 Addressing. Workshops around the state, online webinars and traditional seminars reached almost 200 people. Our Local Government GIS Forum continued for its second year, and provided a unique opportunity for over 70 GIS professionals from across Indiana to speak candidly with each other about common issues and solutions. The committee already has a packed seminar series planed for 2010, as well as plans to work with AIC and IACT on GIS training opportunities at their annual conferences.

Communications Committee: In late 2009, IGIC formed this new committee to enhance our existing Internet resources, improve member collaborations, and to integrate Web 2.0 and Social Media tools into our web presence. In January 2009, IGIC released a new redesigned website with a dedicated address (www.igic.org). It has received more than three million hits from over 60 thousand unique visitors. The growth of the IndianaMap also prompted IGIC to create a new site (www.indianamap.org). A new site has been developed which will act as a portal to all of Indiana’s spatial data. The new IndianaMap site was launched in September 2009.

GIS Response Corps Committee: In April 2009, and Indiana GIS Response Corps was formed under IGIC's direction. The group is creating a statewide network of volunteers to provide GIS support to local EMA's and IDHS during emergency events, like the widespread flooding across Indiana in 2008. The group is also working to identify, document and train Response Corp volunteers and local EMA staff on GIS best practices for before, during and after a disaster.

Membership Committee: Our Membership Committee in 2009 sponsored two entirely new social/fund raising events for IGIC. First, this last summer we held our first Urban Orienteering Event in downtown Indianapolis, and this fall he held our first ever Evening Dinner Meeting in West Lafayette. Both events were well attended and very successful. Our Membership Committee is currently planning for more of these events in 2010, as well as a golf outing fund raising event.

Thank You!

Thanks again to all our members, partners and supporters for a successful 2009, and with your help IGIC [we] will have an even better 2010!

Happy Holidays,
The following is a summary of the monthly reports submitted by Chris Dintaman and Denver Harper on behalf of Dr. John Steinmetz and the other contributors to the IndianaMap Viewer.

On December 11, 2009, the four layers that provide county-based framework data (including address points, street centerlines, land parcels, and governmental boundaries) were updated.

The layers were compiled from data maintained by various county agencies in Indiana, as part of the IndianaMap Data Sharing Initiative between Indiana Geographic Information Council (IGIC), Indiana Office of Technology (IOT), Indiana Geographic Information Office (GIO), Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS), Indiana Geological Survey (IGS) and participating Indiana counties. The layers named "Address Points (IDHS)" and "Street Centerlines (IDHS)" can be found in the following folder: INFRASTRUCTURE > Roads. The layers named "Land Parcels (IDHS)" and "Government Boundaries (IDHS)" can be found in the following folder: DEMOGRAPHICS > Political & Other Boundaries.

NOTE: All four layers are also NOW AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD in ESRI Shapefile format.

NOTE: These new layers represent the third set of data harvested through the ongoing Data Sharing Initiative program by IDHS from local government sources in December 2009. As a preliminary data set, these data have not been completely quality control checked for completeness, accuracy or content and are provided for program demonstration purposes only. These partial data are provided "as-is" and are not to be used for any official or business purpose. Be sure to read the metadata for each layer.

NOTE -- SCALE DEPENDENT VIEWING: These datasets are not viewable at the full statewide extent. The intended scale of viewing for these data is approximately at the level of county, and trying to view these high-resolution layers at full statewide extent would greatly affect the performance of the map. The layers "Address Points (IDHS)" and "Street Centerlines (IDHS)" are only viewable on the map at a scale of 1:200,000 or smaller. The layer named "Address Points (IDHS)" is only viewable on the map at a scale of 1:100,000 or smaller. Users can determine which Indiana counties have contributed data by accessing the metadata documents for each layer.

On December 1, 2009, the layer named “Institutional Control Sites,” provided by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Office of Land Quality, was updated.
There are now 377 sites contained in the layer. This layer can be found on the IndianaMap Atlas in the following folder: ENVIRONMENT/BIOLOGY > Environment. If you are a user of these data, you may wish to re-download this layer.

On December 1, 2009, based on an end-user's suggestion, IGS added a new Web Map Service (WMS) providing framework data for GIS professionals. The new service is named "FW_Indiana_Basemap," includes selected layers of all seven framework data categories (orthoimagery, transportation, elevation, hydrography, and others.) This WMS provides greater versatility for users who wish to combine the most commonly used framework layers. Please review the Web page titled "Resources for GIS Professionals" at http://www.indianamap.org/resources.html#wms for instructions on how to connect to these framework data using desktop GIS software.

On November 3, 2009, 22 layers were updated on the IndianaMap Atlas.
Twenty-one layers provided by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Office of Land Quality, have been updated. These layers can be found in the following folder: ENVIRONMENT/BIOLOGY > Environment. If you are a user of these data, you may wish to re-download them.

Several incorrect values in the field named "Parcel_ID" in the layer named "Landsurvey - Sections" have been corrected. This layer can be found in the following folder: REFERENCE > PLSS & Quad Boundaries. If you are a user of these data, you may wish to re-download the layer.

The seven Web Map Services (WMS) providing framework data for GIS professionals have been updated. Please review the Web page titled "Resources for GIS Professionals" for instructions on how to connect to these framework data using desktop GIS software.
Ubiquitous Web 2.0 mobile technology is allowing for additions, updates and corrections to GIS data layers to be Crowd Sourced. Should we believe data provided by "the crowd in the cloud?"

My answer today is - Maybe-yes and Maybe-no. What if 1 person sends me a correction, or what if 100 people send me the same correction?

GIS data/service providers like OpenStreetMap, Google, Microsoft, Tele Atlas, Garmin and others are building tools for their crowds [customers] to help them improve their products and services. At IGIC are also looking at crowd sourcing opportunities to help us maintain and improve the IndianaMap. Harnessing the power of a benevolent crowd may be the answer to help keep the cost of GIS data layer creation and maintenance under control.

Here is a link to a recent story in the New York times about current trends - http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/17/technology/internet/17maps.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss&src=ig
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN is the headquarters of a new visual data center intended to provide visual depictions of data, such as graphics, maps and simulations; to help local, state and federal authorities respond more efficiently to emergencies. The Visual Analytics for Command, Control and Interoperability Environments (dubbed VACCINE), is funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It is a collaboration 16 universities, including Purdue, where it's headquartered. To read the full story by Amanda Hamon / Lafayette Journal and Courier, click here: http://bit.ly/7mRPAs
Go to http://www.igic.org/membership and register today! One of the many benefits of IGIC Membership is special pricing for the 2010 Indiana GIS Conference. Members also can vote for the IGIC Board of Directors. Voting for the open seats on IGIC's 2010 Board of Directors closed Friday, December 11, 2009. The election results will be announced later this week.

You can become a member and register for our 2010 Indiana GIS Conference at the same time at http://www.igic.org/conference. Our 2010 conference will be held at on February 23-24, 2010 at the Bloomington Monroe County Convention Center. Also, if you want to reserve a booth space, please register early as vendor space for our conference is limited.
Excellence in GIS Awards

The economic situation has forced many GIS departments to be even more creative with shrinking budgets in the past year. Have you or someone you know been able to rise to the challenge? Have you found found better solutions for less, taken advantage of new technology, or found innovative uses for existing resources? Then it's time you got that pat on the back you deserve!

Fill out one form, and you could be on your way instant fame. More information and nomination forms are available at www.igic.org/awards/gisaward.html

The deadline for submission is January 29, 2010, so download your form today!

David C. Ford Special Achievement Award

The David C. Ford Special Achievement Award is presented by IGIC to an individual or organization for exemplary service, dedication, and accomplishment in coordinating Indiana GIS. For more information on nominating an individual or organization worthy of recognition, please contact Phil Worrall at pworrall@igic.org no later than Friday, December 11, 2009.
The annual GIS Poster Contest provides an excellent forum for students from across Indiana to present their work to the entire Indiana GIS community. Posters will be displayed during the 2010 Indiana GIS Conference in February, pictures of the winning posters will appear prominently in the IGIC Newsletter, and prizes are awarded for the winning posters.

K-12 Students

The poster contest is a great way to introduce kids and young adults to geography, maps, and geographic information systems (GIS). Poster maps of all kinds can be entered, but the they must be made by the students (either made by hand or computer generated), and should answers questions like:

• What birds live in my yard?
• Where would my family go in an emergency (fire stations, schools, hospitals)?
• Where are my ancestors/relatives from?
• Which countries have the most people under age 21?

For more information, visit www.igic.org/conference/posterk12.html.

College Student Posters

All current undergraduate and graduate students from Indiana universities are eligible to join the poster competition, showing how GIS is used. Prizes include $250 for first place, $150 for second place and $100 for third place.

Visit the 2010 Annual Conference pages on the www.igic.org website to see judging criteria and past winners.
The U.S. Census Bureau is conducting the Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS) to update our records regarding changes to legal boundaries, names, and governmental status of all governmental units effective on or before January 1, 2010. This voluntary survey is an important opportunity for you to ensure that we have the correct boundary and legal name for your county, as well as for the governments within your jurisdiction. The Census Bureau will use the boundary information you provide to report data from the 2010 Census and estimates from other programs and surveys, such as the Population Estimates Program (PEP) and the American Community Survey (ACS). The 2010 BAS is especially important as it is the last opportunity for participants to update their legal boundaries prior to the completion of the 2010 Census. Accurate legal boundaries will result in more accurate data tabulation for all of the census programs and surveys.

In preparation for the upcoming 2010 BAS, the U.S. Census Bureau is conducting BAS workshops in select cities across the country. The BAS workshops will be open to interested participants and will include both digital and paper BAS training. The training will have separate sessions for digital and paper participation procedures. You may choose to attend one or both sessions. Each session will provide an overview of the BAS, an explanation of geographic relationships, and information on why correct boundaries are important for the 2010 Census, PEP and ACS.

Digital BAS training will include demonstrations on how to complete the BAS using ArcGIS or the MAF/TIGER Partnership Software (MTPS). MTPS is a PC-based software application provided by the Census Bureau for participants to digitally update the Census Bureau maps and forms. There will be hands-on digital BAS training in select cities (please see the attachment). We encourage you to bring laptops along with your boundary data, so we may clarify any questions you may have.

Paper BAS training will include a detailed review of how to read and update paper maps and the BAS forms. Participants will learn how to properly annotate legal boundary updates and feature changes on the Census Bureau maps. We request you bring your annexation information since there will be an opportunity to update your boundaries on-site.

Space may be limited, so we encourage participants to sign up as soon as possible, and no later than the RSVP date listed for each of the respective workshops. Note that some of the workshop locations will require participants to show identification in order to access the building.

If you have any questions pertaining to the BAS program and the upcoming workshops, contact the BAS team via email at geo.bas@census.gov or via telephone at (301)-763-1099.

Additional information on the BAS program can be found on the BAS website:

Boundary and Annexation Survey Workshop Location in Indiana:

January 8, 2010 (RSVP by December 21, 2009)
8:30 AM – Noon Digital BAS Workshop
1:00 PM – 4:30 PM - Paper BAS Workshop

United States Census Bureau
National Processing Center
Building 87, Rooms 1 and 2
1201 East 10th Street
Jeffersonville, IN 47132

Contributed by: Larry Biehl, Purdue University, Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP)

Community College Students APPLY BY DECEMBER 15, 2009 for the National Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) program!

The National Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) is a pilot program funded by NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) and administered by NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). Community college students from across the nation who are interested in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics will apply to travel to NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) for a three day experience. This opportunity will provide a hands-on project featuring engineering career possibilities. Selected students will begin the semester commitment with Web-based preparation prior to visiting JSC. The only cost to the student is a $30 registration fee; NASA covers travel (up to $1000), food, and lodging.

Help Recruit Students for NCAS
Please help identify community college students you believe will benefit from this program and encourage them to apply by visiting our website. Students must complete online applications by December 15, 2009.

What is NCAS?
An interactive, online learning experience where students complete Web-based lessons during the school year and travel to NASA for a three-day (May 20-22, 2010) experience where they work with NASA engineers and scientists developing a proposal for a fictitious Martian rover.

Who is Eligible?
Community college students from across the nation (must be US citizens).

Who pays for NCAS?
There is a one time, non-refundable $30 registration fee (due at the time of acceptance); all travel (up to $1000), room, and food is included.

Student Benefits
* All-expense paid trip to NASA for workshop
* Network with other community college students from across the nation
* Discover career opportunities at NASA

Students Apply Online Now! https://aerospacescholars.jsc.nasa.gov/NCAS/
Contributed by: Larry Biehl, Purdue University, Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP)

NASA announces a call for graduate fellowship proposals to the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF) program for the 2010-2011 academic year. This call for fellowship proposals solicits applications from accredited U.S. universities on behalf of individuals pursuing Master of Science (M.Sc.) or Doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees in Earth and space sciences, or related disciplines. The purpose of NESSF is to ensure continued training of a highly qualified workforce in disciplines needed to achieve NASA's scientific goals. Awards resulting from the competitive selection will be made in the form of training grants to the respective universities.

The deadline for NEW applications is February 1, 2010, and the deadline for RENEWAL applications is March 15, 2010.

The NESSF call for proposals and submission instructions are located at the NESSF 09 solicitation index page at: http://nspires.nasaprs.com/
Click on "Solicitations"
Then click on "Open Solicitations"
Then select the "NESSF 10" announcement.

Also refer to "Proposal Submission Instructions" listed under "Other
Documents" on the NESSF 10 solicitation index page.

All proposals must be submitted in electronic format only through the NASA NSPIRES system. The advisor has an active role in the submission of the fellowship proposal. To use the NSPIRES system, the advisor, the student, and the university must all register. Extended instructions on how to submit an electronic proposal package are posted on the NESSF 10 solicitation index page listed above. You can register in NSPIRES at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/.

For further information contact Russell Deyoung, Program
Administrator for NESSF Earth Science Research, Telephone: (757)
864-1472, E-mail: larc-nessf-Earth@lists.nasa.gov or Dolores Holland,
Program Administrator for NESSF Heliophysics Research, Planetary
Science Research, and Astrophysics Research, Telephone: (202)
358-0734, E-mail: hq-nessf-Space@nasa.gov
Contributed by: David Nail, USGS Geospatial Liaison to Indiana

WASHINGTON, D.C.—“US Topo” is the next generation of topographic maps from the U.S. Geological Survey. Digital US Topo maps are designed to look, feel, and perform like the traditional paper topographic maps for which the USGS is so well known. However, in contrast to paper-based maps, US Topo maps provide technical advantages that support faster, wider public distribution and enable basic, on-screen geographic analysis for all users.

“The public’s high regard for USGS topographic maps stretches over a century,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “Because Survey maps consistently describe our nation’s entire landscape, they are the standard mapping reference for scientists, land managers, property owners, and every variety of outdoor enthusiast.”

“So I am very pleased,” continued Secretary Salazar, “that this new type of USGS topographic map not only preserves the best qualities of older topographic maps but now, in a popular digital format, can better serve both specialized users and the general public.”

Arranged in the familiar 7.5-minute quadrangle format, US Topo maps are available free on the Web. Each map quadrangle is constructed in GeoPDF® format from key layers of geographic data — orthoimagery, roads, geographic names, topographic contours, and hydrographic features — found in The National Map, a nationwide collection of integrated data from local, state, federal, and other sources.

“The USGS has always been at the forefront of new mapping technologies, but what distinguishes US Topo is the new methodology for delivering the product to users from all walks of life,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “These digital maps can be as simple or as sophisticated as the need dictates, easily customized on the spot.”

US Topo users can turn geographic data layers on and off as needed, zoom in and out to highlight specific features or see a broader context, and print the maps — in their entirety or in customized sections — on a wide variety of printing devices. File size for each digital US Topo 7.5-minute quadrangle, about 15-20 megabytes, is convenient for most computer users. Electronic analytical tools are also available for free download.

“Everyone who learns about this new kind of USGS topographic map immediately wants to know how it compares to other electronic maps available on the Internet,” said Mark DeMulder, Chief of the USGS National Geospatial Program. “Here is how US Topo differs from most other electronic maps:

· Nationally consistent data quality assured to high standards
· Looks and feels like legacy paper USGS topographic maps but has technical advantages
· Can be used on the computer or printed to scale
· Downloadable free from the on-line USGS Store
· Users can select from various reference systems, e.g lat-long, UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator)
· Direct "mash-up" capabilities with Google Maps®
· Continuous evolution and incorporation of additional data layers.”

Further information about how to download and use US Topo, currently available coverage, and the timetable for production of US Topo maps can be found online at: http://nationalmap.usgs.gov/ustopo.

New US Topo maps for Indiana will be available in 2010

The prototype of US Topo, Digital Map – Beta, has been available since June 2009. A US Topo map includes all of the content of the earlier Digital Map – Beta plus integrated contours and hydrographic features. As the US Topo product evolves, the USGS will provide digital, historical versions of USGS topographic map quadrangles and will incorporate additional geographic data layers from The National Map.

Public feedback about US Topo will assist the USGS in improving the US Topo concept.
Send comments to: http://nationalmap.usgs.gov/ustopo/ustopo_feedback
Contributed by: Roger Koelpin, Indiana Department of Homeland Security


WASHINGTON, D.C.—Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today officially launched Virtual USA, an innovative information-sharing initiative—developed in collaboration with the emergency response community and state and local governments across the nation—that helps federal, state, local and tribal first responders communicate during emergencies.

“Our first responders need interoperable tools to make accurate and timely decisions during emergencies,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Virtual USA makes it possible for new and existing technologies to work together seamlessly during disaster response and recovery and gives the public an opportunity to contribute information in real-time to support the efforts of police officers, firefighters and other emergency management officials.”

The announcement came as part of the White House Open Government Initiative and reflects President Obama and Secretary Napolitano’s shared commitment to making government more efficient and fostering a culture of transparency, participation and collaboration.

Virtual USA links disparate tools and technologies in order to share the location and status of critical assets and information—such as power and water lines, flood detectors, helicopter-capable landing sites, emergency vehicle and ambulance locations, weather and traffic conditions, evacuation routes, and school and government building floor plans—across federal, state, local and tribal governments.

Virtual USA:
· Integrates Existing Frameworks and Investments: Virtual USA utilizes current information-sharing platforms to permit new and existing technologies to seamlessly exchange information with one another.

· Draws on Local Input: Virtual USA is based on the needs of local and state first responders to manage data access within their own jurisdictions and to share information with relevant jurisdictions across the nation.

· Employs a Comprehensive Approach: Virtual USA is not limited to information exchanges between two agencies; instead, the initiative fosters dynamic information sharing among all federal, state, local and tribal practitioners.

· Provides a Flexible, Accessible Platform: Because Virtual USA uses open data standards and open source software, more states and localities can join this information exchange project.

· Involves Everyone: Virtual USA allows Americans in their own communities to contribute information—in real-time—to support the efforts of police, fire and emergency management officials during disasters and recovery efforts.

Developed by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), Virtual USA currently operates as a pilot in eight states—Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Virginia and Tennessee—with plans to incorporate additional states underway. In Virginia alone, Virtual USA has reduced response times to incidents involving hazardous materials by 70 percent.

For more information, visit www.dhs.gov.