IGIC Newsletter Oct 10, 2011

IGIC Newsletter  Oct 10, 2011
Next IGIC Quarterly Meeting Oct 19 at 10am - 3pm, Johnston Public Library
Socializing begins at 930am.

Flood Imagery of Dubuque after Heavy Rains
Joshua McNary ( jmcnary@aerialservicesinc.com)
Aerial Services Inc, has two articles about “flood” imagery taken by ASI after the 12-15” rain in Dubuque County last summer.

Iowa 4-H and GIS
David Runneals
AMES, Iowa – Teenage 4-H scientists say they are “restoring something old with something new.” The something old is a bur oak savannah in the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge. The something new is geographic information systems (GIS) mapping using mobile phones.

The Iowa 4-H’ers are one of four teams of 4-H members in four states that are carrying out GIS mapping with national wildlife refuges, fish hatcheries or other ecological services offices, said Jay Staker, director of Iowa State University Extension Science, Engineering and Technology (E-SET). ISU Extension is leading the effort with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Kansas, Minnesota and New York also are involved in the project. The four states are sharing the $73,000 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant that funds the effort.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has stated that GIS soon will become so prevalent in natural resources management that organizations without some GIS capability will be at a severe disadvantage.
Karen Viste-Sparkman, a wildlife biologist at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, was glad to receive the call from Staker. “He was working with 4-H groups and they had a grant to work on a national wildlife refuge. We got excited about it because they wanted to do GIS work … and that’s one of the things we really need more of here,” Viste-Sparkman said.

The Iowa 4-H’ers are using GIS on iPhones to map the locations of remnant bur oak and shagbark hickory trees that have been invaded by exotic non-fire tolerant trees in the wildlife refuge.
“We have an iPhone app that talks with the ISU GIS department server, so we get real-time interaction,” said 4-H Tech Team member David Runneals. “What’s cool about this project is we actually get to use technology and that we also get out in the field to get experience.”

Volunteer 4-H leader Debbie Stevens noted the need for GIS, “but a lot of folks, especially nonprofits or governmental entities cannot afford to just hire someone. Our youth in 4-H are learning real world skills. This is a professional-level occupation now. … So not only are they having fun, they’re gaining knowledge, they’re learning technology skills, information management and personal development for future careers.”
The 4-H’ers will continue to do GIS mapping over the summer months to identify the locations of as many bur oaks, hickories and other species as possible, Stevens said. Then in the winter months when the ground is frozen, the refuge staff can do maintenance, removing dead or diseased trees as well as trees that don’t belong in a bur oak savannah.

“This GIS mapping project engages 4-H youth as citizen scientists to conduct relevant research that will have an impact for both the Fish and Wildlife Service and the 4-H’ers,” Staker said. “The Fish and Wildlife Service gets data for habitat protection, conservation, restoration and other uses. The youth get opportunities to serve their states with meaningful research. They also develop skills that could lead them to pursue degrees and careers such as wildlife biology, natural resource management, science, community planning, recreation or agriculture.”


IGIC Public Health Committee
Simon Geletta (Simon.Geletta@dmu.edu)
The IGIC health committee has a new member - Ms. Meghan Harris who is Executive Officer II - Data Warehouse Coordinator at the Iowa Dept of Public Health (IDPH). We hope to hold a teleconference to do some planning this coming November.

Des Moines Area Regional GIS
Anna Whipple [awwhipple@dmgov.org]
The City of Des Moines recently completed enhancements to the Des Moines Area Regional Geographic Information System (GIS) to support hazard identification and risk assessment. The Regional GIS participants included Polk County, Des Moines, and several Des Moines suburbs, and the project was funded in part through a FEMA subgrant. A consultant team from Indiana University, University of Iowa, and University of Northern Iowa was hired to assess local GIS data, to map hazards and assets in the region, and to develop a GIS-based
methodology for modeling vulnerability and estimated losses from hazards. The consultants and Regional GIS participants:

  • Developed quality local GIS data for buildings, infrastructure, facilities, and populations exposed to potential hazards
  • Deployed and trained on HAZUS-MH, FEMA’s standard GIS software for hazard risk assessment, and other applicable GIS analysis methods
  • Created processes for updating regional asset data from many sources and packaging the data in a HAZUS-ready format

HUD Grant Ideas
Herb Kuehne [hkuehne@cableone.net]
Several weeks ago, Jim Giglierano invited me to help him write a HUD grant that would enable IGIC to assist 16 southeastern Iowa counties in assembling a battery of GIS data that could be used for community  development planning in the region.  Jim decided that we didn’t have time to write the grant, but the idea got me started exploring other ways that IGIC might seek grant money.  Health care is huge preoccupation in our culture (who wants to die?) and ways to deliver it more effectively would probably be of interest to grant-funding organizations.  I’m currently researching about how IGIC might propose GIS work that would provide geographic data important for suggesting ways to deliver health care more effectively.   Collecting extensive geocoded data on residences, medical care facilities, pharmacies, grocery stores, and lots of 2010 demographic data might provide the kind of information that could then be analyzed.  I sometimes feel that we don’t do enough “analysis” of the data we collect.  Analysis of a complex set of data on something like rural health care delivery might really show why GIS is such a powerful tool….and why IGIC is such a great group of people, too!

Low Distortion Projections
Roger Patocka [patocka32@yourstarnet.net]
The State Land Surveyors of Iowa and the IDOT group working on LDP’s apparently reached a consensus that a 20 ppm (1:50,000) distortion design is acceptable as long as ten to twelve zones could be developed to cover the state.

This means that 20 ppm would be the maximum distortion that would be expected, however most of the LDP coverages would display less distortion.  Stated differently, most of each zone coverage would have distortions between 0 to 20ppm (between 1: infinity and 1:50,000) distortions by design. Distortions of 200 ppm (1:5000) are approximately 1’ per mile.  Distortions of 20 ppm (1:50,000) are approximately 0.1’ per mile (or 0.6’ per typical “township,” or 2.4’ per typical “county”).

LDP’s allow us to be more confident that we only have a maximum distortion of approximately 2.4’ that is attributable to grid to ground (g/g) projection across the distance mapped for a typical “county.”
The goal is to make GIS use more simple.  The value of LDP’s will be realized if we work together to publish and use parameters for these “standard” projections.

ESRI, AutoCAD, Microstation and data collector manufacturers likely will integrate Iowa’s standard LDP zones into their products.  This should allow surveyors and other GIS users to push a button to move from one projection to another without worrying about excessive distortion of their map caused by the issue of grid to ground.

Users of GIS who need precise locations for property boundaries may have needs to account for distortions beyond the designed 20 ppm LDP.  Typically, as GIS and CAD displays are zoomed in, distortions become more noticeable.  But by establishing datums that provide a 20 ppm maximum distortion attributable to g/g projection, those users will be able to develop a better sense of confidence in when these distortions can be ignored for their particular application.

Details concerning the organizational structure and finding appropriate resources to support implementation in Iowa will continue to emerge. The major stakeholders in this endeavor will likely be Professional Land Surveyors and Engineers, SLSI, ASCE, ISAC, ICEA, IDOT, NGS, IGIC, state agencies, counties, cities and private enterprise.  Have I missed anyone?

2011 USDA NAIP Imagery and 1980s Historical Orthos
Gregg Hadish - NRCS (Gregg.Hadish@ia.usda.gov)
If you haven't already added it: the 2011 NAIP is available state-wide through the USDA Data Gateway. Gregg will be working on getting these on to the Iowa Geographic Map Server soon.

Also state-wide 1980s CIR image services (ArcGIS and WMS) are available through ISU GIS Facility.

City of Johnston GIS “News-not-worthies”
David Croll [dcroll@ci.johnston.ia.us]
We have been doing extensive classification of our county’s parcel data for use in a Stormwater Utility Billing Scheme.   A summer intern was tasked to classify parcels based on Landuse and structures etc.  This will enable us to join parcels to our billing system to appropriately bill if a stormwater utility goes into effect.

Polk County Emergency Management has asked the help of the Des Moines Area Regional GIS participants in implementing a universal Grid for Polk County.   Early suggestions from the GIS constituents is that we will probably use the U.S. National Grid.   Ideally within 6 months we will have a U.S. National Grid Atlas for all of Polk County in .pdf form at a couple of different scales.  We plan to use ESRI’s Data Driven Pages functionality in 10.1 to drive semi-automated creation of the Atlas.

Work continues with the Johnston Police Department on mapping the photos taken inside schools for the Critical 360 Project using Pictometry Online.  We now have 3 schools photographed and 1 school completely online within Pictometry Online.

With 2010 Census data available, we have been using those population numbers to derive populations within Census blocks for emergency planning and evacuation routes and target marketing for bond referendums.

That’s all from Johnston

Cedar County GIS
Joshua Sales - Cedar County GIS [gis@cedarcounty.org]
We finally launched our online viewer, which helped put GIS out there a little more than before.  Most response have been positive so far.

Moreover, we picked up Spatial Analyst and I have been able to utilize toolboxes for more advanced analysis.  Much of this work has been put online via ArcGIS Online and the Iowa GIS Data Repository, including forest morphology and slope position layers.  I have been anxiously awaiting the new DNR land cover to redo the forestry analysis.

Software and Toolboxes employed to enhance our data depot:
Guidos Toolbox
Jenness Enterprises ArcGIS tools
Corridor Design
Digital Coast tools
Software by the Colorado State NREL

State Agency GIS Service Bureau
Evan Koester (Evan.Koester@dnr.iowa.gov) - (editor’s note, Evan was recently hired to work as the state agency GIS service bureau, with funding from a State Agency Pooled Technology grant through December of 2012)

The Iowa GIS Service Bureau is winding down the initial interviewing process and is starting to identify and address common GIS related needs in state government.  We have met with several state agencies and a handful of other state government groups.

Many users, previously isolated, are already taking advantage of new interagency relationships, and overall, people have been very receptive towards efforts to establish an all inclusive clearinghouse of metadata and/or data.  People have started using the GIS Service Bureau resources to find datasets, develop general or specific GIS skills, get assistance with data development, and in one case reduced a data processing timeline from three months to six hours.

Overall the project is growing in a positive direction and looks to be a valuable resource for state government in the future.

Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Jon Paoli (jonathan.paoli@iowa.gov)
2011 NSGIC Annual Conference
The 2011 NSGIC annual focused on many of the same themes as years past.  Collaborative efforts and increased communication on the Next Generation 911, addressing, and For the Nation (FTN) initiatives are the leading advocacy items for the upcoming year.   The U.S. Census Bureau discussed increased efforts to partner on addressing with local governments and is looking for the states to get more involved to help coordinate.

The NextGen 911 and Geospatial Preparedness committees were very active during the meetings.  The NextGen 911 group has put together a couple of informative handouts on NextGen 911 and coordination ideas for the states.  Iowa may be taking part in a NSGIC pilot project for Stewardship and Maintenance of Critical Infrastructure & Facility GIS data.  There are currently 8 states interested in utilizing Indiana’s maintenance application to accomplish this pilot.

Voter Geocoding Project
A unique project that HSEMD is currently working on is the Secretary of State’s voter geocoding project.  There is an obvious need to geocode all 1.9 million voters ahead of the caucus.  We are currently in discussions regarding the accuracy of the data and their overall expectations.  I have reached out to the DNR and ISU to potentially become leads on this project if funding is available.
The Next Generation 911 project for Iowa has begun.  There are 5 pilot counties yet to be determined, we are in the beginning stages of data collection.  ICIT is assisting our efforts and send out a message on behalf of HSEMD.  Data has been received from 20 plus counties.

DOT GIS moving towards asset management
Eric Abrams (Eric.Abrams@dot.iowa.gov)

DOT moving toward asset management philosophy to sustain infrastructure investment.  This philosophy asks five core questions

What is the current state of our assets?
What is the required level of service?
Which assets are critical to sustained performance?
What are the best Operations & Maintenance and capital improvement plan strategies?
What is the best ling-term funding strategy?

New GIMS system will be operational soon and next spring will be the last time DOT road network will be segmented by multiple attribute properties.  Road data will be dynamically segmented for each 30+ features.

DOT sign inventory is functioning.   See Brad C. for information.

DOT asset collection pilot is starting with a vendor.  See Shawn B. for information

Getting ready to deploy Latitude Geographics Geocortex software.

External web server to deploy after Christmas.

Quick Terrain Modeler by applied imagery Training 24-27th, we have room for a state government observer to see what the software is about.

Deployment of GPS/AVL to over 300 snow plows.  Monitor location and vehicle attributes.

DOT Strategic Plan moving forward.  Phase 1 complete, looking at phase 2 options.

Working with Jon Paoli on direct access to DOT GIS infrastructure (Oracle Spatial, LRS, ArcGIS Servers and Geocortex)

The Schneider Corporation Grows Iowa GIS Staff Jan Bowles (JBowles@schneidercorp.com)
The Schneider Corporation introduces two new members to their GIS Technical Team in as many months.  “Schneider has taken great care to develop a top notch Technical Team, says Jeff Corns, VP GIS Operations, “these folks make sure life is good by removing challenges and providing first class service for our customers.”
The Schneider Corporation announces the addition of GIS Project Manager, Jeff Lewis, to our Ankeny office.   Since 2002, Jeff has held positions as GIS Specialist, Communications Division Manager for Emergency Management, and Assistant IT and GIS Services Director…all for the Bay County Board of Commissioners in Panama City, Florida.  He is a 2001 graduate of Northeast Missouri State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Geography.  Jeff is a native Iowan and he and his family are “coming home” after living the past nine years in Florida.
We are also pleased to welcome Jonathon Mumm to the Schneider team.  Jonathon joins us as a Web Developer in GIS and works at the Ankeny, Iowa office. In May of this year, Jonathon earned his BS degree in Management Information Systems from Upper Iowa University.

Please welcome these two newcomers to the Iowa GIS Community.