Thursday, April 26, 2007

Report about Geospatial Information Systems Trends, Data Sets, and Software from the 2007 Annual Indiana GIS Conference

I recently attended the Annual Indiana GIS Conference in Indianapolis, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Conference Center on March 6-7, 2007. The conference included workshops centered on changes in the 2010 U.S. Census, the updated National Hydrology dataset, Digital Elevation and Digital Surface Models, and the Public Land Survey System tie-card project.
Shorter length sessions were offered for a variety of subjects, such as the new Oblique Aerial Photography, library-based Interdisciplinary GIS, Development of the GIS Atlas for Indiana, Flood Map Modernization, and an assortment of other trends and projects going on in Indiana.

Particularly important sessions that correspond to services offered in the University Libraries’ Geospatial Resources and Map Collection were on Oblique Aerial Photography. Delaware County is in the process of obtaining a grant that will fund the purchase of new Oblique Aerial photography of the entire county.

So exactly what is oblique photography? Oblique is the technical term used to describe an aerial photograph that is taken at an angle. This means that a feature such as a house, a building or an overpass can be viewed in its entirety. This does not just mean you can see one side of the building; rather, you can rotate the image and see the front door, back door, and both sides as well. This view is familiar to most users and provides for almost instant 3-D modeling.

An oblique image can also be geo-referenced, so that GIS data such as streets, hydrology, and parcels can by layered over it. Our Geospatial Resources and Map Collections will obtain a copy of these aerials when they are available from Delaware County for the BSU and local community.

Delaware County orthophotography is already our most requested dataset, and the new oblique photography holds the promise of being a valuable addition to our increasing in-house GIS data. The Urban Planning, Architecture and Landscape Architecture students and staff are likely to be the most interested in using the oblique imagery for site-plans, building designs, and urban planning projects.

As always, this year’s Annual Indiana GIS Conference was a hot-bed of new ideas with conversations about trends that are occurring in the GIS world. There was also exciting news about powerful new resources for GIS professionals and persons who use GIS media tools. I anticipate that the information and details I learned about available GIS datasets and their applications will prove to be very useful for our students and faculty who use the Geospatial Resources and Map Collection, located in Bracken Library on the second floor.

For more information, contact Angie S. Gibson, Ball State University Libraries’ Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist, Geospatial Center and Map Collection,, (765) 285-1097.

This newsletter article first appeared in The Library Insider 5(4): 8; April 2007.

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