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News 2004

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December, 2004

Early in the year we supplied road centerline mapping to the U.S. Census Bureau.  The Bureau recently sent a report stating that the accuracy of the centerlines from the aerial mapping is more than sufficient for their use.  They plan to incorporate the photogrammetrically-derived data into their TIGER files in the future.

A project to edit centerlines has been completed by Draft-Co.  When originally mapped, the lines were continuous without respect to political boundaries.  Now the centerlines are broken at county, township and municipal boundaries.  This allows attributes to be assigned more accurately to indicate jurisdisction (state, county, township, municipal, private) of roadway segments.  ODOT’s city and township boundary files were used in the project.

An upgrade to the MobileMapper GPS unit has been received which allows postprocessing of GPS data.  The Jaymar DMI has been installed in the Blazer, and a test video made of CH 84.  The red LED shows up much better than the black LCD of the Nitestar, and its visibility is less affected by the sun’s brightness.

The deed parcel transfer database program has been completed by Ken Mayer, formerly of dBASE, Inc.  A few glitches that cropped up during testing have been corrected, and testing continues.  The intent is that the data can be joined to parcel polygons.  Import from text data and export for web tables were added, as well as a rollback function for parcels whose transfer was initiated but not completed to the point of recording.

November, 2004

Road centerlines have been broken at political boundaries so attribution can be done by jurisdiction.  The parcel transfer database program has been written and is now being tested in tandem with the existing program.  A presentation on shape files was given at PLSO's joint Ohio Valley-Muskingum Valley Chapter meeting in Cambridge October 28.

On November 10, the Belmont County Commissioners issued a resolution declaring November 17 GIS Day in Belmont County.  Commissioners noted the part GIS played in mapping recent flooding events from the aftermath of storms Frances and Ivan.  “This is an ever-evolving system,” said Commission President Ryan Olexo.  “More and more each day, we’re seeing how the use of the GIS can be a benefit to us from a multitude of different standpoints.”  Newspaper articles noted the event in the Martins Ferry Times Leader and Wheeling Intelligencer the next day.

On November 17 local school officials were invited to the GIS Office in Lloydsville for a demonstration of addressing data and school district boundaries available on the web.  Ten people from seven schools attended the meeting, and they felt the material presented would be helpful in their daily responsibilities.  They were given a plot of the school district map and CDs containing aerial photography and various GIS data layers.  Several people stopped in during the afternoon for maps of their properties.

October, 2004

Belmont County was recognized with an Honorable Mention at the annual Ohio GIS Conference September 29-October 1 for OGRIP's Best Practices Award.  We are astonished and grateful to have received this acknowledgement.  Lake County, Stark County and Madison County were the top three winners.  High consideration is given to those applicants pursuing an "enterprise-wide" approach to GIS collaboration and data sharing.

Maps have been plotted of areas most hit by flood waters from last month's rains.  Detailed maps with house numbers, road names, contours and orthos were used by building inspectors hired by the county to evaluate the degree of damage to residences.  Requests for parcel mapping with data-linked attributes have been received from the Army Corps of Engineers, Muskingum Watershed, OGRIP and others.  For now we can only offer tabular parcel data and scanned tax maps.

ODOT is adding more stations to its CORS network.  New sites in Monroe County and Jefferson County will help future GPS in Belmont County.  Data will be downloadable from the NGS web site when the newer stations are operational, probably within a matter of weeks.  ODOT is reviewing options for offering Virtual Referencing Station (VRS) data live over a cell phone to mobile GPS receivers for an annual user fee.  This technology was demonstrated at the PLSO Fall Seminar October 7-8.  Also, the data for the two CBN stations in Belmont County (observed May, 2003) is now on the NGS web site.  Station names are Lloydsville and Nelson.

September, 2004

Centerline attribution has continued with the help of summer student Adam Duvall. Road names have been added to state and township roads and most municipal streets.  State road centerline segments have been checked for proper sequencing and end-matching, except SR 7.

A contract was approved for rewriting the DOS-based parcel transfer program to dBASE Plus.  Forms have been developed and are being tested for searching, transferring, splitting and combining parcels, as well as history reporting and data importing and exporting.

Parcel history has been tracked for the last seven years, and this data has been added to the web.  The parcel number for a particular parcel has been hyperlinked to show any transfers in that time period.

Rains from Tropical Storm Frances hit the area September 8 and from Tropical Storm Ivan September 17.  Widespread flooding occurred, resulting in loss of homes, and severe damage to public roads and waterlines.  The GIS Office was called upon to determine how many buildings were affected by flood waters.  Some areas were flown by chopper the morning of September 18 and pictures from this flight were used to estimate the high water mark.  Other areas were driven to record the approximate high water boundary.  Polygon shapefiles were created of affected areas in which buildings were located.  The building polygon layer was intersected with these areas, and it was found that 2,262 buildings were affected, with either minor or major damage, or destroyed.

August, 2004

Voting precinct maps have been reviewed by the Board of Elections office and have been edited for corrections and returned.  A preliminary school district boundary map has been created and provided for review.  Updated addressing data has been obtained from E-911 and uploaded to the Aerial Mapping page of the GIS website.  The Engineer’s Office has scanned all 1200-plus tax maps and these have been pdf’d and uploaded to the web, replacing the scans first uploaded last summer.  Road and street names are being added to the centerline shapefile.  County and state road names are roughed in, with work progressing on township and municipal records.

OGRIP Forum presentations were attended in June and July.  Topics covered were road centerline mapping in Fairfield County and the City of Lebanon’s storm water utility mapping.  The annual Ohio GIS Conference is coming up September 29-October 1, and PLSO’s Fall Seminar October 7-8 is featuring a CORS update by NGS and ODOT, plus sessions on GIS for the surveyor.

July, 2004

Over 9,100 centerline segments have now been labeled with ODOT's ID number.  Of these, 1,770 are county road segments, and these have been given sequence numbers for each individual county road.  Over 1,900 centerline segments in municipalities have been linked to ODOT's data, and of these, over 500 have been given sequence numbers.  All of this is due to the diligent work of summer employee Erik Brown.  In related work, township maps were plotted showing all Class X roads and distributed at a Belmont County Township Association meeting July 1, where the County Engineer and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney explained the new non-maintained road status made possible by HB299.

AutoCAD MapGuide 6.5 has been received.  This will allow the county more flexibility in maintaining data on the Aerial Mapping page of the web.  An upgrade to Adobe Acrobat 6.0 has been received, and a test program downloaded from Layton Graphics that embeds coordinates and attribute data into pdf files.  3Com network NJ-90 jacks have been installed to increase connectivity to computers in the GIS Office.  ArcMap9 and AutoCAD 2005 upgrades have been received.

June, 2004

Belmont was one of five counties participating in a presentation at the Summer Conference of County Commissioners and Engineers June 14.  The topic was about scanned documents on the web.  The aim of most counties was to make survey plats easily available.  Our aim was to make recorded plats and tax maps available.  Representatives from Medina, Clinton, Union, Defiance and Belmont Counties took about five minutes each to detail how maps are scanned and indexed.  Question and answer followed, covering file formats, software, resolution and web services.

On June 15 Stu Davis, Administrator for Enterprise Shared Services of the Ohio Office of Information Technology, presented the status of GIS in Ohio.  A county-by-county survey was performed last year, and results have been summarized.  Maps are available for viewing at http://das.ohio.gov/itsd/ess/Ogrip/countyprofiles.htm.  The survey shows 41 counties with an operating GIS, 19 implementing GIS, two planning, five contemplating, eight with no GIS, and 13 not responding.  Counties with imagery number 55, and 29 have centerline and/or addressing data.  Two counties have more than 15 GIS staff, while four have 6-8 people, 11 have 3-5 people, seven have two people, and 24 have one person.  As far as GIS data available via the web, 25 counties do so, three are implementing, three are planning, and 16 are contemplating.

Our centerline work is progressing, with over 7,000 of 22,101 road segments now labeled with ODOT’s ID number in county and township roadways.  Work on more specifically labeling county roads is now taking place.  Cleanup will take place later, as in determining where mapped road centerlines cross county, township and municipal boundaries.  Addressing data continues to be entered for municipalities at 911.  Aerial photos taken in 1973 have been scanned by the Engineer’s Office, and this will make a 50+ year spread available from 1950 to 2001.

May, 2004

Addressing data has been added to the web!  A search text box has been added in the upper right area of the screen at http://www.edrawings.com/belmont/html/.  You can enter a partial address here, and matches are displayed at the lower right area of the screen.  You can then select a specific address and zoom directly to that house.  Clicking a detail link will show the township in which the address is located.  Also, zooming in on the county map will turn on house numbering data that is displayed as the mouse pointer hovers over a building.  Data for municipalities will be added during the course of the summer.  Thanks to Jason Davenport of Draft-Co for setting this up!

The Guernsey County Map Department was host to the Ohio Valley Chapter PLSO meeting April 22.  Their county was flown April 15 at a 100 scale, half-foot pixel resolution, color.  LIDAR data was captured for two foot contours; this will be processed later.  Tax map conversion of 37,000 parcels is being done in-house using AutoCAD Map.  Two townships are done so far.  A scanner/plotter with touchscreen features allows plotting of desired areas.

The Coshocton County Engineer’s Map Department hosted OGRIP’s Outreach Forum April 26.  Tax maps are being digitized in-house for the 22 townships and 39,000 parcels using ArcInfo.  Aerial orthophotos at 1”=400’ are being used as a base.  About 19 townships are complete, with municipalities to be tackled later.  Some water and sewer mapping is being done for the City of Coshocton, which has lines extending outside the corporation.

A vehicle has been obtained for the GIS Department.  A 1993 Pontiac generously provided by the County Engineer will be replaced by a 2004 Chevy Blazer acquired from Cervelli Motor Company for $22,073.00.  Thanks to the County Commissioners for approving this purchase from their annual contribution to the GIS Department.  The vehicle will be used for GPS work and travel.

Last week a summer student started.  Erik Brown of St. Clairsville has completed one year of a Computer Science major at Kent State University.  He is working on roughing in road centerline attributes, and is doing an excellent job.  Thanks for your help, Erik!

April, 2004

Maps showing addressing in Martins Ferry have been completed and taken to E-911 for data entry.  Data for Somerton, Temperanceville and New Lafferty have also been submitted.  Now all municipalities have been covered, as well as all townships in the county.  So far over 20,500 entries have been made to the house numbering table.

The next major task is to attribute centerlines.  Discussion has begun with ODOT’s GIS Department concerning labeling public road centerline features.  ODOT is involved in a project with Fairfield County on this same topic.  During the addressing work, some buildings and centerlines were discovered to be missing from the base mapping, and Kucera is working to correct these areas at no extra cost to the county.

On March 18 the Ohio Department of Health presented updates to septic installers at an evening meeting at Belmont Technical College.  The Belmont County Soil and Water Conservation District briefly demonstrated SSURGO mapping from the newly released ODNR CD.  The CD shows soils properties such as drainage, slopes, prime farmland, hydric, septic, along with soil map units.

CDs were provided to the townships at the Engineer’s annual township meeting April 15.  Information includes addressing, centerlines, soils, wetlands, slip areas, all scanned tax maps of the county, surface mined areas (C & D permits), ODOT roadway inventory, abandoned rail, and scanned township street maps.

Paper maps of voting precincts in municipalities have been received from the Board of Elections.  This is being added to township precinct data received earlier.  Digital mapping in shape file format and printed form are being provided to the Board of Elections Office for review and checking.

April 18-24 is National County Government Week.  This year’s theme is “Transportation: Counties Move America’s People and Products.”  For more information, see the National Association of Counties’ web site at www.naco.org.

This year CEAO has renamed the former Tax Map Conference to the Ohio Land Records Modification Conference.  It will be on May 18-19 at the Marriott North, Columbus.  See the Conferences page at www.ceao.org for more details.

March, 2004

Maps have been marked up with addresses and taken to E-911 for the Village of Bellaire.  Work is well underway on maps of Martins Ferry.  Boundaries of C and D surface mine permit areas in Belmont County are now available on ODNR's GIMS web site.  Word is that A and B permit areas will be coming soon.  ODNR also launched an interactive web site for underground mine mapping.

February, 2004

Mapping of addressable buildings progresses.  Maps have been marked up with addresses and taken to E-911 for the municipalities of Morristown, Yorkville, Powhatan Point and Shadyside in the last month.  That leaves the corporations of Bellaire and Martins Ferry to go, plus troubleshooting problem areas countywide.

Annual software subscriptions have been renewed for ESRI, Autodesk and dBase products.  Two computers have been acquired and will be set up for training people to use GIS data.  Digital soils data SSURGO mapping has been received from ODNR through the Belmont Soil and Water Conservation District.

The 29th Annual Conference of the Professional Land Surveyors of Ohio was held in Cleveland February 5-7.  Sessions covered topics on FEMA flood maps, photogrammetry, ethics, software, ALTA surveys, copyrights, contract law, confined spaces and GIS/LIS.  About 30 representatives from County Engineer’s Offices across the state were registered, plus around 170 people from other federal, state and county agencies, municipalities, universities and businesses.  A speaker from Charlotte, NC mentioned the whole state of North Carolina has been mapped with LIDAR, producing two foot contours.

February 16-22, is National Surveyors Week.  Surveyors must have an appreciation for the historical development and layout of the United States, and also keep active on the frontier of today’s technology and methods.  Questions loom as to the surveying credentials of people in the GIS and photogrammetric areas.  Implementation of continuing education requirements for surveyors and engineers in Ohio seems a certainty by 2007.  In Belmont County there are 25 registered land surveyors.  For a listing, see http://www.ohiopeps.org/search.html.

January, 2004

Mapping of addressable houses is continuing.  All rural house numbers have been roughed in, except for Temperanceville and Somerton.  Work is now proceeding in municipal areas, with the thought of cleaning up problem rural areas later.  Maps for each municipality have been plotted, with color digital orthos, street centerlines and building polygons with their corresponding record ID numbers.  Scanned tax maps are then used to determine the lot numbers and owners for each improved parcel.  Taxing information, and, if necessary, phone books are consulted to determine the property addresses wherever possible.  The address number is written on the plotted maps.  These maps are taken to E-911 for entry into the house numbering database.  Work is underway in Powhatan Point at this time.  Maps have been taken to E-911 for Flushing, Belmont, Bethesda, Brookside, Bridgeport and Holloway.  St. Clairsville’s data has been entered and is complete.  Some work has been done in Martins Ferry and Bellaire, with Yorkville, Shadyside and Morristown yet to be tackled.

A handheld GPS unit has been acquired to assist in locating new houses and driveways.  The Thales MobileMapper contains a data card for saving recorded locations.  Shape files, such as those for addressing and road centerlines, can also be uploaded to the unit for display.  The unit is WAAS enabled and claims an accuracy of two to three meters without post-processing.  A Schonstedt magnetic locator has also been added to the inventory.

The Bureau of the Census in Detroit has asked for our road centerline mapping data.  The data will be used to improve the accuracy of their TIGER files.  Updated soils data from ODNR should be available later this winter on their web site.  Also, a preliminary digital flood insurance rate map (DFIRM) has been received from PBS&J for review.

About 88 percent of local governments with populations between 50,000 and 100,000 people (that includes Belmont County) use GIS technology, according to a study sponsored by the Interior Department and conducted by Public Technology, Inc.  County use is slightly higher than city use, 72 percent versus 64 percent.  GIS applications have become integral resources in various local functions, including public works, financial, public safety and economic development.

 

 

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