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December 2008

Scanning of the 1870 and 1880 tax map books is complete; scanning of the 1890 set has begun, with uploads complete for Colerain, Flushing and Goshen Townships.  Scanning is set to resume in January.

Pictometry presented to the E-911 Board Meeting December 9.  DDTI presented at the EOC for the December 18 GIS meeting.

GIS Informational Meetings are held the third Thursday of the even-numbered months at the GIS Office in Lloydsville at 9:00 am.  Dates for 2009 are as follows: February 19; April 16; June 18; August 29; October 15; and December 17.  Mark your calendars now!

November 2008

On GIS Day, Wednesday, November 19, an update was given to the Belmont County Commissioners during their morning meeting.  Commissioners expressed support for the GIS program and its service to the community and the county.  They presented a Proclamation naming GIS Day in Belmont County and urging citizens to learn more about GIS.  The Belmont County Department of Development/Community Improvement Corporation presented a letter of support for the advancement of GIS in the county, noting its importance to economic development.  The County Engineer noted we are known statewide for our GIS efforts.  Thanks to all who contribute time, talents, support and funding to make our GIS possible!

Belmont County Commissioners presented a Proclamation naming November 19 as GIS Day in Belmont County at their regular meeting November 19.  Left to right, Commissioner Chuck Probst, Jr., Commissioner Gordie Longshaw, GIS Director Don Pickenpaugh, and Commissioner Mark Thomas.

A presentation was made to about 100 second graders at Neffs Bellaire Elementary in the afternoon, showing web mapping and familiar places.  The importance of reading, writing and arithmetic was stressed for their futures.  The excitement and enthusiasm of our young people is inspiring.

Scanning of the 1880 tax map books was completed month.

October 2008

A presentation by Pictometry was made at the regularly scheduled GIS meeting Thursday, October 16 at 9:00 am at the GIS Office in Lloydsville.  A high level of interest was generated.  A second presentation is scheduled for the E-911 Board at their meeting on Tuesday, December 9 at 5:30 pm.

Scanning of old tax map books has begun using an Epson GT-20000 scanner at 300 dpi, color.  The 1880 maps scanned so far can be viewed at .

GIS Day will be November 19 this year.  This is the 10th annual GIS Day worldwide, and the eighth year Belmont County has participated locally.

Sessions were attended at the PLSO Fall Seminar October 9-10 on Dealing with Conflict in the Workplace, Conducting Effective Meetings, Colonial Land System and the Building of America, and Ethics.

September 2008

The Cumberland Trail Genealogical Society invited me to speak at their evening meeting September 8 at the St. Clairsville Library.  This was a follow-up to a presentation I gave March 10 on the layout of the Old Seven Ranges and how this framework is the basis for rural house numbering in Belmont County.  This month's topic was GIS - Part 2 and covered joining attribute data to geographic features for mapping and analysis.  The importance of the accuracy of both tabular data and feature mapping was stressed, as both are needed for good results from analysis.  Examples given were the creation of addressing data, finding the largest buildings, finding the nearest address to a cemetery, and determining which cemeteries are in strip mined areas.  A buffer along the interstates showed 24% of county addresses within one mile and 41% of addresses within two miles of I-70 and I-470.  A preview of flood inundation mapping using OSIP LiDAR data was also shown.

The annual Ohio GIS Conference was September 10-12 in Columbus.  OSIP imagery and elevation data for the North Zone is now downloadable by tile at The Ohio Valley Chapter of PLSO is planning a four hour seminar for Friday afternoon, November 7 at Theo's Restaurant in Cambridge with speakers from the Ohio Attorney General's Office on the topics of bankruptcy, environmental law and real estate issues.  The Fall Seminar of PLSO was held October 9-10 in Mason, Ohio.

August 2008

The Belmont County Floodplain Regulations are included in the Commissioners Journal of February 2, 2005.  A copy has been excerpted from the Journal and posted here as a reference.  The annual Ohio Statewide Floodplain Management Conference was held August 27-28 in Columbus and included a session on "Sedimentation Study in Wheeling Creek - Implications for Mitigation Action" in Belmont County.  Some pictures of the September, 2004 flooding were requested from USGS for this presentation, and are posted here.  One conclusion reached was that there was "little change in stream bed elevations between 1987 and 2006 in the dredged reaches - dredging was durable in this instance."  USGS will post their report online "soon" at .

July 2008

The Belmont County GIS Department extends its deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Jack A. Hamilton, Professional Surveyor, of Piedmont, Ohio.  His untimely, unexpected and sudden death on June 28 occurred just two days after he attended his last Ohio Valley Chapter PLSO meeting at his office June 26.  Jack's company, Jack A. Hamilton and Associates, Inc., performed the ground control survey work for Belmont County's aerial missions in 2001 and 2006, as well as mapping many tower locations for E-911.  He was one of the founding members of the Professional Land Surveyors of Ohio over 30 years ago.  Jack believed in the role of the Professional Surveyor in society and defended it repeatedly and vigorously.  Jack attended the OGRIP Outreach Forum in October, 2007 at Belmont County's EOC and explained the role of ground control in aerial mapping.  His death leaves a void in the  surveying community and we will miss his expertise and professionalism.

June 2008

The GIS Department received kudos at the June 17 meeting of the noon St. Clairsville Rotary Club.  A large realty firm mentioned how they use the GIS web site in their daily work.  I then gave the members an update to changes in the web site since last speaking to them in October, 2005.  Many positive comments were received afterwards.

An ArcReader application was released at the regular GIS meeting June 19.  Summer student John Ruskowski presented the mapping program to about 15 people.  Five copies were distributed to the Health Department, Union Township, Emergency Operations Center, City of Martins Ferry, and Engineer's Office for evaluation.  The program includes imagery from 2001 and 2006.  Suggestions will be evaluated for incorporation into the next release.  Summer student Matt Robinson stated the digitized direction of municipal centerlines is complete and he is working on left/right designations for the towns.

At the GIS meeting the Board of Elections announced their new web site at  Also the Engineer's Department is scanning tax maps for the annual update to the web; see the Tax Maps page for status of uploads.  The health department continues to enter septic permit data into a spreadsheet and is back to the 1970's.  The EOC is having a tabletop mock disaster June 24, and has already used recently installed GIS software and data for creating maps for a missing person search.

Ohio URISA is conducting a LiDAR Workshop June 24 and 25 at Columbus State Community College; the next OGRIP Forum is an outreach meeting in Clinton County June 30; and the monthly Ohio Valley Chapter PLSO meeting is June 26 at Hamilton & Associates, Flushing.  The NIMS 300 class was attended June 12 and 13 at the EOC.

May 2008

Summer students have begun their jobs in the GIS Office.  Two students are being provided this year.  John Ruskowski is working on ArcPublisher and ArcReader applications for use by those needing GIS mapping but who do not have a licensed copy of ArcView or AutoCAD Map.  Emergency services on the road could use this for finding addresses.  Matt Robinson is working on checking the direction of roadway segments in municipalities.  This is a continuation of township road editing he performed during the year-end break.  He will also work on address ranges for municipal streets with help from data from the Board of Elections.  Thanks to the efforts of these students, the work of the GIS department will be enhanced.

The Ohio Land Records Modernization Conference on May 20 included sessions on the Ohio Treasurer's parcel database,  public records law, dealing with difficult people, foreclosure and forfeiture, and parcel mapping initiatives.

2007 OSIP imagery for the south zone of Ohio will likely be made available later in the summer with the addition of watermarks to indicate the imagery did not get through final QA/QC steps before funding was cut at the State level.  Ohio URISA announced a workshop on using LiDAR data for June 24 or 25 at Columbus State Community College.  See their web site at for more details.

April 2008

Data for the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) was shipped to the Detroit Office of the US Census Bureau.  A comparison was made between their addresses and the county's addresses in preparation for the April 1, 2010 Census.  Over 9,300 edits were made to their file in an eleven week period.  Municipalities who participated directly in the program themselves included St. Clairsville, Martins Ferry, Powhatan Point and Brookside, and their data was not checked by the county.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Soil and Water Conservation, has provided a two shapefiles to the Belmont Soil and Water Conservation District showing much of the strip mined areas in the county.  As a service to the public, Belmont SWCD has requested that the files be added to the GIS website.  The mapping may be viewed at the Aerial Mapping section under the Group Header "Strip Mined Soils."  The layer labeled "ODNR C&D Permits" features a tool tip showing the mapping unit symbol as follows:

Map unit symbol legend:
MUSYM     Map unit name
BahB          Borrow above highwall, gently sloping
BahD          Borrow above highwall, steep
BbcB          Borrow below coal, gently sloping
BbcD          Borrow below coal, steep
SmsB          Strip mine spoil, gently sloping
SmsD          Strip mine spoil, steep
SmsE          Strip mine spoil, very steep
UmlB           Undifferentiated mined land, gently sloping
UmlD           Undifferentiated mined land, steep
UmlE           Undifferentiated mined land, very steep
Water          Impounded water


The metadata in xml format may be viewed here.  The data was prepared under the supervision of the Belmont Soil and Water Conservation District with funding provided by them, the Belmont County Commissioners, Belmont County Auditor and ODNR.

A second layer called SSURGO Spoil Soils includes previously surface mined areas and also features a tool tip showing the MUSYM.

The user should use caution as not all strip mined areas may be included in this mapping, and its accuracy is approximate, based on scans of coal company permit maps submitted to ODNR over the years.

March 2008

Plat books for Belmont County are now available at the Belmont Soil and Water Conservation District Office in Barnesville.  Cost is $12.00.  Phone number is 740-425-1100 x3.

February 2008

The Professional Land Surveyors of Ohio held their Annual Conference in Cleveland, Ohio February 7 and 8.  Sessions attended covered Basic Geodesy, GPS and Business Image, including business, email and cell phone etiquette.  There are 31 GPS satellites in orbit, virtually eliminating the need for mission planning.

Work on the Local Update of Census Addresses is the focus of the GIS Office.  The county addresses are being compared to the address point list of the Census Bureau and updates are being made by Census blocks using software provided by the Census Bureau.  There are over 4,800 blocks in Belmont County, and many errors are from addresses being in the wrong block.   The deadline for completion is April 4.

January 2008

The digitized direction has been edited to agree with the house numbering direction for township road centerlines by a college student during the semester break.

OGRIP's LBRS addressing and centerline data for Guernsey County, our neighbor to the west, is available for download at .  The data has been used for maps for the Barnesville Fire Department.

The Ohio URISA and OGRIP Forum meetings took place January 28.  A workshop for this Spring on 3D Geospatial is in the planning stages by Ohio URISA.  OGRIP reports about all the 6 inch pixel and 9 county 1 foot pixel ortho imagery is processed from the 2007 OSIP flights.  Imagery may be available on the web by mid-April.  48 counties are participating in LBRS, with 9 more in the MOA stage.  Data has been accepted from 34 counties.  An informative presentation was given by USGS on "Ohio and National Map Issues".  Next month's topic will cover K-12 GIS Corps activities.


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Last modified: 04/30/17