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News 2009

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This is where we'll announce what's happening in Belmont County GIS.  The most recent information is listed first.  See news from prior years for a historic review of the status of GIS in Belmont County.

December 2009

Hardware and software has been provided to the Captina Creek Watershed Coordinator for mapping, and a contract has been approved for parcel conversion for that portion of the watershed in Warren Township.

The Census LUCA Feedback review is complete for non-municipal areas (did not have time for municipal review) and appeal data for several hundred addresses sent to the Census Bureau for their consideration.  This was the main topic of the GIS Informational Meeting December 17.  Keep Belmont County Beautiful announced the addition of two recycling drop-off locations for the public - Barkcamp State Park and Neffs Fire Department.

The Winter Conference of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio and County Engineers Association of Ohio was held December 6-9.  Engineers were treated to a presentation by Jim Williams, PS, on the original land subdivisions in Ohio.  Morgan County received high remarks for their county highway map which shows original subdivision boundaries well.  County Engineer Fred Bennett was recognized as County Engineer of the Year by CEAO.

Belmont County Engineer Fred receives the County Engineer of the Year award December 8, 2009 at the CCAO/CEAO Winter Conference.

Presenting the award is Fereidoun Shokouhi, Champaign County Engineer, and 2009 President of the County Engineers Association of Ohio.


November 2009

GIS Day was November 18 this year, and the Belmont County Commissioners once again issued a GIS Day Proclamation during their regular meeting.  The Commissioners and County Engineer were complimentary of the GIS program in the county and in our presence across the state.  A presentation was made that evening at the Belmont-Bethesda-Morristown Rotary Club.  Earlier presentations had been made to the Barnesville Kiwanis on October 19 and the Barnesville Elementary Second Grade on October 22.

Proud Participant in GIS Day

Belmont County Commissioners presented a Proclamation naming November 18 as GIS Day in Belmont County at their regular meeting November 18.  Left to right, Commission President Chuck Probst, Jr., Commissioner Ginny Favede, GIS Director Don Pickenpaugh, and Commissioner Matt Coffland.

Census LUCA data has been received for our review.  A demonstration of the Topcon GRS-1 GPS unit was held November 3 at the GIS Office by GeoShack.  John Parkinson will become the head of the Belmont County team for future Connect Ohio activities.

October 2009

The Professional Land Surveyors of Ohio held their Fall Seminar October 8-9 in Girard, Ohio.  As of the first night, about 240 were in attendance, with an expected attendance of 150.  The first session on GPS emphasized the lack of standards and procedures in the compilation of much of the GIS data that exists today.  This is the same message that I have been "preaching" for years.  Other sessions attended included current issues in surveying, the Connecticut Western Reserve, GIS and GPS equipment options and decisions, machine control and imaging station, and more.  The State Board of Registration noted the number of registered engineers and surveyors dropped from about 35,000 to 27,000 when continuing education requirements became effective, but the numbers are going back up.  There are some cases of continuing ed and Certificate of Authorization issues.  Look for PLSO to be offering more content online with a new website in the next few weeks.

Notice was received from the US Census Bureau that LUCA addressing data will be sent within the next few weeks for our review.  The Bureau also released 2009 shapefiles this month for download from the web.

Updated tax map scans have been uploaded for the municipality of Martins Ferry.

The Ohio Chapter of URISA is holding a workshop Friday, November 6 at ODOT Central Office's Auditorium on Integrating Civil Engineering and GIS/IT Disciplines.  This month's OGRIP Forum presentation was by ODNR on using LiDAR data for mapping karst areas in western Ohio.

September 2009

A form was submitted to the US Census Bureau to participate in their new building survey.  This allows us to add buildings that have been built since their canvassing operation earlier this year.

Current tax map scans have been uploaded for Mead and Wheeling Townships, as well as scans for the old Richland Township tax map book.

A representative from the Harrison County Engineer's Office has agreed to attend our next GIS Informational Meeting on October 15.  It will be interesting to hear what they have been doing.  Their LBRS data was delivered this month.

Though attendance at this year's Ohio GIS Conference seemed a bit sparser to some, the figures were about the same as last year's.  There were 31 maps in the Map Gallery, one more than last year.  Attendance was 351 which included 251 pre-registered, walk-ins, speakers, vendors, staff and moderators.  OSIP data for the southern tier of Ohio is now complete, and I was able to bring home an external hard drive with 2007 imagery, LiDAR, and DEM's.  The tif format imagery has been compressed to sid's and is now in use at E-911 and has been copied to the GIS server.

ConnectOhio resumed meeting, holding a seventh meeting at Belmont Technical College September 30.  A new field rep for southeast Ohio was present, as well as the field rep for northwest Ohio.  They promise a technical plan by the end of October.  They want locals to form teams (who?) for availability and adoption purposes.  The need for rural broadband was once again highlighted by Bel Tech, noting students have difficulty performing assignments without an Internet connection of sufficient speed and quality.  Those attending were from Bel Tech, OUE, Soil and Water, Darkhorse Wireless and GIS.

August 2009

The US Census Bureau continues to work on ways to increase response to next year's census.  For the latest 2010 Census communication strategies and timing, click here

A study by Pear Analytics has found that most of Twitter content is "pointless babble," with only 8.7% of tweets rated in the "pass-along value" category.

LizardTech has introduced new software for compressing raw LiDAR files to MrSID Format.  Their free GeoViewer 4.0 will read the compressed files; expected is an update to ESRI ArcMap to read the new sid files, also.  This software will be reviewed in light of possible flood inundation mapping.  This will be a topic at this month's GIS informational meeting, August 20, 9:00 am at the GIS Office, Lloydsville Garage.  (Informational meetings are held the third Thursday of the even-numbered months at this same time and location and are open to the public.  Topics covered so far this year include LBRS, linear referencing, and creeks and watersheds.)

Updated tax map scans have been uploaded for Goshen sections and lots, and the municipalities of Powhatan Point and St. Clairsville.

The annual Ohio Floodplain Management Conference is set for August 26-27.  The Ohio GIS will be September 16-18.  Ohio URISA is planning a November workshop on Integrating GIS and CAD.

July 2009

The Belmont County Sanitary Sewer District is looking in to adding a latitude/longitude value to its water meter database.  This would enable them to read meters by radio and a notebook device without having to physically visit each meter.  The service addresses have been linked to addressed building outlines for most of these records so the centroid latitude/longitude values can be incorporated into their database.  Hopefully this will be close enough for most meters.

At CEAO's annual Traffic Engineering and Highway Safety Conference July 23-24, sessions covered no passing zones, reflectivity, crash locations and other GIS related topics.  Ohio URISA held a "What's New in GIS Technology Day" July 23 at ODOT central office.  The Ohio Valley Chapter of PLSO toured historic Ft. Steuben July 23.

The Clean Water Restoration Act, Senate Bill 787, would remove the word "navigable" from "waters of the United States."   This change is opposed by NACo, AFBF, and others.

ConnectOhio announced the resignation of the Ohio's Southeastern Field Director who had led ConnectOhio meetings in Belmont County.  It is uncertain when a future meeting will occur or what the status of the report to the Commissioners is which was promised last month.

June 2009

A shapefile of named creeks and streams can now be downloaded from the Planimetrics page.  OMEGA is forming a Broadband Committee of 20 people, one from each OMEGA member county and city.  Belmont County has formed a Complete Count Committee for the 2010 Census.  View a map of the census tracts for Belmont County here.

The sixth ConnectOhio meeting took place June 23 at Belmont Technical College.  Bel Tech has completed a listserv for future email communications.  An availability project will be developed and a report presented to the Commissioners.  Libraries are being used heavily for broadband Internet access, including students who cannot complete online classes using dial-up at home.  We have to "find the hook" to get more people interested in computers and Internet in the home.  For example, farmers could sign up for programs online instead of traveling to an office to do so.

May 2009

ConnectOhio's fifth county meeting was held May 26.  There were still problems with email notifications.  Statistics show about a 40% penetration of broadband usage in Belmont County, with the statewide average being 55%.  For a sustainable broadband effort, 75%-80% usage is desirable.  The group was challenged with identifying causes for low computer and Internet usage, and what can be done to increase this number.  The next local meeting is slated for June 23.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued the most recent report on rural broadband, providing key insights into next year's national broadband policies as it pertains to development of rural broadband. Entitled "Bringing Broadband to Rural America" the report is also a valuable resource for any organization planning on applying for NTIA and RUS grants in the next few months. To view the full report, please click here.

Ohio URISA has formulated a recommendation for three workshops for inclusion in the Ohio GIS Conference coming up September 16-18.  The Chapter also announced at its May 18 meeting that it is planning a "GIS New Technologies Day" for July 23 at the ODOT Central Office auditorium, and is planning a November workshop on integrating civil engineering into GIS with a focus on CAD.  The OGRIP Forum, also May 18, featured a speaker from Columbus on mapping impervious surfaces for stormwater management.  Area of impervious surface in square feet divided by 2000 equals one ERU.  The Ohio Land Records Conference took place May 19 and featured a keynote on the cadastre, plus sessions on state plane coordinates and panels on parcels and handling questions the public asks.

Union Township tax map scans from the 1914-1960's era are now online.

National County Government Week (NCGW) — held the first full week in May — is an annual celebration of county government. First held in 1991, National County Government Week raises public awareness and understanding about the roles and responsibilities of the nation's counties.  This year's theme is "Greening Our Future" according to information on the National Association of Counties (NACo) web site.

A fourth meeting of the ConnectOhio group was held May 5 at Belmont Technical College (Now Belmont College - 2012).  Due to another series of email glitches and erroneous data on the ConnectOhio "Calendar of Events" web page, attendance was once again low.  Belmont Technical College agreed to provide a listserv for emails.  Next meeting is set for May 26, same time and place.  Discussion centered around where broadband is needed in the county, based on Census population density mapping and current penetration, and how existing MARCS and 911 towers could be used.  The GIS Office submitted a draft request for improved broadband connectivity at its office and at county and township garages to improve highway management functions.

April 2009

The Engineer's Office has begun scanning tax maps for 2009.  Hyperlinks for maps uploaded so far will be shown in red on the Tax Maps page.  Also, Washington and York Townships have been added to the 1914-60's scanned tax maps, making 11 of 16 townships done so far.

A third meeting of the ConnectOhio group was held April 7 at Belmont Technical College.  Due to an email glitch, attendance was somewhat low as many did not receive a reminder.  Next meeting is set for May 5, same time and place.

The Governor signed an Executive Order April 9 establishing a statewide Complete Count Committee to impress on every Ohioan the need to be counted in the 2010 Census.  The Governor stated, “It is critical that we have an accurate count of every individual living in Ohio.  We are encouraging all Ohioans to actively engage in this important process.”  To see the Press Release and text of the Executive Order, click here!

March 2009

The OGRIP Forum this month provided opportunity for Stu Davis, Executive Director, to cover HB 420 which codified OGRIP and charged them with the task of mapping all state owned properties in Ohio.  Stu emphasized that the "county is key for data integrity" in a cadastral program, and that a "consistent focus on quality and 'getting it right' is critical."  The county parcel number could be maintained as is, so there is no need for a statewide parcel numbering system.  Ohio is in the top three in data sharing, thanks to the public records law.

Old tax map books scanned by summer students in 2008 are now online at for nine of the 16 townships.

OMEGA's meeting this month featured a speaker from the Ohio Department of Development about the 2010 Census.   The official census date is April 1, 2010.  This time a short form only will be used, as opposed to both short and long forms in 2000.  This form has 10 questions, and will be mailed or delivered to households during February-March of next year.  Want to get a preview of what the form looks like?  Click here!  Children are the most under-counted in the Census.  The Census count will be important in Ohio in determining the future of up to three Congressional seats. A state website is being set up at

Governor Ted Strickland has signed a Proclamation recognizing March 15 - 21, 2009 as National Surveyors Week.

Need to get rid of old furniture, appliances, car tires or batteries?  Keep Belmont County Beautiful, the Jefferson-Belmont Regional Solid Waste Authority and several townships have scheduled spring community clean-up events for March through May.  For a map of event locations and dates, click here.  Hours for each Saturday's collection are 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Scanning of additional pages for the 1870 tax map books is complete.

A second meeting of ConnectOhio was held Tuesday, March 10 at 4:00 pm at Belmont Technical College's Horizon Hall.

February 2009

Scanning of the 1900 and 1910 tax maps is nearly complete.  Some loose ends are being worked on.

Funds have become available for the 2007 OSIP imagery project to be formally completed for the south zone of Ohio.   The program is being removed from suspension, and the 5 southern Ohio counties not flown in 2007 will be flown this spring. Imagery may be available by late summer.

The Ohio Land Records Conference is set for May 19.  A planning meeting was held Feb. 20 and preliminary ideas were proposed such as records retention, scanning, where to find records, state plane coordinates, paper to digital conversion and questions the tax map office gets asked.

The Professional Land Surveyors of Ohio held its Annual Conference Feb. 12-14 in Columbus and included a session by OGRIP.  The Belmont County EMA has scheduled an Emergency Operations Center Training Course for Feb. 26 from 9:00 am-4:00 pm at the EOC.  OMEGA's Feb. 25 meeting will feature guest speaker Tom Reid of Reid Consulting about broadband penetration in Appalachia.  Click here for meeting particulars.  Also on the broadband theme, a kickoff meeting was held Feb. 17 by ConnectOhio at E-911 and was attended by numerous people from health care, education, libraries, agriculture, business, government and others.  The next meeting is set for Mar. 10.

January 2009

The 1890 tax map scans are now online.  Scanning of 1900 tax map books has begun, with Flushing, Goshen, Kirkwood and Mead Townships now online.  FEMA training was held two days this month at the EOC on advanced incident command scenarios (G-400).  The City of Columbus water department presented at this month's OGRIP Forum in Columbus on standards for digital drawings.  If consultant drawings received do not meet the City's spec, they are rejected until corrected to ensure consistency and uniformity.  The City experiences those who complain and try to avoid compliance, wanting to do their own thing, but remains firm in its stance for the overall benefit.


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Last modified: 04/30/17