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IndianaMap wins international award for open-source data innovation

Website wows judges with more than 300 layers of statewide data – census figures, wetlands, railroads, and more

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The IndianaMap, an interactive collection of Indiana geographic information system (GIS) map data, has been named one of the most innovative in the world, thanks in part to experts at Indiana University.

Earlier this month, the IndianaMap received the award for best open-source data integration at the international 2014 Free and Open Source Software 4 Geospatial (FOSS4G) Conference in Portland, Oregon. This annual event is the world’s largest gathering focused on open-source geospatial software. Featuring more than 300 layers of useful statewide open geospatial data – including property boundaries, census figures, voting districts, wetlands, railroads, geological fault lines and more – IndianaMap provides Hoosiers and local governments with a platform for sharing this data. (Geospatial data is defined as any type of data that includes location as an attribute.) 

The project is the result of a partnership between the Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute's Research Technologies division, the Indiana Geological Survey, the Indiana Geographic Information Council and the Indiana Geographic Information Office.

"The IndianaMap benefits Hoosiers in every corner of the state by supplying up-to-date information on a range of features, from crop distributions and streams to parcel boundaries and statehouse districts – via a website with free data downloads," said Scott Michael, manager, IU research analytics. "It’s an incredible honor to win this award from our international GIS colleagues, and we are grateful for the recognition."

Michael’s team manages the Indiana Spatial Data Service, which give online access to aerial photos, topographic maps, and historic imagery of Indiana – all of which feed into the IndianaMap. Web feature services are harvested monthly from counties and assembled as statewide layers and distributed through the IndianaMap. This data-sharing partnership has resulted in near statewide coverage of parcels, address points, local jurisdictional boundaries and street centerlines.

"IndianaMap is the most comprehensive, state-based geospatial data resource in the nation," said John Steinmetz, director of the Indiana Geological Survey and state geologist. "From its beginnings in 2000, IndianaMap has been a cooperative venture between the Indiana Geological Survey and Research Technologies to serve up enormous data sets, for free and to anyone who’s interested. The FOSS4G award is well-deserved recognition of the hard work we’ve invested in this resource over the years."

"What’s great about the IndianaMap is that anyone and everyone can use it," said Justin Peters, IU principal GIS analyst. "For example, homeowners can use it to see if their property is in a flood plain and political scientists can analyze demographic data within legislative districts and other governmental boundaries. The map is a model of a state, county and local data-sharing initiative that really works."

Philip S. Worrall, executive director of the Indiana Geographic Information Council, said, “For over a decade the IndianaMap partners have made hundreds of unique layers of authoritative statewide geospatial data easily and freely available to everyone. It's a great honor to have IndianaMap recognized by the members of an international organization like FOSS4G.”

In addition to the FOSS4G honor, the IndianaMap was recently recognized as a "Notable Government Document" by the American Library Association.

For more information about GIS and geospatial technologies at Indiana University, attend this year’s GIS Day event on November 19 at the Herman B Wells Library.

About Indiana University Research Technologies

Research Technologies is a division of University Information Technology Services that serves IU's research and scholarship missions through computation, storage, and visualization facilities and support. RT works to enable new possibilities in research, scholarly endeavors, and creative activity at Indiana University and beyond.