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Hal Kibbey

Deborah DeChurch
Indiana Geological Survey

Last modified: Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Indiana Geological Survey to create digital atlas of state

NOTE: Publication-quality illustrations for this release are available by e-mail on request. Contact Deborah DeChurch at 812-855-1941 or

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana Geological Survey, an institute of Indiana University, recently received a grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation to create a computer-based atlas for the state.

Known as a Geographic Information System, the atlas of digital maps can present information on a variety of themes such as geologic features, mineral resources and areas of environmental sensitivity. The themes can be assembled by a user in any order, creating a custom map to suit specific needs.

The Indiana Department of Transportation plans to use the information to aid in transportation planning. The information also can be used in rural and urban planning, environmental assessments and business development.

"It's a powerful way of delivering all kinds of information. We're taking information, standardizing it and compiling it into a database, making the data more readily available and easily manipulated," said project director Denver Harper.

"The Indiana Geological Survey has already laid much of the groundwork for producing a statewide digital atlas. Last fall, we completed a GIS for southwestern Indiana. We're expanding that successful project to the rest of the state," said IGS director John Steinmetz.

IGS researchers will work with the engineering and environmental consulting firm Bernardin, Lochmueller and Associates to obtain data from state and federal agencies and other sources. The information then will be edited and processed into a standardized format. IGS will make the data available on its Web site ( and on CD-ROM. The Web version will consist of interactive maps that allow the user to zoom in to an area of particular interest and extract information about various features.

Researchers initially will focus on compiling data on geology, biology, history, caves and karst, hydrology, geologic hazards, and infrastructure of the state. Additional data will be added throughout the two-year duration of the project.