Interactive GIS Tool for Regional Planning and Economic Development

Transportation statistics and other information is more readily available for regional planners.

GIS data is typically maintained by organizations within individual states. Differences in data format and other issues prevent easy sharing and merging of different data sets, making it difficult for regional planners to get a comprehensive look at GIS information that crosses state lines such as interstate transportation. Researchers and students at CIVS have worked together with the Alliance for Regional Development, NIRPC (Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission), the PCRD (Purdue Center for Regional Development), and others to combine data from Northwest Indiana, Northeast Illinois, and Southeast Wisconsin and create an interactive map for more effective regional planning and economic development.

3D Visualization for Urban Planning and Development

University Park Simulation showing an intersection.

Purdue University Calumet and the City of Gary have partnered to apply GIS simulation and 3D Visualilzation for economic development and city planning of the Univeristy Park area. The CIVS research center uniquely integrates advanced simulation and visualization technology for analyzing data, parcel and zone planning, and for the support final implementation the city’s key development areas.

Vehicle Routing Visualization


A system whereby emergency response personnel could effectively manage relief package delivery to households affected by flood disasters in Lake County Indiana was desired. One of the essential components required of the system was a means to visualize disaster affected areas, package delivery points, and optimized routes for package delivery. Additionally, a secondary system for calculating optimized routes on a supercomputing cluster and a method of transferring data sets to and from the visualization component was needed.

Visualization of Regional Development Authority of Past and Proposed Projects

Figure 1. The Marquette Plan, the RDA’s regional restoration project.

Since 2005, the Regional Development Authority (RDA) has funded several projects throughout the Northwest Indiana and Chicago-land areas that have had major positive impacts throughout the region. These projects have been made possible with funding from the State of Indiana, and in order to show the success and tremendous community impacts that the projects have had, RDA turned to CIVS to create a short informational video highlighting the return on investment as well as the positive impacts on regional communities.

Simulation and Visualization of an Airport Expansion Plan

Draft overlay showing the proposed runway and taxiway extensions img2

The Gary/Chicago International Airport is planning an expansion to extend the main runway and increase capabilities of the airport. The expansion is expected to attract new business to the region and promote future economic growth.

A major issue with the expansion is a 15-foot-high railroad embankment located near the northwest end of the runway. A portion of the railroad must be relocated to meet safety regulations and to accommodate the longer runway. Simulation and 3-D Visualization have been identified as tools to aid in communicating the project to the public.