April can be a strange month for high school seniors. The weather isn’t quite warm enough to make them dream about an upcoming summer of freedom, but with graduation just around the corner, some get a serious case of “senioritis” and don’t want to do much work at all.  That wasn’t the case when a senior AP Geography class from Northmont High School visited the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC) in Dayton, Ohio, on April 27, 2016. They were ready to learn about MVRPC and how Geographic Information Systems (GIS) integrates into planning.

Northmont High School is located in Clayton, Ohio, and serves 1770 students from the communities of Clayton, Englewood, Phillipsburg and Union, in northern Montgomery County.  Twenty-four (24) students and their teacher, Mr. David Jones, were welcomed by MVRPC’s Executive Director, Brian O. Martin, AICP, via Skype, as Mr. Martin was out of the office, on business, in Columbus, Ohio.  He explained the overall function of MVRPC, outlined the counties served (Darke, Greene, Montgomery, Miami, Preble and parts of Warren County in Ohio) and the three main focuses of planning – transportation, environmental, and land use. Referencing the students’ bus trip they took to get to the agency, Mr. Martin explained that bridge and road funding, the roads and highways on which they just traveled, are made possible due to MVRPC working with local jurisdictional members.  Using transportation alternatives, such as cycling on any of the 330+ miles of paved bike trails in the Region, or riding a Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority’s “next generation” hybrid buses, are also made possible due to MVRPC’s coordination with member jurisdictions. Several of the students commented that they have a bike trail near their school and use it frequently.

Mr. Martin also touched on the structure of MVRPC explaining that he has about 75 “bosses,” the Board of Directors.  Mayors, councilmembers, business leaders, and university representatives comprise the Board and work with him to implement the agency’s mission and vision. Together, they make decisions about funding and policies that impact the Region as a whole. In closing, Mr. Martin suggested they check out the agency’s website,, for more information on the agency and specific topics.

MVRPC’s Director of Regional Planning, Mr. Martin Kim, took over the presentation and peppered the students with a series of questions about what they had just learned from Mr. Martin.  After the first student responded correctly and received a giant candy bar as his prize, the others quickly followed suit, answering question after question correctly.  They were definitely listening!

The students were then broken down into five groups and each group was matched with an MVRPC staff member who uses GIS on a daily basis. The staff members spoke about a variety of applications including analyzing crash data and depicting high crash areas on a map, reviewing Census data to create maps outlining vacant property locations, calculating and mapping impervious surface cover at the sub-watershed level, and serving MVRPC member jurisdictions that don’t have GIS skills or expertise to do what needs to be done.

Several students asked “Why did you study GIS?” or “How did GIS help you find a job?” Each staff member answered honestly (e.g., “I’m a self-proclaimed computer nerd and I love how data comes together to help validate a decision.” and “I saw how planning and GIS went hand-in-hand especially when it comes to legal rights of land owner and development of land. Plus both skills made me more valuable to an employer.”).

The students gathered one last time as a full group to report back about what they learned from talking with staff members. Mr. Kim introduced more specific definitions of GIS and how it helps to facilitate better decision-making, expands public participation, and most importantly, how data compiling and analysis can help planners formulate scenarios and make recommendation.

Mr. Kim introduced Mr. Tom Harner, MVRPC’s GIS Coordinator. He mentioned that when he was in college, which would be “pre-GIS,” his geography programs included lots of Mylar, ink and exacto-knives in order to map what was needed. Over his 17 years of being with the agency, Mr. Harner has seen GIS evolve tremendously. He introduced the students to the  Data & Mapping section of the website which houses a considerable amount of data that will come in handy for future school projects.

Overall, the students said they enjoyed themselves and were surprised at the many uses for GIS.  Perhaps in a few years, one of them will be working for MVRPC.

For more information about MVRPC, please contact Executive Director, Brian O. Martin, AICP, at 937.223.6323 or go to

Article By:

Laura A. Loges

Director of Marketing & Public Affairs

Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission

10 N. Ludlow St., Suite 700

Dayton, OH 45402-1855

Martin Kim quizzing student Students interview Regional Planner, Julie Black Students interview GIS Specialist-Regional Planner, Kathryn Youra Polk Northmont High School AP Geography students GIS Coordinator, Tom Harner, explains various GIS applications Brian O. Martin welcomes students via Skype



MVRPC is compiling information on recreational assets in the Miami Valley Region. It has already compiled a great amount of information but is requesting important assets you have in your community.

MVRPC is planning to share the information you provide through a web mapping application by the end of June. ...continue reading MVRPC seeking recreational asset data

The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC), in partnership with SWOGIS, conducted a regional GIS needs assessment during the summer of 2015 as part of MVRPC’s Regional Geospatial Coordination program.

At its October 26, 2015 SWOGIS Steering Committee meeting, MVRPC shared 4 potential projects that were identified through needs assessment to begin further discussion and solicit feedback on how to advance these projects.

The information presented below is a general scope of each project, which MVRPC discussed with SWOGIS Steering Committee members at its January 29, 2016 meeting.

SWOGIS_Regional GIS Project Proposal Scope_MVRPC_041816

The Southwest Ohio GIS (SWOGIS) User Group has recently appointed Anthony Pagan as the new leader of the group. The group, which has over 200 members, was founded in 2010 out of a desire to provide GIS professionals in the region an avenue for communication. SWOGIS shares data, ideas, expertise, supports the efforts of State organizations, strengthens GIS relationships across the spectrum, and educates all on benefits of GIS.

Anthony currently works at Clark County Auditor’s Office as an IT Manager. He has 12 years of experience in GIS and IT management in the Greater Dayton area. Anthony is succeeding Mark Yandrick (City of Centerville), who is currently Vice-President of the Ohio Chapter of Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA).

Patricia Moehring (City of Lebanon), Tom Harner (MVRPC) and Mark Yandrick (City of Centerville) will be giving a SWOGIS Presentation at the 29th Miami Valley Planning & Zoning Workshop, which is held Friday, December 4 at Ponitz Center at Sinclair Community College. Registration closes for the all-day event on Wednesday, November 25 and you can find out more about the workshop here.   Encourage members of your organization that may be attending this event to learn more at this presentation. ...continue reading SWOGIS Presentation at 29th Annual Miami Valley Planning & Zoning Workshop

To celebrate GIS Day, the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC) will showcase several map displays at our office, 10 N. Ludlow Street, Suite 700, in Downtown Dayton, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., on Wednesday, November 18, 2015. If you find yourself downtown, please stop by to talk GIS with MVRPC staff.

Come join SWOGIS and other user groups at 5th Annual Statewide User Group Meeting.   The event is Tuesday, Sept 22 starting at 5:15pm at Park Street Cantina in Columbus.   Stay afterwards for Ohio URISA Mappy Hour where there will be discussion and a geograph quiz.  Bring your smartphones.

To RSVP, click here.

GIS Technician/Project Manager
City of Tipp City
The City of Tipp City, Ohio seeks qualified applicants for the GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Technician/ Project Manager position. Under the administrative direction of the Deputy Director of Municipal Services & Engineering, the GIS Technician/ Project Manager will maintain, update, and create GIS data for Water, Sewer, Electric, Streets, Parks, & Engineering within SDE environment. Will lead GPS field data collection, Support Field Crews with GPS mobile units/data collection, Create & maintain ArcGIS applications & services, assist in non-GIS projects and tasks. Bachelor's degree preferred in geography, engineering, urban planning, or public administration with one (1) year experience working with ESRI suite of products (ArcMap, ArcEditor, ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Server) or; any equivalent combination of education, experience, and training which provides the required knowledge, skills, and abilities. Preference given to those with local government experience, engineering/inspection experience/interest. Excellent oral & written communication skills a must. Valid Ohio driver's license required at appointment or within six months. Position will start at 20.51/ hour. Submit resume & cover letter to Timothy J. Eggleston, City Manager, Tipp City Government Center, 260 S Garber Drive, Tipp City, OH 45371. Deadline to submit resumes is September 18. For more information go to EOE.

Registration is open for the 25th Annual Ohio GIS Conference, which will be held Sept 21-23 at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio.   Don’t miss this outstanding opportunity to be part of the largest gathering of GIS professionals in Ohio.   In addition to presentations, there are workshops and networking opportunities available.   If you are a GIS professional or your company provides GIS services, products, hardware or software, you need to be here. Register today!

For more information, registration and proposed agenda:

When:  Thursday, July 30, 1pm-3pm

Where: Montgomery County Administration Building, 451 W. Third St. Dayton, Ohio.   Event in Auditorium, On Lower Level.   Parking available in parking garage, accessible from 2nd Street

1pm:  A Look Into How Organizations Use GIS
(15-20 Minutes/Each)
City of Centerville (Mark Yandrick)
Montgomery County Auditors (Henry Edds)
Miami Conservancy District (Barry Puskas)

2:30pm:  Discussion/Feedback on OGRIP's change in County Profile System to include all organizations and ESRI's Open Data site solution.