At the beginning of summer, the Village of Lincolnwood contracted a company to record video of the entire sewer system to find areas that needed to be upgraded and fixed. During this project, the Village’s Geographic Information System (GIS) was brought in to provide support by creating detailed maps depicting all manholes and gravity mains in the combined sewer system. Analysis was then done to create an address for each manhole. This was accomplished by using a specialized tool in the GIS to find the nearest address point to each manhole.
After the data and video had been collected, it was sent to the GIS Specialist for review. At this time it was determined that the video could be integrated into a map, so the end user could simply click on a manhole to see video of that particular stretch of sewer main. Once a manhole was clicked, a pop up would show data for that specific entity. A video also would be embedded into the popup with the user having full control. A link to a PDF report containing all information collected by sewer televising company is also provided.
This is a new way to provide information that would usually be a product by itself. The ability to embed the video will greatly reduce the Village’s time in finding which video belongs to what manhole. By directly linking the video to the manhole village staff can easily locate which video they would like to see.
One of the latest Geographic Information System (GIS) developments in Oak Brook has been the creation of a community Zoning Map and Street Map. It was requested that the existing village Zoning Map be created within the GIS Department as a color map depicting the zoning boundaries as well as the proper zoning classification. While the zoning map is driven by the local community, the street map is more of a GIS Consortium (GISC) standard map product. The street map provides a good basis for future mapping products in that much of the fundamental community information is present. These maps have been completed by incorporating many layers of information that have been formulated since the inception of the program.
As mentioned previously, the zoning map requires the creation of zoning boundaries with their respective zoning types displayed according to a proper color scheme. The former zoning map was referenced to be sure that all of the previous map elements were incorporated such as the historical Graue Mill area, revision list, legend and effective date. New elements were also added including address numbers and a table descibing each zoning district and its provisons. The street map incorporates important places, recreation areas and trails throughout the community. A street name index was also created which can be very useful for an individual who is not familiar with the village as it provides a grid number of where to find a given street in the map.
Other than the layout of the map itself, the data used in both maps helps to give them a consistant look and includes the street names, roadways, neighboring communities and address grid. Rather than having these maps made at separate times during the fiscal year these two maps are created at a similar time making it easier to consider what message each map communicates as well as the similarities that would persist between the maps.
There have been a number of map reviews resulting in the final products. These maps are currently being distributed throughout the village and can be provided as either a hard copy that is printed at almost any size desired, depending on printing resources, or electronically in an image format such as a PDF that is viewable with Adobe Reader. All data layers within the map have been stored in geographic databases that allow for continued use, modification and additions. The map layout has also been saved so that it is available for future map production which allows for the underlying data features within the existing map to be updated while the layout remains the same.
In conclusion, it is important to note that wondering where you are in town or what zoning district a property falls under are questions that are asked everyday. Moreover, by having the essential tools such as accurate maps to answer these questions the efficiency of the village staff’s daily workflow can be enhanced greatly.
Every year the Village of Norridge requires its resident’s to purchase a sticker (permit) for each owned vehicle. This sticker allows the resident to park on village streets without receiving a fine. The village keeps track of each sticker purchased each year and requested that the GIS department map out each address and find which households had not purchased a sticker for 2009.
Using GIS, each address corresponding to a vehicle sticker was mapped out showing which households had not purchased a sticker. The data was then filtered by displaying which households had purchased a sticker the previous year but had failed to purchase any stickers for 2009. This gave the village a potential list of residents who had either gotten rid of their vehicle or had failed to purchase a new sticker. Using the address list created by GIS, the village was then able to create a mailing list to send a letter to each resident informing them that the village had no record of them purchasing a village sticker.
Using GIS, the village was able to determine who had failed to purchase a vehicle sticker for 2009. By sending each resident a letter, the village would be able to save the offenders from needless parking violations and make sure they recoup a majority of their cost in printing the stickers.
More often than not a local community has a need to notify their residents when a large event is about to occur. Whether it is a fourth of July fireworks display or a street closing for a street festival, residents deserve to know when something is going to affect them and the neighborhood around them. For the Village of Morton Grove the act of notifying residents has been practiced in many ways but it was not until the implementation of the Geographic Information System (GIS) that a simpler method came to fruition.
By using the tools located within the GIS, notifications that normally took a few hours could now be completed in only a few minutes. With the ability of the GIS to house all addresses within the village as well as the proper tools to apply a buffer from the location of the event, the old methods of manual measurements could now be retired.
A typical situation may involve the Police Department who is concerned with the flow of traffic around such a large event as well as keeping the streets free and clear within a specific distance of the event. From there the request is made to the GIS Department to select all addresses within a one hundred foot buffer of the streets that have been assigned to be closed during the event. Buffering the closed streets by one hundred feet will ensure that all residents on both sides of the street are aware of the “no parking restriction” and thus forth, keep the streets clear during the event. Once the GIS has applied the one hundred foot buffer and then selects all of the addresses within the buffered area, these addresses are then exported to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. In addition, this excel spreadsheet can eventually be used in a mail merge in order to create printed address labels that will be applied to the notification letters.
Although the processes of dropping fliers in a mailbox or knocking on the doors of residents still works to notify them of something important, it is rather time consuming and may be difficult to handle. Moreover, manual measurements on a map to retrieve all addresses within a certain distance can be highly inaccurate. But by using the tools within the GIS, much of the time consuming hard work and error possibilities can be avoided. Thus, displaying a simple solution to a fairly complex operation.
As was described in the August 2009 article, a Village of Riverside master address database was created in the Geographic Information System (GIS). This database was generated from several sources including water billing, permits, fire inspections, and business licenses. Each address follows the United States Postal standard format and is represented geographically by a point at the location of the addressed structure or property.
Another standard used in GIS is an address range. Address ranges are represented by line features usually along the centerline of a roadway and store the sequence of addresses on the left and right side of the line (traditionally odd versus even addresses or vice versa). These ranges are designed to match the addressed buildings as well as provide for an estimate location of theoretical addresses between actual ones.
An address range can assist in address numbering in cases where undeveloped land is subdivided and addresses need to be created. But most often this resource is used for emergency support in which services are dispatched to a location that is provided by an individual making an emergency call. Emergency response could be delayed if dispatch relied only on actual addresses because there can be miscommunication between the call center personnel and those making the call. If the address provided does not match an actual address the address range can be referenced and provide the estimated location of that emergency to ensure a timely response.
The standard that has been applied in Riverside is to break these address lines at all intersections. This provides for yet another locating option - to search for an intersection of two roadways rather than an address. A block, intersection to intersection, ideally consists of one hundred addresses but this type of address ranging usually exists only in grid structured city centers. Therefore address ranges are very useful for areas that do not follow a grid.
Locating by address, address range, or intersection introduces many options by which to search for a place and each has their use or support for one another. A user of this information simply needs to understand how they benefit from each of these tools and apply them.
In 2003, the village of Wheeling created a bike map plan highlighting the areas of the village that would be best suited for bike paths. Although a few of the paths were created, much of the plan was never fully implemented. In 2009, the village planner decided to create a new village bike map that would take the best aspects of the previously created map, but add in more logical and cost effective bike paths.
The main goals for the new bike map plan would be to create paths that would link paths from neighboring townships, allowing a biker to travel in and around the surrounding areas, and to make sure the created paths would be as cost effective as possible. The village planner contacted the surrounding communities and obtained their bike maps. This allowed him, by using GIS, to create a map with the surrounding community’s paths, and then connect the existing village bike paths to them. By using GIS, the village planner could now plot where exactly the new village bike paths should go, and then estimate the cost for a particular section. In one proposed section, the street is wide enough to paint a bike path on one side. By calculating the amount of round surface area, the cost of painting the street can be estimated. This cost can then be compared to other proposed types of routes and the most cost effective route can be chosen.
Although the plan is not finalized, GIS allowed the village to plan a more logical bike path system. By connecting existing paths to paths in surrounding communities as well as existing village locations i.e. village hall or the aquatic center, residents will be able to travel through the village and to surrounding areas as easily and safely as possible.
Of all the services provided by local municipalities around the world, public safety is arguably the most recognizable and widely supported. Everyone wants to feel that they are safe and that someone will respond to assist them in the case of an emergency. The Village of Winnetka traditionally has provided fire, EMS, and police protection to its residences since it was established, however, over the years, these Village departments have started to provide service to additional areas immediately outside the village boundaries through a series of public service contracts. To assist with coordinating response efforts in these service agreement areas, the fire and police departments asked the village GIS department for assistance.
While several of these contracts are for police services in unincorporated areas south of the village limits, the fire department has the added responsibility of providing service to the Village of Kenilworth, a small municipality located southeast of Winnetka. For years, this area has either not been mapped or has been poorly mapped, making it difficult to plan efficient response routes. To help resolve these issues, the GIS department created several data layers for Kenilworth that allow for more effective response mapping.
Since the Village of Kenilworth is not part of the GIS Consortium, much of the base data for this area was provided by Cook County, including roads, parcels, and an initial street address range line. The other information used to develop this data, such as individual addresses and street names, was provided by a combination of the Winnetka fire and police departments. Using these two sources, a Kenilworth street name table and an initial address database were developed. While these two data layers do not complete the Kenilworth dataset, they allow for additional information to be developed in the Village database, such as a more accurate street address range feature class.
While this service area data is being developed to assist the overall public safety efforts of the Village of Winnetka, ultimately, the police and fire department will use it to accomplish different goals. For the police department, since they provide response assistance to Kenilworth and, often, travel through the village when responding to calls in other communities, the street address range data will be inputted into an existing CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) system to provide responding officers with both village address ranges and information on how the streets are aligned to help improve response times. For the fire department, since they are the primary response agency for Kenilworth, the individual resident and commercial property addresses are critical for pinpointing the exact location of an emergency call. A detailed map of Kenilworth, including streets, parcel lines, and individual addresses, will be created to provide the department with accurate property information prior to going out on a call.
For both departments, the data developed by the GIS system will help to improve their ability to respond more efficiently and with more certainty regarding the location of an emergency call. This leads to better public safety services for the Village of Kenilworth and a more reliable system for the Village of Winnetka in responding to an emergency event.
The Village of Glenview contains several sidewalks that require annually maintenance and also too, plowing during the Winter months. Public Works Supervisor Joe Rizzo requested a map that would display 5 zones of evenly distributed sidewalks (square foot) for each zones. Utilizing the power of Geographic Information System (GIS) the sidewalks were analyzed and evenly distributed into 5 zones. The GIS Department designed a map displaying the location for each sidewalk, 5 zones, which zone each sidewalk was in, and a table showing each zone’s square footage of sidewalk. A digital copy of this map is located on the village’s shared network drive.
Supervisors and maintenance workers can use this map to identify where all sidewalks are located, where each zone is (for assigning work), the ability to quickly print (in case of emergencies) and how much square footage of sidewalk is in each zone. The map allows for them to more effectively and efficiently maintain sidewalks, which equals saving time and money. The map can easily be adjusted if new sidewalks are constructed and or removed.
Supplying the map in digital form and placing it on the villages shared network drive allows them the ability to quickly access and print it at anytime.
Understanding the trends of what is happening in the housing market is difficult to do especially if you are not in the realty business. Houses may be sold, rented or even more dramatic, torn down in order to build a new one. In this article we will focus on the part of the housing market that at times can have an impact on a local community, housing demolitions.
Unless you are out driving the streets everyday it may be tough to locate all of the homes in a community that have been torn down. For this difficulty alone, it makes analysis a tough thing to do and investing in permitting software a wise purchase. At the City of Park Ridge, like many other community governments, they have had a permitting application in place for many years in order to help them keep track of important construction operations that require permits. But how do you analyze all of these records spatially in order to know if there are any trends in this part of the housing market?
This is where the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department was able to lend a helping hand. The ability to retrieve records from the permitting application in the form of an address and knowing what type of permit was issued (i.e. single family demolition) was a strong step in the right direction. By having a simple common denominator in the form of an address allowed the two departments to work with each other and better yet, allowed these addresses to be displayed spatially on a map. By using a tool called geocoding, the GIS was able to search a street centerline data file and locate where an address falls on a particular street within a specific block. Once these addresses were converted into a true geographical location they could then be represented on a map allowing city engineers and building officials to begin analyzing the trends that are happening on the streets within their community.
Whether it is flooding do to land grade variations or an excess amount of water runoff in the sewer system from increased residential impervious surfaces, housing demolitions may play a role. Without being able to locate these areas and compare them to other community problems they simply remain as records in a database rather data that can be analyzed spatially in relation to other geographical features (i.e. sewer lines, houses with more green space).
Overall, it is very important for a community to see the big picture in order to identify where problems have occurred and where new ones may arise in the future. Moreover, it is also worthy to note how multiple departments can work together at identifying these problems in the first place so that they plan more affectively for what be coming on the road ahead. In this case, the Building Department, Engineering Department and the GIS Department will all benefit from working together at a common goal of meeting the needs of the community they serve.
The City of Highland Park Department of Community Development Planning Division is in the process of creating a new master plan for the continual development of the Central Business District. Building mass is one of the issues currently under review for this plan. Building mass is the study of size, height. and volume of buildings within an area to gauge the density of commercial and residential use with in that particular area.
The Planning Divisions wants to understand how existing the distribution of mass with in the current structures relates to the overall area of the Central Business District. Of Special concern, are areas that contain low densities of building mass. It may be important to determine if the current building mass distribution under serves these areas. Building mass is also a tool for ensuring that development is occurring equally throughout an area. This avoids situations such as having a downtown with historically low structures ringed by towering condominiums or office buildings.
The Planning Division met with the GIS Department to determine what tools were available to analyze building mass. They determined that using ESRI’s Arc SceneTM application provided the best option. The GIS added all the required layers and extruded the features to create a 3D model. The image shown on the right displays a sample of the final product. As the reader will note it easy to see the mass of each building and quickly locate areas of low building mass. Because the terrain model provides the base elevations, one can even see how the relief of this area affects the building heights.
By using GIS, the Planning Divisions received a good visual product that is useful for visual analysis and as a graphic supporting a report. They are also able to look at building mass in ways that are impossible with paper maps.
Transportation projects can fall under several different categories, from new road construction and pavement resurfacing to bike lane development and railroad crossing re-grading. One common theme among all these project types is the amount of planning that is required to successfully execute each one and minimize the effect each will have on traffic flow in and around the project areas. To assist with this process, the City of Des Plaines engineering department utilized the city’s GIS program to develop numerous transportation data layers and products that allow for a more coordinated departmental approach.
The ways GIS can be applied to a transportation project can vary depending on the content and scope of the work involved. In some cases, the system can be used before a project begins to help plan the overall approach through the use of project area maps, analysis of how different components interact with each other, and data layer development. In other cases, the data or products produced can be developed once a project has began and data has been collected from the field or provided from completed work.
Over the past several months, the engineering department has used GIS in both aforementioned circumstances to implement numerous transportation initiatives. Examples of these initiatives include planning a city bike network, the re-designation of downtown parking spaces, and the development of a city ordinance-based snow route map. The city’s GIS system allowed the department to view necessary information for each of these projects together, spatially, to help make more informed decisions. For example, by viewing the city’s road and controlled intersections data layers together, the department was able to effectively develop a plan for city-wide bike routes that fits with a more regionally planned bike network. Using a geographic approach helped to provide a more comprehensive view of the potential routes, and the impediments along those routes, to help optimize the project plan.
By taking this geographic approach to project management, the City of Des Plaines engineering department has become better prepared to efficiently handle new project requests. By having a spatial inventory of the existing transportation-related features in the city, the department can quickly generate maps to assist with project planning or add new information to the data to display a current problem or situation. While using GIS is not absolutely necessary for transportation project management to be successful, using a geographic approach to share information about a project plan, or the progress of an existing plan, greatly improves coordination and efficiency by providing a medium that can be easily understood by all parties involved. This helps to save time and money that is often spent on developing revised project plans and holding additional meetings to explain a project’s progress.
Village employees continually review their current parking layouts within active business districts so they are confident that they are providing their residents with the best services possible. If the village does not provide ample parking within shopping sectors of town, it can easily fall victim to decreasing consumerism and complaints from business employees who need a long-term location to park while they are at work.
The Geographic Information System (GIS) Department of the Village of Glencoe has began to utilize its valuable resources to map out the current parking lot and space layouts in order to create a base for analyzing future parking plans. By using the aerial photography that the village purchased in the past and other resources, the GIS Specialist was able to make out most of the street parking spaces and parking lot layouts. The ability to quickly access accurate aerial photography and use it in-house is allowing for the majority of the parking inventory model to be done without going to the field. From there, all of discernable spaces were then drawn into a geographic database. Once all of the data for the parking model is created, field survey maps will be generated to depict the current parking layout. These maps will be used to identify parking lot, space, and street parking designations. Once completed, this will allow village officials to activity review, plan, and make proposed parking improvements within the village based on highly accurate data. The completed model will also allow staff to review statistical data including total number of permit spaces, handicapped spaces, and other regulated lots and spaces.
GIS will be able to provide new maps that detailed the alternate parking layout proposals. These proposals can be used by the village to make decisions demonstrating how GIS can be utilized within local government. The ultimate goal of this program is to use GIS technology to help answer valuable questions related to the services that the village provides for its residents and visitors.