In 2008 the GISC published the document, "Valuing Geographic Information System (GIS) A Decision Maker’s Perspective" which analyzed GIS from a cost savings perspective. That is, what cost savings can accrue to an organization with a GIS program? Cost savings is derived by comparing business process efficiency in an organization with (and without) a GIS program. The estimates provided use conservative assumptions. The results represent a reasonable and supportable basis for demonstrating cost savings with GIS. The first edition of this document outlined eight general areas where the introduction of a GIS could save communities money and improve efficiency. In the second edition outlines two additional areas for communities to save with the implementation of a GIS.
The second edition comes to the same conclusion as the first edition, that GIS saves money, the amount varies by organization. This paper illustrates that cost savings is directly proportional to the utilization of the program. The more the system is used the more value it generates. For this to occur there needs to be a top-down incentive to utilize the system. This includes maintaining a reliable system and providing the necessary resources and training to support that system. In addition to supporting traditional local government processes in a more efficient automated format, GIS can generate significant cost savings and value to the organization. The second edition estimates that GIS can save a small community $67,858 dollars annually and a large community $274,758 dollars annually.
In conjunction with the Annual Board of Directors meeting on November 6th MGP has authored the "2009 Annual Board of Directors Report." The document outlines the cost savings of the GISC model. The mission of the GIS Consortium (GISC) is to create value for its members by identifying opportunities to minimize cost and risk through collaboration.
A decade of success would typically be a time to celebrate, however it comes at a time of considerable economic distress. It does remind us however of the relevance of this model. This year (2009) was a year of reflection and refocusing of the objectives of the GIS Consortium. In March of this year, the Board conducted a special meeting to evaluate all aspects of the GIS Consortium. This four-hour session generated a number of initiatives present in this report. These include greater flexibility for existing members, an independent software audit to identify opportunities for more efficient licensing, and increased attention to cooperative opportunities with other regional GIS organizations.
Mapping (GIS) is a core competency of local government. We depend on it to deliver services, manage infrastructure, and regulate property. As technology evolves, advanced mapping solutions play a critical role in managing our communities. They help us make better decisions, operate our organizations more efficiently, and communicate information more effectively. This year the GISC published the second-edition of ‘Valuing Geographic Information System (GIS) - A Decision Maker’s Perspective’. This new publication revisits the assumptions of the first-edition and adds new business processes that benefit from GIS technology. The results indicate that local government can save considerable resources with a well implement GIS program. This document does not include the savings provided by the GIS Consortium model.
In the beginning there were skeptics of the GISC model – today few detractors remain. The model has demonstrated its ability to provide sophisticated solutions at a fraction of the cost of internally-staffed or single-payer/vendor outsourcing programs. It does this by creating purchasing power for its members through economies-of-scale. Today the GISC provides much more including shared product development, community networking opportunities, and standard processes.
Last year (2008) marked the single largest membership growth period for the GISC – it was projected that 2009 would be similar. This forecast however was impacted by the current economic environment. Even with the downturn the GISC maintained all its existing members and has never lost a member in its history. The GISC has traditionally focused its message to prospects on the cost-savings provided by the consortium model. Although this remains an important component, perhaps more important is the efficiency GIS provides local government. The technology benefit coupled with the GISC approach is a compelling case study for new membership development.
The GISC is recognized as a strategic partner in the greater-Chicago regional GIS industry. Organizations that share our values of efficiency and cooperation are seeking our advice. This could not come at a better time, as we all face new challenges in these economic times. The GISC stands as a symbol of what the future may look like in local government.
Utility mapping is a critical function of any municipal GIS system to help support the daily workflows of various departments, including Public Works and Engineering. While most communities are only responsible for maintaining water and sewer utility systems, the Village of Winnetka includes an electric system as a component of their standard utility maintenance. By maintaining this complex system in GIS, the department has helped to streamline their electric system inventory and improve the efficiency of both the field crews and the office staff in locating system components.
The first step in developing the village electric system in GIS was to gather the source data that would be used to build the electric network. These sources included paper CAD maps, excel spreadsheets, and even paper note cards containing various pieces of information related to system features. The primary source for getting the basic geometry of the system created in GIS was the paper CAD maps. While these maps primarily display interpretative drawings of the actual locations of electric wires and system components, they provided the basic foundation for the development of the GIS data. These maps also provided basic attributes for each feature, including circuit, phase, and voltage information, among others.
Another valuable source of information used to create the GIS electric system was the staff of the Winnetka Water and Electric department. Often the CAD maps and other data sources were out of date or incorrect based on a variety of factors and needed to be supplemented with “on-the-ground” knowledge of the system in the field. The information obtained from the department staff helped to fill in any gaps left by the paper and electronic sources and to refine the coarse accuracy of the CAD drawings to make the GIS data more spatially accurate. Without this additional knowledge, the initial development of the GIS electric data would have been much more difficult and resulted in a less reliable product.
While creating the electric system data in GIS proved to be a challenging component of the overall project, the most difficult aspect was getting the CAD-centric field and office staff of the department to accept using a new system to view their electric information. While the staff was happy to supply their expertise to the development of the data, they were accustom to using the old data formats and were reluctant to accept the new GIS data as their primary mapping tool. However, over time, the improved accuracy and reliability of the GIS data has helped to slowly transition the department to using GIS products. While the CAD maps and other data sources have not been completely abandoned as a source of information, the department has started to accept the use of GIS as an efficient solution for mapping the Village’s complex electric system and maintaining its numerous system attributes.
A control point is a location on the ground whose horizontal and vertical location is known. This allows a potential developer to determine the elevation of the area and make sure they are in the correct geographic datum. The village of Wheeling provides this information to developers, through multiple maps and documents. Every time a developer would request control point information, village staff would have to hunt through multiple locations to find the appropriate information. The village decided to organize their control point information to better serve potential developers and to ease the burden on office staff. They asked the GIS department to come up with a solution.
A map book was created for the village control points using GIS. Each page corresponds to a specific control point, showing an aerial photo of the location as well as elevation and coordinate system information. Overall, 29 map book pages were created. The pages were then turned into PDF format and placed on the village website. A map on the village website allows a developer to click on a specific control point and have a printable 8.5” x 11” PDF of that location appear.
By using GIS, the village was able to eliminate the need for village staff to take time out of their day to find control point information. By placing the maps on the village website, potential developers can print off the locations and descriptions of each control point at their own leisure.
Data comes in all shapes and sizes in a local government. Communities are the keeper of extensive data that pertains to buildings, infrastructure, businesses and the like. It is important for communities to use this data to the fullest extent, and MapOffice™ provides a way to do so. Data in MapOffice™ is visible but cannot be extracted into individual features. When other communities or contractors want information, it is necessary to provide a baseline of what is expected during this data transaction.
The Village of Skokie’s Geographic Information System (GIS) has over 100 layers of data to update and keep current. Through analysis, the GIS can provide answers to many questions and is a very reliable source of information. With this said, Skokie protects it’s data by creating data sharing argreements that must be signed by the participating parties in order for data to be shared. If data sharing agreements were not administered, data that Skokie has in its GIS would be compromised. The most important part of the agreement is to document what the data will be used for and to let the requestor know that the data is not their property and is confidential - they cannot reproduce or share the data. If data sharing was not used, Skokie’s data could be copied, reproduced and shared without any knowledge of the Village. The data would then be in the public domain where the data would lose its validity and become compromised.
In the end, data sharing agreements help the Village of Skokie track outside entities, including vendor’s and contractor’s use of data. This ensures the safety of the Village’s data and limits the use of the data to the specific project that it was issued for.
Planimetric data are geographic features captured during a photogrammetric (airplane fight) mapping process that are flat and without elevation information to depict the terrain. Such features include bridges, roadways, building footprints, bodies of water, and railroad lines. Photogrammetry is the most cost-effective method for producing this type of mapping information for large areas and these features typically represent the base data in a map. As a member of the GIS Consortium the Village of Riverside participates in an annual data collection process which allows them to obtain such planimetric data. An advantage for the community is that they receive cost savings being a part of such a large group contracting these services. The current service provider for photogrammetric mapping is Ayres and Associates of Madison, WI.
There is a processing and review procedure for the data to be sure it meets the accuracy standards that have been established by the GIS Consortium. Generally, all planimetric features will be within 1.67’ of their actual field location if collected under the traditional Consortium standards. On occasion the data collection has had to deviate from those standards due to circumstances outside of a village’s control such as experienced by Elk Grove Village due to its proximity to O’Hare International Airport and the flight restrictions they have over and around the village. The data collection in Riverside has not been affected by any circumstances and therefore meets the GIS Consortium standards.
In the spring of 2008 and 2009 data was collected for the Village of Riverside. Planimetric features for the South half of the community were delivered, reviewed, and integrated into the GIS (Geographic Information System) in the fall of 2008 and the North half of the community in the fall of 2009. You may have noticed this data in the MapOffice™ interactive mapping application http://www.mgpinc.com/MapOffice™/.
As mentioned above, this data is usually used to compose a map presentation, but also provides for impervious surface estimations, GASB34 statistics, routing, cost estimates for replacement or removal of infrastructure, and preliminary design or planning.
The Second annual Oak Brook Half Marathon was held on Monday, September 7th. It began at 7:00 am and consisted of a 13 mile course starting and ending at Kensington Court. The course took participants through Fullersburg Woods and around the McDonald's campus. In previous years, the Village had used an outside vendor to produce maps of the course. The maps while informative, did not contain information on the path's condition or registration information.
In order to better inform runners of the course, the Village asked the GIS department to create maps to support the race. For the Half Marathon three maps were created. The first map which was designed for the race participants contained information on the various types of running surfaces throughout the course including crushed limestone, brick, and asphalt. It also showed the location of bridges throughout the village as well as registration information and parking locations. This large 36 x 48 map was used at the start of the race to provide runners with all of the necessary information.
The second map was created for the police and fire department. It contained the same information as the first map, although instead of showing the running surfaces, the course was broken into three sections including the first mile, mid-course and the last mile. Police and Fire posts locations were also included as well as the central command post location. This map was used in the fire trucks and as a reference for the police in their vehicles.
The third map was created to provide a close up view of the registration area. It included parking information and the location of volunteer check-in, race reward area and surrounding buildings such as the Recreation and Aquatic center. The maps were passed out to participants at the race.
The village of Norridge sent a survey to its residents, attached to the water bill, requesting information about their experience with flooding in or near their residence. The survey consisted of a few questions relating to if the resident’s street or house had flooded in the past year. The resident’s were to answer “yes” or “no”, and then mail the surveys back to the village. The responses would help the village determine where flooding in the village is a major concern and help plan where they may need to replace existing storm sewer infrastructure. The village asked the GIS department to map out the responses by address to get a visualization of the flooding within the village.
Multiple maps were created to show the responses of the sewer survey. An initial map was created showing which households had responded to the survey, and which ones chose not to participate. Subsequent maps were for each survey question showing which households had answered ”yes” for the correspoding question. These maps were then presented to the trustees to give them an idea of the flooding situation in the village.
Plotting the survey responses on the map gave the village trustees a visual representation of the flooding issues residents were having in the past year. The maps created in GIS will allow the trustees to make future decisions on how to best tackle resident flooding issues.
Almost every day of the week, police officers are called to the scene of a traffic accident to provide assistance. But how many times does a police officer report to the same place twice? Moreover, do they report to high traffic volume intersections more than smaller residential streets for these accidents? These were the types of questions the Police Department for the Village of Morton Grove aimed to study. The Police Department wanted to analyze how many accidents were happening every three months and where exactly were these accidents taking place. Furthermore, they needed and easy method for displaying these results so they could attempt to find out what was causing these accidents to happen.
With these ideas in mind, the Police Department requested the services of the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department. By using the tools located within the GIS, each traffic accident that was recorded by the Police Department could easily geocoded to a geographical location. Geocoding is an operation that searches a street or address data file and locates the coordinate where an address falls on a particular street, in this case, the tool located the intersection where the accident occurred.
Once the traffic accidents are located, they are placed on a map in order to analyze where the most accidents arise as well as what time of day the accidents occurred. Each time the map was created it used different colored points to help the viewer depict if the accident happened at night or during the day. A trend seemed to form near the intersections of busy streets but it was still hard to see if there were any “out of the ordinary” circumstances. For this reason alone, the GIS Department recommended that at the end of each year the data be represented as graduated symbols for the amount of accidents occurring in the same location rather than single points for every single accident (for example, large circles for a high accident count and small circles for a low accident count). This made it easier to discern which areas of town had the more accidents than other parts of the village and was well received by the Police Department. By using this methodology, the final map product was much easier to read and allowed the Police Department to easily target which streets required more attention for traffic safety studies.
Since the inception of this project, the analysis has been performed every three months and all maps are immediately submitted to the Police Department for review. Thus making it easy to see how recorded accident reports from the Police Department’s records can be used with the tools of the Geographic Information System in order to make graphical data that can simply be analyzed.
The Glenview Police Department relies on incident mapping for home and auto theft to assist with identifying hotspots, in hopes of deterring future criminal activity. Geographic Information System (GIS) can help provide a dynamic and a static view for incidents\hotspots throughout the community. One of the main components of making this system work is providing and maintaining all GIS data for the Dispatch\mapping software and hardcopy maps that display incident location, date, time, and high areas of criminal activity.
With the readiness of the GIS data\maps for the incident mapping and Dispatch\mapping software the officers are now able to patrol beats more effectively and efficiently. This considerably streamlines the workflow procedure. Supervisors and officers will now have more up to date and improved information in the field.
Designing and maintaining the GIS data for the Dispatch software and static maps allows the Police Department the ability to more successfully fight criminal activities.
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.
The Geographic Information System (GIS) Department routinely utilizes its valuable resources to analyze the layout of its current utility infrastructures. By using the aerial photography that the village paid for in 2005, the GIS Specialist is able to review utility lines and structures in their current location and compare them to where they are located on the aerial photography. Since the utility infrastructure data was originally created at a time when good aerial photography was hard to come by, many of this data is not one hundred percent accurate.
Although going to the field to identify the locations of utility lines and structures is a good method, the ability to quickly access accurate aerial photography and use it in-house allows for a large percentage of the data to be verified without leaving the desk. This allows the village to save time and money for a good portion of the review process.
It is important to note that using GIS not only can enhance the integrity of the village’s utility data, but it is also key to recognize that having this accurate data allows for trustworthy calculations. For example, when the village conducts a water distribution study, they rely on the most up-to-date data to submit to an outside consultant so they can obtain the most accurate results. Moreover, when the Sewer Department wants to inventory what supplies might be needed for an upcoming project; they can easily look at the current utility infrastructure in GIS to get some ideas. Without an accurate foundation, most analyses cannot provide much value but by using available assets, it is easy to see how GIS can improve the reliability of utility data and make it a more trustworthy resource.
The aerial photography and utility infrastructure review process, in conjunction with the help of GIS technology, helps to answer valuable questions related to the services that the village provides. As times go on, the village continues to successfully update their utility data in order to better understand what they currently own and are in control of, which helps the village to provide a service that on average is not always recognized.
Planimetric data are geographic features captured during a photogrammetric (airplane fight) mapping process that are flat and without elevation information to depict the terrain. Such features include bridges, roadways, building footprints, bodies of water, and railroad lines. Photogrammetry is the most cost-effective method for producing this type of mapping information for large areas and these features typically represent the base data in a map.
As a member of the GIS Consortium Elk Grove Village participates in an annual data collection process which allows them to obtain such planimetric data. An advantage for the community is that they receive cost savings being a part of such a large group contracting these services. The current service provider for photogrammetric mapping is Ayres and Associates of Madison, WI. There is a processing and review procedure for the data to be sure it meets the accuracy standards that have been established by the GIS Consortium. Generally, all planimetric features will be within 1.67’ of their actual field location if collected under the traditional Consortium standards. On occasion the data collection has had to deviate from those standards due to circumstances outside of the village’s control. Elk Grove Village unfortunately falls into this category due to its proximity to O’Hare International Airport and the flight restrictions they have over and around the village.
In the spring of 2009 data was collected for Elk Grove Village and planimetric features for the entire community were delivered, reviewed, and integrated into the GIS (Geographic Information System) in the fall. You may have noticed this new data in the MapOffice™ interactive mapping application http://www.mgpinc.com/MapOffice™/. The alternate flight height that was available provided for these features to be within 3.33’ of their actual location which was acceptable and there was an additional cost savings because this was a less accurate product compared to the traditional data collection standards.
As mentioned above, this data is usually used to compose a map presentation, but also provides for impervious surface estimations, GASB34 statistics, routing, cost estimates for replacement or removal of infrastructure, and preliminary design or planning.
The City of Highland Parks runs the Taste of Highland in conjunction with the Port Clinton Art Festival. The Taste of Highland provides an opportunity for local food related establishments to sell food products and allow people to taste their food products. Thus, it is an excellent opportunity for vendors to gain exposure to potential new customers. Both events are important annual events in the greater Chicago area. These events attract hundreds of thousands of people and thus need to be well planned to ensure everyone remains safe, while enjoying themselves at the Taste of Highland Park Event.
Planning for a big event like the Taste of Highland Park requires accurate information regarding the location of event activities and the effect the event on the immediate vicinity. Carolyn Hersch from the City of Highland Park Economic Development requested that the GIS department create some maps to help visualize the location of event related activities.
There were two final products used in event planning. The first map showed the location of the Taste of Highland Park Event Performance Stage. It showed the location of the stage, electric generators, sound booth, and electric lines.
The second map showed the extent of the entire Taste of Highland Park Event. The reader can see a portion of the map in the image on the right side. This map displayed the location barricades for closing streets, The Police Command Center, and other important public safety items. It also showed the location of vendor booths and the location of other things used in support of the overall event. Finally it showed the location of Port Clinton Art Festival booths, to ensure there were no overlapping conflicts between the two events
The Highland Park GIS program provided two highly accurate graphics to assist the Planning of the Taste of Highland Park. Because the products were digital, they were easy to update as the locations of activities move, during the planning and review for the Taste of Highland Park. Through the use of GIS information was efficiently updated and quickly provided to the planners of the event.
The safety and maintenance of train gates is an issue all communities with rail lines crossing through their borders must deal with. For many, the image of train gate lights flashing causes feelings of impatience, but, in most cases, the wait for a train only lasts a few minutes or so. However, train gates can malfunction, which can cause significant traffic congestion and train delays. Recently, the City of Des Plaines engineering department decided to analyze train gate malfunction and delayed train information gathered from January 1st- June 30th of 2009 at the city’s thirty-two at-grade train crossings. In doing so, the department wanted to determine if there is a problem with the city’s rail system that requires further investigation.
The source of the information used in this analysis came from calls made to the city’s police department from drivers who were stuck at a malfunctioning gate or were blocked by a delayed train. Once the engineering department had a chance to review the numbers, the analysis was broken down into four categories per gate: the total number of gate malfunctions, total time of the malfunctions, number of trains delayed due to a gate malfunction, and the total time the trains were delayed. Initially, the analysis only involved an examination of the raw numbers provided and was displayed primarily in a series of graphs and tables. However, the results were lacking a comprehensive way to analyze the problem city-wide. To help highlight problem gates found in the data, the engineering department asked the city’s GIS department to assist with the project.
By adding a spatial component to the analysis, gates with more malfunctions or longer train delays could be visually identified across the city. This helped to determine where problem areas are located or which rail lines running through the city have the most gate-related problems. While the numeric data provided by the police department showed that there are problems with some of the city’s gates, it did not show how the data for each gate is relevant compared to other gates in the city. Providing a spatial snapshot of the gate data gave the engineers a tool to see that not only are there a significant number of gate malfunctions and train delays overall, but that the problem extends to almost every gate in the city.
Being able to compare the data visually at a city-wide scale allowed the engineering department to see the potential impact that train gate malfunctions have on several critical traffic-related issues, such as emergency response vehicle delays and daily traffic pattern congestion. Working with both the numeric data and the maps provided by the GIS department, the city engineers can more efficiently develop possible solutions to mitigate the current problems and attempt to address the question of why certain gates are malfunctioning more than others to help reduce future incidents.