The Village of Oak Brook Public Works department performs a wide variety of services to the village including snowplowing and street sweeping. They also maintain various street lights within the village. Prior to the implementation of GIS, Public Works referenced a hand drawn street light atlas of the village. This contained the location of the street lights as well as their id number and the location of fiber optic lines within the village. While this atlas was useful, it did not contain information on each street light for bulb type, ballast, wattage, etc. If a street light needed repair, village staff would have to reference a separate table.
The creation of a street light atlas in GIS allows Public Works staff to locate a particular street light, its wattage and bulb type and ballast using one source in a matter of minutes. This atlas divides the village into areas based on a grid system which allows street lights to be quickly identified and any corrections or changes noted on the atlas sheets. A street light layer is also available in the Consortium's Map Office application which allows access real time street light data.
It is apparent that technology is getting better as new ways of using it are also on the rise. Within Geographic Information System (GIS), technology also continues to advance and allow for data to be edited in many different environments. One enhancement of technology that GIS has encountered is the ability to make a copy of a database, release it to a field crew for disconnected editing and then bring those field edits back into the original database. In GIS it is considered a “checkout database” and it is something that the Village of Morton Grove is taking full advantage of for their Street Sign Inventory.
The village has a GIS Specialist on site only three times every two weeks making consistent editing a tough task. But with the use of a disconnected editing environment the GIS Specialist can now turn the project over to the community staff and train them how to edit the sign model personally. This will not only make the project more efficient, it will also give the sign shop employees a chance to manage the signs as they are changed out on a daily basis, thus enhancing the integrity of the data. Once a week when the GIS Specialist comes on site, they can review the data, load it back into the original database and then give the sign shop a new database to edit for the following week.
With this work flow in place, it is not too hard to imagine the amount of time and money that will be saved by using the latest improvements in technology. Time and money that would have normally be spent using the old fashioned editing methods.
The recent collection of planimetric data or improved features such as buildings, roadways, parking lots, driveways, etc. in Elk Grove Village has provided for some new analysis possibilities through its GIS (Geographic Information System). One of the evaluations conducted was the distance between primary building structures and also a count of the number of addresses that exist within each building structure.
The results of this assessment will be shared with the village’s Fire Department and used to update such information in their database that inventories the businesses throughout the community. There is additional potential for use in dispatch to residential buildings for example that are not currently tracked to understand the number of families affected in a multiunit event or to realize the close proximity of adjacent homes on all sides of a building in the event of a house fire.
An accurate inventory of sign locations is crucial for keeping roads safe for driving. Missing signs or faded signs can lead to motorists missing important warnings about road hazards.
In 2003, the city hired an intern to collect sign locations throughout the entire community. The sign information entered into an SQL database as posts represented as Arc/Info coverage points. A custom application was created to allow city staff to edit sign record information. In January 2009, the post points and sign records were migrated to a single ESRI SDE database. This allowed City staff the ability to edit post locations and sign records in an ESRI ArcView environment.
By allowing city staff to edit data, update work is added when completed in the field. Supervisors are able to query the database to plan and track sign replacement programs. Employees also select signs by area to create reports and maps for meetings.
By using a GIS to maintain a sign inventory, the city saves many man-hours that would otherwise be used to searching through paper files. They can also quickly produce maps and reports that are impossible with the mapping component of GIS.
Keeping a utility system running at high capacity is a major component of local government operations. Coordinating maintenance, capital improvement projects, and every day operations can be a challenging task that requires numerous man-hours to run effectively. Having an accurate spatial inventory of utility system components helps a community perform these operations more efficiently by providing a quick reference tool for checking the physical location of a feature and providing vital attribute information such as manhole depth or pipe diameter. To assist with a recent sanitary system cleaning effort, the Village of Winnetka Public Works Department requested that the GIS Department develop a series of maps to help the field crews gain a better understanding of the system before going out into the field.
Having the Village sanitary sewer assets in a GIS (Geographic Information System) system provides a spatial inventory of the system features that allowed the GIS Department to develop the requested cleaning sector maps quickly and efficiently. The alternative to developing these maps was to scan and print a series of old, hand drawn paper atlas maps, which were difficult to read and, in some cases, out-of-date. By using the more current, easier to read GIS-based maps, the field crews had a practical reference tool to use both in the office and in the field to determine the location of the pipes that needed cleaning and the extent of the area that needed work. The maps also provided pipe length and diameter information to give the crews a better idea of the types of pipes they would be working with, which saved resources and man-hours that may have otherwise been spent checking these attributes in the field.
Managing utility assets in a GIS system allows local governments to leverage their available hours and budget constraints to optimize their operations and potentially reduce costs. By providing a spatial format to review and reference utility features both in the office and in the field, the Village has a efficient mechanism for validating utility system information.
Starting in 2009, the Village of Wheeling began using a survey grade GPS system to collect utility information in the field. The village started with the sanitary system, moved on to the water system, and is then planning to collect information for the storm system last. Collecting this information using a survey grade system provides a level of accuracy not normally seen in field collection GPS and allows the data to be integrated into GIS and CAD with minimal effort.
By using a combination of the GPS system, satellite mission planning, and survey equipment, the village engineers were able to accurately collect utility locations. When each system is completed, the points collected in the field will then be loaded into the GIS system and its utility models. By having more accurate data that is verified in the field, the data can be used in a number of GIS projects such as water main break analysis, outfall tracing, and inclusion in MapOffice™ Advanced. Without the most up to date utility data, the analyses could result in incorrect data and conclusions.
In early 2010 a multi-year planimetric data collection project was completed and the data incorporated into the Village of Riverside GIS (Geographic Information System) database. Information collected in this process included features such as roadways, sidewalks, driveways, recreation areas, curbs, retention walls, among many other things.
This new information provides a great resource of real world features to incorporate into existing and future map products. Another advantage of having this much new GIS data is the ability to perform analysis. And one of the first analysis projects was to determine impervious surfaces throughout the village. The evaluation consisted of comparing all impervious surfaces such as driveways, buildings, etc. against the existing parcel information and then calculating the percentage of each property that was improved. Looking at the final map output one can quickly understand where the most improved areas are in the village and this information can support decisions such as evaluating who would be most affected by initiation of a storm water fee.
Every ten years the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a survey in order to find out how many people are living in a specific area among other things. Once completed with the survey, they then eventually release this information to the public. The ability to access this data from the Census Bureau as well as its use to answer important questions is at times invaluable. For the City of Park Ridge, they decided to use the Geographic Information System (GIS) as there catalyst for first accessing this information from the Census Bureau and second, to determine how many people are living within each municipal election ward.
Based on information from the City Clerk, each election ward within the city requires a minimum population count of 5,000 people. This number ensures that each ward is properly divided in terms of population allowing equal representation for all residents who reside within the city. If the population counts fall below this number, the ward boundaries will be reviewed and adjusted in GIS if needed in an effort to equalize these numbers. Although the current Census Bureau population totals are based on numbers from the year 2000, reviewing the ward boundaries before the 2010 Census survey gave the City Clerk and the GIS Department an understanding of how to analyze this data. Now that this methodology has been uncovered, GIS can easily perform this task when the 2010 data is released. Thus demonstrating how GIS can easily access Census Bureau information and compare it with local election ward data in order to plan for the possibility of future ward boundary adjustments.
Federal funding is a fundamental part of local government by helping to provide the necessary monetary assets for programs ranging from infrastructure improvements to low income housing support. While numbers and statistics related to a specific program are the nuts and bolts that eventually lead to funding being denied or awarded, including a spatial analysis of the data as a component of the funding application can help to clarify the provided information and increase a local government’s chance of receiving the requested funds.
Recently, the City of Des Plaines Community Development Department requested the assistance of the city’s GIS Department to develop a map showing the population density of low income census block group areas to be included in a federal city housing report. Since specific information regarding current income and population levels for each block group was not readily available, it was decided to use housing unit information as a substitute for population values. The assumption was that the more addresses in an area considered to be low income, the higher the potential low income population. Using this assumption and the available GIS address information, a map showing low to high density housing areas was developed to be used as a tool by the Community Development department to determine proper funding allocation. Also, by including this map in the housing report, the city was able to provide a visual method for highlighting the areas of greatest need as well as the extent to which low income housing is distributed across the city.
While statistics alone can provide the necessary information a community is trying to convey, by including a visual component, the data becomes more accessible and potentially easier to understand for those that are reviewing a report. Including a mapping component puts the information into a real world context and can give local government a more concrete method of sharing critical information that can lead to increased federal support.
The Village of Glenview Inspectional Services executes numerous inspections on a daily basis including all businesses and multi-story non-residential buildings for Fire inspections. Before the advent of Geography Information Systems and MUNIS, Fire inspectors used CityView software (address database) for their daily inspections.
Now, they are able to use MUNIS (for issuing and inventorying permits) and GIS analysis and map design (for evenly distributing all addresses into 4 inspection zones) on their laptops. This not only increases productivity (a higher number of inspected properties in a given day due to evenly distributing addresses into each zone) it also demonstrates the power of integration\central repository for two products (MUNIS and GIS), which saves even more time.
The year 2009 brought us the Novel Influenza A outbreak, commonly known as H1N1 or the swine flu. The Village of Skokie’s Geographic Information System (GIS) and Health Departments worked together to analyze vaccine recipients locations in proximity to the Village. Address and age information was gathered from every vaccine recipient and with this data we were able to visualize the true magnitude of the Village’s vaccination campaign. Due to the severity of the H1N1 influenza, the Village began an ambitious campaign to vaccinate all people in the priority group (39,000) who reside or go to school in the Village. During the last three months of 2009, they embarked on a vaccination campaign targeting school aged children first and then moving to other members of the priority group.
The Village's Health Department is one of six state certified local health departments in Cook County. Clinics were held in schools, daycares, and mass vaccination clinics during weekends. Due to a vaccination shortage, vaccines were given to anyone outside the Village's corporate limit ignoring jurisdictions during these mass clinics. Since this became a regional map, density was used to generalize areas of high concentration. In total, over 26,000 vaccines were given by the Village’s Health Department. Without the use of GIS, distance analysis could not have completed.
We are proud to announce that the City of Lake Forest has joined the GIS Consortium. The City is the 17th member and largest based on square miles (17.2) and the ninth largest community based on population (20,990). The City implemented their GIS in 1997 and is one of three communities in the Chicago Metro area to have had a GIS program in the late 1990s.
The City GIS is one of the premier programs in the Chicago area and the GIS Consortium excited about the collaborative partnership. The partnership provides an opportunity to work together to share common experiences, best practices, improve efficiency and lower the cost of GIS. Some important upcoming projects are the implementation of New World Systems for emergency dispatch and converting as-built and utility data into the GIS Consortium Utility model.
MGP Inc. through it's relationship with the GIS Consortium has in-depth experience building GIS data for New World Systems (NWS) implementations. GIS data has been built for the following municipalities by MGP; Glenview, Deerfield, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Winnetka, Wilmette*, Kenilworth*, Grays Lake* and Bannockburn.* The communities with a "*" are not members of the GIS Consortium.
The building of NWS data is another example of how collaboration has reduced costs for GISC members using NWS for emergency dispatch. With each implementation the time spent preparing the data and assuring the accuracy of conversion from the GISC model to the NWS model improves. Conversion scripts and best practices have been developed and are shared throughout the GISC. GIS data that supports New World’s GIS mapping system has been built and converted with repeated and predicable success. NWS has recognized the GISC for its ability to manage and create quality GIS data to be used in their systems.
Address data is the backbone of the municipal government. Services, including refuse pickup and police and fire response, and taxes depend on current and accurate addressing. The Village of Skokie Community Development Department and Geographic Information System (GIS) staff have realized the importance of consolidating address databases in the recent months. A major factor in this decision was the difference in address data for a recent mass mailing.
Working together, the two departments have come up with new business processes to edit and create addresses in GIS. While this will save time and money in the long run, there has been a large time commitment in data entry and will have more time committed to training Community Development staff in the future.
This is just one example of how GIS can be leveraged. Instead of multiple departments tracking the same data, a central repository of data (GIS) can be viewed throughout the organization. By editing the data in one location, it limits errors and reduces the overall time needed to maintain the data. IT just makes sense.
Within the GIS, manmade features such as buildings, bridges, railroads, and roads are classified as planimetric data. The city contracts with Ayres Associates to update planimetric features for about twenty-five percent of the City each year. This ensures that none of the base mapping within the city is older than 5 years. Updated base map layers are important to ensure that new construction and redevelopment area are accurately reflected in the base map features.
The base map layers are used to evaluate existing conditions and plan future updates. By having current layers, the City is assured they are making the best and most accurate decisions. Accurate base mapping is only one of the ways that GIS assists the City with making good decisions.