The Village of Wheeling is in the process of acquiring a remote water meter reading system that will allow village staff to read water meter information through a computer rather than having to check the meter manually. Each water meter wirelessly connects to one of the main towers within the village and then the information is relayed to village staff. The location of the towers within the coverage area affects each individual meters signal and its ability to send information back to the tower.
A map was put together for the bidding process showing the properties that are owned by the village, which in turn allow the building of a tower. Each company bidding on the job, was provided a copy of the map allowing them to pick out where they felt the towers should be placed to give the maximum amount of meter coverage. By using GIS, public works was quickly able to provide maps to all interested parties to help create a remote water meter reading system that would provide the best meter reading capabilities.
Water meter billing can be a significant source of revenue for any local government, so ensuring that the billing address information is valid and complete is critical to the success of collecting all the necessary fees. A key component to maintaining these utility accounts is assuring they are up to date and cross-checked with other sources, which can often be difficult and time-consuming. To assist with validating the account locations for each billing record, the City of Des Plaines Public Works department asked the city’s GIS department to map out all the utility billing addresses in order to get a better understanding of where potential address problems exist.
All utility billing records for the city are stored in software called Penemation, so the first step in mapping each record was to export the desired information into a GIS compatible format, such as Excel. Once in this format, the billing addresses were mapped in the city’s GIS software using the city’s comprehensive address database. By comparing the billing addresses against the validated GIS addresses, common issues that can cause fee collection problems were discovered. These include incorrect street name spellings, invalid addresses, or missing information. Having all the water meter locations visible on a city-wide scale allowed the Public Works department to review all records collectively and create a list of those addresses that require further investigation.
Developing a comprehensive and visual method for reviewing water meter billing locations provided a quick and efficient method for the city to highlight problem account location, as well as locate addresses that did not have a billing account on record. Using this information, the city can develop a plan to help resolve these accounts and, potentially, increase revenue through improved billing management.
This month, Lake Forest staff were presented with a new format for accessing GIS data, as well as PDF maps for printing use. The new setup uses a shared, read-only folder that is hosted on the GIS server, and contains layer files for most of the City’s GIS data.
The benefit that layer files offer to employees is they do not need to spend time color coding data or labeling GIS data, nor do they need to worry about being able to find the data’s location. The layers will also be symbolized, in most cases, the same as the layers that are found in MapOffice™ Advanced. By displaying data similarly, users will be able to find what they are looking for faster since they will be accustomed to the map’s layout and color schemes.
In addition to offering individual layer files, the shared folder will also contain a new version of a commonly used ArcMap document, which will use the layer files to display data. This new document will save time and be more efficient than previous methods because the data contained in the map will be linked to active data, thus it will be as up to date as possible, and will reflect any edits that are made by the GIS staff.
One thing that is definitely important to a municipality is the ability to provide sufficient businesses to meet the daily needs of their residents. Whether it comes in the form of a good restaurant, deli, coffee shop or convenient store, residents may choose to stay or move based on what a community can offer them. At this moment in time the economy is making it difficult for small businesses to survive and thus many are closing their doors. On the contrary, many people are starting up new businesses at the same time that larger chains continue to spread their wings.
For the Economic Development Department of the City of Park Ridge, understanding what properties in town are currently vacant as well as where they are located is nothing new. But the one component that has continually been left out is the functionality of placing these locations on an interactive map. With the help of the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department, the city has decided to publish this data on their local intranet mapping site named MapOffice™TM Advanced in order to help the community staff visually review these sites, their locations and the attributes of each. Now users can open a web site, zoom to a specific location and gather information about this property all in one centralized location. In addition, having these available sites mapped out will allow a user to analyze the potential of bringing in new businesses to any specific site. If a business is looking for more space and there are two vacant properties adjacent to each other, the potential gets greater, thus proving the versatility of data that was once static.
The Village of Lincolnshire Public Works Department conducts a Pavement Patch and Repair Program for Village Streets in need of work. The goal of this program is to maintain and repair roads within the Village that have been identified that work needs to be done to improve the quality of the surface.
The GIS Department was approached by the Public Works Department to take an existing database of information and link to the GIS system to help locate and identify the patching locations throughout the Village. The database contained all location information, type of repairs, range of repairs, classification system of the repairs, and other key pieces of information that is needed to conduct this program.
The GIS Department used the provided database and mapped all the Pavement Patching Locations. Using available software and tools, the GIS Department was able to link the database and it’s records and assign a location within the Village. These locations then were turned into mapping points which contained the data from the database.
The end result of this task was the Village was able to take information, map that information, and then visualize the information in a mapping environment. The mapping products then can be used for planning purposes, inventory, and reporting as the Pavement Patch and Repair Program is being conducted.
Municipality commonly will invest in or be provided with a piece of software that they can use to meet the demands of their daily tasks. Although this is helpful in many cases, there is often a level of data accuracy and data quality - that may suffer labeling some of this software as one to be used with caution. Recently the Village of Morton Grove Fire Department was provided with a great piece of software from their regional dispatch center that had many of the functions necessary to complete the day to day functions but lacked one major component, reliable geographic data.
Without reliable geographic data one may be subject to responding to an incorrect location in a dire time of need. With that being said, it was imperative for the Morton Grove Fire Department to enlist the services of the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department in order to upgrade this new software with the data that GIS edits every day. Luckily technology has come a long way allowing the two pieces of software to talk to each other and thus integrate the existing fire response software with accurate GIS data. This capability will ensure that data can continually be supplied locally by GIS without having to incur the costs that may be charged by the external software company, a win-win for the village as a whole.
Last week the GIS Consortium released the ability to display National Weather Service Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service data for the region. With a series of clicks real time flooding information can be displayed in MapOffice™ Advanced for use by decision makers.
Flood Hazard Mapping is an important component for emergency response in flood-prone areas. Adding flood gauges to MapOffice™ creates an easily-read, rapidly-accessible charts and maps which facilitates the administrators and planners to identify areas of risk and prioritize their mitigation/response efforts. The results were evident when according to Terrence O'Brien, president of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD), said that Cook County received an average rainfall of 4 1/2 inches, "equivalent to over 60 billion gallons of water." With some areas getting as much as 7 inches on July 23rd.
The water level for the gauge in Riverside is shown above and illustrates the impact of the event. Going into flooding season this functionality should streamline flood mitigation planning and response for local governments.
Bob Irvin, Village Manager of Lincolnshire and I will be presenting as apart of the educational series at the International City Managers Association (ICMA) 2010 annual conference on October 17-20th.
The intent of the session is to offer an in-depth look at how a small group of local governments in the Chicago metropolitan area created a geographic information system (GIS) consortium. Panelists will highlight the benefits of sharing resources and outline how they worked together to develop a comprehensive GIS service. Attendees will learn about the consortium development process and governance, as well as the uses and benefits of GIS.
The village of Riverside GIS (Geographic Information System) program mapped crosswalk locations in an area of town due to an event that occurred near a school. As a result of initiating this data creation, the remaining village crosswalks and some additional roadway striping information were mapped to have a complete inventory of their locations in the GIS system. Various village departments can now benefit from this information.
The Public Works Department can track where and when crosswalks are restriped and even give priority to crosswalks near schools and other stripping such as at police and fire stations. The Police Department or essentially any village department could evaluate and create a safe routes to school system which was eligible for infrastructure improvements funding at one time by the Illinois Department of Transportation. The GIS system is using this currently as support information for development of a sign inventory and can potentially reuse this information for future projects such as creating an on-street parking model.
The Village of Glencoe Public Safety Department records all response events related to Public Safety Dispatch within their Computer Aided Dispatch System. It is important to not only record all events that occur within the Village but to also review and analyze the data for optimum response time performance. One key and very important aspect of analyzing the data involves mapping the data. Mapping is can be used to help visualize and identify trends within the response records.
The Public Safety Department and the Village of Glencoe GIS Department both work together to complete the mapping task based on the collected response records. Key records are categorized, reviewed, and mapped based on recorded incident and response events. The events are broken down further to subcategories which included Code One Responses, all types of reported incidents from the dispatch system, and then a break down for total number of incidents and responses by reporting districts. Once the data has is prepared the mapping is completed using available GIS tools to help automate the process and provided mapping results which then can be used by the Public Safety Department to assist in understanding what is occurring within their dispatch responsibility area.
This image is a small example of the products that are produced when analyzing the Computer Aided Dispatch data.
The Tour of Elk Grove is an annual international bike race that takes place the first weekend in August. There are many components to the event including the races, block parties, a kids’ fest and more. Village staff are therefore highly involved in planning, setup, and management of the event.
GIS (Geographic Information System) services are utilized to coordinate these organization efforts with multiple maps. Map images are created to depict not only the race routes but also the layout of the block party area, emergency support stations, restroom locations, traffic control areas, and planning for detours, signage, and road closures. Address lists have also been generated to notify residents of limited vehicle access during the upcoming event. The support of GIS for this event has facilitated coordination for all involved and the information captured and managed through those services continues to grow every year.
The Village of Skokielinois Fire Department provides services to over 63,000 residents and is part of a Mutual Aid Agreement with surrounding communities. In order to provide the best possible service, Skokie’s Fire vehicles need to be equipped with detailed street maps outlining not only its own community, but the surrounding communities as well. For instance, if surrounding communities have low bridge clearances, one way streets, or other obstacles, the Village needs to know in order to proceed to the call safely and efficiently. The Village’s Geographic Information System (GIS ) provides this street map.
Coinciding with the street map, inset maps of highly populated areas are provided detailing hydrant locations, addresses and even unit numbers of large condominiums and apartment complexes. Parking lot layouts, curbs, and medians are also outlined to supply the most information to the Fire Department so more educated decisions can be made.
The Village of Lincolnwood Development Department began a program aimed at creating better parking situations at strip malls throughout the Village. The Village began this campaign by gathering parking lot data consisting of number of spots and designations (Handicap), required spots determined by Village ordinance, as well as business information such as name, land use and business square footage. Assisting in this study, the Geographic Information System (GIS) Specialist was able to take the address and business information, map it and create a visual representation of strip malls that have and do not have adequate parking. This study will assist in providing locating businesses where they can have proper amount of parking spaces. By analyzing this data, the Village is looking to prevent congestion and possible traffic flow disruption along adjoining streets.
A significant part of any local government’s economic vitality relates to property development and improvements that require a building permit. Permitting fees provide vital income and can help to increase department budgets and the potential for capital improvement spending. As part of an effort to better track permit applications and highlight trends over time, the City of Des Plaines Community and Economic Development (CED) department asked the city’s GIS department to develop a map product to display permit locations.
All permit information for the city is stored in software called Penemation, so the first step in developing a map product was to export the desired information into a GIS compatible format, such as Excel. Once in this format, the permit locations were mapped in the city’s GIS software using the city’s comprehensive address database as a base. In addition to the location of the permit, the final GIS data layer also contained information on the type of permit that was issued for each address, allowing the final map product to display both the physical location and the type of permit being applied for.
Using this process, a monthly mapping cycle has been developed, allowing city staff to visualize where permits are occurring in the city. With the type of permit included in the GIS data, a secondary product of this project is being able to generate monthly statistics on the specific number of each permit being issued. Using both these outputs from the GIS system provides the CED department with an efficient and cost effective method of sharing this information across departmental boundaries and creating various budgetary reports.
For many communities, the fall season is a busy time consisting of construction projects, landscaping contracts, and other operations that relate to the changing season. For the Village of Winnetka, this time of year means performing weekly leaf pickup along all the Village-owned streets as a service to Village residents. To assist the Public Works department with their yearly leaf collection budget, the GIS department was asked to provide the total Village-owned parkway area along these streets as a way to estimate the percentage of leaves being picked up that were coming from Village-owned trees versus trees on private property.
Prior to gathering this information, the parkway areas being considered needed to be defined. For this analysis, a parkway was defined as the area of grass between the paved surface of a public roadway and the sidewalk that ran parallel to the road. With the parkway area defined, an analysis was performed using the road, sidewalk, and parcel GIS layers for the Village to extract out all those areas along a public roadway that were not included on a privately-owned lot. To complete the analysis, the Village’s driveway GIS layer was used to extract out all paved driveway surfaces where tree plantings could not occur. The resulting layer that was created allowed the GIS department to determine the percentage of Village land area contained within the parkway and provide this information to Public Works.
By using some of the basic GIS base layers for the Village, the GIS department was able to extract information on a Village-wide scale in a fraction of the time it would have taken to gather the same land area numbers in the field. Using the analysis tools in the GIS software saved Village staff time and money and provided vital information that can assist with developing more accurate leaf collection budgets in the future.
The organization of MapOffice™ you may have noticed has changed slightly. What was once just tools has been separated into two categories. Tools and tasks are now available at differing levels of functionality depending on the version of MapOffice™ you are using.Tool and tasks have been separated as a result of feedback from the user community.
Many local government users wanted the ability to measure and conduct other tool type functions with executing their business processes/tasks. The two were separated and definitions for each created.Tasks are focused on work completed by local government. These are functions that occur every day in local government and the addition of GIS makes them more efficient. An example of a task is isolating a water main using the water main isolation task. These differ from tools in that tools work independently of tasks and basemaps. Tools are traditional technical functions of GIS like measure and identify. Examples of tools are measure distance, measure area, identify and markup. These can be used regardless of what view is being used or task is being completed.
The City of Highland Park has an ongoing program to restore ravines in order to prevent further degradations. Some of the issues they are addressing are slope failure, exposed sewer pipes, pollution discharge, and channel scouring. If these are left uncheck the ravines will continue to degrade, thus threatening the stability of nearby structures and increasing the amount of debris dumped into Lake Michigan.
Lack of funding forced the City to reduce the amount of ravine area restored each year. The City decided to apply for several grants from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative program. While a written report is useful, a map of the area is even more valuable. The City Public Works Engineering Division requested that GIS create some maps for the report.
Through GIS, the city created a map that showed the topography around the ravines. Then they added graphics showing existing issues, the extent of previous projects, and proposed new improvements. Using an underlying elevation model, the position of items is better understood in relation to the ravine.
With the help of GIS, the city created maps supported the written statements of what the city wanted to accomplish with the grants. The extent of the maps allowed the city to show it’s ongoing commitment to improve existing ravines and assisting with improving the ecosystem of Lake Michigan.
Currently the Village of Glenview does not maintain existing drainage ditches or culverts. This long-standing policy may merit review by the Board of Trustees as many neighborhoods depend heavily on ditch flow as their primary means of storm water drainage. Development of a Village-wide inventory of the existing right-of-way, and easemented drainage ditches is proposed for completion within 2010. Currently the Village is using Geographic Information System (GIS) to create this inventory.
By using GIS it provides the Village with a better understanding of where and how many linear feet of public and private ditches are in the Village. It also allows for Capital projects to present a more complete report and presentation, which could ultimately be the deciding factor on whether or not the Board of Trustees approves a storm water maintenance fund.