One of the biggest challenges for local government is to develop a budget that will sufficiently cover anticipated project costs in a fiscal year. While most costs can be covered by various department budgets, additional sources of money are often needed to cover new projects or programs that come up. Federal or state grants can typically serve as a medium for this additional funding and, as result, grant applications have become a fundamental part of most local government departments. For the City of Des Plaines IL, applying for a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) provided a potential source of money for making necessary improvements across the city.
The primary focus of DCEO grants is to provide communities with the financial means to implement infrastructure improvements or rehabilitation projects, primarily in low to moderate income areas, where the project will help to improve the quality of the resident’s living environment. For the City of Des Plaines, the grant being applied for would provide money for funding utility infrastructure improvements in low to moderate income neighborhoods.
To assist with this project, the city’s Geographic Information System (GIS) department worked with the Public Works and Engineering department to provide maps of the existing utilities, along with census income statistics, in the proposed project areas to help highlight economic conditions and how funds from the grant would help to improve the utility services being provided to the residents. Floodplain boundary maps were also provided to show how most of the proposed projects fell within areas designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as being at a higher risk of flooding.
By providing spatial statistics and map products with the grant application, the city helped to visualize the impact any grant funding would have on improving the utility infrastructure in the project neighborhoods. Clarifying the impact the grant would have helps to strengthen the city’s case for receiving the funds that could help provide higher quality services to its residents.
The City of Lake Forest has recently been reviewing the types of drainage available on its streets to consider new projects for the upcoming fiscal year. As an old community, many areas of the city do not have curbs or gutters, and solely rely on ditches or small 6’ pipes to help move retention waters away from the road.
Cooperation between the engineering department and GIS resulted in a map that showed streets that did not have any curbs or gutters that could be compared with upcoming capital improvement plans. Roads were classified as collectors, main feeders, and state arterials. Special notes were made of streets that had combinations of ditch drainage and non-storm sewer drainage types, and field checks on the west side of the City insured that current GIS data was as accurate as possible
Combining road work with the installation of better drainage gives the City an opportunity to combine projects and keep costs down. The maps will be used as a visual aid in the upcoming board meetings to discuss 2011 projects.
The Village of Wheeling is currently preparing for the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System (CRS) review. The review takes into account various aspects of flood prevention infrastructure in the village and ultimately decides the percentage of savings a resident receives for flood insurance. One of the important aspects of the review is a village’s preservation of open space within the floodplain. By having the floodplain clear of structures and impervious surface area, the village receives a higher score due to the lower possibility of damage occurring.
For the village to receive credit for open space preservation, it had to create a list of village owned properties that had areas in the flood plain. Then, the square footage of each area within the floodplain had to be calculated subtracting out any impervious surface area such as roads, sidewalks, parking lots, etc… which was then compared to the entire area of floodplain within the village. The final ratio of open space to flood plain is then used to determine the overall score for open space preservation.
By using GIS, the village was able to save a significant amount of time by using base map data that already existed and floodplain areas provided by FEMA. By using GIS to calculate the areas of open space and impervious surface area for each property, the village did not have to spend time going through building plans and calculating everything by hand. The CRS review is not until later in the year, but by tackling the Open Space Preservation section now, there will be time later to make adjustments to the data.
Usually unseasonably warm temperatures are welcome during the winter months in the Chicago area. But a forecast including above freezing temperatures was met with some concern due to the historical snowfall event that took place just two weeks prior. Riverside Public Works personnel were aware of the potential for roadway flooding if rain and excessive snowmelt was in store. In preparation for this possible situation the Village’s GIS was leveraged to provide maps so that sewer inlets could be located and cleared off. Without GIS these inlets would be time consuming to locate given they were still covered by snow from plowing efforts.
The warmer temperatures did arrive but without rain, so the snow had time to melt. Staff was prepared to mitigate the runoff issues, but this time, thankfully, their plan did not have to be put into action.
The Oak Brook Fire Department, like most other fire departments, regularly trains their staff in a variety of categories aside from EMS and fighting fires. One area that they test on a regular basis is every firefighter’s ability to remember every street name and location within each of the 13 fire districts. Prior to GIS assisting them in the test creation, they had used hand drawn maps that were not easy to read, and were not always spatially accurate. As a result the training officer asked the GIS specialist to create a series of maps to test the firefighters with.
The image displayed is an example page from the map book that was created for the test. The map book is made up of 13 pages, one page for each district. There was a master copy made which displays every street and street name within the district. And then the test was created by substituting the street name with a numeric value. Each firefighter will have a document listing all of the numbers in each district, and they will need to reference the map with numeric street names to complete the test. The test is then graded based off of the master copy which displays all actual street names. Although this project did not involve intensive analysis, it allows the fire department to maximize its effectiveness by completing an essential and easy to read test.
It is simple to say that speeding occurs in almost any location that there is a car and a road. Although this straightforward comment may be true, it still leaves a lot of room for a Police Department or Traffic Safety Engineer to question why. Is the speed limit too low? Are there not enough stop signs on a specific street? Is the speeding occurring near a high school? All of these questions are fair to ask and seem to be brought up often when conducting a speed survey study. For the City of Park Ridge they decided that on top of the typical questions that they could ask they would also benefit from the use of a Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis. The GIS would not only bring in a mapping component to each speed survey study but it would also allow for a city wide comparison as to how some of these studies may be spatially related; both of which were not previously available.
In order to make the speed survey results usable within GIS the information first had to be converted into a geographic data. This was done by way of a complex GIS method called linear referencing and entailed the representation of each speed survey study as a line on a map. Furthermore, this complex operation worked by creating a new line segment for each study area and did not require any splitting of the original road centerline data. Most importantly, linear referencing allowed multiple street segments (i.e. city blocks) to be consolidated into one line segment holding the same attributes; something that was very helpful considering that the city had many blocks that did not start and stop at a street intersection and data editing would be laborious. The end result came in the form of a map displaying each study area with labels indicating the speed numbers that were recorded during a specific month and year. In the end, although the GIS process was a bit complex the goal was still achieved in the ability by taking data that was once textual and making it an analytical tool via a map.
Emergency planning is a part of life. You have probably prepared for emergencies and not even realized it. It could be stocking up on extra pantry items before a blizzard or filling out an emergency contact form at your place of employment or child’s school. Though these are great examples of emergency preparedness, municipal government needs to reach much deeper. Preparing a home for an emergency is different than preparing 25,000 homes, businesses and schools for an array of natural and human disasters.
The Village of Skokie’s Fire Prevention Bureau is working with area schools to address a student relocation plan in case of an emergency. The Geographic Information System (GIS) department has been asked to assist in building routes to these relocation areas. By using routing, the Village’s Police and Fire Departments will know how both private and public schools transit to these temporary locations. The importance of the route is immense considering public safety could be inundated with calls and stretched thin. This way all parties know what the school’s plan is for an emergency.
Lincolnshire has undergone a joint project with its neighboring communities Mettawa and Bannockburn to look at open space. The project is being coordinated through Chicago Wilderness and is funded through the Grand Victoria Foundation. It is unique in that it provides the opportunity for the three communities to work together to identify Green Infrastructure, determine its connectedness, review community ordinances and policies related to green infrastructure. Private and public rain gardens examples of green infrastructure that are being looked at.
The Village has developed an Open Space Management Plan and encourages participation of staff in maintenance and care of environmental issues. To support the protection of natural resources, the Village has adopted the Chicago Wilderness Biodiversity Recovery Plan, the North Branch of the Chicago River Watershed Plan, and the Indian Creek Watershed Plan. Additionally, the GIS provides staff a resource to aid in the identification of woodlands, wetlands, floodplains and other environmentally sensitive lands. This information is used as a development and management tool.
With the recent historical snowfall event, 22” over a 16 hour timeframe, it became a safety issue for Elk Grove Village Firefighters to know the location of their fire hydrants and have access to them. Many fire hydrants had been completely covered by snow because of the amount of snow and plowing efforts from the village, counties, and state.
To assist their fire response the GIS (Geographic Information System) Department provided each fire station a hard and soft copy map showing the location of the hydrants in their district. As time allowed, fire personnel then focused on uncovering and clearing snow away from fire hydrants located at the corners of each block where they were most likely to have been completely covered by snow pushed off of the roadways.
Village employees are currently using MapOffice™ Advanced to assist with tasks such as printing maps, getting property information , and many more tasks. Recently the GIS Office added several more tools for improving efficiency including a Sewer tracing task and custom data overlays. The biggest change was the addition of three layers to MapOffice™ Advanced. The first custom overlay added was Zoning District. The districts are symbolized with the same colors used in the paper map. Thus employees can recognized symbology to easily see how an area is zoned . The second custom overlay was snow removal. This layer shows snow removal routes for streets and sidewalks and is useful for quick maps. The final overlay layer added was the ravine property layer. This layer shows the location of all properties along ravines. There are many issues involving Ravine properties and this layer will gives employees the ability to quickly locate these properties.
The GIS Office also added a new task called Sewer Tracing. Using the sewer tracing tool an employee can select a location on a pipe and determine where the pipe flows downstream or locate it’s up stream source. Thus and employee can quickly see a basin or determine the where contaminated water might be flowing.
These recent enhancements are show how MapOffice™ Advanced is being continually updated to improve it’s usefulness. Employees can continue to look forward to many more enhancements in the future.
Land annexed into the Village of Glenview has been on display in the Village’s Development department for some time. This information and map serves as a reference for staff when receiving questions about unincorporated and\or incorporated properties. Staff realized that the information and map was out date and that GIS (Geographic Information System) could provide an opportunity to keep the information current and more up to date.
The new process is that the existing annexation information provided by the Village’s record management software is given to the GIS staff for updating the current map. When completed a new updated hard copy is provided to the Development department for display and a PDF is created for distrabution to the staff and public.
The Village of Norridge has 19 bus shelters along various routes that are owned by a private company but our on village property. Each of these bus shelters has space for advertisements which brings in money that is split between the private company and the village. Community Development and Finance asked for a way to show the information in a way that showed potential advertisers the locations they would be purchasing.
A map was created showing the location of each bus shelter where advertising is possible. By showing the locations, instead of intersection descriptions, potential advertisers get a better idea of where there advertisements will be located and what type of bus traffic will go through the area. The map also includes contact information for anybody who decides that they want to advertise by using the shelters. By using GIS, the village gives advertisers a visual representation of data that was normally represented as a description.
With a growing effort towards cost savings and infrastructure improvement, Oak Brook has decided to look into improving all of their street light utilities in the village. A private company has made a proposal to swap some of the components within the street lights to more energy and cost efficient materials. Rather than paying a lump sum to the company for the improvements, they will pay the company over the course of a few years the difference in cost savings they receive from the energy efficient materials. This provides no immediate difference in cost to the village, and when the cost of the upgrade is fully paid off in a few years, the village will see a decrease in the money spent on powering streetlights.
In order for the company to come in and perform the upgrade, they need to know some basic things about the street lights such as: bulb type, wattage, voltage, and location. As a result, a series of maps was requested displaying all street light locations in the village, along with a spreadsheet containing attribution for each light. The image provided with this article is an example page of the map book that was given to the company for use while performing the upgrade.