The Village of Oak Brook’s community development department handles a variety of matters, one of which includes permitting for pyrotechnics. For this particular project, community development had a resident come in and request a permit for a private fireworks display on his property. In order for the permit to be granted, community development needed to figure out whether or not this resident’s property met the requirements set by the ordinance dealing with pyrotechnics. The ordinance states that no pyrotechnics can be set off within a distance of 21 feet of a building or neighboring property line, for every 1/5 inch of projectile barrel size. For this particular display, the required perimeter was 105’ from all buildings.
The image displayed shows the resident’s property, along with all restricted and unrestricted areas on his property. The analysis had to include 105’ perimeters around the main building, which was his house, around the free-standing shed on the northwest portion of the property, and inside of his entire property line. By applying a 105’ buffer around both of these buildings and inside the property line, it was determined that there was a small portion of land on the central north end of his property that met all requirements set by the ordinance. This map and analysis helped community development by giving an accurate location for the fireworks display, while adhering to the requirements set forth by the ordinance.
At times it may be common for people to underestimate the interest a local municipal government has in maintaining an accurate inventory of their utility infrastructures. But to a public works employee, knowing what is out the field and where to go when a line needs repair is essential if any work is going to be done. Although there are various methods for collecting utility information including hand drawn maps or computer aided designs, the Village of Morton Grove is using a Geographic Information System (GIS) that not only holds the line work of the utility system but also handles the attributes of each structure as it is out in the field (i.e. 8 inch water main with a material of ductile iron).
More importantly though, are the efficient methods that can be used in order to keep this digital data up to date so that the field crews and engineers can have trust in the GIS. While most contracted projects are designed in some sort type of Computer Aided Design (CAD) format, there are times when a municipality only receives an image of this design in a PDF format. This format is not preferred but it is surely not to be seen as waste. The ability to convert a PDF image to a JPEG image and then spatially rectify this drawing using tools within the GIS is quite easy. Better yet, there is even technology that will convert a PDF into digital lines that can then be copied into your existing inventory and attributed properly. Either way you slice it, you now have an accurate representation of proposed design that can be used to make updates to your current utility infrastructure, much better than estimating the true locations of these lines. Talk about being efficient.
Communities in the GIS Consortium (GISC) all use MapOffice™, a web based mapping application that supports communities business processes. The GISC provides two versions of MapOffce to ensure that certain data and tools are not made available for external use. MapOffice™ Advanced, located only on the Village of Lincolnwood’s internal network, provides opportunity for the staff to request data to be integrated into the base map.
After the requests are made, business processes that the data will support are documented. Once this is completed the development of the custom layer is completed and loaded into the application for the Village’s internal use. Examples of the custom overlays include alley vacations (pictured), speed humps, traffic circles, parking restrictions, and street responsibility. These layers are all used to analyze questions and better understand the geography behind certain community issues.
Riversidelinois has the benefit of being centered on a commuter train stop that serves areas west of the city of Chicago. Accompanied by dense development in the city center, a high demand for parking facilities is present. The village has chosen to utilize it’s Geographic Information Stystem (GIS) to inventory and evaluate its parking scenario.
The location of the parking lots have been created in the GIS as well as the parking spaces within those lots. From that information a simple parking lot map was producted showing where all of the lots are. Statistics can then be generated, taking things a step further, by tallying the quantity of spaces in each lot and within all lots combined. The next piece to the parking evaluation will be to integrate permit types, parking restrictions, and fees to this model to obtain a thourough assessment for spaces not only at the lots, but for on-street metered spaces as well. And this will be covered in a bulletin at a later date.
The City of Lake Forest has been preparing for its upcoming 150th Anniversary event, which is scheduled for the fall of this year. While there are small events going on throughout the year, the big focus is on the festival that will take place on Market Square in the downtown area.
The City’s building department contacted GIS with the request of a large scale map that shows the downtown area, along with parking stalls and proposed vendor booths. In addition to these, proposed road closures and barriers were laid out on the map to be discussed among the planning staff.
Though there will be much more to come, the initial map gives the planners an opportunity to lay out the map for group discussions and make proposed changes where necessary. Once finalized, the map can then be used by staff during the event set-up as a blueprint.
The Village of Glencoe is in the process of re-inspecting roughly five dozen private properties for compliance with regional storm water drainage regulations. These properties were initially identified during Village-wide testing associated with the Infiltration/Inflow Corrective Action Program (ICAP). Approximately 85% of all homes in Glencoe were found to be compliance with ICAP, and the remaining property owners were notified of what changes were needed to reduce or eliminate storm water infiltration into the sanitary sewer system. By re-inspecting these sites, Public Works can confirm that the private sector is in compliance with these regulations, which in turn leads to cost savings because the Village is not unnecessarily treating the storm water that was formerly leaking into the system.
Public Works decided to take a proactive role this spring by re-inspecting these remaining locations for compliance. GIS assisted in this process by creating individual comment sheets with maps of all 63 properties that inspectors could take notes on. When inspectors visit a particular location, they are able to sketch their findings on a map of the property and write down any relevant comments to pass back to the Village engineer. By working with GIS, Public Works had custom inspection forms ready to use in a few short hours, as opposed to using significant staff time and resources to manually set everything up.
When a street light is out in the Village of Norridge, staff members at village hall will receive phone calls from residents detailing where the outage is located. The office staff makes a note of the outage and then contacts someone in public works to investigate the issue. In the case of multiple people calling about the same outage, multiple notes would be made due to an insufficient way of tracking which outages have been reported. With the help of the GIS department, the village was able to implement a map using MapOffice™ Advanced that village staff can access that shows live data of the status of each street light outage.
By using the Business Intelligence feature of MapOffice™ Advanced, the GIS department was able to link an Excel database of the street light outages maintained by office staff with the map provided by the program. The Street Light Outage map shows the location of every street light outage reported and whether it has been investigated or not. The office staff can sort the data by numerous fields including date and work order status. By having up to the minute statuses of all the street light outages, the office staff can inform residents that call in whether a particular outage has been reported, eliminating the need to create multiple reports for the same outage. By using GIS, the office staff has removed a level of redundancy and allowed their office staff to communicate more clearly with residents.
The Village of Deerfield Public Works\Water Department is in the process of replacing their old water meters with new touch\radio reads. This involves each meter being physically replaced with a new one and as you can imagine is very time consuming. Another restriction is, tracking which and where each one has been replaced. So to assist with this process, Public Works asked the Village of Deerfield GIS Department to plot each one that has been replaced, has not, and ones with only the head being replaced.
By teaming up with GIS the Public Works\Water Department can now more effectively (time) and efficiently (routing) tackle areas\addresses where meters have not been replaced. Also for the first time, the map allows for them to visually view their work.
A recent objective in Elk Grove Village has been to map easement information. Easements are a land management resource for many departments as they depict areas where utilities may exist, areas that have been dedicated for future infrastructure and where municipal vehicles have access on private property.
Easements can also be granted for infrastructure improvements for example or property owners may petition for a variance to an existing easement on their property. An example of this would be a variance to build a shed that would encroach, or overlap, a few feet into an easement. Variances have become another mapping objective because of these circumstances and will be covered in a later article.
The Village GIS (Geographic Information System) makes available an interactive mapping program called MapOffice™. This provides the perfect interface for village staff to visualize where these easements exist, how large they are, and how they already are or could be used. The tracking of easements and the Village owned infrastructure (assets) is an important component to Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).
The Village of Winnetka hosts all sorts of special events throughout the year. These events require the involvement and coordination of numerous village departments, including Public Works, the Police Department, and, often, outside agencies. A common outside agency that works with the village is the Winnetka Park District, which recently proposed a village-wide bike tour to help promote the village as a scenic community. To help improve the coordination efforts, the GIS (Geographic Information System) department developed several mapping products to allow all those involved to transfer event information more efficiently.
There are two maps that were developed for this bike tour: one that highlights the tour route that will be used for planning efforts between the park district and the village and one for the Police department that shows the tour route and the location of all traffic signals, stop signs, and yield signs that will be used to help the department determine officer postings during the event. Using these mapping products provides all those participating in or organizing the event with the same, geographically-based template, allowing for a more efficient transfer of information and improved communication before and during the ride.
GIS Specialists Erik Voight, Jason Sphar and Mike Falkofske of MGP Inc. along with former City of Des Plaines Economic Development Coordinator Jennifer Ganser recently published an article regarding local government and information transparency in the February 2011 edition.
Erik and Jennifer outlined the benefits of providing business vacancy information in Google Maps. The authors find that providing this information has reduced the time business space stays vacant and ultimately increases economic revenues back to the City. Jason and Mike describe the benefits of providing parking information on local government websites for Park Ridge and Highland Park. Making parking information available on the web provides information that demystifies local parking ordinances and restrictions which encourages citizens to take of downtown urban spaces.
The content of this article was presented at the Fall Illinois GIS Association (ILGISA) conference and Wisconsin Land Information Association (WLIA) annual conference. GeoSpatial is a publication for GIS practitioners with a circulation of approximately 10,000, primarily in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.
The article can be found at: http://emag.geospatialtoday.com
Over the last six months the City of Highland Park has experienced an increase in vehicle burglaries. This has led to pressure from residents to reduce the number of vehicle break-ins. The Police Department based on reports and interviews has two people of interest. However, they were looking for a way to confirm their hunches as to which incidents were mostly committed by the suspects from the ones which were truly isolated incidents.
The Police Department asked the GIS Office to create a map of vehicle burglaries. The requested maps showed the location of vehicle break in. The incident locations were colored by the month they occurred in. The symbols were also sized to show how many vehicle break-ins occurred at each location. The final map product was useful not only grouping the incidents by location but establishing time frame when these events occurred. From them map it was easy to see that some of the clusters occurred during a specific month.
All of the suspects were eventually caught and the map is being used as evidence in Court Proceedings. By leveraging the power of GIS the Police Department was able to a product that confirmed some of there hunches as to the some of the incidents being linked. Thus creating a useful piece of evidence for charging the suspects with committing some of the incidents.