The Village of Deerfield is about to begin an inventory of village owned trees which reside in the right-of-way. In order to effectively track and record all trees in a time efficient manner, the arborist consultant asked that a series of maps be created to assist in locating and recording all trees. Their goal for the maps was to have a good size map that is manageable in the field, as few maps as possible, and staying to a scale of 1 to 100.
The map series that we decided would best suit their needs consists of twenty maps at a size of 36x38. As seen in the attached image, these maps include parcel lines, addresses, and fire hydrant for reference, all layed over the most recent available imagery which was captured in 2010. This map series allows the arborists to effectively plan what routes they will take, locate trees in relation to addresses and landmarks, and have a visual record of data when working in the office.
In partnership with the Glenview Park District, the Village of Glenview is hosting two public events on the impact of the Emerald Ash Borer beetle. By offering these workshops, the Village hopes to help its residents learn more about how their local government is responding to this pest and what residents can do to help. These types of meetings encourage transparency in government operations and also foster a team-based approach to a problem that affects everyone.
GIS was able to assist in this project by mapping out the locations of trees infested with Emerald Ash Borer within the Village limits. Workshop attendees will see how the problem has progressed in Glenview over a short period of time. The maps provide a striking illustration of the statistics, which increased from 22 cases in 2009 to the 120 already documented in 2011. By using GIS, these educational aids were created in very quickly and at little cost to the Village. Public Works staff hopes to make further use of these maps to spatially analyze where the beetle is and how quickly it is spreading.
The City of Lake Forest is planning on planting around 180 trees this year that were purchased with funding that was donated from city residents. Known for its tree lined streets, these donated trees will help fill in areas of the City from newly renovated parks to medians along major roads. The Parks and Forestry department worked with both Engineering and GIS to create a map project that served two purposes; to help plan the locations of the Oak and Elm trees, and create an online interactive map that would allow residents to click on each tree and see its sponsor.
The use of GIS and interactive mapping technology for this project will save the foresters time in planning, allowing them to see project areas and make decisions without going into the field. Likewise, residents will be able to stay involved with the project by using the interactive map that shows the location and information for each tree.
Twice a year the City of Park Ridge offers its residents a chance to attend a Citizen’s Police Academy in order to learn more about the standard police processes that occur on a daily basis. Some of the topics discussed at this academy include traffic enforcement, DUI enforcement and standard police procedures. The overall goal of this academy is to allow the citizens of the city to participate in a program that will educate them on the many facets of the Police Department within a short nine week session. After nine weeks each member will graduate from the academy and will hopefully have a new outlook on their local Police Department.
This program, like any, has included some minor enhancements geared at helping the participants retrieve information in the proper ways so that it is easily understandable. One enhancement that was introduced to the Spring 2011 session was the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) maps to display the various products that the Police Department utilizes to help them analyze the events happening within the city. Two of the maps that were supplied included a police beat map and a traffic accident count map. These maps were then inserted into the materials that each participant receives at the academy and acted as a visual aid during a discussion on a particular procedure carried out by a police officer (i.e. police enforcement and traffic study analysis).
Everybody processes information differently but it is believed that the introduction of maps into the Citizen’s Police Academy will play a positive role in the interpretation of information by the academy’s participants. Sometimes a simple map can go a long way.
Ensuring that all the hydrants in a community are in a proper working condition is vital for the safety of residents within a community. The city ensures hydrants are working properly by flushing them every summer. Previously, the city contracted ME Simpson Co. to flush hydrants each summer. This year they decided to have the Fire Department perform the flushing of hydrants.
The Fire Department understood the technical aspects of flushing hydrants but they also understood the need for developing an organized process for tracking which hydrant flushing. Furthermore, the hydrant features within the GIS have valuable information from previous hydrant flushing programs. It was important that this information was also updated. The Fire Department met with the GIS and requested three products to assist them with implementing the hydrant flushing program. The first product was an Excel sheet listing the number of hydrants per Fire Grid District. The Excel sheet was used to assign hydrants to three teams, one from each station, who would be assigned specific fire grids. Knowing the number of hydrants per Fire District Grid ensured that each team was assigned approximately the same number of hydrants to flush.
The second and third products are used together to tracking flow rate and pressure information for each hydrant. The hydrant information will be updated in an Excel sheet of hydrants, which were extracted from the GIS. There will also be a map showing the hydrants with a unique Id and address, so that correct hydrant is identified and updated in the Excel sheet. By using GIS the Fire Department leverage resource to help them efficiently manage the summer hydrant flushing program. Thus the community will be protected in two ways. They can be confident that all the hydrants in the community are in proper working order and the Fire Department can access the updated hydrant information in the GIS to understand how well the existing hydrants work.
The Village of Oak Brook’s fire department keeps a comprehensive map of the village which incorporates all features they deem necessary for fire emergency response and planning. Included in this map are things such as fire hydrants, high pressure gas lines, highway mile markers, and many other features that assist them while responding to emergency situations. The most recent feature that they have requested is a full layout of all three golf courses in the village. This is a necessary element on the map because while responding to calls on a golf course people often refer to which hole they are on, or the fire department may need to know where the nearest high pressure water source is in the event of a fire. Having set layouts and plans for possible emergencies is what allows the fire department to do their job quickly and effectively.
The image displayed is of Butterfield Country Club, which is not incorporated in the village. Because of their overall lack of knowledge and layout of the course, the fire department requested that all features, especially hole locations and high pressure water sources be mapped. By using aerial photography and having a couple of meetings with the golf course superintendent, I was able to create all of the features seen in the image from scratch. The fire department is now able to quickly reference where every hole is located, what obstacles may be in their way, and where to connect their hoses in the event of a fire. This is all being done with the goal of eventually incorporating this data into our interactive mapping service, MapOffice™ Advanced, so that they will have interactive access to this data while in their rigs on location.
An annual water system maintenance procedure for Elk Grove Village Public Works staff is to service any fire hydrants that do not self-drain. A fire hydrant that has been used at any time during the year, if working properly, will drain the water automatically as designed so the water will not freeze inside the hydrant making it unusable. During the cold winter months when temperatures are below freezing village staff will drain or pump fire hydrants that did not drain properly.
Because the maintenance records identified which hydrants had to be serviced Public Works staff was able to plot the locations of the troublesome hydrants using available GIS (Geographic Information System) resources. Displaying that information on a map gives an overview of the maintenance performed and allows for additional statistics, tracking, and replacement planning over time to be sure these hydrants do not disrupt fire response services.
Utility asset management is a critical component of any local government’s annual operations. As part of its annual utility maintenance schedule, the City of Des Plaines performs field tests of fire hydrants in select areas of the city to ensure that they have the correct water pressure and are still operating at the expected level. These tests are conducted by the Fire Department and require significant man-hours to complete. To reduce the amount of time needed to locate a hydrant scheduled for testing, the department requested a series of maps that could be used in the field for locating.
To fill this request, the city’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department created a map book, or a series of coincident maps that show a larger area divided into a collection of smaller areas, that could be used in the field. While a city-wide map showing all the hydrants was also developed for general reference, having the smaller, more mobile maps allows the department to use them in the field as they are conducting each test, giving them a more detailed view of the testing area and the location of each hydrant. Using these products will help to reduce the amount of staff time needed to locate the hydrants and provide more time for developing an efficient testing schedule that will ultimately lower the amount of time needed to complete the testing process.
The annual process of identifying the most critical locations for resurfacing projects is challenging. Unfortunately, there is never a shortage of roads in need of improvement, but always a lack of funding to cover the whole list. In an effort to make better informed decisions on how to use Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) funds, the Village of Lincolnshire decided to review its history for possible patterns. By comparing each year’s work, Public Works staff will be asking, “Are there any stretches of road that we have repeatedly resurfaced in a short period of time?” Rather than continuing to spend limited resurfacing funds to put a proverbial bandage over a bigger issue, the Village hopes to rule these locations out of the pool for MFT funding. Instead, these roads would be cataloged as better candidates for reconstruction.
To answer this question visually, the Public Works intern reviewed paper files and compiled a table of completed MFT projects dating back to 1980. This table was then mapped out in GIS to visually represent street segments that have been resurfaced. A graded color code was used to denote the year of resurfacing, with older projects in red and recent projects in green. While this analysis has not yet been completed for the whole Village, there are already locations emerging as possible candidates for more comprehensive repairs. By pulling these streets off of the master list, the Village hopes to make better use of public funds by identifying roads that would benefit the most from resurfacing.
One of the unique features of Riversidelinois is the design of the community centered around forestry as envisioned by Frederick Law Olmsted. Riverside is one of the first planned communities and has been a National Historic Landmark since 1970 due to the historic architecture, winding streets, gas street lights, and vegetated landscape.
The Village’s Forester, Landscape Advisory Committee, and other village staff have teamed up to initiate a landscape maintenance program that allows residents an opportunity to exercise their pride in the community by caring for green spaces in the village parks, parkways, and landscape beds. The location, size, and availability of identified areas is being tracked in the Village’s GIS (Geographic Information System). A map and spreadsheet of the adopted areas is constantly updated to reflect the program status. Also a history of forest workdays is tracked over time such as a weekend Boy Scout event to clear Buckthorn, an invasive species. Combining all of these activities gives village staff an excellent understanding of the maintenance status of each area enabling them to sustain the beautiful landscape for generations to come.
Last year the GIS Consoritum (GISC) conducted a survey of the member Fire Departments. Among the topics was the use of wireless in the field along with the type of records management systems used. The goal was to set the vision for future MapOffice™ Advanced development to assure its continued support of Public Safety. The results from the survey reinforce the notion that more and more local governments are turning to technology to improve the efficiency of business processes. More than half (63%) of Fire Departments covering GISC communities have wireless in the field right now with an additional 3 communities providing wireless in the field within the next two years. That said by 2013, 80% of GISC members will have access to MapOffice™ Advanced in the field to use for emergency response.
As a result of the survey the GISC will be researching:
- Providing Mobile Data Viewer (MDV™) functionality in MapOffice™ Advanced
- Within two (2) years, more than 80% of departments will be supporting wireless in the field
- Integrating Firehouse in MapOffice™ Advanced
- Since Firehouse™ is the predominately used software (75%) for pre-plan and records management, integration with MapOffice™ Advanced is critical.
- Establishing MapOffice™ Advanced functionality if wireless connection is not available/down Based on the consortium-wide push towards wireless, having a backup version of MapOffice™ Advanced available when wireless is down will be essential.
The GISC appreciates the time that the Fire Departments took out of their busy schedules to answer this survey.
Fire is a natural part of both forest and grassland ecology and it encourages the development of native grassland growth. Without controlled burns native grasslands run the risk of being overtaken by non-native grasses (one reason why controlled burns are very important.) The Village of Glenview has three areas in the Village that require controlled burns (or hazard reduction burning) and until recently, all information was reported in hand written documents and maps. Now, with assistance from GIS the Forestry department can document and map the burn areas and information more accurately and effectively.
By using GIS this gives Public Works knowledge (previous burn(s) wind speed, direction, and etc.) for better awareness and preparedness for future controlled burns and the ability to track this information visually.
On average, the Village of Wheeling has 120 reported traffic accidents per month. These accidents range from simple fender benders, to ones that result in major property damage. The village police department maintains a record database detailing each reported accident with such data as its location and the time the accident was reported. By maintaining this database, the police department is able to track the amount of accidents by time and day of the week. In addition to the data that they were tracking in their database, the police department wanted a series of maps showing the location of each accident so the officers would get a visual representation of the database.
A series of maps were created showing the traffic accidents for each month broken down by the type of accident. By seeing the location of all the accidents on each map, the officers get a good idea where all the accidents are occurring and can take measures to prevent accidents in those areas with the help of other village departments. By having a visual representation of their accident data, the police can make better decisions on where their officers should investigate.
The Village of Skokie’s state of the art Police Department houses the Village’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). This center is utilized as a meeting destination for decision makers during an emergency event. The EOC is supported by generators during power outages and serve as a command center. Features of this center include two projectors with the ability to project eight inputs, power/data connections in the floor, and a partition that can split the room. Two kitchens, a supply room with cubbies for each department, and an adjoining conference room are just some of the additional amenities at the EOC.
In preparation for emergencies, the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Department has been working extensively with the Village’s Public Safety Consortium providing maps and spatial analysis. A street map of Skokie and the surrounding municipalities, as well as a damage assessment grid map were provided to be laminated and used during an emergency. The ability to connect to MapOffice and other GIS programs has been verified and tested in preparation for an EOC activation.
It usually seems that most people who are disrupted by construction projects would be less upset if they had some warning that a project was about to happen. Early notification of disruptions can lead to route changes by commuters, later departure times or just the common acceptance of noise. So the normal question that comes after all of this is, “How do you notify the public about what is soon to happen?
One method that is very effective is the mailing of letters to each resident in and around the construction zone warning them of the work that is about to take place. Although this may be the preferred method, there are other options that can help get the word out. For the City of Park Ridge they decided it would also be beneficial to capture the resident’s attention by publicizing these projects in the form of a map and make it accessible via a link on the home page of the city’s website. This map would be generated in-house using the Geographic Information System (GIS) software and would be completed by an Engineering Department employee. Who better to create this map then a person who is well versed in the projects that are planned for the year? This map was designed to be simple so not to confuse the residents and would be color coded by project type. And since the majority of these projects were to start in the spring, the city decided to publish this map in February so that the residents would have time to prepare for what was about to come.
Not every resident uses the internet but since the trend is leaning towards more users than less, it is safe to say that the method described above is an efficient way to get information from the city’s desk and into the minds of the public.
Residential and commercial development in flood-prone areas can be a challenge to manage for many local governments. In addition to dealing with residents or businesses for permitting, inspections, etc, the federal government is also involved to ensure all construction and documentation is compliment with regulations that limit what can and cannot be built. As part of the Community Rating System (CRS), a program that allows local municipalities to show that they’ve taken efforts to mitigate potential flood damage to properties build in a floodplain in order to help reduce residents’ flood insurance rates, the Village of Winnetka Public Works department decided to map out the locations of all permits issued in areas that are susceptible to flooding to help get a better idea of the amount of construction being conducted in these areas.
To accomplish this, the Public Works department asked the Village’s Geographic Information System (GIS) department to map addresses for permit applications issued in the floodplain from 2000-2010 to determine the level of development within these areas. The permit information was provided by the Community Development department and was restricted new construction or properties where significant renovations were done. Once these addresses are mapped, the data was loaded into an internet-based mapping application available to all village employees so it could be shared and reviewed by all departments involved in the CRS program. In addition to the spatial location of each permit, information on the type of permits, and if multiple permits were issued, is also provided.
The Public Works Department annually prepares a Capital Improvement Report. Part of this report is identifying existing facilities owned by the community. This year they wanted to enhance the report by providing maps showing the location of City Owned Infrastructure.
Thus they contacted the GIS Office to create a series of maps showing the location of city owned facilities, parking lots, street lights and traffic signals. The GIS Office created citywide maps showing the locations of all the items for one of the requested assets. Then they created maps which showed close-ups of areas of the city were assets were crowded together. These close up areas made it easier to identify specific assets in crowded locations Because the information for these assets already existed, the maps could be created quickly.
The maps were a valuable addition to the report because they allowed the reader to see where the described assets were located. This assisted the reader with understanding what was being described in the report and where the items were located.
By contacting the GIS Office, the Public Works Department obtained a series of maps which enhanced their report. Also, because the GIS Office could access existing information, the Public Works Department was able to quickly receive these maps. They really liked the maps and they plan to include them in all future Capital Improvement Reports.