Although technology surrounds all of us it is hard to know what to buy in order to get what you need for your specific project. Sometimes you will want to keep the software light and easy to use and at other times you may need the most robust system that money can buy in order to function properly at high level operations.
For the City of Park Ridge the purpose was to purchase something in the middle of the road that could work for their upcoming sign inventory data collection project as well as any other future project that would require field data collection. The challenge for this equipment and software acquisition was to find something that would easily integrate into the city’s current Geographical Information System (GIS). Additionally, the City did not want spend a lot of time trying to convert certain data formats to fit the data model that already existed in GIS.
Because the City already knew that they would one day want to collect Global Positioning System (GPS) point data in the field the decision making process really came to which piece of software they would install on a (GPS) mobile device. The Trimble® TerraSync™ software was well respected in the industry and could work for this project but did introduce a lot of post-processing tasks to make it GIS compliant. After further research, the city decided that they would gain more by using the ArcPad™ application from ESRI®. The reason behind this decision was that after simple testing it was apparent that data could be checked out from the existing ESRI® platform GIS model, edited in the field on the mobile GPS device and then easily checked back into the GIS database; thus eliminating the man-hours that would have been introduced with the other option and potentially saving money on labor in the long run.
The Village of Oak Brook has recently begun receiving noise complaints from a couple of apartment complexes northeast of the Oak Brook promenade. The complainants allege that the noise is the result of music being played from a bar facing in their direction. As a result the village must do analysis to figure out where the noise is actually coming from, and whether or not they are not complying with the noise ordinance set by the Village.
In an effort to make this process quick and easy, community development decided to use GIS to gather distances from the origin of the noise to various buildings around the area, including the apartment complexes filing the noise complaints. By using GIS, community development was able to get distances to each of the chosen buildings, along with a map displaying all of the data. Rather than going into the field and manually doing the measurements, GIS was able to produce the map in much less time, with less man power and a high percentage of accuracy. Additionally the maps and data will be stored for future analysis that may occur, involving decibel levels at the complainant’s residence in comparison to closer buildings and residences. The image displayed is the map that was initially made for the first step of the analysis.
As the old joke goes, “There are only two seasons here: winter and construction.” As Chicagoland moves into construction season, local governments are tasked with rerouting traffic flow to make room for much needed repairs. In the Village of Glencoe, one project includes a complete overhaul of the commuter parking lots around the Metra station. This multi-week project requires Public Works staff to close different lots on different days, which disrupts the normal flow of commuter traffic.
With GIS, the Village was able to quickly create a map of the work site and include it on a poster to notify commuters well in advance of the project’s start. Once work actually began, GIS was able to quickly create maps of alternate parking sites so that commuters who missed the initial notification could find alternate parking places quickly. These maps were posted at the Metra station as well as online, providing multiple sources of information to the public in an efficient manner. Without GIS, Village staff would have to either rely on verbal explanations or create hand-drawn maps that were less accurate and showed fewer details to orient viewers.
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) develops accounting standards for state and local government agencies. The financial reports that are generated are used by the public, including issuers and auditors to assess the financial status of the reporting agencies. One aspect of the accounting process is the value of assets owned by the entity. Because the Village of Riverside, IL has a Geographic Information System (GIS), calculating village owned assets such as utilities and easements can be performed regularly and quickly. Just recently the village utilized its GIS to estimate the village owned easements relative to supporting utility data. Because easement information is filed away as hard copy documents the alternative would have required much research and significantly more staff time.
A recent addition to the Elk Grove Village, IL interactive mapping application, MapOffice™, is the Business Intelligence mapping service. Business Intelligence is a tool that is configured with community databases such as permits, work orders, and police incidents giving the map user the ability to dynamically map records in those databases usually by a category and/or date range.
Currently the MapOffice™ - Business Intelligence in Elk Grove is configured with their street light work orders, animal license, and business license data. Using this tool Public Works employees can quickly display the street lights that have had an issue in the past week, month, or custom timeframe. Similarly Police staff can plot all of the day care businesses when dealing with sex offender relocations.
Additional resources are being planned to configure with Business Intelligence including traffic incidents and water main breaks. The power of this tool is the ease of information access it provides to village staff whose decision making processes benefit greatly from supporting information from sources throughout the village, often housed in other departments.
The Village of Lincolnwood has been working extensively to connect their enterprise software to MapOffice Advanced™, the Village’s interactive mapping application. The new tool, Business Intelligence, connects the data from enterprise software to the mapping application by linking database servers and creating a web service to communicate to the application. This will enable the Village to view data which has an address associated with it, geographically.
By linking enterprise data to a spatial component such as MapOffice Advanced, the Village can analyze and visualize data that otherwise would be viewed in a table. Another aspect of this is the importance of publishing data that other departments and divisions do not have access to. By publishing data using MapOffice Advanced, the data custodian can limit who views the data because it can be fully integrated into the Village’s Active Directory.
Business Intelligence is a great tool that will promote data sharing and allow data to be viewed in a spatial context. Currently the Village is using it to complement New World Systems Dispatch software Police and will eventually incorporate RecTrac by Vermont Systems which the Parks and Recreation Department uses.
Local fire emergency response units are often called to non-residential locations that can contain potential hazards to both the responders and the building occupants. A critical asset to ensuring a successful response is having a drawing of the property, commonly known as a pre-plan, showing vital locations within the building, including the gas shutoff valve, exit points, and the layout of the various rooms. To assist in the development and distribution of these drawing, the City of Des Plaines, IL Fire Department asked the city’s GIS department to provide data for the initial drawing of the plans and a means for viewing the completed plans within a simple mapping environment.
To develop the pre-plan drawings, the Fire Department decided to work with a local community college that had a pre-plan design class in developing a curriculum that integrated the department’s drawings into each assignment. This provided a real world application of the skills being taught in the class and a final product for the department to use in emergency response. To assist the class in the initial design of each plan, the GIS department provided various data layers, including roads and buildings, to the college. These data layers are used as the base data for each drawing, making it easier for the students to add in the critical infrastructure information, such as hydrants and shutoff valve locations.
As a final product, the finished drawings are distributed to the Fire Department through an online interactive mapping site used by city staff. This application is available both in the office to administrative staff and in the field through laptops setup in all the department vehicles. By using the existing GIS system as the basis for the development and distribution of the pre-plans, the city has been able to save time and money on making a critical resource available to the necessary emergency response personnel.
The Village of Norridge is a densely populated community with many residential streets running through each neighborhood. Parking restrictions can vary from street to street, and in some instances, vary on the same street. The village keeps a list of each parking restriction in the municipal code, but it can be difficult to track each restriction based on a list. The village of Norridge requested that a map be created showing every parking restriction, so that if a resident had any questions, a village employee could access the information easily.
By using the restrictions listed in the municipal code, a map was created highlighting every street that had some sort of parking restriction. The data was then ported over to the in-house mapping software, MapOffice™ Advanced, so that it could be easily accessed on any village computer. The restrictions for each area were stored with the data so that if a village employee wants to see what type of restrictions are on a specific street, all they have to do is click on the section to get the detailed information. By using GIS, the village has taken information already available, and moved it from a cumbersome format to one that is far more accessible.
The Village of Morton Grove like other municipalities receives services from multiple outside organizations like ComEd for electricity or AT&T for phone. Recently the local gas company, Nicor, delivered an address list to the village and requested that the village review this list for accuracy purposes to ensure that Nicor is properly paying tax on gross receipts as well as receiving reimbursement from their customers. Additionally, an accurate address list will help keep Nicor in accordance with the village’s municipal gas tax ordinance as well as help fulfill the village’s tax collection agreement with Nicor. The simple outline of this request comes down to Nicor knowing whether or not their address list is correct and the addresses that they have do indeed fall with the Village of Morton Grove’s village limits.
Although the task of comparing addresses from two different resources can be done manually, it is better suited for the use of a robust computer software to handle the operation. For this request the Village of Morton Grove decided to enlist the services of the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department to assist with this address comparison project. Results that could take days would now only take a few hours to produce by using the comparison tools found within the GIS. Once completed, the GIS uncovered multiple addresses that did indeed match between Nicor and the village but more importantly, also uncovered multiple addresses that the village had that Nicor did not. These addresses are now under further inspection to make sure that the village and Nicor can be true to the agreements they currently have in place.
Responding to incidents involving motor vehicle accidents is a fundamental duty of all local government law enforcement agencies. Understanding which areas of a community are more likely to experience higher levels of traffic incidents provides a significant advantage to each department for implementing accident prevention measures that can help to make the community safer.
To help with tracking the location and number of incidents occurring with its community, the Village of Winnetka Police Department asked its Geographic Information System (GIS) Department to start a monthly mapping program using data recorded from officer incident reports generated in the field. Mapping this information provides department staff with a tool for visualizing the total number of incidents, as well as potential problem areas. By providing a monthly map product, the department can track the changes in incident levels throughout the year and be more proactive in their efforts to educate drivers on problem areas and implement preventative measures for reducing the danger of certain intersections.
The Village of Glencoe recently made use of GIS to map fire hydrants and their associated flow rates. Having this information available at a moment’s notice allows fire fighters to quickly locate the nearest source of the water pressure necessary to respond to a fire emergency. These maps were provided to both Dispatch and emergency responders in the field, providing multiple ways to find this information when seconds count.
Because paper maps can get misplaced or damaged in an emergency situation, this information will also be made available in MapOffice™ Advanced as a custom layer. Currently, Dispatch is able to use this tool to zoom in on a specific location and relay the relevant information to responders in the field. Once MapOffice™ Advanced is available on the internet, all emergency personnel will have direct access to this information without the need to rely on printed materials anymore.
As GIS continues to support the mission of each department in the Village, its cost savings potential increases significantly. In this case, Public Works had already collected the flow rate data for inclusion in the database, so police, fire and dispatch were able to pull what they needed in a matter of moments.
The Village of Skokie keeps track of a comprehensive land use database using standards set forth by the American Planning Association. The Land Based Classification Standards (LBCS) is a series of codes that defines the Function, Site, Structure, Activity, and Ownership of land. The Village has been diligently working to incorporate the land uses into its Geographic Information System(GIS). By integrating land use and GIS, the Village can better analyze and visualize where specific classifications of businesses are in geographic terms.
Business Intelligence, a tool in MapOffice™ Advanced, allows internal employees to search for specific land uses in a map interface. By linking databases and providing a web service on the backend, the GIS Department enables connections to any enterprise software that meets certain requirements. Since all GIS Consortium (GISC) communities do not use the same software, Business Intelligence uses properties to enable multiple types of data connections (SQL Server, ODBC, Access, etc). Since not all employees have access to the land use database, Business Intelligence was the best option to publish this data to employees.