Whenever a resident of the Village of Norridge decides to have a garage sale, they are required to register for a permit from the village and pay a specific fee. The Village, in turn, keeps a record of all the garage sales for a year, only allowing a resident to hold three sales a year. The Village requested that the garage sale information, (location and dates), be made available to the public on the village website. The GIS department was tasked with creating a map that would show the garage sale information and be easily updated.
First, a table was created that would house all the garage sale information needed for the website map. The table was created using Microsoft Excel and could be easily edited by village staff. Then, by a process called “geocoding”, a series of points were created representing the location of each garage sale from the most up to date table. Finally, the points were converted into a format provided by Google called “KML”. In this format, the points could be loaded into Google Maps added as a link to the village website. When a resident clicks on the link, Google Maps opens with any upcoming garage sale locations. By using GIS, the village was able to create an interactive map on their website providing residents with the most current garage sale information.
When repaving village streets after maintenance or a repair, the Village of Wheeling typically has to take in account the amount of curb that has to be rebuilt or repaired. The price of the repairs depends on the length of the curb and the different types of aprons that feed into the street i.e. driveway, parking lot, sidewalk, etc… The engineering department wanted to know if there was an easier way to calculate the amount of curb length for each village owned street and get a count of the number of aprons along the roadway as well.
Using the base map data provided by Ayres Associates, all the curbs in the village were split by their respective roads. The amount of curb length split by the road boundaries was added to the road data table along with a count of any sidewalk, driveway, or parking lot that intersected the original road data. With the data all divided and organized, a map was created allowing an engineer to select a section of a road and then view a table showing the length of curb for that section and the number of aprons along the road. By using GIS, the Village of Wheeling was able to cut down the amount of time it would take to manually calculate curb length as well as provide a quick way to make estimates on the cost of repaving certain streets.
The Riverside Fire Department has been working with its Geographic Information System (GIS) staff to produce updated fire hydrant flow maps due considerably to a significant water system improvement project conducted in 2010. The new configuration of infrastructure was updated in the GIS along with the new flow information for the fire hydrants that resulted from new and larger water mains. A large wall map was produced for the fire station and smaller, double sided maps were printed and laminated for use in the field. With the capabilities of the GIS and the fact that it is a repository for all village data the maps were designed to include all addresses throughout the village as well. Combining the address and hydrant locations with flow information provides a very valuable resource for the Fire staff.
Over time sewer utility pipes deteriorate and may eventually collapse causing an even bigger problem for a municipality to replace. Being able to locate these problem pipes before these bigger problems occur is ultimately the best practice. What normally happens at the local government level is a problem area is identified by the Engineering Department based on their analysis or by resident complaints. From there, the Engineering Department will usually contract a company to televise these problem pipes so they can review what is really happening underground. If the pipes are in really bad shape than a full replacement may be the only solution. Often times though, it is just a case of tree root obstruction or deterioration to the pipe that is restricting the flow of water. In these instances on e successful solution that a municipality may select is to cut out all tree roots with a small machine fed through the existing pipe and then line the sewer with a manufactured heat sensitive tube.
In simple terms, it is called sewer lining and is something that the City of Park Ridge, Illinois has recently started doing again. Additionally, the City has leveraged the use of their Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Department to help create maps depicting the locations of the pipes that are to be reconstructed. The maps are simple in nature but add to the City’s process of what they supply to the contractor doing the work. So, instead of trying to describe the scope of work, the City Engineer now has a visual to give to the contractor that shows the location of the job, the pipes to be lined or cleaned, as well as the attributes of each pipe that will be worked on (i.e. size, material, and length). All in all, sometimes it is the small things that make a contract go better and in this example it is easy to see how a simple map from GIS may help alleviate some confusion.
In an effort to maintain and enforce a standard of quality water treatment and distribution amongst local governments, the EPA requires municipalities to provide a map displaying their water system monitoring stations. Specifically, the EPA requires a map displaying the water distribution system along with: coliform sites, booster chlorination stations, pressure zones, storage tanks, entry points, water sources, and stage 2 sampling sites. The map is not only used by the EPA to locate these sites, but it is also used by the village’s water department when determining the best areas to setup sampling sites. Because the EPA prefers samples from areas along the water system that aren’t used as much, the map gives the water department a visual aid while determining which areas of the system are least exercised.
The water department asked this map to me made with GIS because of its ability to not only create maps, but store the spatial data so that it can be referenced again in the future. Because most of the required information is already stored within the Village’s GIS data, all that was needed was to plot the new testing locations onto the map. The village was able to save a lot of time, money and resources by already tracking the water system in GIS because this map is mandatory and would have had to been created by another means which would not have been as time and cost efficient. In addition to being able to quickly create the map on short notice, the Village will also be able to quickly make any changes to this map when the information is requested again next year by the EPA.
When people think about moving to a new neighborhood they almost always consider the aspect of safety for them and their family. Whether it is the speed of the local streets or whether or not there is a neighborhood watch group, safety is on every families mind. One item of safety that also tops the charts is how well a street is lighted. For if a street light is out or not functioning properly people are more likely to feel unsafe for they cannot see their surroundings. Additionally, they are likely to call their community’s Public Works Department and complain about the broken light.
From here the Public Works Department is going to send someone out to the field to fix the problem. For the Village of Morton Grove, IL they decided to make sure that the employee that will report to the broken light is amply prepared by knowing what control boxes operate which lights in case there is a need to close a circuit temporarily. The Village decided to use their Geographic Information System (GIS) to publish this information on their local interactive web mapping site so that any employee can locate the street lights and their connecting parts. Additionally, having these street light locations and underground lines mapped out allows other people to be notified of their whereabouts if they are to be digging in that area.
It is easy to see that GIS was able to help by creating a centralized location to access street light information rather than digging up old paper maps. Not only is this process efficient, it also helps in times of need.
One of the many benefits to investing in a quality GIS program is the ability to repurpose that data to support other in-house computer applications. One example of this comes from the Lincolnshire Police Department, which uses the Village’s GIS address database in its dispatching software. Both the 911 and computer-assisted dispatch (CAD) software consume locally maintained address data, which has a higher validity and reliability standard than what is offered in commercial products. Further, address changes can be integrated quickly, leading to less confusion between dispatchers and officers in the field.
Budget-conscious staff members also appreciate the use of in-house GIS data. By asking the GIS specialist to update this data, the Police Department is able to avoid paying several thousand dollars in annual maintenance contracts. As local governments are increasingly pressured to do more with less, they are finding that cost offsets like this one highly valuable.
The Office Economic Development is always seeking measures to evaluate the impact of Special Service Area 16 on the economic growth of the Central Business District. It was decided that by reviewing the Assessor information from 2007-2010 it would should show how much owners have improved their properties. The year 2007 was chosen as a starting point, because it was the first year of the Special Service Area.
Lake County Illinois was contacted and they agreed to provide Assessor tables for the years of 2007-2010. GIS software was used to join the assessor table to address points. This provided a history of assessed value of each commercial property within the Central Business District. With these increase or decrease of assessed values for each year was created for each commercial property. Maps were created for each year and for all the years together to assist with visualizing where values where increasing or decreasing.
Comparing assessed values between years was a powerful tool for finding trends. For example we discovered that assessed values generally increased between 2007-2009. But from 2009-2010 the values decreased about 4%. We were also able to see the impact of redevelopment on surrounding properties. It was also predictably noticed that areas of high vacancy had the largest decrease in value.
GIS provided the ability to join multiple tables to each address and then evaluate the difference between the assessed values for each address. Thus creating a mosaic of assessed values in the Central Business District over a 3 year period.
In 2011 the Elk Grove Village GIS (Geographic Information System) and Clerk’s Office staff began a project to inventory variances for each property that have been approved throughout the village. A variance is an approved deviation from the municipal land use or building codes.
Existing variances were pooled from spreadsheets maintained by the Clerk’s Office and a document management system. The information was made available to village staff in an interactive map and the variances were split for display purposes between those that applied to land use and those that applied to the building code. Consequently some easement information had to be modified where easement variances existed as well.
Having this information organized in a way that staff can quickly determine if any exceptions have been allowed for a property has been well received and quite useful for staff.
For local government, a Geographic Information System (GIS) can provide many helpful services, from basic map product development to complicated utility systems mapping. It can also provide communities with a powerful tool to analyze interactions between various spatial features and generate information that would not otherwise be available. For the City of Des Plaines, IL, GIS was recently used to analyze the response areas of the Fire Department’s ladder trucks and how they are influenced by the numerous railroad crossings that dot the City landscape.
Currently, there are 33 commuter and freight line at-grade railroad crossings in the City limits, which can cause serious delays to daily traffic flows and emergency response efforts. To help show how the coverage areas of the City’s two ladder trucks are impacted by these delays, the Fire Department asked the City’s GIS department to run an analysis that took into account three main factors: speed limit, railroad crossing locations, and average delay times for each commuter and freight line. Including speed limit in the analysis is critical for modeling how fast a truck can travel along a road, which impacts how far it can go within a given amount of time. By including the railroad crossing locations and average delay times, in combination with the speed limit information, the GIS department was able to show that speed of travel along a road, while important, is not the only relevant factor in how the City’s coverage areas are determined.
While the Fire Department knew that railroad crossings severally impacted the City’s coverage areas prior to the running analysis, having a visual representation of this information was critical for understanding how drastic these areas are reduced when a delay occurs. Using GIS to model the interactions between all the factors involved in the analysis has provided the department with a powerful tool for developing alternate response routes and coverage plans that, ultimately, provide better and more effective fire protection to the City residents.