In the past, the Village of Wheeling has kept an informal list of all the businesses in the village using business license data. Then, using Google KML, this information was mapped out and displayed on Google Maps. However, the information displayed in Google Maps would quickly become outdated and it was difficult to update. Economic Development requested an alternate way to display village businesses online, that would be much easier to update to reflect changes in the village.
In 2012, a new feature was created for the Village’s public mapping program, MapOffice™. This feature allows for the creation of custom map data that could then be displayed online for the village residents to view. An added benefit of this feature is that the data is easily updateable, just like other GIS data that is integrated with MapOffice™. An updated list of all the village business licenses was created, and they were then sorted into three different categories: Commercial, Food & Hospitality, and Industrial. New icons were created for each category and then the data was uploaded online. Now, Village residents can view all the locations of businesses by scrolling through the map and then retrieve the information about each business by clicking the related icon. By using GIS, the Village was able to take existing village information, and then present it in a format that is easy to use by the public.
During the past year, Glenview’s GIS program has been working closely with Capital Projects staff to develop a comprehensive inventory of its roads. In the past, GIS has assisted by weighing a range of criteria that influence the priorities for annual resurfacing and reconstruction projects. This annual project created opportunities for a careful review, reorganization, and expansion of the existing GIS data. In turn, Glenview reached a point this summer where it was able to easily share the inventory with the rest of the Village staff.
In August, GIS released a new custom overlay for MapOffice™ Advanced called “Road Inventory.” When staff members turn on this layer, they get a quick view of the relative age of every road in the Village. Warm colors (reds and oranges) represent older roads in the Village, while cool colors (yellows and greens) depict roads that were constructed or reconstructed more recently. If users want more information, they can click on a specific road segment to pull up its surface and overall ratings (as assessed in 2011by Infrastructure Management Services) as well as a known history of work completed.
The next step for Glenview is to integrate data on its Minor Area Resurfacing Strategy (MARS), pavement patching, and crack sealing projects. The staff also plans to make this data available to the public via MapOffice™ to increase transparency in how the Village manages its more than 167 miles of roadway.
In an effort to encourage municipalities to go above and beyond the minimum requirements set by FEMA for flood mitigation, NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) offers a voluntary program that provides incentives for municipalities to reduce flood risk. In order to receive the offered discounts on flood insurance premium rates, Village staff must provide proof that they are actively analyzing, managing, and mitigating flood events on a regular basis. Much of the report consists of paper work and spreadsheets proving that Village staff has been actively responding to flood complaints, planning for future events, and maintaining infrastructure that prevents flooding. Additionally, there is a series of maps and datasets that are managed in GIS, which assist Village engineers in flood mitigation. Therefore the CRS report requires specific map and datasets displaying the information that supports flood mitigation.
Since the Village has been actively managing and analyzing the floodplain, it was quite easy to merge a bunch of existing datasets into a single map in order to show the way in which GIS supports flood mitigation.
As shown in the image, the Village’s GIS maintains layers such as flood boundaries, building drip lines, parcel data, elevation data, and impervious surface data amongst many other things. All of these features allow for analysis on past flood events, which in return provides information to mitigate future flood events. For example, by referencing this data the Village engineers can quickly find out which homes are in the floodplain, what the drainage situation on their property consists of, and what the odds of a major flood event occurring on their property might be. This information is then used to plan future development and fix issues in current problem areas. Without the use of GIS, the engineers would have to rely heavily on outdate maps, manual calculations, and extended research in the field.
At the beginning of the 2012 fiscal year, the City of Lake Forest had been delivering new recycling carts to all of their households. To accurately determine the number of recycling carts that were needed; a list of all non-commercial addresses in the city was generated and excluded from the recycling cart delivery list. The remaining residential address list was used as a reference to the Sanitation and Public Works departments to determine who was in need of a bin.
City resident addresses were then mapped to appropriately display the status of their recycling cart, either received or not received. With the cart delivery process still underway, the City of Lake Forest is now offering the option of choosing between a 64-gallon recycling cart or a 35-gallon cart. By completing an online request form, residents had the opportunity to request a smaller cart. The addresses of the residents who requested the 35-gallon recycling cart were then extracted from the master list and composed into a separate list. The recycling cart information was then added into an interactive mapping interface (MapOffice Advanced ™). MapOffice Advanced ™ allows city employees to quickly search an address, view the address spatially, and know the status of that resident’s recycling cart. Without integrating the recycling cart information into MapOffice Advanced™ city employees would have to refer back to an address table. If a resident calls Public Works requesting the status of their recycling cart, the recycling cart layers within MapOffice Advanced™ can be used as an efficient and effective resource.
Traditionally the City maintained benchmark locations in binder containing individual sheets of benchmark locations. Whenever there was a question about the location of a benchmark, an Engineer would search through the binder. The process was slightly improved when the sheets were scanned as PDFs and saved to a directory. It was quicker to search for images in the directory but it was still a manual process to locate a specific image.
The GIS Office suggested that the benchmark locations be converted to a point a file that hyperlinked to the PDF files. The GIS office used the coordinates from the PDFs to create a location for each benchmark. The benchmark points contained a field that links to the correlated PDF. Once the benchmark layer was created, it was added to MapOffice™ Advanced as custom overly. Now the Engineers had a tool where they could type in an address and easily locate the nearest benchmark.
The benchmark overlay was well received by the Engineering Division and they requested that it also be added to the Public Map Office site. This will allow people who need to locate a benchmark to find it themselves without contacting the City. The benchmark layer made The City’s employees workflows more efficient for the City Engineers. Once the benchmarks are on the Public MapOffice it will also make it easier for residents and other users to quickly locate a benchmark.
Glencoe is known through the north shore as a picturesque village with abundant parks, attractive beach access, and remarkable architecture. Tourists and potential residents alike enjoy driving the village streets to see its beautiful private homes and public buildings. What they may not know, however, is that a significant number of these structures have historically significant architecture. The styles range from 19th century Victorian Gothic to 20th century English Tudor to the passive solar architectural innovations of George and William Keck. The Village’s Historic Preservation Board currently has a list of about 100 homes along a walking tour route for visitor enjoyment.
In summer 2012, the Village hired a sustainability and historic preservation consultant to conduct a community-wide survey of its architecture. After completing extensive archival research, the consultant turned up a list of nearly 400 structures that, if still standing, could be historically significant. To confirm this, the consultant’s next step was to visit every address on her list. GIS was able to lend a hand in this process by mapping out every location and determining the most efficient route for completing field checks. Not only did this increase efficiency by spatially organizing the data, it also reduces the likelihood that the consultant will miss structures on her list and have to return to the same streets on multiple days. Once the consultant is finished with her survey and is ready to present her findings, GIS will also assist by creating an interactive map for the public that showcases her findings in an easy-to-use format.
It is that time of year again, there is crispness to the air, the leaves are changing, and school parking lots become traffic jammed with parents eager to once again sow the seeds of knowledge in their child’s minds. If not properly planned these school parking lots can become chaotic and very dangerous for both parents dropping off their children and for the children making their way across the parking lot. A number of schools in the Village have teamed up with Mike O’Hern of the Tinley Park Police Department and using GIS have created traffic plans for parents dropping off students.
These plans are then mailed to parents to inform them of the places that are safest for their children as well as most convenient for the parents to drop off the students. Along with the right tools and some prior planning dropping off students daily has become an A+ experience.
Redevelopment, annexations, new construction, and even remodeling often changes the distribution of services and consequently introduces a record management workflow that needs to be coordinated between utility service providers and municipalities. Periodically villages are contacted to verify service addresses for electric and natural gas utility companies. Most recently Riverside, IL administrative staff was tasked by Nicor to review their gas service address list to verify all provided addresses are in The Village and identify addresses that Nicor may have been missing. This information is integral for the tax reimbursement processes related to the Village’s utility tax ordinance.
Riverside’s Geographic Information System (GIS) provided efficiencies in fulfilling this request because a fundamental dataset in the GIS is the address information for the entire community. There are tools within the GIS that make comparing the provided list against known addresses a relatively quick process. Those tools were used to highlight not only service location errors but also missing ones.
Without GIS the staff would have had to use a resource such as their utility billing database to manually compare service locations. Doing so would have been much more time consuming than the information system approach used.
Leveraging geospatial technology to make a department, or departments, within municipal government more efficient can take on many different forms. For the Village of Winnetka, IL Community Development Department, this involved integrating scanned zoning variance documents with an existing GIS mapping application and using the application’s address search tool to locate the documents. These efforts involved working closely with the Village’s Geographic Information System (GIS) department to ensure that the scanned documents were properly linked to the correct locations in the village so they could be easily searched.
The first step in managing this type of external data integration is making sure the data in updated in a timely manner, to make sure that the searchable data is current and provides the most benefit to the department. To that end, a process was setup where department staff notifies the GIS department when a new document is scanned, which ensures that there is no lag time between when the document is available and when it can be accessed via the GIS application. The next step in this process was to create the links between the documents and their associated spatial locations. This was done by having the GIS department map a list of variance document locations provided by Community Development and, within the GIS data, link the mapped location to the village network drive where their associated scanned variance documents are stored. The final step was to take the mapped, linked GIS variance data and add it to the GIS application as a spatial layer that can be turned on and off for display as needed.
By providing the Community Development Department with a spatial interface to search and reference scanned zoning variance documents, GIS has provided a more efficient solution for retrieving department files. The previous method for locating these documents involved searching a village network drive for the correct scanned document, which was disruptive to the department workflow and often difficult to navigate. Using an existing, spatial platform, the department has leveraged available geospatial technology to make better use of staff time and available village resources, which has, in turn, made the department more productive and cost effective.
Communities around the world are always looking for creative ideas to generate extra revenue streams, especially in down economies. Ideas that don’t involve adding or raising local taxes are always the most popular ones. An easy potential source of additional income that would keep local residents content is to lease village owned facilities to cell phone companies for the purpose of erecting cell phone towers to the top of village buildings. In order to assist with the marketing of this idea, it was decided that a GIS produced map would be a useful method to accomplish this goal.
A map was created showing the location of existing cell phone towers and their operators as well as village owned properties and buildings. One important detail to the map was the addition of the tallest height of each village owned building since this has a tremendous influence on a cell tower company’s decision on whether it would be a suitable location for a tower or not. By using the map as an illustration, the village can utilize this as a critical part of any future marketing campaign, while at the same time keep local residents happy without turning to them for the much needed additional revenue.
Communities everywhere are tasked with providing water samples to the EPA to meet public health compliance standards. There are various elements the water is tested for and some are tested for more frequently than others. The Riverside, IL Water Department has utilized its Geographic Information System (GIS) to highlight the distribution of the sample sites throughout the community with the water system shown in the background. Alternative locations for each site are mapped as well to be used for additional samples or as a substitute when needed. The samples provided are tested by the EPA and reports are distributed to the public every year.
Every year the City of Lake Forest requests a map to illustrate roads that are being planned for resurfacing. These maps help manage the spatial distribution of where these resurfacing projects are occurring. Poor road conditions are an issue for all communities and by ensuring residents that these conditions are being recognized can assist in exceling the government-public relationship.
The requested map illustrates the proposed 5 year pavement resurfacing program ranging from 2012 to 2016. The engineering department provided a spreadsheet defining all road segments that were planned for surfacing along with their proposal data. Line features were then created based on the spreadsheet specifications. Being able to visualize areas with a high resurfacing occurrence allows engineering staff to determine if their past replacements were effective, as well as to target new resurfacing areas in the coming years. The proposed pavement resurfacing routes were grouped together by fiscal year, each year being symbolized by a different color.
The City of Lake Forest hopes to continue their resurfacing initiative to help ensure the yearly CIP funds are meeting the needs of the residents and city infrastructure.
Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care is an organization that assists patients and their families when treatment and recovery from an illness are no longer possible. This year, they sponsored a series of butterfly sculptures around the city painted and decorated by local artists. This is not the first time they have done this. In previous years, rainbow sculptures and animal sculptures were displayed with great success. The city wanted to promote the butterfly sculptures and it was decided the most efficient way to do this was by creating a map for the general public using GIS.
The butterfly sculptures were mainly displayed in the uptown business district, so the idea for this project was to promote the ability to walk around and see them all. The only outliers were located at the two city fire stations on the north and south sides of town. A map had to be created to show all the locations in great detail but still show where they were located in relation to each other. This was accomplished by displaying three location maps of the sculptures and an overview map of the city. The final maps were available to the general public online, at city hall, the library, the chamber of commerce, the Metra station, and at the Village of Mount Prospect who was running the same program. In the end, the public art display ends up promoting the uptown business district by bringing in people from around town and surrounding communities.