Tinley Park has many pockets of unincorporated areas throughout the Village, many which consist of only one or two parcels. As a result, the Village and Cook County cooperate in providing services such as police and fire protection to these areas. In an effort to reduce costs for both the Village and Cook County, the two entities decided to sit down and try to figure out a way to incorporate these areas. One of the big factors that revolved around these talks had to do with general statistics about these unincorporated areas. A few of the key statistics included; total area, amount of paved road, amount of buildings, zoning classifications, developable land, and the amount of calls for emergency services. These statistics were important to help decision makers figure out how and where these areas can be incorporated. In order to gather and display these statistics in a very small period of time, Village staff requested that statistics be gathered and mapped using GIS.
This type of project fit perfectly with what GIS is capable doing because of its ability to extract assessor records, analyze spatial layout, and plot existing address lists. Using GIS, we were able to analyze the total amount of unincorporated areas, figure out there zoning classifications, and pull assessor records to verify ownership and tax rates. We also were able to take spreadsheets summarizing all police and fire calls, geocode them, and get a count for the amount and type of emergency calls that fell within these unincorporated areas. By using GIS, we were then able to take all of this information and provide maps and spreadsheets summarizing all of the requested information. Without GIS this would have taken a much longer time to analyze all of the information long hand, and would not have had the added benefit of visual aids.
When decision makers, developers and village residents come together to discuss new developments of land, a picture is worth a 1000 words. Many times in a discussion, descriptions can be taken in many different ways. A picture helps to display the true vision of staff and developers to residents of the village. A picture also helps to bring expectation of all parties involved into alignment.
Using the MapOffice™ Advanced Custom Layers function, gives village staff and decision makers the ability to overlay site plans onto current mapping and aerial photos to paint a picture of the future for that site. This process is as easy as providing the GIS specialist the site plan and a couple of hours to create the overlay. Overlaying a site plan helps to identify any obvious geographical conflicts and helps to highlight the improvements and benefits the development will bring to the village and its residents.
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.
From the onset of the GIS program, the Village board had wanted to see measurable results that the GIS program was being used by staff. The village board did not want to spend thousands of tax payer dollars for a program that would neither benefit the staff of the village or its citizens. Six months (6) into the GIS program the board will begin receiving a series of monthly reports measuring metrics of the GIS program. The metrics included in the monthly report are; Site Project Focus, this will show what projects and what departments the specialist is spending the most time, MapOffice™ reporting for the last month, this will show MapOffice™ use by staff and by the public alongside cost savings for the most used tools and utilization in the last 12 months, and MapOffice™ use by month alongside a departmental breakdown of MapOffice™ use for the past month. These reports will help the Board, Staff and the GIS specialist stay informed and empowers them to make better decisions concerning the GIS program.
The Village of Tinley Park took part in the first village wide, Map Office Advanced web map training, in June. The purpose of this training was to introduce the Map Office Advanced web mapping platform to those in the Village that had not yet seen or were not yet very familiar with the interface and tool uses. Employees from all departments took part in one hour training sessions where the GIS specialist walked the class through the interface, the tools and tasks and best practices for using the web mapping. Many members of the Village also offered up real life business processes which the specialist was then able to work through with the class, using the Map Office Advanced web mapping platform. This training will help to enable the members of the Village to have access to important information that was otherwise unavailable.
The Village of Tinley Park is responsible for the maintenance of approximately 167 miles of roadways within its municipal limits. This includes anything from plowing and pot hole filling to street sweeping and crack sealing. This makes the Village the go to source when a resident asks, “Why isn’t my street plowed” or “Who is responsible for filling a pothole?” More often than not the calls that are received by the village pertaining to road complaints are residents calling for one of the approximately 60 miles of roads that are in the village but, are owned and maintained by a different entity, such as the county or a homeowners association.
There are at least five different classifications of road ownership in the Village of Tinley Park; State, Will County, Cook County, Private and Village Owned. At some points along a road ownership may change 3 times. Having this many classification makes it impossible for anyone to know intuitively who owns and is responsible for maintaining a certain stretch of road. Many times when a resident calls into comment on a road, a clerk takes down the address and number of the citizen so they can research the road and call them back. The turnaround time for this process can be one or two days. This time lag can also make for a grumpy resident when they are told two days later the village is not responsible for fixing a problem. With the implementation of GIS and Map Office Advance in Tinley Park, the question of ownership can be determined with the resident on the phone. Using a custom overlay the clerk can find the address using the Find and Go tool and by simply checking a box display the ownership of a road. Thanks to GIS the process is reduced from a couple of days to a couple of minutes thus allowing village employees to better serve the residents.
If a person investigates their phone bill close enough they will find a surcharge that is allocated to 911 emergency services. This money is distributed by the state government to local municipalities and dispatch centers. It is used for updating old equipment as well supplement operation costs of the 911 center. The method for distributing funds is by address count, by zip code, within the municipalities or dispatch center service area. Until the implementation of the GIS this was a very arduous process in Tinley Park. Before GIS, coming up with a final number was a tough task, sometimes taking a week or more. The Village of Tinley Park is split by two zip codes as well as two counties and incorporated and unincorporated areas. This sectioning of the village made it difficult to get an accurate count of addresses within these different place classifications in the village. It is important to allocate the addresses properly among these different classifications because it will determine where funds will be allocated.
Once GIS was implemented this became a simpler much more strait forward process than before. Using geo-location and spatial selections and with the use of a map, the GIS specialist was easily able to select the address points of for each place location and report back to the village with precise counts of addresses within the two counties, zip codes and incorporation status. This allowed for Tinley Park to receive the correct dollar amount for use by its 911 dispatch center.
Spring is in the air and that means it’s once again time to dust off the ole mower. Although, like many larger municipalities, Tinley Park has decided to ditch the mower, and the yearly maintenance and higher labor costs that come along with the mower. The Village will contract out mowing responsibilities to a private landscaping company. This allows the Village to save on equipment maintenance costs, fuel and labor by paying a company who specializes in landscaping, providing a cheaper overall cost to the Village.
Previously the contractor was given an Excel table with the locations, and tractor types for each mowing area. The contractor would then estimate total mowing costs by visiting the 100+ sights. This was neither accurate nor efficient. When input into the GIS system that same table can be stored, tracked and most important displayed in a way that is more intuitive. Another very important advantage to managing the data in GIS is it can also provide an accurate estimate of the square footage, acreage or any other standard metric the contractor requires for measuring the mowing area. This allows the Village to receive a fair bid and not be over charged and ensures that the contractor has a better understanding of what exactly needs to be and does not need to be mowed.
As a new member of the GIS Consortium, the top priority of the Tinley Park GIS program is to demonstrate value of the new GIS program to decision makers in the village. This will be accomplished by; focusing on creating a centralized place for geographic data and maps, streamlining current business processes, such as looking up zoning for parcels, and by empowering citizens to find information about their properties. All of these areas of focus will be made much easier with the set-up, implementation of and training for Map Office & Map Office Advanced. Map Office & Map Office Advanced is a powerful and simple to use web based tool developed by the GIS Consortium for use by its member communities. MapOffice Advanced™ allows for a property search by either its address or PIN and provides numerous tools for retrieving information about that property. Default tools include a property summary that lists information such as zoning and voting districts and a measure tool for determining a property’s area or distance to another map feature. By using a web-based approach MapOffice Advanced™ is made accessible across multiple industry and community platforms, creating a powerful application for gathering information.