The Consortium is pleased to announce the membership of the Village of Northbrook. The Village has a long history when it comes to using GIS. Two of the reasons cited by the Village for joining was to create a GIS program that was centralized within the organizations along with one that supports the needs of their residents. The Consortium congratulates its 22nd member and is excited to get started.
With a GIS program, local governments are able to save time and money by managing their data centrally and then exporting it for use in other in-house database applications. From Public Works to Public Safety, nearly every department in the Village of Glenview has a program that is efficiently maintained using the master address and base map data stored in GIS. Some updates are simple. For example, the Public Works department uses a program called TreeKeeper to manage their tree inventory data. On an annual basis, GIS is tasked with updating both the address database and the base map in this program so that the arborists have correct reference data when making updates. The process takes a matter of minutes, but the benefits last throughout the year.
Another example of GIS data being repurposed is in a program called New World Systems, which provides mapping and record-keeping functionality for Fire, Police, and Dispatch. Any time an address is added, changed, or deleted from the master GIS database, it is quickly and efficiently loaded into the New World system for everyone to use. Emergency responders get the information they need when they need it, which could make the difference between life and death. In addition to efficient data maintenance, in-house GIS data replaces the need to purchase pre-formatted datasets for each program. Outside vendors charge thousands of dollars to collect and share this information, and would have to be repurchased on a regular schedule or manually updated in each system. Thanks to the versatility of GIS data, the Village of Glenview is able to avoid this added expense and hassle.
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.
One of the key factors of success for a GIS program is providing access to GIS data for all users. With the deployment of MapOffice™ Advanced Web Access (MOAWA) the Village now has that capability. MOAWA is browser based application that allows users to quickly locate information and create maps or reports. Unlike traditional GIS software, MOAWA contains simple tools that require on 15-30 minutes of training for most people to master them.
Some of functionality includes a find and Go tool that lets users find a location by address, street name, intersection or even a landmark name. Once a user finds the location they are looking for they can use other tools such as Parcel summary that creates a report showing garbage collecting day, election information, and even provides a link to the County Assessor page. Another tool displays all the utility systems maintained by Village. It allows users to click on utility features to collect more information or even print a utility map. The Create address list task quickly creates an address list using selected properties. This list can then be exported to an Excel and used to create a mailing list
These tools are only a few examples of the many ways MOAWA allows user to interact with the GIS data. It is anticipated using MOAWA will improve the efficiency of some workflows. Equally important MOAWA will open up access to GIS for people who might not have used it in the past.
Crime is an issue that no community takes lightly, and the reduction and prevention of crime is something that all Police and Public Safety Departments strive to achieve. An important aspect of this is the understanding of crime occurrence from a visual perspective. In doing so, Police and Public Safety Departments can attempt to identify crime patterns throughout their community. The Village of Glenview Police Department works with the GIS Department to create a monthly crime incident map for various types of crime throughout the Village, including burglary, criminal damage, and theft. A monthly report of police call activity is generated, which includes both the type and location of each call. The GIS Department then maps out each call on the report by incident type. In displaying each incident visually, GIS can help the Police Department identify any patterns that may exist.
The monthly crime incident maps are also posted on the Village website for the public to view. This keeps residents informed and helps them to understand where crime is taking place in their community.
Without the help of GIS, it would be more difficult to visualize the location of each crime incident and, in turn, any potential spatial trends occurring throughout the community.
In an effort to continuously investigate real world representations in map products, the Geographic Information System (GIS) staff in Elk Grove Village, IL has identified a few data processing operations that provide more context than your typical map.
When light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data was collected to produce an elevation dataset, point data with elevation classifications remained. Staff quickly realized that this unintended, yet useful, information could be processed further to give a representation of the tree canopy throughout the community. Building level information was utilized to simulate the stories in each building by duplicating the foundation at an offset location. Combining these two representations generated a resource similar to a landscape plan with much more cartographic appeal than your typical GIS map, at no additional software cost, and that could be consumed with existing applications. The amount of detail obtained provides for creation of ever improving map products that appeal and better communicate information to all who use them.
The City of Lake Forest’s City Manager’s Office recently requested that GIS construct a map identifying potential locations for medical marijuana distribution facilities. There is currently a bill under consideration in the state legislature that would allow medicinal marijuana organizations in the state of Illinois. The bill states that distribution locations must not be within 2,500ft of a public or private preschool, elementary, secondary school or childcare facility. City administration needs to identify potential business locations that fall outside of this 2,500ft range.
Using GIS, all public and private preschools, elementary schools, secondary schools and childcare facilities were located and symbolized. Schools and childcare facilities were also located from surrounding communities to determine if their location was within 2,500ft of the Lake Forest municipal boundary. If schools and childcare facilities were located within 2,500ft of the Lake Forest city limits, the location of medical marijuana distributor would be impacted. Once all schools and childcare facilities were identified, a 2,500ft buffer was created around each location. All non-residential zoning districts were then added to the map. Now that the 2,500ft buffer was determined and all non-residential zoning districts were identified, locations of potential medical marijuana distribution facilities could be determined. All areas located within non-residential zoning districts and residing outside of the 2,500ft buffer would meet the criteria of a potentially housing a medical marijuana distribution facility.
The results of this project allow the City Manager a reliable method of visualizing where medical marijuana distribution facilities are able to reside. The City Manager can use this location data to manage areas of concern and to effectively plan for the future if the bill were to pass.
Lake Cook Rd and Waukegan Rd, two of Deerfield’s busiest roads, will be undergoing construction this year as part of the Lake Cook Road Construction Project.* The Waukegan Rd portion of the project will feature three stages of construction, with alternating lane closures and changing traffic patterns. Likewise, the Lake Cook Rd portion of the project will feature lane closures and changes to traffic patterns during its four stages of construction.
Due to the high traffic volume and abundance of businesses along these roads, the Lake Cook Road Construction Project will affect many motorists and business owners alike. Thus, the Village has asked the GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Department to create a series of maps depicting not only the extent of construction, but also the lane closures and temporary traffic patterns that will take effect throughout each stage of construction. The creation of these maps through GIS allows the public to have a better understanding of how they will be impacted throughout the duration of the construction project.
*Construction is slated to begin in the spring of 2013. At this time, all phases of construction are proposals and subject to change.
One convenience of having GIS is the ability to quickly visualize different scenarios for planning purposes. The Village of Lincolnshire recently leveraged its GIS data to do just that in response to a bill under consideration by the Illinois House of Representatives. HB 30, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, would allow the sale and possession of small amounts of marijuana to people “diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition.” Should the bill become law, Lincolnshire officials would be faced with the possibility of medical marijuana organizations renting or purchasing commercial space within the Village.
In its current form, the bill states that no medical marijuana organization may be within 2,500 feet of a “public or private preschool or elementary or secondary school or day care center, day care home, group day care home, or part day child care facility.” Decision makers in the Village were interested in the proximity of Lincolnshire’s three business districts to child care facilities. To determine this, GIS was used to identify the property lines for all child care facilities and then measure out 2,500-foot buffer zones in all directions. These were added to a map of the three business districts, which highlighted areas where medical cannabis organizations would not be allowed to set up.
Given the controversial nature of this proposal, Lincolnshire’s decision makers were eager to get extra lead time to discuss how they would respond. By providing a quick spatial analysis of two disparate data sets, the Village has an efficient and powerful tool to aid their discussion and decision making.
In 2010, the Village of Glenview started subscribing to a foreclosure data-delivery service from Sullivan’s Law Directory. This information is loaded into a GIS database, which is then used to generate reports and reference maps. Village officials have used these weekly reports to dispel myths about the community’s rate of foreclosures, monitor properties proactively for code violations, and keep an eye out for any patterns in criminal mischief.
Recently, GIS mapped this data in new ways to get different perspectives on the impact of foreclosure rates. One project came from Economic Development, which requested a map that symbolized foreclosures according their primary usage. This map gave the Village planners a snapshot of how foreclosures have impacted the local business community. The map also provided a breakdown of percentages in each category, showing that the proportional impact was low.
Another recent project was a spatial analysis of foreclosures for the entire three-year period. By using an advanced tool called “kernel density analysis,” GIS was able to simplify a large amount of information by darkly shading areas where foreclosure rates have been the highest. This analysis helped to pinpoint specific multi-unit residences that have been particularly hard hit since 2010. These ongoing projects highlight the power of tracking information with GIS. Within minutes, the same information was analyzed from different perspectives according to the end user’s needs.
Spatial patterns that are not apparent in a text list become obvious when displayed on a map. While everyone hopes to see foreclosure rates drop significantly in the near future, it’s great to know that the Village has a versatile tool for proactively managing the ongoing impact.
The Administration Department recently called upon the Village’s Geographic Information System (GIS) to assist with the creation of a map to be included in the Village sculpture brochure. The brochure is meant to provide some history and a brief description about the Village’s ten sculptures. In 2012, the Public Arts Advisory Committee (PAAC) bought five new sculptures to be displayed around the Village. The PAAC receives funds by tacking on a small fee to building permits exceeding $10,000. The funds are exclusively used to make Skokie a more artistic and aesthetically pleasing place to live.
To support the community sculpture brochure, GIS created a map of the locations of each sculpture. These locations are numbered so the corresponding sculpture can be referenced throughout the brochure. This allows the reader to quickly locate and find information related to each respective sculpture. Without the help of GIS the sculpture brochure would not have a useful way to display the locations of the sculptures on a map and getting to each sculpture would be more difficult.
The month of October was an exciting time around the Village of Skokie. The onset of autumn was apparent with seasonal decorations going on display and trees changing into their fall colors. This year the Village manager’s office decided to put on a fun activity or “spook-tivity” for local area children to celebrate the Halloween season and donate food items to a good cause. GIS was called upon to create the map that would be placed into the guide for the children to navigate to participating businesses in the downtown area.
To help the children get to all thirty-four participating businesses, a custom map was created to be inserted in the guide. The children were asked to visit at least ten area businesses where they would receive a check mark for visiting and a tasty Halloween treat. To make this process easy for children to follow, the map was numbered with the participating merchants which corresponded to numbered bubbles on the back of the guide for the children to check off. Without a map the children would not have had an easy and fun way to get to each business.
With the winter holiday season quickly approaching, several local community festivals and other events related to the holidays are starting to move into their planning stages, which involves coordinating with internal community staff and external organizations involved with the event, as well as beginning the process of developing an agenda for how the event will proceed. For the City of Des Plaines, IL, an annual holiday tradition is holding a formal city tree lighting ceremony in the downtown area, complete with food and beverage vendors and family-friendly activities that allow the city residents to celebrate the start of the season as a community. Related to this event, the city’s Police and Emergency Management departments requested the assistance of the city’s Geographic Information System (GIS) department in developing a map for the event, showing things such as officer posting locations, street closures, and other specifics related to the event, which can assist the departments with their planning efforts and coordinating personnel during the lighting ceremony.
The initial development of the event map involved a representative from the GIS department meeting with representatives from the Police and Emergency Management departments to discuss the extent of the event area that needed to be displayed on the map, as well as the specific locations of planned officer postings, road barricades, and vehicle parking during the ceremony. Once these locations were determined, a preliminary map was developed by the GIS department and provided back to Police and Emergency Management for further review and updating. As more information regarding the event became available, additional requests were submitted to the GIS department for changes to the map, which was updated accordingly.
Since the GIS department for the city was involved from the very beginning with the lighting ceremony planning efforts, and then continuously throughout the planning process, the map was able to continuously develop over time and be used as an effective medium for transferring information to all departments involved. Having a visual resource for the event provided a consistent, well understood format for departments to share information, making the planning efforts more efficient and, ultimately, the execution of the plan more successful.
The Village of Oak Brook has recently contracted a design firm to come up with some ideas for a corporate sign being added to an intersection which conceals a few businesses. The design firm initially came up with a sign that was 8 ft. tall and 15 ft. wide, which was to be placed at the northwest corner of the given three way intersection. In order for the sign to be added, some preliminary research also needed to be done in order to test the feasibility of such a large sign being added. The two primary factors that came into play were the underground utilities located at the intersection and the signs visibility due to a transformer box already located at the corner of the intersection. In order to find out of the sign would be visible, Village engineers and GIS staff were tasked with researching what size the sign would need to be in order to be viewed from behind the transformer box.
By using the Village’s lidar point elevation data, the GIS specialist was able to determine the approximate height of the transformer box and the ground elevation of the proposed location for the sign. The sign location was determined after all underground utilities were marked in the field, and measurements were taken from the curb to the closest spot free of utilities. Once the approximate heights of the transformer box and ground elevations were determined, the GIS specialist was then able to find the ground elevation of six ‘viewing’ points on the adjacent road, ranging from 135 to 710 feet away from the proposed sign location. By then making a 3.5 ft. adjustment to the ground elevation, we were able to determine the approximate elevation that a typical person would be viewing the sign at. After compiling the statistics, as shown in the image, it was determined that the proposed sign would have to be at minimum 3 ft. taller than the initial proposal. Without GIS, much, if not all, of this research would’ve needed to be done in the field through the use of expensive survey contractors or costly man hours taken away from the engineering department. GIS was able to perform this analysis within a single day, and provided multiple maps and tabular statistics supporting the results.
The Insurance Services Office (ISO) is the fire industry standard bearer for developing and implementing risk mitigation standards that local and regional fire departments use for managing their internal assets, requesting capital improvements, and providing training to department personnel in an effort to reduce the over risk of fire-related problems within their respective response areas. Every ten years, the ISO conducts a department audit to measure how equipped the department is in handling a fire event and to determine the level of risk they carry based on certain criteria, such as number and location of available hydrants and the condition of the department’s vehicles. For the Village of Winnetka, IL Fire Department, this audit was recently conducted and, in order to help display some of the available department assets and other functions the department is capable of, the department turned to the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Department to assist with developing a series of maps that were provided to the ISO auditor to use as a visual review tool.
Some of the map products requested by the department include fire hydrant location and flow rate maps, building sprinkler system installation maps, and vehicle drive time and standard of coverage maps that were used to show the area covered by the department’s vehicles within a certain period of time. For the drive time and standard of coverage maps, the department provided the GIS Department with the standard response time they use to measure against for response efficiency, less than 4 minutes, and asked that several maps be generated showing both the total area that could be covered by the department vehicles and how far they could cover within the specified time. The data for these maps was created in less than a day using a road network analysis tool available in the GIS software used by the village GIS personnel and all maps were completed and made available for review by the ISO auditor within two weeks of being requested. Without GIS, this process would have taken considerably longer and may not have been completed in time for the department’s audit, which would have put the department at a disadvantage for being able to convey the information they wanted to share.
Using GIS to assist with the Fire Department’s ISO audit gave the department staff a collection of powerful visual tools that provide proof that the department has taken the necessary steps to mitigate fire risk within the village and is properly equipped to respond to fire events. Without using GIS, while some of the requested information could be provided, the amount of time needed by department staff to compile that information would be significant, which could result in a delay in the audit’s completion or, in the case of the vehicle drive time maps, prevent the department form providing the auditor with vital information regarding the department’s response capabilities.
A ward is a legislative district within a city that has an elected alderman. Park Ridge is made up of seven of these wards. Every ten years, district boundaries may need to be redrawn to reflect changes in the population based on the most recent census. Standard practice involves keeping all of a city’s wards within 5% of each other population wise, thus a boundary will only need to be redrawn if the population numbers have skewed past that 5% threshold. In the case of Park Ridge, there became a significant gap between the population counts for Wards 3 and 4, thus causing the need for the boundary to shift. It became evident that GIS would be the most effective tool to use to redraw the ward boundaries and calculate the population shift that occurred since the previous census.
Using census information at the block level from the 2010 Census, numerous maps were created with population counts from each block for the City Clerk. The City Clerk would then use these maps to create different scenarios of population shift that would be discussed with each ward’s alderman. After multiple attempts, the area in question was agreed upon and maps were produced for use at the City Council meeting. Without GIS, the City Clerk would be forced to browse through numerous census data and manually count the areas in question by hand, which in turn would have been more time consuming, expensive, and less accurate.
As the newest member to the GIS Consortium the Village of Mundelein employees are seeking to leverage the efficiencies provided by the GIS Consortium. Therefore the GIS Office is prioritizing the development of the Map Office Products. MapOffice ™ allows users to access information such as address, PIN, and voter information by address, intersection or place. MapOffice™ Web Access provides more powerful tools that all users to view utilities, find valves to isolate water mains during a water main break incident and even provides access to information existing community databases through Business Intelligence.
The first step in the process is to centralize existing data sources as well data sources provided by the GIS consortium. The GIS Office is currently in the process of copying existing data into the GISC databases. The GIS Office has already created preliminary address data as well as converted the majority of the Village’s base map layers.
It is expected that MapOffice and the majority of the data layers required for it will be ready by the middle of November. Once the utility data is converted to the GIS Consortium models, , MapOffice™ Web Access will be ready for deployment. The final ongoing step will be training employees how to use the MapOffice™ applications. By the end of the first quarter of 2013, the employees of Mundelein will have access to the great store of GIS information.
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.
As the Elk Grove Village Geographic Information System (GIS) was developing their address data it was necessary to gather information from various resources from inside and outside The Village. Many departments had resources with resident and business contact information which result from various existing billing, permit, and inspection procedures such as utility billing, fire inspections, and business licenses. It became apparent that combined together these resources could be extremely useful for village staff and they could be consolidated knowing all records were organized by address information.
After meeting with data administrators in each department, GIS staff charted what information is collected and when. The GIS and IT staff then collaborated to make information from all of the in-house datasets available to staff via their interactive mapping program. This tool now consists of almost a dozen sources that are often updated independently ensuring currency of the information and is used extensively by staff because it has given them the ability to lookup and verify contacts in ways that are extremely rapid compared to those available to them before.
The Personal Health Division within the Health Department at the Village of Skokie provides numerous services to its residents. From immunizations to testing for diabetes, the Health Department offers a wide range of clinics at affordable prices. There are however, services that the Health Department simply does not have the resources to offer.
To aid residents seeking for health services not offered at the Village, the Village’s Geographic Information System (GIS) was used to provide a map of available clinics in the Greater Chicagoland area for uninsured and underinsured residents. This map is used as a brochure at the Health Department for an easy way to guide an individual to a clinic that will service their needs. The map highlights five clinics, detailing their respective addresses and where they are spatially located in the Chicagoland area. Without GIS the Health Department would not be able to provide an easy-to-read map that allows residents to choose the clinic that is closest and most convenient for them.
Every ten years the US Census Bureau conducts a census of the country’s population to see growth trends in different metropolitan areas, migration patterns from one area to another, and changes in demographics on the local, regional, and federal level. While this census is conducted at the federal government level, local governments use the population and demographic information to help with applying for project grants, directing how and where to use certain funds for capital improvements within the community and, for certain communities, determining where to redraw voting boundaries to account for changes in population number from one area to the next. For the City of Des Plaines IL, redrawing the aldermanic ward boundaries was a top priority once the 2010 census population numbers were released by the Census Bureau due to upcoming alderman elections, with these boundaries determining which areas of the city would vote in each ward. Since these ward boundaries relate to city blocks and neighborhoods, the city’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department was asked to assist with calculating population statistics and developing scenario maps for areas where the ward boundaries would potentially change based on population shifts between the 2000 and 2010 census.
To make sure the new ward boundaries divided the city up into relatively even population bases, several boundary scenarios were mapped to provide city administrators with a visual tool for comparing the new boundaries against one another. In addition to visually displaying the ward boundaries, population numbers for each new ward area were calculated and provided along with the maps, which provided both a visual and statistical tool for analyzing each ward scenario. The population information for each ward map was calculated at the neighborhood block level using GIS census boundary data provided by the Census Bureau in conjunction with a table containing related population information for each block. By using the block level data, each ward boundary could be drawn as accurately as possible to ensure that each ward contained a relatively even number of city residents. Since this information was provided by the census in a digital, spatial format, the process of drawing a new ward boundary and running the population numbers was relatively easy, allowing for numerous boundary scenarios to be calculated quickly and provide city administrators with a wide range of boundary options to consider.
Using GIS resources to assist with the city’s alderman ward redistricting effort, the City of Des Plaines was able to save a significant amount of time and money as compared to if the process was completed without it. Without GIS, according to information provided by city administration, the process would have taken several weeks of dedicated city staff time to complete or, if the city would have instead used an outside vendor, and additional monetary investment of $25,000. By using an available, existing resource, the city was able to save money and staff time and dedicate internal resources to other tasks rather than focusing on manually calculating the new ward population numbers and drawing the new boundary locations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Oak Brook is known throughout the Chicagoland area for its many shopping centers and restaurants, the majority of which are located in a close proximity on 22nd St. As a result of these popular shopping and dining options there is a significant increase in daytime population, which unfortunately leads to more crimes and accidents in the shopping centers. The largest and most populous of these shopping centers is Oakbrook Center, a shopping mall located at the busy intersection of IL Rt. 83 and 22nd St. Oakbrook Center has a lot of shops and restaurants located throughout its grounds, as well as 5 large parking lots and 5 parking garages. The majority of incidents that the police respond to at Oakbrook Center are located in these parking areas, which are difficult to locate given that there are no specific addresses for the parking areas. As a result the police have to rely on parking lot colors, and the associated ID for each row.
The police department had traditionally relied on an old hand drawn map displaying the different parking lots, and the associated row ID. This map is now quite out dated and difficult to read. Additionally, the Police Department had to provide its new dispatch center with an accurate map that depicts which areas in the mall they will be responding too, and how the incident will be referred to in their reports. By providing the GIS staff with an old version of the map and having Community Service Officers do field checks, we were able to successfully update the mall layout. This provides a vital piece of information to all officers, dispatchers, and administration so that they know precisely which location to respond to, as well as giving the Police Department an opportunity to analyze and mitigate location based police incidents. Without using GIS, the Police Department would have to spend a significant amount of time updating the map by hand, without the opportunity to share the spatial data with its associated organizations.
The Village of Lincolnshire recently unveiled its newly redesigned website with improved organization of information. New features include a bolder color scheme, a citizen support center, and a revamped Village Maps page. One of the key improvements to the maps page was the addition of “My Lincolnshire Property Search,” an easy-to-use property search tool that improves accessibility to MapOffice™ Public. Rather than going directly to the MapOffice™ interface, residents can simply type their address into a text search box. The search function opens a new window that zooms to the property and provides a summary of relevant information to that location. My Lincolnshire Property Search takes away the “intimidation factor” for novice computer users by bypassing the map interface and offering an easy-to-understand interface as an alternative.
In the future, Lincolnshire envisions using the Village Maps page as a central location for a variety of maps that are designed for use by the public. Additions will include maps of recreational trails, school district boundaries, and more.
In the Spring of 2012, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) contacted the Village of Skokie to participate in a graduate level course allowing Planning and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)students to get hands on experience working for a local government. After a few phone calls and meetings to discuss possible projects, the UIC class was tasked with collecting the locations of parking meters and street lights in the downtown area and providing a recommendation as to where pay stations could be located if the Village were to do away with single meters. After the 5 week course where the students acted as a consultant, the Village received the data, maps and analysis outlining the students work.
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.
In today’s world, every person, business, or organization wants to justify its worth and promote its favorable relationships with other people, places, or things. The public library is no exception to this idea. It recently conducted an in-house and online user survey regarding a resident’s reason for visiting the uptown business district. The majority of the responses named the library as the main reason they visited the area. The respondents were also asked to list any other Uptown businesses they visited on the same trip to the library. Once all this information was tabulated, a geographic representation was needed and GIS was the most efficient way to accomplish this.
A map of the Uptown business district was created that showed the locations of all the businesses that were mentioned in the resident’s survey. This also included a list of the businesses and their addresses. This map was then presented at a city council meeting to illustrate the economic benefit that the library has on the nearby business community. This shows that the library acts as an ‘anchor store’ for the other businesses, being that more than 1,500 people visit the library daily.
In April 2012, the Village of Norridge decided, in honor of Earth Day, to hold a village wide clean up of all village parkways. The idea was for residents to volunteer their time and pick up trash and garbage along roads in the village and then drop it off at designated locations. The Public Works department would then pick up all the trash left at each drop off. The Village asked the GIS department to put together a series of maps to inform the residents where they could drop off any trash they collected.
All of the volunteers were given a map book to be referenced in the clean up process. The map book consisted of the village streets broken down into specific zones, allowing the volunteers to work in sections rather than just wandering each street at their leisure. This would ensure that all sections of the village were cleaned. Then each previously designated drop off point was added to the maps so that the volunteers could see where they had to drop off the trash collected in their specific zone. By using GIS, the Village was able to provide better information for their volunteers.
On August 10, 2009, Governor Quinn signed into law Public Act 096-0176, which allows municipalities to arrange for the provision of electricity to residential and small commercial retail customers by alternative electric suppliers. As a result of this law ComEd is required to provide a list of service addresses to alternate electric suppliers. ComEd requested that the Village review the ComEd list of service addresses and return any updates.
The village Managers Office requested the GIS Office to compare the ComEd Service Address List against address list in the GIS database. The GIS office reviewed the ComEd Service Address List using GIS tools. Because the GIS address list is considered the master address list the review could be done against one address table.
The review uncovered issues with street names, address numbers, and units. It was also discovered the ComEd Service address list was missing some addresses that were recorded by the Village. All issues and updates were returned to ComEd so their service records could be updated. Without a master address list in the GIS database the review would have required a manual review against several address lists. By using GIS tools to review the ComEd Service Address List, the Village efficiently completed the request for ComEd. The Village is now confident that all residents of the Village will be notified of their options to switch electricity providers.
In 1858 the Deerfield Cemetery was opened on the northwest corner of Waukegan Road and Central Avenue. The Cemetery has a lot of history, with at least 15 Civil War soldiers buried there. The Village of Deerfield has recently acquired this property and they have started to look for ways to track burials.
The Village asked GIS to find a way that they could track the plots, graves, and burials. Using MapOffice™ Advanced, GIS set up each grave with a unique id so that it would be easy to link persons buried there to each one. This grave also included birth and death dates, important information about the person, and a link to a picture of the gravestone on FindAGrave.com. By adding this information on MapOffice™ Advanced, the Village of Deerfield can interactively find the layout of each grave, who is buried there, and if there are any vacant spaces.
Maintaining a record of building permit applications is important for local governments as both a historical reference for work that was authorized for a given project and as a reference in case the work that was completed is ever disputed. To make access to these applications easier for all departments, the Village of Winnetka, IL Community Development Department requested that the paper building permits they have on file be scanned into an electronic format. To assist with providing access to the scanned permit files, the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department linked the permit documents to the spatial location they applied to and made those links available as part of the village’s internet-browser based mapping application.
Distributing the connection to each scanned document through a spatial platform provides an intuitive interface for village staff to query and locate the exact permit application they’re looking for. Within the mapping application, a user can search for the address the permit was issued for, turn on the spatial layer developed by the GIS department that contains the document link, and click on that link to open the scanned file for viewing. By making the permits accessible through an intuitive application that’s already used by all departments, the village increases its overall efficiency by opening up access to the permits, as well as saves time and money by not having to coordinate a network location to store the files or invest in document management software to distribute the information.
The Village of Norridge has a reverse 911 system called Blackboard Connect. The system sends out messages to residents registered in the system about events happening in the village. Registration is optional and the village is trying to persuade residents to complete applications to join the service. To find out which residents are not registered, the Village is using its in-house GIS mapping program, MapOffice™ Advanced to find the addresses of people who do not receive a phone call.
When the Village of Norridge sends out a call, the village receives a report of the addresses that received the call. By using MapOffice™ Advanced, village staff is able to map out those locations, which then allows them to see what addresses are not returning calls. These addresses are then sent letters urging them to register for the system. On average, about a quarter of the residents receiving letters end up signing up for the program. This benefits the Village and the residents because in the event of an emergency, the Village can send out timely notifications to as many residents as possible.
The Village of Glencoe is home to three ravine systems that drain into Lake Michigan. The property owners along each ravine enjoy scenic views of wooden areas with free-flowing streams at the base of steeply sloped bluffs. These bluffs are at risk for degradation if careless development by a private landowner occurs. Recognizing the inherent risk to life, property, and the local ecology, the Village proposed a new ordinance in the fall of 2010 to encourage best practices in steep-slope development. The “steep slope ordinance,” as it came to be known, encouraged the use of building techniques that would reinforce and stabilize the ground. However, many property owners felt that the ordinance would infringe on their personal property rights. In response to their objections, the Village board tabled the ordinance indefinitely.
To address resident concerns, GIS is being used to illustrate the impact of the proposed ordinance on a property-by-property basis. Once the map is complete, Village staff will meet with the affected residents individually and use a custom overlay in MapOffice™ Advanced to show the ordinance’s impact on each property. This overlay will show that the proposed ordinance will not limit private property development any further than the current geography already does. Dashed lines are used to depict the approximate limits: the orange line shows the threshold for using caution when developing, and the red line indicates the point where any proposed development will be required to use specialized building techniques that mitigate the risk of landslides. This use of GIS should help educate the public so that the ordinance can be enacted to protect the local ecology as well as life and property.
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.
For a small-town central business district, there are few things more important than encouraging pedestrian traffic along the store fronts. A proven method for doing this in downtown areas is to have ample on-street parking available, which encourages shoppers to park near their favorite store and then enjoy strolling along in front of the shops. Recognizing this, the Village Manager’s office recently used its GIS data to inventory and create maps of its parking spaces. These maps, now available on the Village’s website, give visitors a quick way to find parking that best meets their needs.
Thanks to a previous GIS base mapping project, Glencoe already had a visual inventory of the available spaces all over town. This data was quickly documented in a map book, and the manager’s office intern took these pages into the field to mark up parking restrictions in each area. When the field-collected data was entered into GIS, it was easy to create color-coded maps that clearly indicated the differences between short- and long-term parking. Plus, with the data in GIS, it was easy to create custom maps that appealed to different audiences, ranging from commuters to local business customers. To see the finished products, please visit the Village of Glencoe’s website at http://www.villageofglencoe.org/about/villagemaps.aspx.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) was utilized while reviewing the On Street Solicitation section of The Village Code of the Village of Elk Grove Village to determine which lighted intersections throughout the community permitted on street solicitation. Based on the current specifications of The Code it was determined that there is only one intersection where this is permitted. Having a map highlighting not only the permissible solicitation location, but also other factors that affect the permissible locations such as zoning and lighted intersections gives Administrative staff a clear picture of the situation at hand and a resource for Police staff to enforce the regulation. GIS is a tool for them to consider all of the factors pertaining to on street solicitation and decide if revisions need to be made to their policy.
During the 2012 fiscal year, the City of Lake Forest has been receiving and delivering new recycling carts to all of its households. To aid in ordering the needed number of bins, a list of all non-commercial addresses in the City was generated. The Sanitation and Public Works departments were responsible for keeping track of who was in need of a bin throughout the year, with the goal of having each household’s bin delivered within the year.
In late February, GIS was asked to take the project one step further by comparing who has had a bin delivery to who is still in need of one. This was accomplished through geocoding the list of deliveries to the master address list, and then selecting those residences that have not had a delivery and creating a new list. In addition to the new list, a map was created to give a spatial reference on locations that did not have a bin. Interestingly, there was no trend found on areas that needed delivery, which made having a spatial reference even more valuable.
While this project was relatively simple to accomplish, the time saved by using GIS to generate the new table proved to be a big help to the Public Works department.
It’s a buyer’s market right now for entrepreneurs and developers. Communities of every size and demographic are competing against each other to attract new and relocating businesses to their area. GIS provides a cost-effective and efficient way to promote available commercial space on an interactive map that integrates seamlessly with the popular website Google Maps. Many GIS Consortium communities, including the Village of Lincolnshire, are taking advantage of this technology to quickly share information with prospective clients.
On a monthly basis, Lincolnshire’s Department of Community Development submits an updated spreadsheet of available properties to GIS. This spreadsheet includes important details such as building square footage, rental/sale prices, and realtor contact information. GIS geocodes the locations (a process in GIS that assigns an address to a location on a map) and then exports them into a file format that is used by Google Maps. This updated file is uploaded to the Village’s website, and in a matter of minutes, a fresh map is available for public consumption. The end product not only provides relevant details to a potential renter or buyer, but places these details in the greater context of the Village’s geography. Potential clients can then view aerial images and labeled maps of the overall site area to get a richer picture of the sites that interest them.
You can see the end product live on the Village’s website by visiting the available site inventory page, http://www.village.lincolnshire.il.us/business/sites.php.
Two months after joining the GIS Consortium (GISC), Tinley Park has deployed MapOffice™ to its citizens and internal staff. MapOffice™ places important local government information on the internet making it accessible to the public. It also empowers internal staff by making a wide variety of GIS information available on demand at all of the Village's workstations.
MapOffice™ is designed with local government in mind. It organizes GIS data into tools and tasks that support typical business processes. The public version makes accurate information easily accessible, which translates to cost efficiency by reducing phone calls to department staff for routine information. In turn, this frees up staff resources to answer more complex questions. In addition to this, the internal version has advanced functionality that provides an easy way to view sensitive utility and public safety data.
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.
The amount of information that is accessible to the common computer or smart phone user is unbelievable. Type a word into your web browser, hit search and start reading, it is just that easy. No problems here really, unless you have to do the same internet searches over and over again from multiple websites in order to collect the information you need regularly. All these searches may leave you to wonder how you might be able to centralize all of this data for quick and easy access on a daily basis.
For the Village of Morton Grove, IL, finding a solution to this bigger dilemma was not entirely possible but they were able to enlist the services of their Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to help take away some of the burden. By using an interactive web mapping application that was built on the local network, the Village now has the capability of retrieving information from the web, converting it into geographical information and then display that data on top of a map. What does this do for the end user? Well, a user only has to access the web application, turn on a GIS layer and then click on the point of interest in order to obtain vital information about that location. So far the Village has created more than a half dozen of these accessible layers with some of them helping more than just one department; two of the most recently added layers were railroad crossings and traffic signal locations. What use to take a fire chief or engineer valuable time searching multiple websites for usable information, now only takes a few seconds to access the internal map and click on a location to obtain the same data. Overall, this new format not only centralizes the data that is being accessed, it also saves employees time.
One of Glencoe’s many attractions is its location along the shores of Lake Michigan. Most people visit the Village’s coast at Lakefront Park, a public recreation area with concession stands, boat rentals, and plenty of room for sunbathing, swimming, and more. Unfortunately, the lure of the beach can create problems. Several streets in Glencoe dead-end at the beach, creating public rights-of-way that are legally available for pedestrian traffic. Recently, a group of underage drinkers started using these access points on a regular basis, putting them at risk for injury because the land is unimproved. Plus, adjacent property owners complained about the noise and litter created by the teens. In response, the Village announced plans to fence off these locations, but several members of the public did not approve.
Based on resident concerns about limiting beach access, the Village Manager’s office created a Street-Ends Task Force to review the options for managing this land. GIS was called upon initially to create site maps of every street end for reference. However, the real benefit to this project came through Glencoe’s membership in the GIS Consortium. Since several of its neighboring communities are GISC members, Glencoe had immediate access to their parcel data. The on-site specialist used it to identify comparable street-end locations in neighboring communities and then created a custom driving tour of the north shore’s public-owned access points to Lake Michigan. The committee visited and photographed each location, efficiently creating an inventory of comparison data for use in its work.
By leveraging the data-sharing model available through the GIS Consortium, the task force obtained a large sample of comparison information quickly and efficiently.
The Records Clerk for the Police Department is responsible with sending out notices to residents who qualify for Residential Only Parking Permits. These are permits that permit residents to of certain areas to park on specific streets as described in the ordinances. It is important that all the residents who qualify for the permits are notified. Otherwise if they park on the street they will be ticketed.
Previously the address list for each permit was stored in an Excel worksheet. This made it hard to maintain as updates were performed manually. Also, there were no guarantees that they would be notified of address updates. The GIS Office was asked if they could setup an automated process that would generate an address list for each Resident Only Permit. Using GIS software the extent specified for each permit was created as an area. Next areas not designated as a residential zoning district were removed. Finally all the address points within these areas were selected and summarized to remove duplicates. The final product was an Excel Worksheet with a list of addresses for each resident only permit area.
Without access to GIS software, the Police Department would still be using outdated address list stored in Excel. By using GIS software, address list can be generated using the GIS address database which is the master address database for the City. Thus the City will save money by not sending notices to incorrect addresses or have to worry about missing addresses that should be included in a Resident Only Permit area.
It was recently realized by the Elk Grove Village, IL GIS staff that most, if not all, of the land division information related to properties was being provided them by their data sharing agreement with Cook County. The data represents all of the components a piece of land is described by in a legal description and includes the Township, Range, Section, Quarter Section, Subdivision, Block, Parcel, and Lot. All of this information was combined in The Village’s interactive GIS map so that staff can have quick access to this information when faced with future land divisions and/or inquiries without an address to identify the location.
Organizing local government elections is an important component of how a community operates and can often be a significant investment, both in time and resources, for that community’s staff. While information on registered voters is often maintained by a county or township, local government staff may also need to use this data to assist with planning and executing various aspects of the elections process. To help prepare for an upcoming city council election, the City of Des Plaines, IL was asked to provide a list of all registered voter addresses to potential candidates so they could petition for signatures to get on the local ballot.
The Des Plaines city council is made up of eight aldermen, each representing a different ward, or electoral area, within the city and each potential candidate that wants to run for alderman can only petition registered voters within their respective ward. Since the list of registered voters provided by the county is for the entire city, the city’s Geographic Information System (GIS) department was asked to assist city staff with determining which addresses from the master list fall within each ward boundary.
Using previously developed ward boundary data and the master list of registered voters provided by the county, the GIS department staff was able to geocode, or match to a known location, each registered address within a specific city ward. Once an address was linked to a ward, a list of registered voter locations for each ward could be created and provided to city staff for distribution to the alderman candidates. Before using GIS to assist with the project, this process could take city staff several weeks to accomplish, taking away time and resources from other important city functions.
Without a doubt, the biggest challenge facing municipalities across the country is a dwindling supply of revenue. Communities are continually pressured to do more with less, and tough choices are always on the horizon. Fortunately, GIS offers a cost-efficient way to audit existing revenue streams to ensure that all forms of income are maximized in these budget-lean times.
The Village of Lincolnshire recently took advantage of its access to this technology to conduct an audit of its billing records. GIS was used to compare the Village’s address database to finance records for water and sewer billing to find discrepancies. Once the differences between the two sets were identified, GIS generated a spreadsheet of issues and then mapped them across the Village. These two products allowed Finance and Public Works personnel to review the mismatches quickly and determine if there were any customers in the Village who were being improperly billed. As a secondary benefit, both address databases were reviewed for accuracy to ensure that the community is using the most accurate and up-to-date information available.
Without GIS, the Village would have had to manually compare the address lists or hire an outside auditor at considerably greater expense.
This fall, the Committee for Representing Our Young Adults, also known as CROYA, has introduced a visual aid to help with their annual poinsettia orders and deliveries. CROYA is a branch of the Rec Center in Lake Forest, and offers programs for young people to become involved in their communities.
The GIS department worked with CROYA staff to discuss the needs and options available to create a better workflow for the upcoming poinsettia deliveries. Due to the number of orders, as well as the number of people available to deliver, having a map to plan out who will deliver in certain areas was a big help to the logistics of the whole process.
The outcome of the project resulted in large scale maps for CROYA staff to reference when planning deliveries, which included addresses and the order information spreadsheet. In addition to this, the plotted out orders were put into MapOffice Advanced for staff to be able to reference on the fly. Having an interactive version of their data will prove useful when zooming into an area or turning on the aerial photography to gain more information.
CROYA hopes to continue utilizing GIS in future events, which are provided not only for the City of Lake Forest, but also neighboring Lake Bluff and Knollwood.
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.
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.
On July 23rd, 2011, the Chicago, IL metropolitan area was hit by a storm system that resulted in extensive damage across numerous communities. As a community that received heavy flooding damage and experienced utility management issues due to the intensity of the storm, the Village of Winnetka needed to track where flooding was being reported and the nature of each report to help get a village-wide view of the total damage. To assist with this effort, the village Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department was asked to store and manage the flooding location data and develop a series of maps showing different aspects of the damage accounts as needed for reporting and analysis.
The primary sources used to develop the damage assessment database were field checks by village staff and damage claims submitted to Cook County by the residents. Using these sources, an extensive list of flooding locations, and the nature of each flooding event, was compiled and made available for mapping. Some of the products generated from the data were a basic map showing flooded properties, a map showing properties with debris piles stacked on the curb, and a map showing the extent of the flooding in one of the hardest hit areas of the village.
By storing and managing this information in GIS, the village now has the ability to develop powerful visual tools for examining the impacts of the storm, assisting with the development of future mitigation strategies, and providing the village council with evidence of how extensive the damage was in an easy-to-understand format.
For most local governments, granting a liquor license for a bar or other retailer can often be a double-edged sword. On one side, there is the increased sales tax of having another business in the community, as well as the licensing fees needed for an establishment to sell alcohol. On the other side, these types of businesses can sometimes lead to increases in crime or public disturbances, which can in turn lead to complaints from community residents. To help the City of Des Plaines, IL track how many licenses they have granted, and where the licensed establishments operate, the city’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department was asked to create a map showing each licensed location.
Creating a spatial record of this information provides not only a tool for visualizing where in the community liquor licenses were granted, but it also allows city staff to see the proximity of each licensed location to one another, as well as to other businesses and residential areas. Knowing this information can help with the granting of new liquor licenses by providing decision-makers with a tool to determine if allowing a new establishment to serve alcohol in an area is in the best interest of the surrounding neighborhood. By using GIS to create a map product displaying this information, the spatial relationships that exist between each location and the surrounding community become easier identify and understand, leading to more informed decisions.
The Riverside Farmers Market is a weekly service The Village of Riverside, IL organizes for its residents. Held every Wednesday from 2:30 – 7:00 PM during the summer and fall in 2011, The Market has had many vendors and community groups participate throughout the season. The Village has tasked its Geographic Information System (GIS) to create event maps to communicate to the vendors and groups their setup locations. With growing interest and turnout the setup locations have often changed from week to week making the event map that much more useful in staging the event.
When subdivisions are being designed they tend to plan for areas of public access to such things as water, sewer, electrical utilities, etc. These areas are called “easements.” Although the legal title to the land that lies underneath these easements is retained by the property owner, the existence of an easement still grants the right for others to access this piece of land. So why are these easements important? Answers may vary but for the City of Park Ridge, IL it is about the legality of allowing workers to access this piece of land in order to complete their assigned tasks. These workers may be private contractors or city employees just looking to repair an electrical problem or fix an issue with a water line that was installed years. Nonetheless, the land they are accessing is not considered trespassing.
It is easy to see the importance of easements but it is not always so easy to locate them in the real world. Easements are not usually marked out in the field so it is up to either public knowledge or consulting an existing subdivision plat to find out where they exist. In the City of Park Ridge they have started to use the Geographical Information System (GIS) to map out these locations based on what the final subdivision plats have designated. As these easements are located and mapped out, they will then be posted on the City’s interactive web mapping application so users can find them easily. Although the data collection process is lengthy, the amount of time that will be saved versus having to look these easements up manually is invaluable. For the comparison would have users searching through many uncategorized plats to find what they need. Proof that an easement exists will now be quicker and easier to access when a resident inquires about workers on their property thanks to GIS.
It is pretty amazing to think of all the information that has been collected and stored in the past few years by the U.S. Census Bureau. The last major data delivery that was published by the U.S. Census Bureau was in the year 2000 and although that information was useful, it soon became a question of accuracy as time drove on. This year the U.S. Census Bureau has been delivering a large set of new data, much of it coming in the form of database tables and Excel spreadsheets and other sets arriving as Geographical Information System (GIS) data layers.
Other things that have changed since 2000 are the amount of local government entities that have invested in GIS technology. Tasks that might once be a bit difficult have now become easier thanks to help from the GIS. One example of this was the use by the Village of Morton Grove, IL and its need to use 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data in order to determine populations within one, three and five mile radiuses from the village’s corporate limits. This information, once compiled, would be used on advertisement flyer to help draw businesses to move into town. For a new business looking to succeed, they will most likely be concerned without the amount of people they may be able to bring in on a daily basis.
By viewing the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data layers in GIS, information about specific populations can be derived from the block or block group information. Additionally, simple GIS tools can be used to create buffer distances at one, three and five mile radiuses from the village’s corporate limits. Once you have these two sets of information, some simple analysis can be done to extract the amount of population that resides within each buffer area. A once complex task now simplified thanks to GIS and the U.S. Census Bureau.
In the wake of this summer’s regional power outages, the Village of Lincolnwood made a decision to perform an audit on the Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) outage report with data from the entire year of 2010. The purpose of this audit was to determine the contributing factors of the power outages within the Village; specifically if equipment failure was a major contributor. The process for this project included analysis using the Village’s Geographic Information System (GIS). Using GIS, the Village could spatially reference outage location and combined with the tabular data supplied by ComEd, could summarize the elements that contributed to the outages. By looking at the data spatially, conclusions could be drawn much easier by the Village’s employees. After summarizing the data, it was found that trees, equipment failure, and weather were the largest contributing factors to the outages within the Village. The Village will now look at the areas where tree outages were prevalent and work with ComEd and the Village arborist to create a focused trimming program aimed at reducing the number of outages in these areas caused by fallen trees or limbs.
Comprehensive planning is a critical component in the long-term health of a community. The process of creating a five-year plan for a municipality can be daunting, but recording and sharing this vision provides “big picture” guidance to all stakeholders.
In the Village of Lincolnshire, GIS assists with clear communication by illustrating goals in an easy-to-understand way. One of the many exhibits under development is an overview map showing the future land use plans. Landowners throughout the Village are always concerned with what developments might occur around their properties, so this map quickly explains what will (and won’t) be allowed in the next five years. While this map is still a work in progress, it can already be used to support conversations throughout the planning process.
GIS makes the development of illustrations like this one quick and easy. The Village does not have to pay an outside vendor to create this custom map, and changes are easily illustrated and linked to existing Village data for easy comparison.
Providing adequate accessible parking spaces for local businesses is an important legal concern for many communities. Failure to meet State and Federal requirements can lead to law suits or having fines accessed against the City. The City of Highland Park Intra-City Parking Committee was concerned that some the parking lots might not contain enough spaces designated as accessible parking spaces.
The GIS Office was contacted to create a series of maps showing the location of accessible parking spaces in the Central Business District and the Ravinia Business District. Using existing data, the GIS Office quickly creates aerial and base map showing all the designations of parking spaces in both business districts. The maps were used to identify parking lots and on-street parking areas that did not have enough accessible parking spots. During the review it was determined that two parking lots required additional accessible parking spaces.
By using GIS the city could quickly review the number of accessible parking spaces with minimal amount of field work. The maps were used by the Committee to make the case that additional accessible parking spaces were needed. Once the additional spaces were created in the field, new maps were created displaying the updated field conditions. Without GIS this parking study would have taken much longer. Each parking lot and on street parking area would need to field surveyed. The information from these field surveys would not be as easy to use or as cleanly displayed as the information in the GIS maps was.
Electricity provider ComEd has come under intense fire throughout the North Shore for its management of multiple lengthy power outages. Many communities have been overwhelmed by complaints from residents who are not getting the level of service that they want. In turn, numerous municipalities have met with their local ComEd representatives to ask pointed questions about how service interruptions can be minimized as well as better managed.
Glencoe decided to leverage the power of GIS to explore the data provided in ComEd’s annual reports. By symbolizing the approximate locations of all 15 circuits according to the number and length of outages, GIS provided a striking illustration of problem areas within the Village limits. In the map shown, dark-shaded areas experienced a high number of power outages, and areas with large red circles experienced the longest outage times. (Please note: the circuit identification numbers have been obscured for proprietary reasons.) GIS was also used to generate a circuit-by-circuit analysis of the outage causes, ranging from equipment failures to tree-related damage to planned service outages for maintenance work. This information will be shared with ComEd engineers to prioritize areas in need of immediate attention.
Without GIS, Glencoe officials would have a much harder time making a compelling case for ComEd to prioritize its time and invest its resources in this area. This data gives them the ability to point out specific areas for improvement so that residents get the help and support that they need.
One of the hardest and maybe the most important things a local government can do is to ensure that the public is made aware of what is happening internally. For transparency ultimately brings more understanding on why decisions are made and how those decisions are going to be carried out.
For the City of Park Ridge, IL, transparency comes in the form of newsletters, website postings and published council meeting videos. On top of all this there is also the occasional public meeting set up to address a specific matter. As of late, there have been multiple storms that have left certain neighborhoods in disarray and have had the residents of these neighborhoods asking specific questions about flooding. For these special cases the City will sometimes call for a public meeting to be held between certain City staff members and residents of the affected neighborhood with the purpose focused on education.
Most recently the City’s Engineering Department hosted a public meeting with the residents of one north side neighborhood to brief them on the way the City’s sewer system works as well as how the topography of the land can affect where water may flow in times of heavy rain. General descriptions are always good but the Engineering Department felt that having maps to aid those in their discussion would prove more beneficial when trying to educate these residents on a topic they knew little about. For this request the City used their Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Department to construct specific maps showing where water goes within the sewer utility system as well as what water may do given the lay of the land in that specific neighborhood. Based on the response from the meeting, it turns out that these maps were very helpful in making a tough topic more understandable as well as demonstrating to the public that the City is persistent in maintaining a transparent atmosphere.
Every year the City contracts with Ayres Associates to update a portion of their base mapping. This is an important part of the process to ensure base mapping reflects real world conditions. An easy way to identify update areas is to look at the when areas were last updated and select the lowest year. This method will select areas of older data but does not necessarily select the areas of greatest change. For example business districts have a higher rate of demolition and new constriction, than do established residential neighborhoods.
The City determined it was more valuable to remap areas of greater change as opposed to areas of older data. For example, it does not really matter if data in a Golf Course area is older because Golf Courses do not change much over time. To determine the areas of greatest change, the GIS Office retrieved permit data from the Tyler Eden application. Permits data related to demolition, new construction, or alterations to existing features were mapped.
The city used the groupings of these permit locations to determine which areas of older mapping areas should be updated. It became obvious that several areas of the 2005 mapping area, should be updated in t he 2011 update cycle. Thus the City will maximize the value of it’s update mapping by ensuring the areas with the most changes are being updated.
It is safe to say that many organizations do not use maps as part of the day-to-day operations simply because their nature of business does not require them to do so. For those organizations that do require maps however, the accuracy of the data displayed on these maps becomes a high priority. For what good would a map be if the information that is on it is wrong?
For local government entities, the amount of changes that happen daily makes the need for data updates all the more important. If a water line was recently installed, it won’t be long before an Engineer needs to see that information in conjunction with the existing water lines in order to help facilitate their future planning process. If a building is demolished, a Planner might not have a good base map to use because the data on the map is old. Often times these updates go unnoticed unless someone notifies the mapping department that a change has occurred.
For the Village of Morton Grove, IL, it is the job of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Mapping Department to keep these changes current for in-house mapping needs and data analysis. The GIS Department continually converses with multiple departments in the Village in order to track down changes as well as takes advantage of a sharing agreement with the county to update parcel information. One of the more interesting methods for updating data has included the use of free aerial photography resources from the internet to overlay on a current map so that new buildings, sidewalks driveways, etc. can be drawn in to their newly designed shape.
Overall, it is not easy to keep up with everything that changes in the real world but having a good centralized repository such as a GIS and fairly decent resources can help from letting your maps become obsolete.
Glencoe hosted several summer events that attracted many out-of-town visitors to the Central Business District. From the regular Friday-night movies on Wyman Green to the Glencoe Grand Prix bike race, the Village offered something for everyone to enjoy. The increased foot traffic also meant more potential customers for local businesses. To help make these connections, the assistant manager had the GIS specialist create a business directory to post in the kiosks around town. This directory showcases Glencoe’s unique businesses, ranging from art galleries to restaurants to specialty gift stores.
GIS streamlined the process of creating this directory by quickly mapping locations using the business license database over existing maps of roads, buildings and parking lots. Without the in-house GIS program, the Village would have spend significantly more time and money to vet and hire an outside vendor for the task.
The Village of Norridge has a reverse 911 system called Blackboard Connect, that’s purpose is to send out a mass phone call, text or email as long as the village resident is registered. The Village was noticing that not all residents were receiving notifications and wanted to make sure every resident knew about the program and its benefits. The Village determined it wanted to send out a mass letter to any resident not registered in the program and asked the GIS Department for help.
First, a list of all the village addresses currently in the Blackboard Connect system was gathered and then geocoded (a process in which addresses are mapped using an existing address database). This created a list of residents and businesses that had not subscribed to the service. This then allows the village to send letters to the unsubscribed detailing the program and why it is beneficial to be part of the program. The initial plan is to track the unsubscribed addresses whenever a small notification (e.g. water main break) is sent out and then send letters based on a smaller service area. By using GIS, the Village was able to start tracking residents and businesses not part of their Blackboard Connect system, which means that they would no longer be missing out on important village notifications if they elected to be part of the program.
OakBrook Center is a large outdoor mall located in the northern part of Oak Brook. It is a very popular shopping destination throughout the greater Chicago land area and contains almost 150 unique addresses. Because of the high amount of activity and visitors to this particular area, it more susceptible to emergencies such as; crime, traffic accidents and medical related issues. The high density of addresses in such a small area makes it even more important for emergency responders know exactly which address to go to and which entrance provides the quickest route. It is also important to be able to communicate which general parking area and building they may be responding to. All of this information is provided in the fire pre-plans, but the pre plan does not contain a single map displaying every address in the area. Rather they must locate the address from an address list and refer to a separate individual building site map. This process takes time, which often times means the difference between seconds or minutes to respond to an emergency.
In a constant effort to improve emergency response, the fire department requested that an address map be created for OakBrook Center’s pre-plan. By using existing address data and updating it to the specifics of the fire department, we were able to create a clear address map for the fire pre-plan. Included with the addresses is parking lot names, buildings ID’s, major stores and entrance locations. By using GIS to create this map, not only were we able to make the map very quickly and accurately, but it is now permanently stored in a database that can be quickly updated as addresses and stores change.
While it may not occur as part of the day to day operations, an unfortunate reality for all local governments is the need to coordinate response and cleanup efforts as the result of an emergency event, such a severe storm or other natural disaster. To assist with tracking reported incidents as the result of a recent severe weather event, the Village of Winnetka, IL used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to store and display the incident locations during the event, as well map their locations to assist with the extensive cleanup efforts after the event took place.
Prior to using GIS to store and display the emergency event data, village staff would store the incident information in a variety of different mediums, including paper post-it notes, scarps of notebook paper, and non-standardized excel sheets, just to name a few. As a result, trying to coordinate response efforts was difficult, as post-its would get lost, pieces of paper would get thrown away, etc. In addition, without having a visual way to organize each incident location, departments would often duplicate efforts and send multiple response crews to deal with one incident, instead of distributing the available resources to maximize efficiency.
To help reduce these inefficiencies, the village GIS department provided a Structured Query Language (SQL) database with a Microsoft Access form front end that allowed staff to enter the information for each incident location as it was received in a standard format that could be easily accessed and reviewed by everyone involved in the response efforts. From the SQL database, each incident could be extracted and mapped in the village’s internet browser-based GIS application for all staff to see. Using this visual platform, the nature of the incident and its current status could be shared quickly across all departments, reducing redundancy and maximizing the effectiveness of each response crew.
To promote public safety and awareness in the community the Village of Riverside, IL Police Department is making available a sex offender map on the web. Because it is a densely populated area the information is gathered not only for Riverside, but surrounding communities as well. The State’s Sex Offender Registry provides the offender locations and those addresses are plotted using The Village’s Geographic Information System (GIS). By law sex offenders are not allowed to reside within five hundred feet of a public school or park. The GIS is capable of producing these exclusion areas with ease making the final map product a combination of the sex offender residences and the exclusion areas.
Every year the Cook County Assessor’s office sends out data to communities showing what the Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) is of every parcel within their boundaries. The Village of Lincolnwood uses this data for two purposes – owner name and economic development. Both of these uses are extremely valuable to the Village. Since the data has a geographical reference, a Property Index Number or PIN, the Village can use its Geographic Information System (GIS) to harvest, analyze and create products. Lincolnwood depends on County data as a base for much of its GIS features. It is very important to work together with the County since we share infrastructure and geography.
Using the data provided by Cook County, Lincolnwood was able to incorporate it into MapOffice Advanced™, a specialized interactive mapping application for all GIS Consortium members. By linking the Cook County tabular data with Lincolnwood’s parcel data, they were able to publish the owner’s name, EAV, and taxes owed into MapOffice Advanced™. This simplifies the task of finding the owners name through a maze of County websites and provides internal staff answers about property value in regards to development.
A growing desire for access to information and computer programs while performing tasks out in the field has Elk Grove Village planning to implement a wireless network. Inspectors, police, and fire staff would immediately benefit from such a resource to access systems that are constantly changing while they are out of the office or could be updated more quickly from what they are experiencing and working on in the field. The Geographic Information System (GIS) has been providing maps to highlight existing village facilities where network equipment can reside and the extent of the community that would be covered if access points were installed at various locations. The most efficient locations will be realized from these maps for the desired wireless coverage that is determined.
There are many different ways that a local municipality can engage their residents to take part in the community and contribute to the daily operations and occurrences. For example, there are citizen emergency response teams, volunteer crossing guards, volunteers for special events and many more.
One similar program that the Village of Morton Grove, IL is looking to institute is an Honorary Tree Planting Program. This program would allow a Village resident to purchase a tree, with supervision from the Village arborist, and have it planted in honor of someone specific. The idea of this program is to give Village residents the opportunity to honor someone special at the same time they can help out the community financially. In planning for this program, Village employees have been looking for a way to promote it as well as make it accessible to the public in an easy manner. Accessibility would mean that the end product would have to be visible on the internet so that family and friends who do not live in the Village could still see the honorary tree that was planted as well as where it is located within the Village.
For this portion of the program the Village decided to enlist the services of the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Department in order to publish these honorary trees out on the internet. This process would be handled by a Keyhole Markup Language (KML) file and would sit atop the Google maps framework. Once completed, an internet address will be placed on the Village’s website that will redirect the users to a Google map of all of the trees that have been planted in honor of others.
At this moment the mapping portion of this project is only in its beta stages but if carried out properly it could easily help the program grow as well as demonstrate a way that Village residents can help their community, family and friends.
When the Village of Norridge needs to send out a mass mailing to its residents, the Village typically uses the addresses found in the water billing database. After each mailing, the Village typically receives a small amount of letters deemed undeliverable. In an effort to eliminate the undeliverable letters, the Village decided to go through the database and make sure all the addresses in the village were accounted for. They decided to map out the water addresses using a GIS process called geocoding.
Geocoding is a process of taking a list of addresses and then mapping them in GIS using an existing addresses database as the reference data. The list of addresses from the water billing database were first mapped out against the existing GIS address database. This process generated a list of all the addresses from the water billing database that did not match any address in the GIS database. With this list created, the village went out and field verified the addresses in question, as well as any returned mail, to determine the actual addresses. With all the errors corrected, a final master address database was created that could be used for a number of different mailings, such as billings, vehicle sticker notifications, and voting information. By having a master address list, the village is able to send out mass mailings with a minimal amount of returned mail, in turn cutting down on wasted time, envelopes, and postage.
The Village of Winnetka, IL hosts numerous special events throughout the year, including a fireworks display during the Fourth of July holiday weekend. These types of events require the involvement and coordination of several village departments, including Public Works and the Police Department, and, often, outside agencies, such as the Winnetka Park District. To help improve the coordination and planning efforts between each group, the GIS (Geographic Information Systems) department developed several map products to assist with transferring event information more efficiently.
There were two maps that were developed for the firework display: one for the Police Department that highlighted the officer posting locations for the event, along with various traffic control policies that were implemented to assist with crowd control, and one for the Public Works Department that displays temporary “no parking” sign placements used to support traffic control efforts. Using these map products provided all those involved with the same, geographically-based template for planning the event, which allowed for a more efficient distribution of resources and transfer of information between agencies during fireworks display.
During an emergency event, the extent of the area affected and the number of issues occurring as a result of the event are just some of the factors that need to be processed, organized, and reviewed by local government staff to determine the most appropriate course of action. Perhaps the greatest challenge of any emergency response effort is controlling where information is coming from and determining which pieces of information are more critical than others. To help better organize information gathered during a recent storm event, the City of Des Plaines IL used the city’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department to assist with mapping and prioritizing the storm cleanup efforts.
While the initial response to the storm event relied heavily on more traditional forms of data organization and presentation, an effort to streamline the cleanup efforts resulted in GIS being used to develop several mapping products that assisted city staff with visualizing the storm damage. These included a traffic signal outage map, a road closure and downed trees map, and a damaged property map that was developed using information gathered by city building inspectors during the initial damage assessment review. Using these products, city staff was able to better visualize the extent of the damage and, as a result, develop a more effective plan for cleaning up the city.
A developing problem spread among many communities in the greater Chicago area is the rapid growth of the Emerald Ash Borer, which is an insect that adversely affects the health of ash trees. Oak Brook has recently began locating and tracking all ash trees in the village owned public parkways, and noting any trees that are currently affected by the outbreak. It is important to not only know which trees are infected, but also to know where all non-infected trees are located so that mitigation can begin immediately. The village has a plan to completely replace all ash trees within the next 10 years, beginning with the trees that are currently in the worse condition. It is important to track and maintain the ash trees because subdivisions with a high density of ash trees could face mass amounts of landscape change in a very short period of time, which could leave the esthetics of the subdivision less than pleasing.
The image shown is of the ash tree locations within the Saddle Brook neighborhood, which has a very high density of ash trees in the public parkway. An inventory of trees was done by public works employees and the results were returned in order to track and analyze the data using GIS. Currently we are tracking ash trees, infected ash trees, and ash trees that have been replaced in the past few years. By using GIS we will be able to track high priority areas, plan for future mitigation and keep track of the areas and work that has already been implemented.
Many communities often use GIS in one way or another to help plan out events, whether it is as simple as a basic street map or as detailed as a full site plan for a community’s annual taste event. In June, the City of Lake Forest came upon a unique opportunity and GIS was able to help.
Home to a number of golf courses, the City has begun examining the feasibility of hosting the PGA Tour, specifically at the Conway Farms Golf Course. The GIS Staff created numerous maps for Public Works and City Hall that showed zoning, surrounding communities and buffer zones, all of which were overlaying aerial images. The primary purpose for these was to locate areas of interest around the golf course that could provide parking and transportation for attendees. Further analysis is expected once city staff review their options, but initial review shows that the golf course has good surrounding features to accommodate the event.
Having a visual aid is always helpful when planning an event, especially when you can call out specific features that help with decision making. Though it can look simple at first glance, aerial imagery with GIS overlays always proves to be very beneficial to communities that are working to find the best opportunities solutions and for their events.
Summer provides the public with a wealth of opportunities to explore their neighboring communities. Festivals, races, sidewalk sales and parades are as abundant as the warm sunshine. While these special events offer the chance to relax and have fun, they also create a lot of work for those who are charged with managing them. Fortunately, GIS provides staff members with an efficient way to track spatial data and customize it to meet the needs of multiple departments. As an example, the Village of Glencoe recently put GIS to use in its planning process for the Fourth of July parade. The Village Manager’s office requested an easy-to-understand map of the parade route to distribute to the participants. The GIS specialist also added it to MapOffice™ Advanced, which made the parade route available to any member of the Village staff. As shown in the snapshot, MapOffice™ Advanced allows users to view the parade route on a map or an aerial photo, depending upon their needs. When a Public Safety supervisor saw the map, he was inspired to request another special event map. This one displayed both courses and all of the stations in the Glencoe Grand Prix bike race. Since the parade route map met the size and design specifications of Public Safety, the GIS specialist was able to quickly meet this new request by switching out the necessary information. Finally, the Glencoe Grand Prix plan was added into MapOffice™ Advanced so that Dispatch had a visual reference to enhance its ability to communicate with people in the field. Without GIS, the time and resources needed to create each of these custom maps would have been cost-prohibitive.
The City of Highland Park hosts many events from the running races to hosting craft fairs. These events bring many visitors into the community. These visitors will spend money at local businesses and help maintain the local economy. The City relies on GIS to provided detailed maps that allow City Staff to evaluate proposed conditions and make appropriate changes before the event.
Support from GIS can be as basic as displaying the starting area, race route, water station, and ending area for a race event. However, craft fairs and Taste of Highland Park events usually require more complex maps, which show numbered booths, barricades streets, traffic flow, and other detailed information required to plan the event. The GIS support occurs into two to three stages. The first stage is a request for a map or an update to an existing map. The next two to three steps involve review the changes and requesting updates to reflect current concerns. Another advantage of GIS is that the map projects are stored digitally and can be updated annually with a minimal amount of work. Without GIS the maps would have to be recreated each year or updates would be drawn on an older copy of the event map and sent to a graphic designer for updates. In a worst case scenario the City would have to rely on an event map provided by the organizer of the event.
The City leverages GIS to create accurate maps in an efficient manner. Thus the City can ensure events are run safely. City Staff can also quickly make updates to an event map without having to recreate the map.
On June 21st, 2011 a major storm hit the Chicago land area causing severe damage to trees, cars and homes. Winds speeds were measured near 80 mph, two F1 tornadoes were reported and thousands of people were left without out power. Many of the small municipalities in the area were left with no other options but to put their Public Works Department crews out on the streets to start the cleanup process.
Considering much of the time during this period was spent on the cleanup, it became hard for any local municipality to reflect on the catastrophic event and how much damage occurred overall. In Morton Grove, IL the Engineering Department decided to run a pilot program to track what they could of the storm’s damage and then store the data gathered in the field within their Geographical Information System (GIS). The purpose of this pilot was to see how easy or hard it would be to collect this information in the field and then map out in a format that would be easy to use by others within the Village staff.
The process was actually quite simple and consisted of the Village Engineer driving through areas that were reported as bad and recording these major damaged locations on a paper map as well as taking photographs of each site. Once back in the office, the map and photos were submitted to the GIS Department to be converted into digital data with hyperlinks to the photos that were stored on a central server. Information that may once be forgotten is now stored in the GIS and can be distributed to several users at one time. Additionally, this information can now be used in comparison with future storm events making it an excellent resource for 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.
Every year, The Village of Wheeling finance department receives tax information from the State. This information includes the amount of money the village received from sales tax and which companies provided it. In previous years, the finance department would look over the data and try to find any discrepancies in the data and see if they were missing sales tax from companies in the Village. They would typically do this by comparing the sales tax information with the business license data by hand. This year, the Village wanted to do a more thorough check and one that wasn’t as time consuming, so they decided to compare the two tables by using GIS.
Because both the sales tax information and the business license tables contained address information, the data was easily mapped using the Village’s address database. With both tables mapped, checks were run to determine which business license records did not have a sales tax record, and which sales tax records did not match any existing business license. This process would help find any businesses that Wheeling did not receive sales tax from and additionally businesses that did not have an existing business license.
The finance department received full lists of businesses within the Village that they did not receive sales tax from and businesses that were listed in the sales tax table that did not have a business license. There are many possible reasons why both situations exist, but by having a list the finance department was able to go to the state and figure out each record discrepancy. By using GIS, the finance department was able to expand on an already existing project and save some time in the process.
The City of Des Plaines hosts numerous special events throughout the year. These events often require the involvement and coordination of numerous city departments, including Public Works, Engineering, and the Public Relations office. To help improve these coordination efforts, the GIS (Geographic Information Systems) department developed a map product to allow all those involved to communicate event information more efficiently.
The map developed for this bike tour highlights the tour route and other aspects of the ride, as well as points of interest the riders can stop and look at along way. Information about the event itself, for example ride distance and start time, was also included on the map to supply both the city departments organizing the ride and those participating in the ride with a single resource for reference. Using a spatial product to convey the bike tour information provides everyone with the same, geographically-based reference template, making it easier and more efficient to transfer information before and during the event.
The Briergate Crossroads Business District is an important commercial center on the west side of Highland Park. It is locate along Deerfield, Old Skokie Rd, and Old Deerfield Rd just west of Skokie Valley Rd. It also contains a variety of other retail establishments such as a grocery store, a toy store, and numerous services orientated businesses.
Over the last six months, the City of Highland Park Office of Economic Development along with the Business and Economic Development Commission reviewed the Briergate Crossroads Business District to identify issues that should be corrected to improve the economic vitality of the district. The first step was reviewing the existing conditions within the district. The first part of the process was requesting maps from the GIS Department which showed the location street lights, signs, ownership of right-of-ways, and ownership of properties. The second part was gathering information from the business owners. Several complaints were indentified and confirmed by reviewing the map.
One of the issues was that lacks of lighting which creates numerous security issues. Another issue is that the district not clearly visible from US 41 and a confusing ramp configuration makes it difficult to access the district. The Office of Economic Development requested that the GIS Office create three new maps showing proposed updates to solve these issues. The first map shows proposed street light locations along streets. The second map shows new signs which will point out the ramps used to access the district and assist drivers with navigating the ramp configuration. The third map shows areas where IDOT will be requested to clear brush to make the district more visible from 41. Using these maps, the committee can show how proposed changes will benefit the business district.
The Skokie Park District in conjunction with the Village of Skokie hosts the Festival of Cultures. Over the years, it has become a premier ethnic festival in Illinois celebrating the food, music, and sports that define cultures throughout the world. This year will be the 21st for the festival. The Village of Skokie has a high presence during this festival and is working to promote downtown businesses during the event. The idea was to create a flyer to promote the Village’s downtown restaurants. To do this, the Village Manager’s office worked with the Village’s Geographic Information System to gather data and create a map showing all restaurants in the downtown area. The Village will be passing these out at their booth during the festival.
When developers are making plans for a new construction project, they may opt to install the utilities they need and then sell the completed system to the local government for general public use and maintenance. This arrangement, known as a recapture agreement, allows the developer to handle the utility installation process instead of taking up resources in the local Public Works department. The local municipality agrees to buy the completed system from the developer according to an agreed-upon fee schedule. This schedule has to be approved by the local board and created into an ordinance to officially approve the use of public funds.
As of 2011, the Village of Lincolnshire has 15 active recapture areas. This impacts daily operations because these agreements have to be referenced any time the Village receives a building permit application. If someone applies to do work in a recapture area, he or she may be responsible for paying an access fee to the developer to use the utility system. By creating a map of recapture areas, Public Works administrators can quickly check a permit application’s location to determine whether or not it falls into a recapture area. If it does, the applicant will be notified of any corresponding financial responsibilities.
Lincolnshire’s recapture map is currently being used in print form, but will soon be available in MapOffice™ Advanced as a custom overlay. This will allow Village staff to search electronically for an address and determine immediately whether it falls into a recapture area. Thanks to this application of GIS technology, the Village is saving time and money by completing a once labor-intensive process in a matter of seconds.
Most local governments have a council of elected community residents that help manage and vote on the policies that govern how the community operates. For the Village of Winnetka, as with any government, there is regular turnover in who is elected to sit on the acting council. After a recent election, village staff decided to use maps to help explain the operational role of each department to the new council members.
The Village GIS (Geographic Information System) department was asked to create these maps, which included a water main diameter size map, a public works facilities map, and an electric circuit map, as a tool to visually highlight the extent of individual department operations. The maps were shown to the new trustees during a tour they received of the Village facilities and helped to enhance their understanding of the services each department is responsible for managing. Having more knowledge of the services provided by the Village staff can lead to better, more informed decisions by the council in the future on the best policies to effectively manage village operations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.