Every community, whether large or small, has the problem of traffic accidents occurring on a daily basis. Most of these accidents take place in and around road intersections. The Park Ridge Police Department is constantly looking for ways to improve the safety at high risk intersections and decrease the amount of accidents that take place there. GIS was chosen as the best method to calculate the number of accidents that occur at a particular intersection within a particular time frame as well as illustrate how certain intersections had a decrease in accidents after certain safety measures were instituted.
The GIS department has been mapping traffic accidents on a monthly, bi-yearly and yearly basis going back many years in Park Ridge. A top ten list of intersections with the highest amount of accidents is calculated every six months from the accident maps and the higher counts are studied further to see what changes could be made to improve the safety at those locations. For the 2012 study, three locations were chosen based off of high 2011 accident counts. Certain safety improvements were made such as adding a “No Turn on Red” sign, adding an additional stop side on the opposite side of a street, or simply just changing the timing of the stoplights. After the 2012 accident totals showed great improvement at those locations, a map was created illustrating the sharp decline in accidents from 2011 to 2012 at those highlighted intersections. Without GIS, the traffic coordinator would spend an enormous amount of time browsing through accident reports, counting the accidents by hand and then illustrating his or her findings without the aid of a map.
There are countless historical documents and records lying around local government offices these days that contain valuable geographic information but are difficult and time consuming to locate. Whether it is an old annexation or de-annexation agreement, road dedication, variance card, easement location, or vacated alley document, all this information is important enough to hold onto but their current format leaves a lot to be desired. The Community Development department has a binder full of historical vacated alley documents that date back to the 1930s that are only organized by date, leading to massive time consuming searches being that most inquiries would be based on an address and not the date. GIS was sought as a viable option to finally organize all this important data into an easily accessible digital format.
Using these old vacation documents, vacated alleys were drawn in on the existing alley custom layer in MapOffice Advanced. The ordinance number was entered in for each location as attribute information. Most importantly, each historical vacation document was scanned in and linked to their respective alley. Currently, every alley vacation from 1972 to the present has been uploaded, but previous years are still being added on a consistent basis. Now, the user can locate a vacated alley by querying an address and have the vacation information populate instantly. Without GIS, the current system of keeping everything in one giant binder that a user would have to flip through manually searching for the document in question would still exist. Having these alley vacations in an easy to use MapOffice custom layer replaces a time consuming task with a quick, instant result.
New businesses will likely attract more people to a given area. Whole Foods is opening up a new store on Touhy Avenue between Washington Avenue and Berry Parkway. Residents living in the neighborhood around the future Whole Foods grocery store site are concerned that increased customer traffic heading to and from the store will lead to an increase in the speed of vehicles traveling down their residential streets, thereby making their quiet neighborhood more dangerous. The police department conducted speed surveys on all the nearby residential streets that will be affected when the store opens for business next year. To display the results from these surveys, GIS was utilized to create a map of the area with all the pertinent information that the police department can use for planning purposes.
Unlike previous speed survey maps created by GIS, this one was a little different. Individual surveys were taken for traffic flowing in both directions rather than having one survey averaging both directions together. This map also had more detailed information about the surveys than previous maps had. This is important for the next step in this project. Police plan to conduct the same survey on the same streets approximately six months after the store has opened. The findings from these surveys will then be analyzed and the appropriate measures will be taken to combat any problems or concerns that may have developed. Without GIS, all the data in this map would be locked up in spreadsheets and without any geographic connection. With these maps in hand, this data can be more easily understood and analyzed, therefore making the decision process less time consuming and more efficient.
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.
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.
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 Illinois, state law prevents a sex offender from living within 500 feet of a school, park, playground, or any other facility that provides recreation or other services to children. When a sex offender moves into a new community, they are required by law to register with their local law enforcement agency. This includes providing their address of their place of residence. The local police must determine whether or not the sex offender’s address is within 500 feet of a restricted area. We determined that the most efficient way to accomplish this was by utilizing GIS.
Using GIS, the offender’s parcel was highlighted along with all the other restricted areas within the community. A 500 foot buffer was created from the offender’s parcel boundary and then overlaid to compare with the restricted areas. In this case, the property was within 500 feet of a park, so the police officer must notify the offender that a new place of residence is needed. Once a new residence is notified to the authorities, this same process will occur all over again. This method is a quick and efficient way of handling the problem, being that it is uses an accurate measurement and it saves time and money by avoiding unnecessary field work.
About every ten years a Fire Department conducts a review of their services in order to increase their chances of getting a better Insurance Services Organization (ISO) rating; the better a rating the Fire Department receives, the more money a commercial property will save on their fire insurance. In order to prepare for this evaluation, The City of Park Ridge Fire Department is using all the techniques they can find to boost their chances of a better overall rating. A technology aid that was not around the last time they conducted an ISO evaluation was the Geographic Information System or better known as GIS.
Although GIS is not the only contributor to this in-depth evaluation process, it definitely allows the Fire Department to take advantage of their in-house GIS staff to prepare maps and data at a lower cost. These maps and data outputs will supply the ISO reviewer with the information that they need in order to accurately judge the type of services the Park Ridge Fire Department supplies and should in help in all efforts to better the city’s ISO rating. In addition, should any other questions arise during the review process; the GIS will be a great place to start when trying to gather quick and accurate information; thus proving the usefulness of the Geographic Information System’s ability to help when needed and better yet, save people some money.
Being able to get access to useful information at a moment’s notice is something of a common trend these days. The only problem that really arises is when the information you are searching for is not yet created. As technology advances, so do the amount of portals that are created to store mass amounts of information. One type of portal that has been around for a long time is a Geographical Information System (GIS). This type of information portal does not only store tabular data but it also represents this tabular data in a spatial environment so that correlations can be made between the different types of data on the ground.
The City of Park Ridge, IL has been using a GIS for many years now but they always seem to find new information that is worth adding to the system in order to answer everyday questions or conduct detailed analysis. One of the newer additions of data to the GIS is the collection of relief sewer locations. This data is important to the Engineering Department in order to understand where these relief sewers are located in relation to other sewer lines as well as how they are helping the overall flow of storm water in a certain area. Older methods would have usually required the City Engineering Department to dig up and review old as-builts and document where these lines are located. Now the information is stored in the GIS and is as easy as looking at a map for their review and analysis. A once labor intensive process has now been made more efficient with the help of GIS.
Home owners are almost always looking for ways to change their home in order to make it a better fit for them and their family. At times it is a simple fix within the home and at other times it is more complex, for example, constructing an addition to the existing building footprint. Most of these types of upgrades require permits and inspections to be done by the local government in which the home resides. More serious upgrades may at times may require a full review of the property setbacks that are normal for the block on which the home is located. In the City of Park Ridge, IL one case in particular regarding an appilication for the rights to construct a garagae required this type of review.
The property under inspection was applying to have a garage installed in the back of their house which had an entrance off of a major road and not an alley. In keeping in compliance with city standards, the Community and Preservation Devlopment Department had to determine what the average home setbacks were from the road on one particular block in order to ensure that the applicant was not breaking the rules. The normal workflow is to measure the setbacks of each house on that block and decide if this new applicant is within compliance. The problem that arises is how to display this information properly to the Board of Appeals so they can understand the scenario first hand rather than just being told facts from a piece of paper. For this instance the use of the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Department was implemented to help map out the scenario as it is out in the field so that the reviewers of this specific case could easily decipher if the applicant was worthy of acceptance. Now, instead of trying to envision the problem at hand, the reviewers can see each property with its driveway and setback distance from the road. Thus making decisions easier to come by as well as highlighting the effectiveness of GIS mapping.
Over time sewer utility pipes deteriorate and may eventually collapse causing an even bigger problem for a municipality to replace. Being able to locate these problem pipes before these bigger problems occur is ultimately the best practice. What normally happens at the local government level is a problem area is identified by the Engineering Department based on their analysis or by resident complaints. From there, the Engineering Department will usually contract a company to televise these problem pipes so they can review what is really happening underground. If the pipes are in really bad shape than a full replacement may be the only solution. Often times though, it is just a case of tree root obstruction or deterioration to the pipe that is restricting the flow of water. In these instances on e successful solution that a municipality may select is to cut out all tree roots with a small machine fed through the existing pipe and then line the sewer with a manufactured heat sensitive tube.
In simple terms, it is called sewer lining and is something that the City of Park Ridge, Illinois has recently started doing again. Additionally, the City has leveraged the use of their Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Department to help create maps depicting the locations of the pipes that are to be reconstructed. The maps are simple in nature but add to the City’s process of what they supply to the contractor doing the work. So, instead of trying to describe the scope of work, the City Engineer now has a visual to give to the contractor that shows the location of the job, the pipes to be lined or cleaned, as well as the attributes of each pipe that will be worked on (i.e. size, material, and length). All in all, sometimes it is the small things that make a contract go better and in this example it is easy to see how a simple map from GIS may help alleviate some confusion.
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.
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.
Over the years local government entities gather a lot of information relating to properties and the characteristics they entail. This information may include property identification numbers (PIN), property owners, whether that property has an easement or not and much more. The hard part about all of this information is classifying and organizing it in a way that easily accessible and will stand the test of time. Current trends show that paper documents are being scanned into digitized files so that they are readily available and searchable in many different ways. One application that handles this type of inventory quite well is a Geographical Information System (GIS).
For the City of Park Ridge, IL, already owning and operating the GIS software has increased their potential for upgrading and maintaining their paper documents in an electronic data format. With the help of the GIS Department, the City is currently working on a beta program to scan all property variance documents into PDF files and then linking these files to a geographic space on a map. Future plans will come in the form of an interactive web mapping application where the user wishing to locate a property and its variance if it has one, could do so from their office chair rather than inefficiently spending time searching paper documents down the hall. Additionally, as the paper gets older and wears away, the City can feel comfortable in knowing that this important information will not only be preserved, it will also be in one centralized location. Just another way to improve an existing operation.
It often seems that when crimes happen we seem to hear about them on the news. On the contrary, many crimes are reported that don’t attract high media attention. Which ever happens, it is extremely important that the Police Department is aware of the crime and that the activity is recorded for future analytical purposes. After these crimes are recorded what types of analytical operations take place? Are these crimes reviewed individually or compared to others in a group? Does geography play a factor?
The Police Department for the City of Park Ridge, Illinois thought that geography may have been a factor in some of their most recent burglary reports but they needed an easy way to review this information. For this portion of their analysis they decided to take advantage of the resources within the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Department to help map out the addresses of all the recent burglary activity within the city limits. A list of all burglary location addresses for a month long period was submitted to the GIS Department and then mapped out using the software tools found in application that GIS uses. Not only was the result quick in also displayed that there may be a trend in the type of burglaries because the incidents did indeed occur close in geographic proximity. Once the map was completed it was then published to a PDF so that it could be sent to the appropriate personnel in the Police Department (i.e. detectives) for review and potential field use.
A map that once took an hour to complete manually, now only took fifteen minutes. Additionally, the map was easily distributable which saved time in the long run and made the overall process more efficient.
Although technology surrounds all of us it is hard to know what to buy in order to get what you need for your specific project. Sometimes you will want to keep the software light and easy to use and at other times you may need the most robust system that money can buy in order to function properly at high level operations.
For the City of Park Ridge the purpose was to purchase something in the middle of the road that could work for their upcoming sign inventory data collection project as well as any other future project that would require field data collection. The challenge for this equipment and software acquisition was to find something that would easily integrate into the city’s current Geographical Information System (GIS). Additionally, the City did not want spend a lot of time trying to convert certain data formats to fit the data model that already existed in GIS.
Because the City already knew that they would one day want to collect Global Positioning System (GPS) point data in the field the decision making process really came to which piece of software they would install on a (GPS) mobile device. The Trimble® TerraSync™ software was well respected in the industry and could work for this project but did introduce a lot of post-processing tasks to make it GIS compliant. After further research, the city decided that they would gain more by using the ArcPad™ application from ESRI®. The reason behind this decision was that after simple testing it was apparent that data could be checked out from the existing ESRI® platform GIS model, edited in the field on the mobile GPS device and then easily checked back into the GIS database; thus eliminating the man-hours that would have been introduced with the other option and potentially saving money on labor in the long run.
Twice a year the City of Park Ridge offers its residents a chance to attend a Citizen’s Police Academy in order to learn more about the standard police processes that occur on a daily basis. Some of the topics discussed at this academy include traffic enforcement, DUI enforcement and standard police procedures. The overall goal of this academy is to allow the citizens of the city to participate in a program that will educate them on the many facets of the Police Department within a short nine week session. After nine weeks each member will graduate from the academy and will hopefully have a new outlook on their local Police Department.
This program, like any, has included some minor enhancements geared at helping the participants retrieve information in the proper ways so that it is easily understandable. One enhancement that was introduced to the Spring 2011 session was the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) maps to display the various products that the Police Department utilizes to help them analyze the events happening within the city. Two of the maps that were supplied included a police beat map and a traffic accident count map. These maps were then inserted into the materials that each participant receives at the academy and acted as a visual aid during a discussion on a particular procedure carried out by a police officer (i.e. police enforcement and traffic study analysis).
Everybody processes information differently but it is believed that the introduction of maps into the Citizen’s Police Academy will play a positive role in the interpretation of information by the academy’s participants. Sometimes a simple map can go a long way.
It usually seems that most people who are disrupted by construction projects would be less upset if they had some warning that a project was about to happen. Early notification of disruptions can lead to route changes by commuters, later departure times or just the common acceptance of noise. So the normal question that comes after all of this is, “How do you notify the public about what is soon to happen?
One method that is very effective is the mailing of letters to each resident in and around the construction zone warning them of the work that is about to take place. Although this may be the preferred method, there are other options that can help get the word out. For the City of Park Ridge they decided it would also be beneficial to capture the resident’s attention by publicizing these projects in the form of a map and make it accessible via a link on the home page of the city’s website. This map would be generated in-house using the Geographic Information System (GIS) software and would be completed by an Engineering Department employee. Who better to create this map then a person who is well versed in the projects that are planned for the year? This map was designed to be simple so not to confuse the residents and would be color coded by project type. And since the majority of these projects were to start in the spring, the city decided to publish this map in February so that the residents would have time to prepare for what was about to come.
Not every resident uses the internet but since the trend is leaning towards more users than less, it is safe to say that the method described above is an efficient way to get information from the city’s desk and into the minds of the public.
It is simple to say that speeding occurs in almost any location that there is a car and a road. Although this straightforward comment may be true, it still leaves a lot of room for a Police Department or Traffic Safety Engineer to question why. Is the speed limit too low? Are there not enough stop signs on a specific street? Is the speeding occurring near a high school? All of these questions are fair to ask and seem to be brought up often when conducting a speed survey study. For the City of Park Ridge they decided that on top of the typical questions that they could ask they would also benefit from the use of a Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis. The GIS would not only bring in a mapping component to each speed survey study but it would also allow for a city wide comparison as to how some of these studies may be spatially related; both of which were not previously available.
In order to make the speed survey results usable within GIS the information first had to be converted into a geographic data. This was done by way of a complex GIS method called linear referencing and entailed the representation of each speed survey study as a line on a map. Furthermore, this complex operation worked by creating a new line segment for each study area and did not require any splitting of the original road centerline data. Most importantly, linear referencing allowed multiple street segments (i.e. city blocks) to be consolidated into one line segment holding the same attributes; something that was very helpful considering that the city had many blocks that did not start and stop at a street intersection and data editing would be laborious. The end result came in the form of a map displaying each study area with labels indicating the speed numbers that were recorded during a specific month and year. In the end, although the GIS process was a bit complex the goal was still achieved in the ability by taking data that was once textual and making it an analytical tool via a map.
Maintaining the cleanliness of a city’s sewer system can be time intensive and costly. There is the purchase of the sewer cleaning machine, the actual flushing of the sewer lines and the occasional cutting of tree roots. With all of this work there usually comes a need for a Public Works Department to track the locations of sewer lines that have been cleaned. Tracking the clean-up progress of these lines not only allows the Public Works Director to better plan for future sewer cleaning work, it also demonstrates to the city council the efforts that have come forth by the city to remedy an on-going problem.
For the City of Park Ridge they rely on the services of the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department in order to take textual spreadsheet data and make it come to life in the form of a map. This concept is nothing new but it is something that usually tells a better story than the simply distributing handouts detailing the streets where sewer cleaning has taken place. For this project all sewer lines that were recently flushed were extracted from existing GIS sewer utility data as well as given the appropriate attributes as to when the sewer was last flushed and whether there were tree root problems or not.
Once this data was created it was then mapped out in conjunction with the city’s sewer system resulting in an end product that easily displayed the how much of the city’s sewer system had been cleaned in last six months. Additionally, the power of mapping this project out in GIS will allow the Public Works Department to track things going forward as well as retrieve statistical information on the lengths and sizes of all pipes being cleaned should they need this information at any given time.
Every year when winter comes around the City of Park Ridge tends to buckle down and start planning their clean up procedures. Whether it is stocking up on salt in the salt dome or testing old equipment to make sure it is working properly, each task takes careful time and consideration. One operation that tends to happen under the radar but also has significant importance is the creation of snow plow maps.
All of the maps that are created are done so through the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department and are then printed in numerous sizes per the driver’s request. These maps are simple in nature but can easily help new and old snow plow drivers understand their routes and areas of coverage. Additionally, these maps help identify the speed bump locations throughout town as well as other helpful notes so snow plow drivers can navigate their routes in a safe and efficient manner. The maps were originally broken down by each snow plow zone but have since migrated into maps that display multiple zones. This change was made in order to give each driver the ability to plan a larger route for more than one zone rather than dealing with each zone specifically; thus resulting in faster completion times of routes and coverage areas. When all is said and done, it is easy to note that a more efficient use of time could potentially mean an upgrade of service for the residents of Park Ridge but who would have thought that maps would be a part of this bigger process.
Although severe rain storms hitting Park Ridge have slowed in numbers recently, there still is a need to find ways to analyze past events in order to help with the future incidents; for being prepared with the proper analytical tools is never a bad idea and is something that is important to the city. With these ideas in mind, the city’s Engineering and Building Departments continue to turn to their Geographic Information System (GIS) Department looking for new ways to use technology as a mechanism for analyzing what might be happening in the real world.
Two recent projects that have shown potential to be everyday analytical tools for the city have come in the form of a flood complaint density study and a detailed drainage basin location map. The flood complaint density study was performed by taking data from the flood survey database, mapping it out and then using complex GIS tools to create density locations. The end product displayed a dark color where many flooding complaints occurred at a high density and a light color where the density of complaints was weak. What seems like a simple map can now be used as an analytical tool for identifying potential problem areas of flooding. On the other hand, the detailed drainage basin location map was also constructed using complex GIS tools but the end product details how water may flow from a high point of elevation to a low point of elevation. This map can also be used as an analytical tool giving the city staff a better idea of where the water may be flowing and will prove beneficial for when specific residents complain about flooding in their yard.
Both products leverage the power behind the GIS tools and thus take information that was once static and make it more usable, a good example of how to take data to the another level in order to help find solutions to everyday problems.
For many municipalities mapping still comes in multiple forms. With Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Geographic Information System (GIS) ranking among the highest used, it is safe to say that integration between the two systems is a huge benefit.
CAD is predominately used for engineering style design drawings that encompass detailed precision but also has the ability to make simple maps. Whereas GIS deals more with detailed maps, attributed data and spatial analysis. Although they both have their strengths, there is often a time where one application is better suited for the job, or, they will both be used to make one end product.
For the Engineering Department at the City of Park Ridge, using both systems to create one useful end product was exactly what they needed to accomplish the task of creating a sophisticated map from a simple design drawing. The City Engineer, who is well versed in AutoCAD, was assigned the duty of creating a “Departure Sight Triangle” study for one intersection in town. What this study does is calculate the angles at which an automobile can see oncoming traffic when turning into an intersection and determines if any objects, such as trees or signs, impact the driver view. If so, action will be taken to remedy the situation. Designing all of the detailed line work in AutoCAD was not a problem but the creation of a better looking map would have to be done in GIS. Luckily the two applications were set in the same coordinate system so using the engineer’s design inside of GIS was not a problem. From there it was as simple as letting the GIS Department leverage their skills to create a detailed thematic map that could then be shown to the city council to help their analysis on this sensitive issue.
Often times a municipality may be confronted with a tough decision regarding the ownership and maintenance of their physical assets. For the City of Park Ridge these tough decisions seem to come on a weekly basis in the form of trees. A scenario might play out in the form of a resident coming in and complaining that a tree is dying in front of their house and that the city must replace it. Although the fact might certainly be that the tree is dying, speculation may still remain on whom actually owns that tree.
A lot of the times the City Forester will be able to go out to the site of the tree in question and decipher who has proper ownership either visually or with the help of a plat of survey. Other times providing an answer is not so easy; this is where the Geographic Information System (GIS) can be a valuable tool in its ability to supply the City Forester with accurate measurements right inside the office. GIS has the capability to easily measure the distance between a property’s parcel line and the edge of road to determine whether that tree is in the parkway or not. If the tree falls within the parkway then it is the responsibility of the city to take care of, whereas if the tree is located outside of the parkway, then the responsibility will lie in the hands of the property owner.
The most important part for the City Forester to understand from this point is the accuracy of the GIS data. When the parcel data comes from the county and the roads data comes from an engineering consultant, there can be a plus or minus factor on the measurements between these two datasets within the GIS. None the less, GIS supplies easy access to valuable information that can help when other means may require extra time and money for similar results.
Municipalities typically pride themselves on the ability to keep their community clean. Whether that is in the form of street sweeping or garbage pickup, providing their residents with a clean standard of living an important part of local government. For the City of Park Ridge, a problem was occurring where the contractor for garbage collection was continually missing the pickup of trash at several courtesy can receptacle locations causing the city to spend time making multiple phone calls in order to get this trash picked up.
To increase efficiency the City’s Public Works Department decided to enlist the services of the Geographic Information System (GIS) Division to help by mapping out all of these receptacle locations with the effort to further alleviate the confusion. In the beginning, a list of the locations for each receptacle can was provided to the GIS Department; thus allowing for the creation of a series of maps detailing each property of interest, the address of this property and how many trash receptacles were to be picked up at each location. Once completed, these maps were passed onto the garbage pickup contractor to field check each property and markup the map as to where each receptacle can was situated. After the contractor completed this process, the maps were then handed back to the GIS Department where these field markups could become real GIS data.
The rest is downhill from here as the GIS Department could now edit the data in one centralized location and also generate new maps for distribution to the contractor to use in the field. Thus saving time that the city staff may normally be spending to call the contractor and ask them to return to a site for a missed trash receptacle pickup.
One thing that is definitely important to a municipality is the ability to provide sufficient businesses to meet the daily needs of their residents. Whether it comes in the form of a good restaurant, deli, coffee shop or convenient store, residents may choose to stay or move based on what a community can offer them. At this moment in time the economy is making it difficult for small businesses to survive and thus many are closing their doors. On the contrary, many people are starting up new businesses at the same time that larger chains continue to spread their wings.
For the Economic Development Department of the City of Park Ridge, understanding what properties in town are currently vacant as well as where they are located is nothing new. But the one component that has continually been left out is the functionality of placing these locations on an interactive map. With the help of the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department, the city has decided to publish this data on their local intranet mapping site named MapOffice™TM Advanced in order to help the community staff visually review these sites, their locations and the attributes of each. Now users can open a web site, zoom to a specific location and gather information about this property all in one centralized location. In addition, having these available sites mapped out will allow a user to analyze the potential of bringing in new businesses to any specific site. If a business is looking for more space and there are two vacant properties adjacent to each other, the potential gets greater, thus proving the versatility of data that was once static.
Over the past two years the City of Park Ridge has experienced some severe storm events that have drastically challenged their sewer system. In conjunction with these large events, there has also been a lot of questioning from the City’s residents as to what they can do to prevent storm water from damaging their home. Most of this questioning has lead some residents to install new sump pumps, generators or other flood like control devices; this in turn has lead the city’s Engineering Department to wonder if these installations have helped the residents in their fight to protect their homes.
Considering the Engineering Department originally used the Geographic Information System (GIS) to help map out all of the major flooding complaints from the past two years, comparing this data with the locations of recent flood control device installations only made the analysis portion of this project that much easier. The GIS Department was able to take flood control device installation data from the city’s permitting application and map this data out quickly and accurately. Once the data was mapped, the GIS Department was then able to perform multiple spatial queries in order to review where flood control devices were installed in comparison to where residents complained of flooding. The output of this analysis was a statistical spreadsheet that has directly helped the Engineering Department understand if flood control device installations are actually helping to reduce the amount of flooding to a specific residence. In addition, it has allowed the city staff to gain more input on what may be working to combat these flooding problems so that they may make recommendations that are more accurate.
Every now and again a municipality is faced with the decision on whether or not to allow a new establishment the rights to sell liquor. Many questions are raised on where this potential establishment will be located as well as how late this establishment will stay open. The City of Park Ridge was recently confronted with these questions and had to make a decision on whether or not to allow an establishment these rights. Within their decision making process they decided to use the Geographic Information System (GIS) as a method for how this late night establishment might affect the local residential neighborhoods.
Considering the city already maintains a zoning map annually, the only part left to do was to give a geographic location to all liquor license locations as well as apply a one thousand foot buffer distance to each location as a guide to how many residents might be affected within this distance from the proposed establishment location. If the buffer area of the proposed establishment location affected more residential homes than the other existing liquor license locations, the site may not be considered as optimal and thus may not pass.
Although GIS would not be making the final decision on whether this establishment would be allowed, the ability to map out all existing liquor license locations and their proximity to areas zoned as residential was quite valuable as well as an efficient use of existing data.
Every year the City of Park Ridge contracts with a photogrammetric firm in order to collect important planimteric data such as buildings, driveways, sidewalks, etc. in a computer usable digital format. This data is fundamentally important as it provides a backbone for a Geographic Information System (GIS) and allows for in-depth analysis that can help a city understand the scope of what lies within their city limits. Whether it is counting how many homes are within a floodplain or estimating how many sidewalk squares a community must review each year, this planimetric data has its use. For without it, local governments would have to resort to alternative methods such as laborious field checks or manual counts in a Sidwell parcel map atlas.
One of the more recent uses of this planimetric data was Park Ridge’s task to identify all vacant lots within the city in order to help the Community and Preservation Development (CP&D) Department locate these lots for condition monitoring as well as coordinating their records with Maine township. Normally a task of this magnitude would require the CP&D Department to rely on historical knowledge of these lots or to manually drive the entire community documenting what they find. But now with the use of building footprint data acquired in the past five years, the GIS can easily flag all parcels that do not have a building footprint. Additionally, GIS can use high resolution aerial photography in order to review all parcels that were flagged from the initial review in an effort to reduce the amount of field checks that may still be needed.
In conclusion, although it may seem like a costly investment for a city to acquire planimteric data, its uses in the long run will outweigh the amount of time and money spent to accomplish the same tasks using more conventional methods.
Every ten years the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a survey in order to find out how many people are living in a specific area among other things. Once completed with the survey, they then eventually release this information to the public. The ability to access this data from the Census Bureau as well as its use to answer important questions is at times invaluable. For the City of Park Ridge, they decided to use the Geographic Information System (GIS) as there catalyst for first accessing this information from the Census Bureau and second, to determine how many people are living within each municipal election ward.
Based on information from the City Clerk, each election ward within the city requires a minimum population count of 5,000 people. This number ensures that each ward is properly divided in terms of population allowing equal representation for all residents who reside within the city. If the population counts fall below this number, the ward boundaries will be reviewed and adjusted in GIS if needed in an effort to equalize these numbers. Although the current Census Bureau population totals are based on numbers from the year 2000, reviewing the ward boundaries before the 2010 Census survey gave the City Clerk and the GIS Department an understanding of how to analyze this data. Now that this methodology has been uncovered, GIS can easily perform this task when the 2010 data is released. Thus demonstrating how GIS can easily access Census Bureau information and compare it with local election ward data in order to plan for the possibility of future ward boundary adjustments.
The City of Park Ridge has recently invested in a new software application that enhances its ability to provide emergency alerts to its residents. The application, going by the name Everbridge Aware for Citizen Alerts, is a notification sytem that will call people on their phone and inform that about emregencies as well as other helpful non-emergency updates. The data in the system is supplied to the city by willful residents who fill out their information via the city’s website. Residents will give at least one phone number but have the option to supply a cell phone number, a business phone number or even an e-mail address. When an emergency or important event comes up, the system will send a message to the first number that a resident provided and wait for a confirmation of receipt from that resident. If the system does not receive a confirmation from the resident it will try the next method of choice that was outlined by the resident during the application process whether it be another phone number, text message or e-mail.
The next process that the city is investigating is to incorporate local Geographical Infromation Systems (GIS) data into the Everbridge application for more specific uses. Since the Everbridge application already includes a GIS mapping function, it only seems logical to test the water by updating it with data that was created by the city’s GIS Department. The first data layer that is set to be tested is a fire hydrant flushing zone layer. This data layer will supply the Fire Department with the ability to select all residences located within any fire hydrant zone and notify them that there will be hydrant flushing going on in their area soon. If successful, it will serve as a benchmark for the future of using GIS layers within the citizen alert system, thus demonstrating the versatility of GIS data.
One can easily imagine how powerful a system like this could be in getting important information to the public. And with the ability to intergrate local and accurate GIS data, the system can only act as a better service for the residents of Park Ridge.
In order to properly drive a car or walk across a street requires that someone knows where they heading. Although these everyday tasks seem to happen naturally it would be foolish to overlook the hard work that people do to ensure that we are accurately guided. Guidance comes in many forms, but for this article we will focus on the guidance that the City of Park Ridge provides its residents by making certain that their street pavement markings (thermoplastics) are identifiable and easy to follow. For not having crosswalks painted brightly enough or turn lanes not properly identified, could easily result in an unnecessary accident.
Every year the City of Park Ridge conducts a survey of all their intersections and decides which ones need to have their street pavement markings updated, a process that has always been done by an outside contractor until this year. By taking this survey in-house it immediately saved the city $13,000 but then begged the question of what would be the best way to conduct its survey independently. Lucky for the city they have staff knowledgeable in the use of a Geographic Information System (GIS). This system has been used for many projects already and so why not test it out with their Thermoplastic Paving Program.
Once it was decided that GIS would be the method of data collection and storage for this year’s program, the Engineering Technician started to hit the streets and conduct his survey. After only a few weeks of review, the Engineering Technician then brought the data collected in the field into the office and began to digitize the data into a GIS database. This database held information about all pavement markings for both installation and removal as well as what type of marking was included at each location. Moreover, all pavement marking information was assigned to its respective intersection so as to be able to calculate the amount of removal and installation for each intersection. Once all intersections were fully surveyed, the Engineering Technician was then able to run a summary in order to apply a total cost for this year’s program as well as a break down of the individual cost for each intersection. This in turn would allow for easy analysis should the Engineering Department decide to add or remove an intersection based on their current budget. Last but not least, the finalized intersection list will be supplied to the contractor who will do the work accompanied by a map book that displayed what was to be installed or removed at each intersection.
In conclusion, community needs that require definitive answers usually require a systematic approach. In the example above, it easy to see that using GIS not only allowed the Engineering Department to better track and replace their street pavement markings, it also saved them money while they to continue to keep their community a safe place for travel.
Within the sector of local government there are many important services that a community provides for their residents. Among the long list, one service that often gets a lot of discussion is the condition of the streets, or better yet, the street resurfacing program. Whether residents file a complaint about the vast number of potholes on a street or someone passing through town inquires about a refund for a road induced flat tire, the general condition of a street attracts a fair amount of attention. With these ideas in mind the City of Park Ridge decided to take a different approach at surveying the condition of their streets in an effort to better understand the current state of their road infrastructure.
The city decided that to maximize the use of their time and money they would create a street resurfacing inventory with the help of the Geographic Information System (GIS). The GIS would allow the city to analyze the conditions of all streets from one central location as well as provide them with the ability to query for what streets rated poorly in what particular year. In turn, this would help the Engineering Department by keeping some of the work in-house and also allow for an archive of the street conditions per a given year at the click of a mouse.
Back in 2007 the Engineering Department decided to migrate their paper documents for this program into a GIS database. The database was very simple as it only included the name of the street, the “To” and “From” street names for a specific street segment and the rating each segment was given. Each year since it’s inception the database is given a new field for archiving purposes. This field will retain the same street ratings as the previous year until the Engineering Technician is able to update them via field checks. Not only does this archiving method allow for the analysis of street degradation over the years it also helps the Engineering Department answer simple questions from the residents like “When was my street was last paved?” or “Why wasn’t my street paved this year?”
What used to take hours of research by way of reviewing paper documents now only takes a few seconds with a simple check in the database. The Engineering Department does understand that the archived data only goes back a few years but are confident that having their data in a centralized database will pay off big moving forward into the future. Furthermore, although the legwork for migrating the paper documents into a GIS database was a bit long, the benefit for having this data in a digital format has made the investment in GIS worthwhile.
In conclusion, community projects that require definitive answers usually require a systematic approach. In the example listed above it easy to see that using GIS allowed the Engineering Department of Park Ridge to answer some serious questions in regards to an important community service, street resurfacing.
Everyday residents of the City of Park Ridge access other parts of their neighborhood and town via the use of a sidewalk. Although many citizens of the city do not pay much attention to these sidewalks, they are quick to notice when there is impedance such as a large crack or a bump up in the concrete. Moreover, these impedances can be labeled as trip hazards and can cause injury to residents. For this reason alone it is very important for the city to track all of these trip hazards and do their best to remove them from the sidewalk system.
Every year the Engineering Department for the city surveys all public sidewalks in town in order to verify which sidewalks need replacement. From there they document each sidewalk square that is to be replaced and assign that square to the address that it is in front of for billing purposes. Although this method was effective for the inventory part of the project it proved cumbersome when the project was turned over to the contractor who was to remove and replace each specific square. This is where the Engineering Department used the resources of the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department to help in the mapping and data inventory of these squares.
The ideas of using GIS in conjunction with the Sidewalk Inventory Program has been in progress for the past three years with each year proving more efficient in terms of collection and mapping processes. The newest collection method starts with the Engineering Technician driving the entire city and marking out all of the squares that are to be replaced on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Once these locations are marked down the Engineering Technician then comes in house and uses GIS’ ArcView application to select all Address PIN Points for each sidewalk square to be replaced and then copies it into a new GIS data layer. The reason the Address PIN Point layer is used is because it already incorporates the Parcel Identification Number (PIN) that can be later used to gather resident owner information for invoice and billing purposes, much more efficient than searching for all resident owner information and PIN numbers manually.
Since the new GIS data layer is created it easily allows for additions or removal of sidewalk squares if residents are unhappy with what was selected for them by the initial survey. Once the layer is finalized, it is then used to create a series of maps indicating where these sidewalk replacement squares are located as well as how many squares are to be replaced at that specific address. These maps are then printed off and handed out to the contractors doing the sidewalk replacements so that they are aware of where to go within the city and how many squares to replace at each location (see Image 1). From there, the contractors only need to look for the marks on the sidewalk square that were painted on by the Engineering Technician at the beginning of the inventory program, much more simple than looking through a spreadsheet for a particular address.
Since the inception of using GIS for the Sidewalk Inventory Program, the Engineering Technician has continually voiced how GIS has not only helped him but has also helped the Public Works Administrative Assistant with invoicing and billing as well as helping the contractors with a better streamlined work flow when operating in a foreign municipality. Overall, it is always great to see how multiple departments can come together with the use of GIS in order to make a once difficult task easier and more efficient.
Understanding the trends of what is happening in the housing market is difficult to do especially if you are not in the realty business. Houses may be sold, rented or even more dramatic, torn down in order to build a new one. In this article we will focus on the part of the housing market that at times can have an impact on a local community, housing demolitions.
Unless you are out driving the streets everyday it may be tough to locate all of the homes in a community that have been torn down. For this difficulty alone, it makes analysis a tough thing to do and investing in permitting software a wise purchase. At the City of Park Ridge, like many other community governments, they have had a permitting application in place for many years in order to help them keep track of important construction operations that require permits. But how do you analyze all of these records spatially in order to know if there are any trends in this part of the housing market?
This is where the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department was able to lend a helping hand. The ability to retrieve records from the permitting application in the form of an address and knowing what type of permit was issued (i.e. single family demolition) was a strong step in the right direction. By having a simple common denominator in the form of an address allowed the two departments to work with each other and better yet, allowed these addresses to be displayed spatially on a map. By using a tool called geocoding, the GIS was able to search a street centerline data file and locate where an address falls on a particular street within a specific block. Once these addresses were converted into a true geographical location they could then be represented on a map allowing city engineers and building officials to begin analyzing the trends that are happening on the streets within their community.
Whether it is flooding do to land grade variations or an excess amount of water runoff in the sewer system from increased residential impervious surfaces, housing demolitions may play a role. Without being able to locate these areas and compare them to other community problems they simply remain as records in a database rather data that can be analyzed spatially in relation to other geographical features (i.e. sewer lines, houses with more green space).
Overall, it is very important for a community to see the big picture in order to identify where problems have occurred and where new ones may arise in the future. Moreover, it is also worthy to note how multiple departments can work together at identifying these problems in the first place so that they plan more affectively for what be coming on the road ahead. In this case, the Building Department, Engineering Department and the GIS Department will all benefit from working together at a common goal of meeting the needs of the community they serve.
Almost every day of the week, police officers are called to the scene of a traffic accident to provide assistance. More often than not, these officers report to a street intersection rather than an address along a residential street. But how many times does a police officer report to the same intersection? Moreover, are there trends occurring for high traffic volume intersections? These were the sorts of questions the Traffic Safety Committee of the City of Park Ridge aimed to study. In addition, the committee wanted to analyze how many accidents per month were happening at each intersection. Furthermore, they needed and easy method for displaying these results to the whole committee.
With these ideas in mind, the Traffic Safety Committee requested the services of the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department. By using the tools located within the GIS, each intersection accident that was recorded by the Police Department could easily geocoded to a geographical location. Geocoding is an operation that searches a street or address data file and locates the coordinate where an address falls on a particular street, in this case, the tool located the intersection where the accident occurred.
Once the intersections are located, they are placed on a map in order to analyze where the most accidents occur. The GIS Department recommended representing each the number of accidents at each intersection as a graduated symbol. This made it easier to discern which intersections had the more accidents than other intersections (for example, large circles for a high accident count and small circles for a low accident count). By using this methodology, the final map product was much easier to read and allowed the Traffic Safety Committee to easily target which intersections required the more attention for traffic safety studies.
Since the inception of this project, the analysis has been performed every three months and all maps are immediately submitted to the Traffic Safety Committee. Overall, it is easy to see how by taking data from a simple recording project and using Geographic Information System tools to analyze the data, the city was able to continue providing their residents with the service of traffic safety.
Every year the city of Chicago and its surrounding suburbs receive a significant amount of snowfall from December to March. With large amounts of snowfall comes the need to keep roads free of snow and ice so that they can remain safe and drivable. Although some suburban communities have experimented with sand as an applicant for better traction, almost all communities use salt to melt snow and ice, the City of Park Ridge is no exception.
Although the city provides their residents with an excellent service of snow and ice removal, this service tends to consume a large volume of salt. In addition, because snow can fall at an alarming rate, it is a tough for the Public Works Department to track how much salt they are using in comparison with how much they estimated for the year. In order to help with this issue, the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department provided the Public Works Department with accurate street lengths for all salting routes within the city based on an existing digital street file. The GIS department also provided estimates for all intersections that get salted along established salting routes and all major intersections around school boundaries.
The idea of collecting the linear street lengths for all routes and route intersections was to have a benchmark for what amount of salt would be needed to cover these routes in the event of a two-inch snowfall. Although all storms are not created equal, having an estimated figure in comparison to the real amount of salt used would not only help the Public Works Department keep track of each ton of salt dispersed, it would also help with them with future predictions of how much salt needs to be ordered. By understanding what amount of salt is used in comparison to what is predicted, the Public Works Department could be more prepared for the amount of salt they need to initially order or re-order in the middle of a season. Having these figures could also assist with the budgeting process when the Public Works Director is asked to provide an estimated figure for future cost expenditures, especially when salt prices are on the rise.
Although this a quick example, it is easy to see how combining the forces of two different departments has allowed the Public Works division to utilize the resources of data stored in GIS to gain more control of their salting program. Additionally, the understanding of what the GIS Department can provide along with what the Public Works Department needs will help the two be prepared for the any changes that are introduced to the existing program.
Picking a community that resides within a good school district is something that is often queried when a family is on the move. Not only is the idea of a good education important to this family, but the safety of that school and its location to heavily trafficked areas. The City of Park Ridge decided that on top of offering numerous great schools for their students to attend, they would also offer those students a safe route to those schools.
A few years ago the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department was presented with the task of mapping out of all the safest walking routes to each school based on the decisions made by the school board. One month ago they decided to update these maps by re-evaluating the old routes and to additionally include the locations of each adult school crossing guard. Creating a useable and understandable map was the most difficult task of this project considering the fact that there were multiple routes to each school and many of these routes overlapped one another as the routes got closer to the school. Each school had an average of five separate routes branching out from the periphery of the school boundary and as many as three adult crossing guard locations.
Using the resources of the GIS Department, the old school walking routes were reviewed and edited based on the suggestions that were submitted by the members of the school board. Each school and its respective school walking routes were then assigned a specific color scheme so that it was easy to delineate which routes were heading to which school. In order to make the map more readable each route was given a number in the form of a label that would sit on top of each walking route line. As multiple routes began to overlap each other when they got to closer to the school, the labels denoting the route number would stagger their position allowing for easy route demarcation. Furthermore, each adult crossing guard location was added to the map to help define the walking routes where children would be crossing major streets.
Once the general design was finalized a map was made of each school and all maps were then submitted to the school board. From there the school board was able to distribute these maps to the parents who were sending their kids to these schools and ultimately provide an additional service that has been well received by the local residents.
In conclusion, it is easy to see that a simple product is sometimes all that is needed to keep people informed. In this case it was the communication between the city’s staff, the GIS Department and the school board that made it feasible to make these simple maps useable for the general public. All in all, helping the residents feel good about choosing the City of Park Ridge for their place to live.
One might ask what benefits a local government would get by modeling their community in a 3-D environment and the answer is simple, a great deal. The idea of modeling the real world on a computer was once a difficult task and usually only existed in video games. However, with technology advancing at an alarming rate this once difficult task has now become more of a normal occurrence.
Community and Economic Development Departments at the local government level have consistently searched for ways to evaluate the structure of their town in order to see what implementations may be working and what areas might need improvement. Usually these types of reviews are done by outsourcing the project to an external consultant in return for a 3-D representation of the study area. Although this method is quite efficient, it often costs a community extra money. For the City of Park Ridge it was decided that to keep this type of work in-house and use the resources of the Geographic Information System (GIS) to review the “Higgins Road Corridor” project in a 3-D environment would be beneficial.
By using the data that the city collects annually the GIS Department was able to create a 3-D model that included buildings, driveways, sidewalks, roads and parks for the “Higgins Road Corridor.” The basics of creating this model entailed using GIS tools to extrude each feature listed above to its true elevation height above mean ground level. While this data is extruded it is also converted to a specific file type that can be imported into Google’s SketchupTM application.
Once the data was exported to a useable Sketchup file it was then imported into the Google SketchupTM application allowing it to be displayed properly by applying specific colors and textures to all features in order to make them more realistic to the real world. In addition, text labels were added to call out all of the major roads and parks within the study area making the 3-D model ready for production. One of the benefits of using the Google SketchupTM application is that it allows for easy layout creation and final conversion to a PDF product for printing. Once in a PDF format these products can be printed and mounted for display purposes at city board meetings, this being the method that City of Park Ridge practiced for this particular project.
In conclusion, it is easy to visualize how the functionality of GIS along with other applications allowed the Community and Preservation Department of Park Ridge the ability to stay in-house with this particular project and administer more control during production time. Furthermore, representing a portion of the real world in a 3-D environment allowed city board members to conceptualize what impacts might be endured by redeveloping the “Higgins Road Corridor”, such impacts that are not always seen in a 2-D environment.
The City of Park Ridge Fire Department, like all other Fire Departments, takes great pride in responding to their residents in a quick and timely manner. Part of taking pride in this service means that they are prepared at all times and are ready to act when the bell goes off. Their hard work doesn’t stop there though, as they are always investigating ways to improve their systems and response times to incidents within and outside the city limits. Whether it is receiving a good numerical grade for the Public Protection Classification (PPC*) or a high rating for Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS*), the Fire Department is always enhancing their efficiency to provide a great service.
In addition to the tests listed above, the Park Ridge Fire Department contacted the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department in order to evaluate the response time network covered by five-minute response areas. The base layer for the response time network consists of a road centerline feature. Information added to the road centerline feature, including speed limits and one-way restrictions allowed for response times to be calculated. Using the formula of “60*length of segment/speed limit,” a response time was populated for each segment. The response time is the cost of travelling that segment of road. Placing other restrictions including turns, stop signs as well as prohibited u-turns for modeling intersections only increased the accuracy of the network.
When the final product of the road centerline feature was completed it was then run through a specific GIS tool that would trace all street segments for five-minutes worth of drive time from each fire station in the city. The result of this analysis was a highlighted area of coverage from each fire station, which allowed the Fire Department to visually see where coverage did and did not exist. In this case the test successfully proved that the two Park Ridge fire stations were accurately located within the city allowing them to reach all corners of town within a five-minute drive time.
In conclusion, it is great to see how the Park Ridge IL, Fire Department, along with the assistance of the GIS Department, were able to work together in order to continue to providing the city with a safe and efficient service for their residents.
City employees continually review their current parking layouts within active business districts so they are confident that they are providing their residents with the best services possible. If the city does not provide ample parking within busy shopping sectors of town, it can easily fall victim to decreasing consumerism and complaints from business employees who need a long-term location to park while they are at work.
The Geographic Information System (GIS) Department of the City of Park Ridge utilized its valuable resources to map out the current uptown parking layout in order to create a base for analyzing future parking plans.
By using the aerial photography that the city paid for in 2006, the GIS Specialist was able to make out most of the street parking spaces and parking lot layouts. The ability to quickly access accurate aerial photography and use it in-house allowed ninety percent of the parking inventory model to be done without going to the field; the remaining ten percent was done via field checks. From there, all of discernable spaces were then drawn into a geographic database and assigned a parking designation (i.e. three hour, handicap, etc.). Once all of the data for the parking model was created, maps were then generated to depict the current parking layout. Moreover, statistics on the number of spots that existed per parking category were summarized and added to each map, which allowed for easy revenue calculations during a parking committee meeting.
As the parking committee continued to meet on a regular basis GIS provided new maps that detailed the alternate parking layout proposals. These proposals were then submitted to the city council on behalf of the decisions made at the committee level, thus demonstrating how GIS can be utilized across multiple platforms of local government.
The parking committee’s review process, in conjunction with the help of GIS technology, answered valuable questions related to the services that the city provides. In the end, the city was successful at altering their uptown parking layout design in order to better address the needs of its residents and businesses.