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.
We are very pleased to announce our newest GIS Consortium member, the Village of Buffalo Grove, Illinois. Buffalo Grove becomes the 21st member of the GIS Consortium and the 7th Lake County community. The program was kicked off last week and we want to welcome the entire Village of Buffalo Grove staff to the GIS Consortium.
We are pleased to announce the joining of the Village of Woodridge as the 20th member of the GIS Consortium. The Village approved membership at their December 13th Village Board meeting. We are excited about adding a new member and are looking forward to the beginning of another collaborative partnership.
We are pleased to announce that the Village of Mundelein has become the 19th member of the GIS Consortium. With their membership the GIS Consortium has grown to over half a million in population covering over one-hundred and fifty square miles. As the Consortium continues to grow the buying power and efficiency of our membership increases as the costs of staffing, hardware and software are further distributed. We would like to welcome Mundelein and look forward to an exciting and collaborative partnership.
We contributed an article on page five of the Illinois City/County Managers Association (ILCMA) June 2012 newsletter. The article discusses innovations in GIS systems. It also discusseses how economic challenges are changing the way GIS is being implmented. While not specifically about the GIS Consortium the article does rely heavily on trends in GIS and technology we have been working on over the past several years. The full article is available on the ILCMA website.
Two new enhancements have been made to MapOffice™ this month. They include combination view and auto complete for find and go. Combination view provides the ability to see the standard GISC map side by side with both Google Street View and Microsoft Bird's Eye View. Clicking any of the maps will update the corresponding maps. The combination of the three views in a single image provides new opportunities and efficiencies for field verification. The enhancement to the find and go will provide the user with suggestions for possible address matches. The intent is to make the search function more user friendly and increase its accuracy. Both of these new enhancements are available in MapOffice™ Public and MapOffice™ Advanced.
This month’s update includes the debut of some much anticipated enhancements to MapOffice™. Enhanced search options were added in both MapOffice™ Advanced and Public. This enhancement offers the ability to search for an address including its unit (e.g. #, Suite, -, Apt, Unit) or search for familiar landmarks without knowing an exact address (e.g. police, fire, library, park). In addition to this enhancement new reports were added to the existing community statistics tool. They provide the ability to export results to a spreadsheet as well as five new custom queries related to garbage pickup, fire hydrants, and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts. The community statistics is available only in MapOffice™ Advanced users.
The newest GIS Consortium product MapOffice™ Web Access was rolled out on Febuary 22nd. This application builds on the advanced version of MapOffice™ currently being hosted on community member's local network. By centrally hosting this application on the Internet, the GIS Consortium can now provide greater opportunity for cost sharing and support for mobile users within a controlled and secured environment.
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.
We are pleased to announce that the Village of Tinley Park has joined the GIS Consortium. The Village becomes the 18th member of the Consortium and our first in the Chicago South Suburbs. We would like to welcome Tinley Park to the GIS Consortium and look forward to an exciting and collaborative partnership.
On June 21st, a powerful storm with wind gusts as high as 81 mph swept through Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. The severe weather prompted tornado warnings, stopped air and train travel, and caused extensive tree damage along with widespread power outages. Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) estimated that almost a quarter of a million customers lost power. Another equally violent storm struck the area again on July 11th. The severe winds and heavy rains left more than 700,000 ComEd customers without power. GIS played a large role in the response to these events. Here are several examples from GISC member communities:
- Village of Elk Grove Village: Tree collection zones were displayed in MapOffice™ Advanced to assist in the coordination of tree, limb and leaf pickup and disposal.
- Village of Morton Grove: Downed trees were photographed and inventoried to get a big picture of how the storms affected the Village.
- City of Des Plaines: A series of maps was created to show blocked streets, downed traffic signals and power lines, and damaged properties. Large, wall-sized versions of these maps were printed and hung in the Emergency Operations Center to be used during status meetings that occurred throughout the day with all the City department heads. Smaller versions of these maps were created and placed on the internal network for reference. These smaller maps will also be included in an after-action report being compiled by the Emergency Management Agency to help illustrate the storm response actions taken by each department.
- Village of Winnetka: The Village maintains its own electric system, so existing electric circuit maps were used by village crews and provided to crews from other municipalities to assist with reporting power outages. According to the Director of the Water and Electric Department, the circuit maps were invaluable to the success of the crews restoring power as quickly as they did. This was especially true for the crews that were unfamiliar with Village streets and electric circuit alignments.
GIS data, mapping and staff are critical to every phase of emergency management, from mitigation and preparedness to response and recovery efforts. Contact your local GIS Specialist to assure that your community is fully leveraging its GIS when unexpected events occur.
Last year the GIS Consoritum (GISC) conducted a survey of the member Fire Departments. Among the topics was the use of wireless in the field along with the type of records management systems used. The goal was to set the vision for future MapOffice™ Advanced development to assure its continued support of Public Safety. The results from the survey reinforce the notion that more and more local governments are turning to technology to improve the efficiency of business processes. More than half (63%) of Fire Departments covering GISC communities have wireless in the field right now with an additional 3 communities providing wireless in the field within the next two years. That said by 2013, 80% of GISC members will have access to MapOffice™ Advanced in the field to use for emergency response.
As a result of the survey the GISC will be researching:
- Providing Mobile Data Viewer (MDV™) functionality in MapOffice™ Advanced
- Within two (2) years, more than 80% of departments will be supporting wireless in the field
- Integrating Firehouse in MapOffice™ Advanced
- Since Firehouse™ is the predominately used software (75%) for pre-plan and records management, integration with MapOffice™ Advanced is critical.
- Establishing MapOffice™ Advanced functionality if wireless connection is not available/down Based on the consortium-wide push towards wireless, having a backup version of MapOffice™ Advanced available when wireless is down will be essential.
The GISC appreciates the time that the Fire Departments took out of their busy schedules to answer this survey.
GIS Specialists Erik Voight, Jason Sphar and Mike Falkofske of MGP Inc. along with former City of Des Plaines Economic Development Coordinator Jennifer Ganser recently published an article regarding local government and information transparency in the February 2011 edition.
Erik and Jennifer outlined the benefits of providing business vacancy information in Google Maps. The authors find that providing this information has reduced the time business space stays vacant and ultimately increases economic revenues back to the City. Jason and Mike describe the benefits of providing parking information on local government websites for Park Ridge and Highland Park. Making parking information available on the web provides information that demystifies local parking ordinances and restrictions which encourages citizens to take of downtown urban spaces.
The content of this article was presented at the Fall Illinois GIS Association (ILGISA) conference and Wisconsin Land Information Association (WLIA) annual conference. GeoSpatial is a publication for GIS practitioners with a circulation of approximately 10,000, primarily in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.
The article can be found at: http://emag.geospatialtoday.com
In June of this year it was requested by a Public Works Director that MapOffice™ Advanced provide the functionality to trace up and downstream flow of sewer and sanitary utility lines. The user identified that they would like to be able to click on a point and see all of the storm sewers that are tributary to that point. This month the "Sewer Tracing" task was added. This provides the ability of a community user to click on a utility line that is either part of the combined, sewer or storm system and trace it up or downstream with a single click. Along with visually seeing where the utility line flows there are two tables displaying information related to your query. The first is a table showing some high level summary information and the second details all the infrastructure from the affected pipe. This task puts a complex GIS process behind a single click of a mouse for local government users.
The GIS Consortium (GISC) Information Technology Technical committee met this week to review and discuss the upcoming business intelligence functionality for MapOffice™ Advanced. For years the GIS Consortium has been working to provide authoritative community data on demand in a spatial context. Until now the mapping of community enterprise data relied on Specialists to geocode. Last year Tom Thomey, MGP Inc Executive laid out the vision to be able to map real-time community data in MapOffice™ Advanced at the 2009 GISC Annual Board of Directors meeting. With the roll out of business intelligence this month this has become a reality. Business intelligence allows community staffs to interact with a wide variety of data from their community enterprise systems. Users have the ability to create custom on demand requests. These queries or searches can be saved and run daily. With business intelligence community IT departments are able to setup this service securely in MapOffice™ to give staffs the ability to spatially analyze their enterprise system data like permits, business licenses and crime incidences on demand. In summary business intelligence, leverages the community's GIS investment, provides information on demand and improves efficiency.
In the latest update to MapOffice™ Advanced the ability for community staff members to bring up historical imagery was added. With 17 communities in all the Consortium has collected a wide variety of aerial imagery. The aerial imagery for some communities dates back to 1939. In the example above aerial imagery from 1939 and 2010 is contrasted. GISC Community members have a wealth of aerial photography information and now they can easily visualize it by year. This ability allows for staff members to see historical uses of property. The next step for the development team is the creation of a slider that will provide additional functionality and make the comparison of land use over time easier and more intuitive. Development will continue to add years as photos become available.
The GIS Consortium (GISC) over the past several months has been developing online, on demand tutorial videos for MapOffice™ and MapOffice™ advanced. These videos are found on the GISC website under the video gallery page (http://www.gisconsortium.org/gallery/video/) and available to anyone.
The stated purpose of these videos is to expose the public, decision makers and municipal users to the efficiencies that can be achieved using the MapOffice™ products and tools. To date there is an overview of MapOffice™ available and four in detail tool tutorials. The next video tutorial being created is to show the efficiency of looking up utilities in MapOffice™ Advanced.
Last week the GIS Consortium released the ability to display National Weather Service Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service data for the region. With a series of clicks real time flooding information can be displayed in MapOffice™ Advanced for use by decision makers.
Flood Hazard Mapping is an important component for emergency response in flood-prone areas. Adding flood gauges to MapOffice™ creates an easily-read, rapidly-accessible charts and maps which facilitates the administrators and planners to identify areas of risk and prioritize their mitigation/response efforts. The results were evident when according to Terrence O'Brien, president of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD), said that Cook County received an average rainfall of 4 1/2 inches, "equivalent to over 60 billion gallons of water." With some areas getting as much as 7 inches on July 23rd.
The water level for the gauge in Riverside is shown above and illustrates the impact of the event. Going into flooding season this functionality should streamline flood mitigation planning and response for local governments.
Bob Irvin, Village Manager of Lincolnshire and I will be presenting as apart of the educational series at the International City Managers Association (ICMA) 2010 annual conference on October 17-20th.
The intent of the session is to offer an in-depth look at how a small group of local governments in the Chicago metropolitan area created a geographic information system (GIS) consortium. Panelists will highlight the benefits of sharing resources and outline how they worked together to develop a comprehensive GIS service. Attendees will learn about the consortium development process and governance, as well as the uses and benefits of GIS.
The organization of MapOffice™ you may have noticed has changed slightly. What was once just tools has been separated into two categories. Tools and tasks are now available at differing levels of functionality depending on the version of MapOffice™ you are using.Tool and tasks have been separated as a result of feedback from the user community.
Many local government users wanted the ability to measure and conduct other tool type functions with executing their business processes/tasks. The two were separated and definitions for each created.Tasks are focused on work completed by local government. These are functions that occur every day in local government and the addition of GIS makes them more efficient. An example of a task is isolating a water main using the water main isolation task. These differ from tools in that tools work independently of tasks and basemaps. Tools are traditional technical functions of GIS like measure and identify. Examples of tools are measure distance, measure area, identify and markup. These can be used regardless of what view is being used or task is being completed.
Finding the nearest feature is something that local government employees do everyday. It might be finding the nearest hydrant in event of a fire, nearest water valve for shutoff, or nearest schools and medical facilities in event of an emergency. With the nearest feature tool this search can be customized for as many features as you want and what feature you may be searching for.
In the past government had to rely on paper maps to measure the distance to a nearest community asset. With the deployment of MapOffice™ and the find nearest feature tool within seconds of clicking or entering a property you can find the nearest feature that interests the user. It might be schools, hydrants, parks, valves, place of worship, community facilities, landmark or medical facilites. As the GIS system grows so will the possible features to query. Finding the nearest feature is done quickly and easily using MapOffice™ Advanced.
Currently only available in MapOffice™ advance this feature will soon be made available to the public as well. Typically residents choose communties based on the community assets available to them (schools, parks, emergency protection). By providing this tool at the public level residents can find the nearest park, place of worship or school. This public feature will be available at the end of May.
Directions magazine is an international magazine and leading source of information, news and commentary in the fields of geospatial and location-based technologies. Today they published an article related to the GIS Consortium recieving the 2010 GITA Excellence Award. This award is not possible without the hard work and collaboration of the GIS Consoritium communities and Board Members. The is great recognition for all the hard work and innovation that the GIS Consortium represents.
You can read that article here.
The isolation of a water main is an important function of local government. Isolation of a water main needs to occur for a variety of reasons. Typically it is done to allow for maintenance or inspections, but it can also be done in the event of a spill or leak to prevent something from getting in rather than to stop something from getting out. Water main isolation can also used to take a piece of a plant out of use for a short or long period of time or to change the process stream.
In the past government had to rely on atlas books or handwritten notes to determine the impact of a broken water main on the utility network. With the deployment of MapOffice™ and the water main isolation tool within seconds of clicking a pipe the impact of isolating a pipe can be visualized along with a list of effected hydrants and valves. This analysis is done quickly and easily using MapOffice™ Advanced.
An additional feature is that the user can run an address notify and get the addresses of the potential houses effected by the isolation of the selected water main. With the release of this MapOffice™ Advanced tool the complex analysis of analyzing a utility network can be completed within seconds and run for a variety of scenarios providing a valuable service and time savings to decision makers and crews out in the field.
Tom Thomey wrote and Kelsey Rydland contributed to an article on page six of the Illinois City/County Managers Association (ILCMA) April 2010 newsletter. The article addresses the need for GIS in these difficult economic times. While the article is not specifically about the GIS Consortium it is about how the GISC model can reduce the cost of GIS. The full article is available on the ILCMA website.
We are proud to announce that the City of Lake Forest has joined the GIS Consortium. The City is the 17th member and largest based on square miles (17.2) and the ninth largest community based on population (20,990). The City implemented their GIS in 1997 and is one of three communities in the Chicago Metro area to have had a GIS program in the late 1990s.
The City GIS is one of the premier programs in the Chicago area and the GIS Consortium excited about the collaborative partnership. The partnership provides an opportunity to work together to share common experiences, best practices, improve efficiency and lower the cost of GIS. Some important upcoming projects are the implementation of New World Systems for emergency dispatch and converting as-built and utility data into the GIS Consortium Utility model.
MGP Inc. through it's relationship with the GIS Consortium has in-depth experience building GIS data for New World Systems (NWS) implementations. GIS data has been built for the following municipalities by MGP; Glenview, Deerfield, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Winnetka, Wilmette*, Kenilworth*, Grays Lake* and Bannockburn.* The communities with a "*" are not members of the GIS Consortium.
The building of NWS data is another example of how collaboration has reduced costs for GISC members using NWS for emergency dispatch. With each implementation the time spent preparing the data and assuring the accuracy of conversion from the GISC model to the NWS model improves. Conversion scripts and best practices have been developed and are shared throughout the GISC. GIS data that supports New World’s GIS mapping system has been built and converted with repeated and predicable success. NWS has recognized the GISC for its ability to manage and create quality GIS data to be used in their systems.
The Village of Skokie has progressively added new users, taking advantage of the Village’s Geographic Information System (GIS). While adding users is key to the success of the GIS Program, new users have a learning curve for the new applications and software whether it be ArcView™ or MapOffice™ Advanced. Training and demonstrations can alleviate many of the questions and issues users have with interacting with the new technology.
Unlike GIS Professionals, the Village’s users do not necessarily use the GIS applications every day. Without the constant use, the processes can sometimes be forgotten and steps are by-passed. These problems can be eliminated by more frequent training and updates. The Village is now constructing a plan that will increase the training for ArcView users which will in turn increase the information at their finger tips. Likewise, demonstrations for MapOffice™ will occur more frequently, allowing a broad group of users to interact with the application.
Training is essential to fully optimize and understand how the new technology can help the users in their workflows. Understanding the processes and steps will eliminate the time needed to navigate the application and gather a final product.
Community users of MapOffice™ Advanced may have noticed a new "Feedback" button now available in the upper left corner of the toolbar. The GIS Consortium (GISC) has released the ability for users at the community level to provide feedback directly and instantly to GIS staff through the MapOffice™ interface. Users are now able to give feedback and provide markups to GIS staff for a range of changes. Examples include a change in address, updating of a pipe size or the relocation of a water main. Community staff in the field have the ability to send modifications and improvements directly to GIS staff. Their input and knowledge is then reflected in the GIS updates. Community staff feedback enhances the quality of GIS data used by GISC members. Their submitted feedback is reviewed by GIS staff and once the change is made an email is sent to the requestor to notify them that the data has been updated.
The GIS Consortium (GISC) has been awarded the Geospatial Information and Technology Association (GITA) Excellence Award for 2010. The organization is one of the oldest in the GIS industry started back in the late 1960's. The GITA's Excellence Award is an overall industry award that recognizes a user organization for its outstanding application of geospatial technology. Candidates for the Excellence Award demonstrate dedication, insight and a high degree of initiative in implementing, managing and expanding multifaceted geospatial systems incorporating multiple applications that reach across their organization.
In November the GISC submitted a six page application outlining the GISC model. The article outlined GISC's leadership and insight in the GIS industry along with the dedication of the Board. The article highlighted the business accomplishments of the GISC and the benefits attained by the GISC member communities. Past recipients of the Excellence Award are XCel Energy in Minneapolis, Duke Power Company Charlotte, and Telefonica in Sao Paulo.
In 2008 the GISC published the document, "Valuing Geographic Information System (GIS) A Decision Maker’s Perspective" which analyzed GIS from a cost savings perspective. That is, what cost savings can accrue to an organization with a GIS program? Cost savings is derived by comparing business process efficiency in an organization with (and without) a GIS program. The estimates provided use conservative assumptions. The results represent a reasonable and supportable basis for demonstrating cost savings with GIS. The first edition of this document outlined eight general areas where the introduction of a GIS could save communities money and improve efficiency. In the second edition outlines two additional areas for communities to save with the implementation of a GIS.
The second edition comes to the same conclusion as the first edition, that GIS saves money, the amount varies by organization. This paper illustrates that cost savings is directly proportional to the utilization of the program. The more the system is used the more value it generates. For this to occur there needs to be a top-down incentive to utilize the system. This includes maintaining a reliable system and providing the necessary resources and training to support that system. In addition to supporting traditional local government processes in a more efficient automated format, GIS can generate significant cost savings and value to the organization. The second edition estimates that GIS can save a small community $67,858 dollars annually and a large community $274,758 dollars annually.
In conjunction with the Annual Board of Directors meeting on November 6th MGP has authored the "2009 Annual Board of Directors Report." The document outlines the cost savings of the GISC model. The mission of the GIS Consortium (GISC) is to create value for its members by identifying opportunities to minimize cost and risk through collaboration.
A decade of success would typically be a time to celebrate, however it comes at a time of considerable economic distress. It does remind us however of the relevance of this model. This year (2009) was a year of reflection and refocusing of the objectives of the GIS Consortium. In March of this year, the Board conducted a special meeting to evaluate all aspects of the GIS Consortium. This four-hour session generated a number of initiatives present in this report. These include greater flexibility for existing members, an independent software audit to identify opportunities for more efficient licensing, and increased attention to cooperative opportunities with other regional GIS organizations.
Mapping (GIS) is a core competency of local government. We depend on it to deliver services, manage infrastructure, and regulate property. As technology evolves, advanced mapping solutions play a critical role in managing our communities. They help us make better decisions, operate our organizations more efficiently, and communicate information more effectively. This year the GISC published the second-edition of ‘Valuing Geographic Information System (GIS) - A Decision Maker’s Perspective’. This new publication revisits the assumptions of the first-edition and adds new business processes that benefit from GIS technology. The results indicate that local government can save considerable resources with a well implement GIS program. This document does not include the savings provided by the GIS Consortium model.
In the beginning there were skeptics of the GISC model – today few detractors remain. The model has demonstrated its ability to provide sophisticated solutions at a fraction of the cost of internally-staffed or single-payer/vendor outsourcing programs. It does this by creating purchasing power for its members through economies-of-scale. Today the GISC provides much more including shared product development, community networking opportunities, and standard processes.
Last year (2008) marked the single largest membership growth period for the GISC – it was projected that 2009 would be similar. This forecast however was impacted by the current economic environment. Even with the downturn the GISC maintained all its existing members and has never lost a member in its history. The GISC has traditionally focused its message to prospects on the cost-savings provided by the consortium model. Although this remains an important component, perhaps more important is the efficiency GIS provides local government. The technology benefit coupled with the GISC approach is a compelling case study for new membership development.
The GISC is recognized as a strategic partner in the greater-Chicago regional GIS industry. Organizations that share our values of efficiency and cooperation are seeking our advice. This could not come at a better time, as we all face new challenges in these economic times. The GISC stands as a symbol of what the future may look like in local government.
The use of Geographic Information System (GIS) to understand spatial patterns of crime and criminal behavior has become more prevalent in recent years. The recent introduction of GIS and reporting software has made this type of analysis increasingly easier. Every several months the Police Department for the Village of Glenview receives updated maps showing the location and time of residential and automotive burglaries along with summary statistics. Looking at the addresses spatially allows for the detectives to put together possible patterns in criminal behavior.
It is important to note that because the village uses New World Systems for its dispatch and records keeping software. The GIS and New World Systems is integrated making mapping quick and efficient. The software uses the GIS data to show squad cars where an emergency is as well as logging that emergency into a records database. Using these records the GIS Department and Police Department add the data to a map providing a spatial context not always readily apparent when responding to burglaries. By mapping and cataloging incidences, patrol adjustment may be modified to ensure that problematic areas are receiving increased resources (i.e. more patrols, increased frequency of patrols). The inclusion of graphs and charts also gave other police department staff personnel such as detectives a historical understanding of where crime has happened as well whether the burglary was categorized as either residential and/or automotive.
In the past this type of analysis was done on large village wide maps with push pins where the data could not be easily shared or emailed. Now with an integrated records/dispatch system and a proper GIS quick analysis of historical and current data displayed on a fully customizable and accurate map becomes much easier.