Tinley Park has many pockets of unincorporated areas throughout the Village, many which consist of only one or two parcels. As a result, the Village and Cook County cooperate in providing services such as police and fire protection to these areas. In an effort to reduce costs for both the Village and Cook County, the two entities decided to sit down and try to figure out a way to incorporate these areas. One of the big factors that revolved around these talks had to do with general statistics about these unincorporated areas. A few of the key statistics included; total area, amount of paved road, amount of buildings, zoning classifications, developable land, and the amount of calls for emergency services. These statistics were important to help decision makers figure out how and where these areas can be incorporated. In order to gather and display these statistics in a very small period of time, Village staff requested that statistics be gathered and mapped using GIS.
This type of project fit perfectly with what GIS is capable doing because of its ability to extract assessor records, analyze spatial layout, and plot existing address lists. Using GIS, we were able to analyze the total amount of unincorporated areas, figure out there zoning classifications, and pull assessor records to verify ownership and tax rates. We also were able to take spreadsheets summarizing all police and fire calls, geocode them, and get a count for the amount and type of emergency calls that fell within these unincorporated areas. By using GIS, we were then able to take all of this information and provide maps and spreadsheets summarizing all of the requested information. Without GIS this would have taken a much longer time to analyze all of the information long hand, and would not have had the added benefit of visual aids.
In an effort to continuously investigate real world representations in map products, the Geographic Information System (GIS) staff in Elk Grove Village, IL has identified a few data processing operations that provide more context than your typical map.
When light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data was collected to produce an elevation dataset, point data with elevation classifications remained. Staff quickly realized that this unintended, yet useful, information could be processed further to give a representation of the tree canopy throughout the community. Building level information was utilized to simulate the stories in each building by duplicating the foundation at an offset location. Combining these two representations generated a resource similar to a landscape plan with much more cartographic appeal than your typical GIS map, at no additional software cost, and that could be consumed with existing applications. The amount of detail obtained provides for creation of ever improving map products that appeal and better communicate information to all who use them.
One convenience of having GIS is the ability to quickly visualize different scenarios for planning purposes. The Village of Lincolnshire recently leveraged its GIS data to do just that in response to a bill under consideration by the Illinois House of Representatives. HB 30, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, would allow the sale and possession of small amounts of marijuana to people “diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition.” Should the bill become law, Lincolnshire officials would be faced with the possibility of medical marijuana organizations renting or purchasing commercial space within the Village.
In its current form, the bill states that no medical marijuana organization may be within 2,500 feet of a “public or private preschool or elementary or secondary school or day care center, day care home, group day care home, or part day child care facility.” Decision makers in the Village were interested in the proximity of Lincolnshire’s three business districts to child care facilities. To determine this, GIS was used to identify the property lines for all child care facilities and then measure out 2,500-foot buffer zones in all directions. These were added to a map of the three business districts, which highlighted areas where medical cannabis organizations would not be allowed to set up.
Given the controversial nature of this proposal, Lincolnshire’s decision makers were eager to get extra lead time to discuss how they would respond. By providing a quick spatial analysis of two disparate data sets, the Village has an efficient and powerful tool to aid their discussion and decision making.
With the recent downturn in the economy over the past few years, two of the biggest challenges for local government are retaining businesses within their communities and promoting available facilities or real estate for new businesses or future development. To assist with making this kind of information more accessible, the City of Des Plaines Community and Economic Development (CED) Department turned to the city’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Department to develop a basic mapping tool on the city’s website where interested parties could view the location of an available space within the city and obtain basic information such as the property leasing agency name, amount of space available, and property cost per square foot.
To reach that goal, the CED department provided a list of known available spaces within the city to the GIS staff, which was then mapped out and formatted as needed to provide a clean collection of data for general consumption. Once the data was made available in a GIS format, it was added as a display layer to an existing mapping application available on the city’s website, called MapOffice™. Once the data was made available as a display layer, a weblink was added to the website’s Available Building and Sites page that not only allows a user to launch the map, but also turns on the available site layer so it is automatically displayed for viewing. Using this approach removes the need to provide instructions to the map user on how display this information for use.
The primary goal of this project was to not only provide information about each available space, but to give the context of where each property is located within the city. Making this information available for consumption in a spatial environment helps to maximize the impact of external factors surrounding the property that might make it more attractive to prospective businesses, thereby increasing the chance it will be purchased or leased.
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.
During the recent housing market collapse the Village of Oak Brook, like many municipalities, has been faced with a rising number of available properties within their corporate limit. One of the main goals for the Village is to attract and maintain tenants in both commercial and residential areas in an effort to generate revenue and promote Oak Brook as a place of success. This means tracking vacant and rental opportunities throughout the Village so that they can not only be promoted to potential buyers, but also to make sure proper maintenance and security measures are being taken. Because there is no easy way of maintaining the status of these properties, the Village has taken up the task to track vacant and rental properties to the best of their knowledge through sources such as water billing, inspections, and various other property records. Although the Village had previously been tracking all of the information through a spreadsheet, Village Trustee’s asked that maps be created in order to give better visual representation of the available properties.
Although there was not a wealth of information tied to each property, it’s considered very important just to know the location of all available properties, as well as contact and owner information. By geocoding the existing spreadsheet the GIS specialist was able to quickly produce a map and custom overlay in MapOffice™ Advanced. This allows Village Staff and Trustees to have valid sources of information available to them at their desktop and in meetings at the click of a button. By putting the data onto a map and adding spatial context, the information is much more consumable by decision makers and allows them to see any developing trends in location a types of available properties. Without GIS this data would’ve been tracked solely through a single spreadsheet or word document, but by putting the data in GIS it is now distributed throughout the Village and is maintained in a central database that is updated and distributed via MapOffice™ to all Village staff.
The Village of Oak Brook has recently contracted a design firm to come up with some ideas for a corporate sign being added to an intersection which conceals a few businesses. The design firm initially came up with a sign that was 8 ft. tall and 15 ft. wide, which was to be placed at the northwest corner of the given three way intersection. In order for the sign to be added, some preliminary research also needed to be done in order to test the feasibility of such a large sign being added. The two primary factors that came into play were the underground utilities located at the intersection and the signs visibility due to a transformer box already located at the corner of the intersection. In order to find out of the sign would be visible, Village engineers and GIS staff were tasked with researching what size the sign would need to be in order to be viewed from behind the transformer box.
By using the Village’s lidar point elevation data, the GIS specialist was able to determine the approximate height of the transformer box and the ground elevation of the proposed location for the sign. The sign location was determined after all underground utilities were marked in the field, and measurements were taken from the curb to the closest spot free of utilities. Once the approximate heights of the transformer box and ground elevations were determined, the GIS specialist was then able to find the ground elevation of six ‘viewing’ points on the adjacent road, ranging from 135 to 710 feet away from the proposed sign location. By then making a 3.5 ft. adjustment to the ground elevation, we were able to determine the approximate elevation that a typical person would be viewing the sign at. After compiling the statistics, as shown in the image, it was determined that the proposed sign would have to be at minimum 3 ft. taller than the initial proposal. Without GIS, much, if not all, of this research would’ve needed to be done in the field through the use of expensive survey contractors or costly man hours taken away from the engineering department. GIS was able to perform this analysis within a single day, and provided multiple maps and tabular statistics supporting the results.
The City of Lake Forest’s Community Development Department recently requested that a GIS layer be created to display Local Historic Districts and Landmarks. Lake Forest is divided into five historical districts, each containing historical landmark properties. Community Development needed a method of knowing where the historical districts were located while simultaneously being able to identify district land parcels that contained historical properties.
In GIS, all Historical Landmark properties were geocoded and displayed over the Historical Districts layer. To avoid having a cluster of geocoded landmark property points, a spatial join was performed to allow users to select a land parcel and quickly identify all landmarks properties that reside on that given parcels. For example, Lake Forest College has 17 campus buildings located on one parcel. Rather than having 17 location points, the location data is stored within the land parcel. Selecting one parcel will allow users to view all buildings/ properties on that selected parcel.
The results of this project allow users an effective method of visualization that avoids map clutter and enables a more legible method of reviewing historical location data. Community Development can use this location data to manage new construction projects within these historical areas.
Lincolnshire is a picturesque village in Lake County, well known for its mature trees, numerous parks, and attractively landscaped open spaces. One of the best ways to enjoy the scenery is to walk or bike around town using the wide local streets and recreational paths that connect them. To encourage non-motorized traffic in the Village, GIS was asked to update the hiking and biking trail map to highlight existing routes as well as key points of interest. In addition to showcasing area parks and retail shopping, visitors to Lincolnshire can also quickly identify free parking and public drinking fountain locations. Local schools are also marked so that parents can identify safe routes for their children to use.
The end product is provided to the public in two formats, print and interactive. The printable version is an 11-by-17 inch map that visitors and residents can print out and keep as a general reference. Anyone looking for greater detail can access the interactive version online to determine precise locations of particular attractions or the proximity of their homes to existing facilities. Both products can be viewed on the Village’s website at http://www.village.lincolnshire.il.us/village-maps.
Every ten years the US Census Bureau conducts a census of the country’s population to see growth trends in different metropolitan areas, migration patterns from one area to another, and changes in demographics on the local, regional, and federal level. While this census is conducted at the federal government level, local governments use the population and demographic information to help with applying for project grants, directing how and where to use certain funds for capital improvements within the community and, for certain communities, determining where to redraw voting boundaries to account for changes in population number from one area to the next. For the City of Des Plaines IL, redrawing the aldermanic ward boundaries was a top priority once the 2010 census population numbers were released by the Census Bureau due to upcoming alderman elections, with these boundaries determining which areas of the city would vote in each ward. Since these ward boundaries relate to city blocks and neighborhoods, the city’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department was asked to assist with calculating population statistics and developing scenario maps for areas where the ward boundaries would potentially change based on population shifts between the 2000 and 2010 census.
To make sure the new ward boundaries divided the city up into relatively even population bases, several boundary scenarios were mapped to provide city administrators with a visual tool for comparing the new boundaries against one another. In addition to visually displaying the ward boundaries, population numbers for each new ward area were calculated and provided along with the maps, which provided both a visual and statistical tool for analyzing each ward scenario. The population information for each ward map was calculated at the neighborhood block level using GIS census boundary data provided by the Census Bureau in conjunction with a table containing related population information for each block. By using the block level data, each ward boundary could be drawn as accurately as possible to ensure that each ward contained a relatively even number of city residents. Since this information was provided by the census in a digital, spatial format, the process of drawing a new ward boundary and running the population numbers was relatively easy, allowing for numerous boundary scenarios to be calculated quickly and provide city administrators with a wide range of boundary options to consider.
Using GIS resources to assist with the city’s alderman ward redistricting effort, the City of Des Plaines was able to save a significant amount of time and money as compared to if the process was completed without it. Without GIS, according to information provided by city administration, the process would have taken several weeks of dedicated city staff time to complete or, if the city would have instead used an outside vendor, and additional monetary investment of $25,000. By using an available, existing resource, the city was able to save money and staff time and dedicate internal resources to other tasks rather than focusing on manually calculating the new ward population numbers and drawing the new boundary locations.
In the past, the Village of Wheeling has kept an informal list of all the businesses in the village using business license data. Then, using Google KML, this information was mapped out and displayed on Google Maps. However, the information displayed in Google Maps would quickly become outdated and it was difficult to update. Economic Development requested an alternate way to display village businesses online, that would be much easier to update to reflect changes in the village.
In 2012, a new feature was created for the Village’s public mapping program, MapOffice™. This feature allows for the creation of custom map data that could then be displayed online for the village residents to view. An added benefit of this feature is that the data is easily updateable, just like other GIS data that is integrated with MapOffice™. An updated list of all the village business licenses was created, and they were then sorted into three different categories: Commercial, Food & Hospitality, and Industrial. New icons were created for each category and then the data was uploaded online. Now, Village residents can view all the locations of businesses by scrolling through the map and then retrieve the information about each business by clicking the related icon. By using GIS, the Village was able to take existing village information, and then present it in a format that is easy to use by the public.
Glencoe is known through the north shore as a picturesque village with abundant parks, attractive beach access, and remarkable architecture. Tourists and potential residents alike enjoy driving the village streets to see its beautiful private homes and public buildings. What they may not know, however, is that a significant number of these structures have historically significant architecture. The styles range from 19th century Victorian Gothic to 20th century English Tudor to the passive solar architectural innovations of George and William Keck. The Village’s Historic Preservation Board currently has a list of about 100 homes along a walking tour route for visitor enjoyment.
In summer 2012, the Village hired a sustainability and historic preservation consultant to conduct a community-wide survey of its architecture. After completing extensive archival research, the consultant turned up a list of nearly 400 structures that, if still standing, could be historically significant. To confirm this, the consultant’s next step was to visit every address on her list. GIS was able to lend a hand in this process by mapping out every location and determining the most efficient route for completing field checks. Not only did this increase efficiency by spatially organizing the data, it also reduces the likelihood that the consultant will miss structures on her list and have to return to the same streets on multiple days. Once the consultant is finished with her survey and is ready to present her findings, GIS will also assist by creating an interactive map for the public that showcases her findings in an easy-to-use format.
Leveraging geospatial technology to make a department, or departments, within municipal government more efficient can take on many different forms. For the Village of Winnetka, IL Community Development Department, this involved integrating scanned zoning variance documents with an existing GIS mapping application and using the application’s address search tool to locate the documents. These efforts involved working closely with the Village’s Geographic Information System (GIS) department to ensure that the scanned documents were properly linked to the correct locations in the village so they could be easily searched.
The first step in managing this type of external data integration is making sure the data in updated in a timely manner, to make sure that the searchable data is current and provides the most benefit to the department. To that end, a process was setup where department staff notifies the GIS department when a new document is scanned, which ensures that there is no lag time between when the document is available and when it can be accessed via the GIS application. The next step in this process was to create the links between the documents and their associated spatial locations. This was done by having the GIS department map a list of variance document locations provided by Community Development and, within the GIS data, link the mapped location to the village network drive where their associated scanned variance documents are stored. The final step was to take the mapped, linked GIS variance data and add it to the GIS application as a spatial layer that can be turned on and off for display as needed.
By providing the Community Development Department with a spatial interface to search and reference scanned zoning variance documents, GIS has provided a more efficient solution for retrieving department files. The previous method for locating these documents involved searching a village network drive for the correct scanned document, which was disruptive to the department workflow and often difficult to navigate. Using an existing, spatial platform, the department has leveraged available geospatial technology to make better use of staff time and available village resources, which has, in turn, made the department more productive and cost effective.
The City of Highland Park Community Development Planning Division is considering the development of a driving tour of John Van Bergen designed structures. The John Van Bergen was important Chicago architect who at one time worked for Frank Lloyd Wright. The Highland Park locations were listed in an Excel worksheet that needed to be located on a map.
The GIS Office used the Excel worksheet to create a map showing the location of the Jon Van Bergen buildings. This map will be used by City employees to create a driving route that efficiently visits most Jon Van Bergen buildings locations. This route with recommended stops will be plotted out on a second map.
By using GIS the Planning Division was able to quickly and efficiently get a map of the John Van Bergen designed buildings. This map will then be used to create a driving tour of these sites. Thus they will be able to showcase an important piece of the history of development in Highland Park. Without GIS the Planners would have had to field check to each location and draw each building on a paper copy of the map.
In 1858 the Deerfield Cemetery was opened on the northwest corner of Waukegan Road and Central Avenue. The Cemetery has a lot of history, with at least 15 Civil War soldiers buried there. The Village of Deerfield has recently acquired this property and they have started to look for ways to track burials.
The Village asked GIS to find a way that they could track the plots, graves, and burials. Using MapOffice™ Advanced, GIS set up each grave with a unique id so that it would be easy to link persons buried there to each one. This grave also included birth and death dates, important information about the person, and a link to a picture of the gravestone on FindAGrave.com. By adding this information on MapOffice™ Advanced, the Village of Deerfield can interactively find the layout of each grave, who is buried there, and if there are any vacant spaces.
Maintaining a record of building permit applications is important for local governments as both a historical reference for work that was authorized for a given project and as a reference in case the work that was completed is ever disputed. To make access to these applications easier for all departments, the Village of Winnetka, IL Community Development Department requested that the paper building permits they have on file be scanned into an electronic format. To assist with providing access to the scanned permit files, the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department linked the permit documents to the spatial location they applied to and made those links available as part of the village’s internet-browser based mapping application.
Distributing the connection to each scanned document through a spatial platform provides an intuitive interface for village staff to query and locate the exact permit application they’re looking for. Within the mapping application, a user can search for the address the permit was issued for, turn on the spatial layer developed by the GIS department that contains the document link, and click on that link to open the scanned file for viewing. By making the permits accessible through an intuitive application that’s already used by all departments, the village increases its overall efficiency by opening up access to the permits, as well as saves time and money by not having to coordinate a network location to store the files or invest in document management software to distribute the information.
The City of Highland Park is in the process of developing a complete street and non-motorized transportation plan that reflects the best practices for bicycle and pedestrian planning. Revising the plan involves reviewing existing sidewalk, major roads, and other transportation features. The goal of the plan is to ensure the City properly develops a transportation plan that will serve cyclists, pedestrians, disabled transit users as well as users of motorized vehicles.
The Planning Department developed a series map using existing data from the GIS databases. The maps showed existing trails and sidewalks as well as other non-motorized friendly infrastructure. The maps also included Bus routes and an area depicting a 15 minute Bike Ride from downtown Highland Park. The maps were used supplemental material for report on why a complete streets and non-motorized plan was required for The City. The goal of the report was to describe existing infrastructure that was friendly for non-motorized transportation. It goes on to describe how infrastructure could be improved to make it friendlier for non-motorized transportation. Some examples included in the report are adding new sidewalks and adding bicycle lanes to existing roadways.
The Planning Department was able to quickly create most of the maps by using existing GIS data. Thus saving the expense of hiring an outside contractor develops the maps. Because the GIS data updated continuously, it will be also be easy to create updated maps as need
Like any community, Elk Grove Village, IL has its share of apartment, condominium, townhouse, and assisted living complexes. At times village inspectors may identify property maintenance issues at such locations which need to be addressed. The Village has mapped these association areas and their related contact information in its Geographic Information System (GIS) providing a quick resource for staff when dealing with issues that pertain to common areas. In many cases the association contact information is available in a community’s water billing database or something similar, but most staff do not have access to those records so the GIS map has been quite useful for all staff to easily obtain the association contact and phone number allowing them to resolve the issues at hand quickly.
Like most communities, the Village of Deerfield tracks the movement of Emerald Ash Borer. Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive beetle that devastates ash trees. Instead of using a series of treatments to kill the beetles, the Village has decided to remove affected trees.
In order to keep track of which trees are being affected, the Village inventoried all Ash trees and looked for signs of Emerald Ash Borer infestation. Once this inventory was collected, it was mapped out by using GIS. This allows the easy tracking of trees that are affected and removed. Supporting products can then be created that show the hotpots and even the potential movement of the beetle, which helps focus where tree removals are needed.
Being that Riverside, IL is located in the Chicago Metropolitan area there are many modes of transit available to the general population in addition to the traditional ones such as bike and bus routes. The Geographic Information System (GIS) staff has consolidated transit information to assist transportation planning efforts in The Village. The data is available to village staff in their interactive mapping application giving them a quick resource to review the transportation network that is available to residents and visitors including website links to the schedules and other supporting documents that the regional transit organizations have made available on the internet including train and bus schedules. A quick look at this information shows how connected or disconnected the various transit options are and may suggest initiatives to promote use of those facilities and their accessibility to businesses or even realize ways to close gaps between the transit stops.
The Village of Deerfield has a strict Appearance Code that applies to current and new businesses that are looking to operate within the Village border. The code has criteria intending to assist in focusing on appearance standards that will not restrict imagination, innovation, or variety.
To simplify and assist with this code, GIS was used to create a series of maps to show commercial locations across the Village to show areas that are affected. These were then put into a booklet that the Village will distribute to prospective companies. By using GIS, the Village was able to illustrate where this code will be enforced and help reduce extra time spent having to figure out if a new business will be affected.
The City of Highland Park maintains national and local historic districts layers, which are easy to analyze or map. They did not have an equally easy way to view the location of specific buildings with these historic districts. Community Development Planning Division maintained an Excel worksheet; however these records within spreadsheet did not reference real world locations. The Planning Division recently realized the usefulness of showing the location of the historic building sites within the historic district boundaries.
The Planning division requested that the GIS office use the Excel work sheet create a historical building site layer. The GIS Office used the Excel spreadsheet to create a point layer. This point layer was then used to select specific buildings related to each point. The final product is layer of buildings with historical significance information attached to each structure. It is currently being used as a map layer but there are plans to add to MapOffice™ Advanced as a custom Overlay layer.
Using GIS tools, the City efficiently create a historical building site layer that can assist with studies of existing historic districts. The product will be used as graphic to support discussion of specific properties within or near existing historic districts. It will also be used to identify properties near historic districts that could be included in historic districts. By adding these locations to MapOffice™ Advanced, the Planning Division will make it easier for Inspectors and other employees to reference these locations.
It’s a buyer’s market right now for entrepreneurs and developers. Communities of every size and demographic are competing against each other to attract new and relocating businesses to their area. GIS provides a cost-effective and efficient way to promote available commercial space on an interactive map that integrates seamlessly with the popular website Google Maps. Many GIS Consortium communities, including the Village of Lincolnshire, are taking advantage of this technology to quickly share information with prospective clients.
On a monthly basis, Lincolnshire’s Department of Community Development submits an updated spreadsheet of available properties to GIS. This spreadsheet includes important details such as building square footage, rental/sale prices, and realtor contact information. GIS geocodes the locations (a process in GIS that assigns an address to a location on a map) and then exports them into a file format that is used by Google Maps. This updated file is uploaded to the Village’s website, and in a matter of minutes, a fresh map is available for public consumption. The end product not only provides relevant details to a potential renter or buyer, but places these details in the greater context of the Village’s geography. Potential clients can then view aerial images and labeled maps of the overall site area to get a richer picture of the sites that interest them.
You can see the end product live on the Village’s website by visiting the available site inventory page, http://www.village.lincolnshire.il.us/business/sites.php.
To continue efforts to understand and help manage flooding in The Village of Riverside the history of permits for flood mitigation devices for residential properties were extracted from The Village’s permitting system. Using the Geographic Information System (GIS) the locations of the private property mitigation permits were mapped. Combining this information with other flood related data such as backyard ponding reports, improved surfaces, contours, and sewer infrastructure that The Village has been accumulating and mapping gives a more detailed picture of all factors involved in the ongoing flood mitigation efforts and provides for more effective solutions.
Most cell phone users have experienced the frustration of being in a “dead spot,” or a location where their phones are unable to connect to a network and provide communication with the rest of the world. Because this disconnect is closely tied to geography, the negative feelings generated from a lack of connectivity are transferred to the person’s physical location. Whether a fair association or not, the presence of dead spots can cause people to perceive a community as a less desirable place to visit or live in.
In response to the demand for greater connectivity, the Village of Lincolnshire is documenting its existing infrastructure as well as identifying options for expanding its coverage. GIS tracks this information and assists in the decision-making process for any additions. In the map above, existing towers are shown with a red dot, and a 50-foot “do not built” buffer is added on to show the least logical locations for new towers. The blue and purple areas are locations on private and public land (respectively) that have been identified by the Village planners as possible spots for new towers. The fading buffer zones ranging from 100 to 500 feet are used to give the Village more flexibility in selecting the exact location of any additions.
As an added benefit to using GIS for this project, the Village can repurpose this data easily to analyze its existing and potential revenue generation. Private providers have to pay rental fees and local taxes to install and maintain each tower, so it is important that the Village confirms that it is receiving the appropriate amount of income from existing and new enhancements.
To continue efforts to understand and help manage flooding in The Village of Riverside the history of permits for flood mitigation devices for residential properties were extracted from The Village’s permitting system. Using the Geographic Information System (GIS) the locations of the private property mitigation permits were mapped. Combining this information with other flood related data such as backyard ponding reports, improved surfaces, contours, and sewer infrastructure that The Village has been accumulating and mapping gives a more detailed picture of all factors involved in the ongoing flood mitigation efforts and provides for more effective solutions.
It was recently realized by the Elk Grove Village, IL GIS staff that most, if not all, of the land division information related to properties was being provided them by their data sharing agreement with Cook County. The data represents all of the components a piece of land is described by in a legal description and includes the Township, Range, Section, Quarter Section, Subdivision, Block, Parcel, and Lot. All of this information was combined in The Village’s interactive GIS map so that staff can have quick access to this information when faced with future land divisions and/or inquiries without an address to identify the location.
Every five years the City of Highland Park must be renew their accreditation with the Commission of Fire Accreditation International (CFAI). This involves gathering a lot of information regarding Fire Department resources such as station response times and resource deployment. It also includes gathering demographic information about the community such as age and population density. The goal of the accreditation review is to assess the City’s Fire Department ability to properly deploy resources.
One report required by CFAI is a breakdown of the types of structures per fire grid. Essentially they are looking for primary structures such as a house or shopping center versus a secondary structure such as a garage or shed. They also want a breakdown of the use for each structure such as residential, commercial, or school. Creating this report requires classifying each structure with a type classification derived from address point information and then assigning it a Zoning District designation as well as a Fire Grid designation to each structure.
The address classification, Zoning District classification, building areas, and Fire Grids were combined into one summary table by using GIS. This table was then summarized by Fire Grid to create a final report of the types of structures for each Fire Grid. Without the availability of GIS, this report would have taken many more man hours and involved several Departments to create an estimate of structures per Fire Grid.
When repaving village streets after maintenance or a repair, the Village of Wheeling typically has to take in account the amount of curb that has to be rebuilt or repaired. The price of the repairs depends on the length of the curb and the different types of aprons that feed into the street i.e. driveway, parking lot, sidewalk, etc… The engineering department wanted to know if there was an easier way to calculate the amount of curb length for each village owned street and get a count of the number of aprons along the roadway as well.
Using the base map data provided by Ayres Associates, all the curbs in the village were split by their respective roads. The amount of curb length split by the road boundaries was added to the road data table along with a count of any sidewalk, driveway, or parking lot that intersected the original road data. With the data all divided and organized, a map was created allowing an engineer to select a section of a road and then view a table showing the length of curb for that section and the number of aprons along the road. By using GIS, the Village of Wheeling was able to cut down the amount of time it would take to manually calculate curb length as well as provide a quick way to make estimates on the cost of repaving certain streets.
The Office Economic Development is always seeking measures to evaluate the impact of Special Service Area 16 on the economic growth of the Central Business District. It was decided that by reviewing the Assessor information from 2007-2010 it would should show how much owners have improved their properties. The year 2007 was chosen as a starting point, because it was the first year of the Special Service Area.
Lake County Illinois was contacted and they agreed to provide Assessor tables for the years of 2007-2010. GIS software was used to join the assessor table to address points. This provided a history of assessed value of each commercial property within the Central Business District. With these increase or decrease of assessed values for each year was created for each commercial property. Maps were created for each year and for all the years together to assist with visualizing where values where increasing or decreasing.
Comparing assessed values between years was a powerful tool for finding trends. For example we discovered that assessed values generally increased between 2007-2009. But from 2009-2010 the values decreased about 4%. We were also able to see the impact of redevelopment on surrounding properties. It was also predictably noticed that areas of high vacancy had the largest decrease in value.
GIS provided the ability to join multiple tables to each address and then evaluate the difference between the assessed values for each address. Thus creating a mosaic of assessed values in the Central Business District over a 3 year period.
In 2011 the Elk Grove Village GIS (Geographic Information System) and Clerk’s Office staff began a project to inventory variances for each property that have been approved throughout the village. A variance is an approved deviation from the municipal land use or building codes.
Existing variances were pooled from spreadsheets maintained by the Clerk’s Office and a document management system. The information was made available to village staff in an interactive map and the variances were split for display purposes between those that applied to land use and those that applied to the building code. Consequently some easement information had to be modified where easement variances existed as well.
Having this information organized in a way that staff can quickly determine if any exceptions have been allowed for a property has been well received and quite useful for staff.
When subdivisions are being designed they tend to plan for areas of public access to such things as water, sewer, electrical utilities, etc. These areas are called “easements.” Although the legal title to the land that lies underneath these easements is retained by the property owner, the existence of an easement still grants the right for others to access this piece of land. So why are these easements important? Answers may vary but for the City of Park Ridge, IL it is about the legality of allowing workers to access this piece of land in order to complete their assigned tasks. These workers may be private contractors or city employees just looking to repair an electrical problem or fix an issue with a water line that was installed years. Nonetheless, the land they are accessing is not considered trespassing.
It is easy to see the importance of easements but it is not always so easy to locate them in the real world. Easements are not usually marked out in the field so it is up to either public knowledge or consulting an existing subdivision plat to find out where they exist. In the City of Park Ridge they have started to use the Geographical Information System (GIS) to map out these locations based on what the final subdivision plats have designated. As these easements are located and mapped out, they will then be posted on the City’s interactive web mapping application so users can find them easily. Although the data collection process is lengthy, the amount of time that will be saved versus having to look these easements up manually is invaluable. For the comparison would have users searching through many uncategorized plats to find what they need. Proof that an easement exists will now be quicker and easier to access when a resident inquires about workers on their property thanks to GIS.
It is pretty amazing to think of all the information that has been collected and stored in the past few years by the U.S. Census Bureau. The last major data delivery that was published by the U.S. Census Bureau was in the year 2000 and although that information was useful, it soon became a question of accuracy as time drove on. This year the U.S. Census Bureau has been delivering a large set of new data, much of it coming in the form of database tables and Excel spreadsheets and other sets arriving as Geographical Information System (GIS) data layers.
Other things that have changed since 2000 are the amount of local government entities that have invested in GIS technology. Tasks that might once be a bit difficult have now become easier thanks to help from the GIS. One example of this was the use by the Village of Morton Grove, IL and its need to use 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data in order to determine populations within one, three and five mile radiuses from the village’s corporate limits. This information, once compiled, would be used on advertisement flyer to help draw businesses to move into town. For a new business looking to succeed, they will most likely be concerned without the amount of people they may be able to bring in on a daily basis.
By viewing the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data layers in GIS, information about specific populations can be derived from the block or block group information. Additionally, simple GIS tools can be used to create buffer distances at one, three and five mile radiuses from the village’s corporate limits. Once you have these two sets of information, some simple analysis can be done to extract the amount of population that resides within each buffer area. A once complex task now simplified thanks to GIS and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Comprehensive planning is a critical component in the long-term health of a community. The process of creating a five-year plan for a municipality can be daunting, but recording and sharing this vision provides “big picture” guidance to all stakeholders.
In the Village of Lincolnshire, GIS assists with clear communication by illustrating goals in an easy-to-understand way. One of the many exhibits under development is an overview map showing the future land use plans. Landowners throughout the Village are always concerned with what developments might occur around their properties, so this map quickly explains what will (and won’t) be allowed in the next five years. While this map is still a work in progress, it can already be used to support conversations throughout the planning process.
GIS makes the development of illustrations like this one quick and easy. The Village does not have to pay an outside vendor to create this custom map, and changes are easily illustrated and linked to existing Village data for easy comparison.
Providing adequate accessible parking spaces for local businesses is an important legal concern for many communities. Failure to meet State and Federal requirements can lead to law suits or having fines accessed against the City. The City of Highland Park Intra-City Parking Committee was concerned that some the parking lots might not contain enough spaces designated as accessible parking spaces.
The GIS Office was contacted to create a series of maps showing the location of accessible parking spaces in the Central Business District and the Ravinia Business District. Using existing data, the GIS Office quickly creates aerial and base map showing all the designations of parking spaces in both business districts. The maps were used to identify parking lots and on-street parking areas that did not have enough accessible parking spots. During the review it was determined that two parking lots required additional accessible parking spaces.
By using GIS the city could quickly review the number of accessible parking spaces with minimal amount of field work. The maps were used by the Committee to make the case that additional accessible parking spaces were needed. Once the additional spaces were created in the field, new maps were created displaying the updated field conditions. Without GIS this parking study would have taken much longer. Each parking lot and on street parking area would need to field surveyed. The information from these field surveys would not be as easy to use or as cleanly displayed as the information in the GIS maps was.
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.
Summer provides the public with a wealth of opportunities to explore their neighboring communities. Festivals, races, sidewalk sales and parades are as abundant as the warm sunshine. While these special events offer the chance to relax and have fun, they also create a lot of work for those who are charged with managing them. Fortunately, GIS provides staff members with an efficient way to track spatial data and customize it to meet the needs of multiple departments. As an example, the Village of Glencoe recently put GIS to use in its planning process for the Fourth of July parade. The Village Manager’s office requested an easy-to-understand map of the parade route to distribute to the participants. The GIS specialist also added it to MapOffice™ Advanced, which made the parade route available to any member of the Village staff. As shown in the snapshot, MapOffice™ Advanced allows users to view the parade route on a map or an aerial photo, depending upon their needs. When a Public Safety supervisor saw the map, he was inspired to request another special event map. This one displayed both courses and all of the stations in the Glencoe Grand Prix bike race. Since the parade route map met the size and design specifications of Public Safety, the GIS specialist was able to quickly meet this new request by switching out the necessary information. Finally, the Glencoe Grand Prix plan was added into MapOffice™ Advanced so that Dispatch had a visual reference to enhance its ability to communicate with people in the field. Without GIS, the time and resources needed to create each of these custom maps would have been cost-prohibitive.
The City of Des Plaines hosts numerous special events throughout the year. These events often require the involvement and coordination of numerous city departments, including Public Works, Engineering, and the Public Relations office. To help improve these coordination efforts, the GIS (Geographic Information Systems) department developed a map product to allow all those involved to communicate event information more efficiently.
The map developed for this bike tour highlights the tour route and other aspects of the ride, as well as points of interest the riders can stop and look at along way. Information about the event itself, for example ride distance and start time, was also included on the map to supply both the city departments organizing the ride and those participating in the ride with a single resource for reference. Using a spatial product to convey the bike tour information provides everyone with the same, geographically-based reference template, making it easier and more efficient to transfer information before and during the event.
Every year the Cook County Assessor’s office sends out data to communities showing what the Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) is of every parcel within their boundaries. The Village of Lincolnwood uses this data for two purposes – owner name and economic development. Both of these uses are extremely valuable to the Village. Since the data has a geographical reference, a Property Index Number or PIN, the Village can use its Geographic Information System (GIS) to harvest, analyze and create products. Lincolnwood depends on County data as a base for much of its GIS features. It is very important to work together with the County since we share infrastructure and geography.
Using the data provided by Cook County, Lincolnwood was able to incorporate it into MapOffice™ Advanced, a specialized interactive mapping application for all GIS Consortium members. By linking the Cook County tabular data with Lincolnwood’s parcel data, they were able to publish the owner’s name, EAV, and taxes owed into MapOffice Advanced™. This simplifies the task of finding the owners name through a maze of County websites and provides internal staff answers about property value in regards to development.
The Skokie Park District in conjunction with the Village of Skokie hosts the Festival of Cultures. Over the years, it has become a premier ethnic festival in Illinois celebrating the food, music, and sports that define cultures throughout the world. This year will be the 21st for the festival. The Village of Skokie has a high presence during this festival and is working to promote downtown businesses during the event. The idea was to create a flyer to promote the Village’s downtown restaurants. To do this, the Village Manager’s office worked with the Village’s Geographic Information System to gather data and create a map showing all restaurants in the downtown area. The Village will be passing these out at their booth during the festival.
When developers are making plans for a new construction project, they may opt to install the utilities they need and then sell the completed system to the local government for general public use and maintenance. This arrangement, known as a recapture agreement, allows the developer to handle the utility installation process instead of taking up resources in the local Public Works department. The local municipality agrees to buy the completed system from the developer according to an agreed-upon fee schedule. This schedule has to be approved by the local board and created into an ordinance to officially approve the use of public funds.
As of 2011, the Village of Lincolnshire has 15 active recapture areas. This impacts daily operations because these agreements have to be referenced any time the Village receives a building permit application. If someone applies to do work in a recapture area, he or she may be responsible for paying an access fee to the developer to use the utility system. By creating a map of recapture areas, Public Works administrators can quickly check a permit application’s location to determine whether or not it falls into a recapture area. If it does, the applicant will be notified of any corresponding financial responsibilities.
Lincolnshire’s recapture map is currently being used in print form, but will soon be available in MapOffice™ Advanced as a custom overlay. This will allow Village staff to search electronically for an address and determine immediately whether it falls into a recapture area. Thanks to this application of GIS technology, the Village is saving time and money by completing a once labor-intensive process in a matter of seconds.
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.
The Village of Oak Brook has recently begun receiving noise complaints from a couple of apartment complexes northeast of the Oak Brook promenade. The complainants allege that the noise is the result of music being played from a bar facing in their direction. As a result the village must do analysis to figure out where the noise is actually coming from, and whether or not they are not complying with the noise ordinance set by the Village.
In an effort to make this process quick and easy, community development decided to use GIS to gather distances from the origin of the noise to various buildings around the area, including the apartment complexes filing the noise complaints. By using GIS, community development was able to get distances to each of the chosen buildings, along with a map displaying all of the data. Rather than going into the field and manually doing the measurements, GIS was able to produce the map in much less time, with less man power and a high percentage of accuracy. Additionally the maps and data will be stored for future analysis that may occur, involving decibel levels at the complainant’s residence in comparison to closer buildings and residences. The image displayed is the map that was initially made for the first step of the analysis.
Utility asset management is a critical component of any local government’s annual operations. As part of its annual utility maintenance schedule, the City of Des Plaines performs field tests of fire hydrants in select areas of the city to ensure that they have the correct water pressure and are still operating at the expected level. These tests are conducted by the Fire Department and require significant man-hours to complete. To reduce the amount of time needed to locate a hydrant scheduled for testing, the department requested a series of maps that could be used in the field for locating.
To fill this request, the city’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department created a map book, or a series of coincident maps that show a larger area divided into a collection of smaller areas, that could be used in the field. While a city-wide map showing all the hydrants was also developed for general reference, having the smaller, more mobile maps allows the department to use them in the field as they are conducting each test, giving them a more detailed view of the testing area and the location of each hydrant. Using these products will help to reduce the amount of staff time needed to locate the hydrants and provide more time for developing an efficient testing schedule that will ultimately lower the amount of time needed to complete the testing process.
The Village of Oak Brook’s community development department handles a variety of matters, one of which includes permitting for pyrotechnics. For this particular project, community development had a resident come in and request a permit for a private fireworks display on his property. In order for the permit to be granted, community development needed to figure out whether or not this resident’s property met the requirements set by the ordinance dealing with pyrotechnics. The ordinance states that no pyrotechnics can be set off within a distance of 21 feet of a building or neighboring property line, for every 1/5 inch of projectile barrel size. For this particular display, the required perimeter was 105’ from all buildings.
The image displayed shows the resident’s property, along with all restricted and unrestricted areas on his property. The analysis had to include 105’ perimeters around the main building, which was his house, around the free-standing shed on the northwest portion of the property, and inside of his entire property line. By applying a 105’ buffer around both of these buildings and inside the property line, it was determined that there was a small portion of land on the central north end of his property that met all requirements set by the ordinance. This map and analysis helped community development by giving an accurate location for the fireworks display, while adhering to the requirements set forth by the ordinance.
Lincolnshire has undergone a joint project with its neighboring communities Mettawa and Bannockburn to look at open space. The project is being coordinated through Chicago Wilderness and is funded through the Grand Victoria Foundation. It is unique in that it provides the opportunity for the three communities to work together to identify Green Infrastructure, determine its connectedness, review community ordinances and policies related to green infrastructure. Private and public rain gardens examples of green infrastructure that are being looked at.
The Village has developed an Open Space Management Plan and encourages participation of staff in maintenance and care of environmental issues. To support the protection of natural resources, the Village has adopted the Chicago Wilderness Biodiversity Recovery Plan, the North Branch of the Chicago River Watershed Plan, and the Indian Creek Watershed Plan. Additionally, the GIS provides staff a resource to aid in the identification of woodlands, wetlands, floodplains and other environmentally sensitive lands. This information is used as a development and management tool.
Land annexed into the Village of Glenview has been on display in the Village’s Development department for some time. This information and map serves as a reference for staff when receiving questions about unincorporated and\or incorporated properties. Staff realized that the information and map was out date and that GIS (Geographic Information System) could provide an opportunity to keep the information current and more up to date.
The new process is that the existing annexation information provided by the Village’s record management software is given to the GIS staff for updating the current map. When completed a new updated hard copy is provided to the Development department for display and a PDF is created for distrabution to the staff and public.
The Village of Norridge has 19 bus shelters along various routes that are owned by a private company but our on village property. Each of these bus shelters has space for advertisements which brings in money that is split between the private company and the village. Community Development and Finance asked for a way to show the information in a way that showed potential advertisers the locations they would be purchasing.
A map was created showing the location of each bus shelter where advertising is possible. By showing the locations, instead of intersection descriptions, potential advertisers get a better idea of where there advertisements will be located and what type of bus traffic will go through the area. The map also includes contact information for anybody who decides that they want to advertise by using the shelters. By using GIS, the village gives advertisers a visual representation of data that was normally represented as a description.
The Senior Connector is a bus route which provides free bus transportation for Senior Citizens. The route is funded by the city and includes stops at senior residential facilities, retail, and recreational stops. It is an important resource for ensuring the mobility of senior citizens.
Because the City of Highland Park provides all the funding for the Senior Connector, they wanted to evaluate the annual number of riders for each Senior Connector stop to determine if some of the stops should be drooped. One item of interest was adjusting the routes and stops in the Central Business District.
The GIS office was contacted to create two maps. The first map showed the location of each stop with the number of riders. It also showed the direction of the connector traveled from each stop. The map was useful for evaluating the location of each stop and the number of annual riders at each stop. The second map showed the routes through the Central Business District and was useful for evaluating the location of the routes to determine if all the important places were served by the Senior Connector.
By using maps created with GIS, the city had a strong visual tool for evaluating the current status of rider-ship of the Senior Connector. It allowed them to evaluate proposed changes to the Senior Connector route based where seniors were most likely to use the service.
In the Village of Wheeling, like any community, various companies and organizations have to apply for permits when doing any type of construction work. Attached with these permits are maps showing the location of the work that is to be completed. Typically, a company or a subcontractor will provide the location maps to the village themselves, but in some instances the Village of Wheeling will provide the company with either data, so a more accurate map can be created, or a location map created by the village so that the company can accurately draw on a map where all construction will take place.
Recently, the village provided small maps showing aerial imagery and utility locations for a subcontractor replacing underground residential cable segments due to multiple cable faults. By providing the subcontractor with a map with aerial imagery and utilities, the village was able to see exactly where the cable segments would be replaced in relation to the houses and the utilities in the area because the subcontractor was able to draw the exact locations on the provided map. Processes like this allow the village to make a more informed decision on whether to approve a permit or have the subcontractor resubmit with more information. By using GIS, the village was able to see the exact location of construction based on the aerial imagery, and not with hand drawn maps they may not be to scale.
Local municipalities are always changing the way their communities are laid out in an effort to find the best fit for their residents as well as their visitors. These changes may come in the form of widening streets, tearing down and rebuilding infrastructure or possibly eliminating the ability to park on certain streets. For the Village of Morton Grove they were interested in investigating the latter as they looked to review their current parking restriction ordinances in order to help with future parking propositions.
For this analysis the village decided to enlist the services of the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department for its ability to map out all of the current parking restrictions geographically. The village believed that a map would provide a better visual representation of the current parking ordinance restrictions and also give them the proper means for review; much easier than reading these restrictions line for line in the written ordinance.
The design of the map was simple such that it only included the basic geographic street data as well as a color coded line where each unique color represented a different parking restriction. This map could then be printed or viewed electronically as means for review and analysis. Additionally, the underlying data behind the map was structured so that in-depth analysis could be conducted on any given street at any given time in order to retrieve ordinance information. The luxury of using the GIS in this case empowered the user to quickly compare ordinance information geographically and textually rather than performing the laborious task of searching through the ordinance documents on-line.
Land annexed into Elk Grove Village had been on display as a map in the Village Clerk’s Office for some time. This map served as a reference for village staff when receiving inquiries about unincorporated properties. Clerical staff realized the new GIS (Geographic Information System) program provided an opportunity to update the product.
The existing annexation information provided by the map was converted by the GIS staff into digital format and thorough investigation took place to resolve some overlaps, gaps, and missing annexations. When completed a new hard copy map was provided to the Clerk’s Office for display and an electronic PDF image was created as a reference for village staff and the public.
A significant part of any local government’s economic vitality relates to property development and improvements that require a building permit. Permitting fees provide vital income and can help to increase department budgets and the potential for capital improvement spending. As part of an effort to better track permit applications and highlight trends over time, the Village of Winnetka Community Development department asked the village GIS department to develop a map product to display permit locations.
All permit information for the village is stored in permit management software Permits Plus, so the first step in developing a final product is to export the desired information to a GIS compatible format, such as Excel. Once in this format, the permit data is mapped through a GIS application using the village’s comprehensive address database as a base. In addition to the location of each permit, the final GIS data layer also contains information on the type of permit issued for each address, allowing the final map product to display both the physical location and the type of permit being applied for.
Using this process, a quarterly mapping cycle has been developed, allowing Community Development staff to visualize where residential and commercial development is occurring across the village. Using this output from the GIS system provides the department with an efficient and cost effective method of tracking development trends, sharing information across departmental boundaries, and creating various budgetary reports.
Riverside forestry management includes a tree inventory, tree management, and a tree planting program. The village’s GIS (Geographic Information System) supports all of these efforts as a medium for displaying and analyzing that information. The village forester identified an additional management strategy that is of interest to the local Landscape Advisory Commission and that is delineation of no planting zones.
These areas were provided to the GIS staff and created in the system making it easy for village personnel to view the existing tree inventory against the planned open spaces. Without a doubt, having a geographic representation of this plan will expedite future planting efforts and the open spaces will accentuate the unique landscape of Riverside.
The Village of Norridge is currently in the process of creating a series of bike routes throughout its borders showing residents and visitors how to get to important locations within the village and just outside its limits. The village allows bikers to use the sidewalk to avoid car traffic, so the bike routes were designed with that in mind. Even though bikers can go down any sidewalk, the idea is to post signs along sidewalks that will get them to locations such as the forest preserve, Harlem and Irving Plaza shopping center, and the village hall.
By using GIS, the village was able to create a map showing all important locations in the village as well as ones just outside the village limits. They were then able to draw bike routes along streets by using the available aerial imagery, therefore allowing the village to draw routes that were direct and were along streets with sidewalks. Once the proposed routes were completed, a proposed bike route map was created for review.
The Village of Lincolnwood is holding its 34th annual Turkey trot on Sunday November 21, 2010. This event features multiple races including a 5k and 10k run, a 5k walk, and a Drumstick Dash for the children. During the planning phase of this event, the Village’s Geographic Information System (GIS) was utilized by preparing route maps as well as site plans for the pre and post race festivities. By using GIS the Parks and Recreation Department was able to visualize and share important aid station and registration information to all departments, including public safety, assisting in this annual event.
A monthly process for Elk Grove Village is to identify the location and trends of foreclosures within its municipality. A subscription to RealtyTrac provides the desired information which is downloaded over the internet. The foreclosure information is provided to the GIS (Geographic Information System) staff where it is plotted on a map. The quantity of foreclosures is tallied in a line graph to realize trending as well.
These foreclosure products are useful for many departments as they direct staff attention to the locations or areas that may have maintenance issues, or be subject to crime or property damage. Police, health and community development staff have an opportunity to mitigate these occurrences because they are informed.
Just like the rest of United States, the Village of Glenview is seeing and feeling the effects of the economic recession in all sectors of business, consumption, and employment. As a result from this, Glenview looks for various ways to save and increase revenue and one of those ways is, tracking foreclosures. Early this year Glenview purchased an annual subscription for $600 from the Law Bulletin for weekly data on foreclosures in the community and its service area. This information instantly saves the staff time by combining all information that would otherwise be very time consuming to locate.
With assistance from GIS, Glenview has been able to map and perform analysis to help with tracking potential revenue impact(s) in the TIF district, vacant properties, check compliance with ordinances, stop theft and destruction, and to see if squatters could possibly be using water. As an outcome from this, GIS has saved the Village countless hours on researching foreclosure information and those potential adverse affects that come from properties being foreclosed.
The Village of Glenview currently has an ordinance that states the max allowable impervious coverage for each lot in the Village, which is based off a lot(s) square footage. For example, lots that are less than 10,000 sq. ft. are allowed 4,500 sq. ft. or .40 of impervious coverage and the larger the lot, the smaller the percentage of impervious surface(s.) Recently, the Village’s Development Department was tasked with determining what percentage of lots fell outside of their allowable amount and if this amount turned out to be relatively high, then there are thoughts of tighten up (changing the ordinance) the allowable space.
By using GIS (Geographic Information System) the Development Department was able to determine percentages for each lot category and for the Village as a whole, which now gives them the capability for future impervious lot coverage decision making.
Downtown Highland Park is partnership of organizations; including the Downtown Property Owners Association, Highland Park Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Highland Park. The goal of the Downtown Highland Park is to promote existing businesses and to improve the overall economic vitality of downtown Highland Park.
The GIS Office assists the City with supporting the Downtown Highland by providing mapping services. The most often created maps are ones of special events promoted by Downtown Highland Park. The most recent examples of these event maps are the Public Art Installation which showed the proposed location of temporary art displays along Central Ave, and the Holiday 2010 Event Locations which showed two proposed locations for Ice Carving events at Port Clinton Square
GIS also create maps for analysis of current situations in the downtown. Last Spring the GIS Office mapped the responses from a survey of business in the downtown in regards to their satisfaction of the Downtown Highland in supporting it’s goal. Mapping the location of the responses allowed the Downtown Highland Park organization to evaluate if it was adequately serving businesses in all areas of the downtown. The GIS Office also mapped the location of service orientated, retail and vacant units in the downtown. This allowed the city and Downtown Highland Park to understand where different types of businesses were clustered.
The City of Highland Park depends on the GIS Office to create maps to support the various needs of Downtown Highland Park. These maps assist Downtown Highland Park with it’s goals of promoting existing businesses and improving the economic vitality of the downtown.
The Village of Wheeling is currently putting together information to create a safe crossing zone in accordance with the Safe Routes to School Program. The village is looking into creating an improved cross walk at the intersection of Anthony Rd. and Schoenbeck Rd. due to its proximity to both Booth Tarkington Elementary School and Jack London Middle School. This would allow students who are walking to school to cross a major intersection more safely. One important aspect needed to determine if this would be an ideal location where an improved cross walk should be placed is a map showing the attendance boundaries for each school in the study. By knowing where the students are coming from, the village can determine if this intersection is appropriate for an improvement.
To help in the process, a map was created showing the attendance boundaries for the elementary and middle schools in each village. The attendance boundaries were merged together so that the elementary school districts fit into their respective middle school districts. This allows the map to show that, in the target study area, students from both Booth Tarkington Elementary and Jack London Middle School have to cross the intersection of Anthony Rd. and Schoenbeck Rd. to be able to walk to school. Without GIS, the planning department would have to spend time combining hand drawn maps to figure out the exact attendance boundaries for each school. By using GIS, the planning department was able to quickly determine the attendance boundaries, saving them a considerable amount of time.
The village of Oak Brook has had requests from multiple organizations to bring new restaurants into the village. As a result the village has to plan and approve the locations requested by the organization. A part of the planning process required having maps made, which display the proposed location (with dimensions), wetland areas, and detention areas that will need to be relocated.
The image displayed with this article is a portion of one of the maps created for a planning meeting involving village staff and representatives of a restaurant. It was designed to give a good view of the area and dimensions in which they have to work with, along with possible conflicts with local wetlands. The map allowed village staff to compare similar sized sites with the new proposed site, in order to get an idea of where they can place entrances and exits, as well as parking and water detention areas.
The City of Lake Forest has begun using GIS to make a map and store data that shows current plans for their 10 year Capital Improvement program. In the past, employees would rely on spreadsheets and individual maps produced for that year to visualize projects and their locations. With the 2011 Capital Improvements plan being mapped this October, the city has also requested to begin keeping long term project data in a database feature class, which in turn will allow for editing and quick visualization.
Currently, the first draft of the 10 year plan has been created, and is currently being used to plan for upcoming conferences. Future plans include analysis on the planning data, as well as linking information regarding street condition and water main break density to help assist in project planning.
A contour line is a representation of equal points of elevation. Contour lines are displayed successively in a contour map to display the change in elevation over an area. The interval between lines defines the resolution of the elevation data.
Elk Grove Village recently developed a one foot contour dataset from LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data collection to improve upon a two foot contour provided by Cook County. Other datasets can be derived from this elevation information such as a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) or Digital Terrain Model (DTM) and is simply another way to simulate the real world lay of the land. These elevation representations become very powerful decision support tools when overlaid with other infrastructure such as storm sewers in a GIS (Geographic Information System).
The Village of Deerfield Community Development Department has begun a process to accurately survey and review all records related to the Deerfield Cemetery. The process involves obtaining records related to the property, plots, and all other associated information. As part of the process, the Village of Deerfield GIS Department was asked to convert the legal plat of the property and develop a base map of the cemetery. The base map will be used as a foundation to continue the development of placing cemetery records into a real world location.
This program will continue to grow into the future with the final goal of creating an accurate account of all records associated with the cemetery along with the ability of staff to locate the information in mapping environment. The image included in this article is an example of the initial plat conversion based on supplied records.
Every year, the Village of Winnetka Police Department provides additional security and crowd-control support for a local church’s annual rummage sale. The sale is held on the church grounds and affects parking and traffic patterns within in the adjacent area and several surrounding neighborhoods. The size of the event requires the involvement and coordination of numerous village departments, including Public Works and the Police Department. To help improve the coordination efforts, the GIS (Geographic Information System) department developed several mapping products to allow the departments to share event information more efficiently.
There are two maps that are traditionally developed for this event, one for the Public Works department to highlight areas where they have to setup temporary signs and barricades for restricted parking in and around the church grounds and one for the Police Department showing a detailed view of the church property with officer posting locations highlighted. While all components of this event are provided in a written form to the primary departments involved, using these two map products provides a supplemental, spatially-based template that allows for improved communication and a more concise transfer of information before and during the event.
In this day and age having accurate, reliable, and live information is important. It’s critical for dispatch to have correct and current addresses, it’s key for inspectors to know where and what permits were issued for that day, week, month, and it’s essential for developing communities to have up to date available property listings. By using GIS and other Village applications GIS will be able to provide these capabilities for the Village of Glenview. Dispatch will be able to plot live incidents, Inspectors will be able to map out and view current and past permits along with viewing what type of permit(s) have been issued, and possibly, Development will be able to plot up to date available properties.
By being able to mashup or merge several applications\databases into one is priceless and endless. GIS can provide this platform and the hope is that, the sky is the limit.
The Village of Skokie Beautification and Improvement Commission assists the Mayor and Trustees in landscaping and conservation issues. Every year, the Commission seeks out properties whose owners maintain it at an exceptional level. During this time, the commission visits each nominated property, taking pictures and notes. The most time consuming part of this process is driving to all of these properties. That is where the Village’s Geographic Information System (GIS) comes in.
By using a tool called Network Analyst, the Village’s GIS Specialist was able to map out all properties nominated for the award. In addition to just plotting dots on a map, the Network Analyst provides turn by turn directions to all properties. This alleviates pressure from the Village Forrester. In the past, the Forrester would plot all addresses by hand and manually draw a route. By creating a more efficient workflow, the Forrester is now able concentrate on other tasks rather than drawing these maps by hand.
The Village of Oak Brook has numerous private roads that are not maintained by the village. As a result, if a certain neighborhood wants a road to be converted to a public road they must adhere to village zoning code.
Two small, adjacent subdivisions in Oak Brook have put in a request to have their private roads converted to public roads in order to save money in maintenance fees. The first step that is required is for the village is to evaluate whether or not these private roads follow village zoning codes, and if they don’t, then the village must create a plan to convert these roads to village zoning standards.
In working with the engineering department I was able to create layers that display the minimum requirements for right of way and setback sizes. The map displays where the current road is, and the area that would be required to be converted to village property in order to adhere to village code.
This map assisted the village by providing them a visual reference to present these neighborhoods when the meeting occurs. By referencing the map alone, it is clear that these neighborhoods will not qualify for a road conversion because the required setbacks run into the houses on multiple lots.
Using GIS for this analysis saved the village time and money by not requiring engineers to go out in the field and manually measure the required distances and then map them by hand in the office.
The village of Riverside GIS (Geographic Information System) program mapped crosswalk locations in an area of town due to an event that occurred near a school. As a result of initiating this data creation, the remaining village crosswalks and some additional roadway striping information were mapped to have a complete inventory of their locations in the GIS system. Various village departments can now benefit from this information.
The Public Works Department can track where and when crosswalks are restriped and even give priority to crosswalks near schools and other stripping such as at police and fire stations. The Police Department or essentially any village department could evaluate and create a safe routes to school system which was eligible for infrastructure improvements funding at one time by the Illinois Department of Transportation. The GIS system is using this currently as support information for development of a sign inventory and can potentially reuse this information for future projects such as creating an on-street parking model.
The Tour of Elk Grove is an annual international bike race that takes place the first weekend in August. There are many components to the event including the races, block parties, a kids’ fest and more. Village staff are therefore highly involved in planning, setup, and management of the event.
GIS (Geographic Information System) services are utilized to coordinate these organization efforts with multiple maps. Map images are created to depict not only the race routes but also the layout of the block party area, emergency support stations, restroom locations, traffic control areas, and planning for detours, signage, and road closures. Address lists have also been generated to notify residents of limited vehicle access during the upcoming event. The support of GIS for this event has facilitated coordination for all involved and the information captured and managed through those services continues to grow every year.
The Village of Lincolnwood Development Department began a program aimed at creating better parking situations at strip malls throughout the Village. The Village began this campaign by gathering parking lot data consisting of number of spots and designations (Handicap), required spots determined by Village ordinance, as well as business information such as name, land use and business square footage. Assisting in this study, the Geographic Information System (GIS) Specialist was able to take the address and business information, map it and create a visual representation of strip malls that have and do not have adequate parking. This study will assist in providing locating businesses where they can have proper amount of parking spaces. By analyzing this data, the Village is looking to prevent congestion and possible traffic flow disruption along adjoining streets.
A significant part of any local government’s economic vitality relates to property development and improvements that require a building permit. Permitting fees provide vital income and can help to increase department budgets and the potential for capital improvement spending. As part of an effort to better track permit applications and highlight trends over time, the City of Des Plaines Community and Economic Development (CED) department asked the city’s GIS department to develop a map product to display permit locations.
All permit information for the city is stored in software called Penemation, so the first step in developing a map product was to export the desired information into a GIS compatible format, such as Excel. Once in this format, the permit locations were mapped in the city’s GIS software using the city’s comprehensive address database as a base. In addition to the location of the permit, the final GIS data layer also contained information on the type of permit that was issued for each address, allowing the final map product to display both the physical location and the type of permit being applied for.
Using this process, a monthly mapping cycle has been developed, allowing city staff to visualize where permits are occurring in the city. With the type of permit included in the GIS data, a secondary product of this project is being able to generate monthly statistics on the specific number of each permit being issued. Using both these outputs from the GIS system provides the CED department with an efficient and cost effective method of sharing this information across departmental boundaries and creating various budgetary reports.
As stated in Illinois Public Act 093-0687: “No license shall be issued for the sale at retail of any alcoholic liquor within 100 feet of any church, school other than an institution of higher learning, hospital, home for aged or indigent persons or for veterans… ” and “nor to the renewal of a license for the sale at retail of alcoholic liquor on premises within 100 feet of any church or school where the church or school has been established within such 100 feet since the issuance of the original license. In the case of a church, the distance of 100 feet shall be measured to the nearest part of any building used for worship services or educational programs and not to property boundaries.” The Village of Wheeling takes this law a step further and restricts liquor licenses within 100 ft of the property boundary and not the building.
The Village of Wheeling put together a map showing 100 ft boundaries around all schools in churches in the village to give them an idea of where there might be conflicts for any business looking to purchase a liquor license. Instead of taking the time to measure out distances by hand, the map displays what areas could be included in the restricted area. Although not the final determination of whether a liquor license meets the village requirements, the map allows village staff to get an idea where the restricted areas exist.
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.
In order increase development, the Village decided to update its current storm water ordinance. This updated storm water ordinance would allow land to be developed if it is at least 80 percent impervious.
In order to see determine if enough properties would meet this criteria, the Village enlisted the help of the GIS department. Through the use of 2010 aerial imagery, parking, sidewalk and paved areas, the total area of impervious surface was calculated for parcels in the commercial corridor. Without the use of GIS, Village staff would have to rely on old imagery from Google maps to estimate the impervious percentage for each property in the commercial corridor which would take a considerable amount of time.
Parcels that had an impervious surface greater than 80 percent were color coded and identified on a map. This information was also combined with the age of the building on each property. Properties with buildings older than 30 years and an impervious surface greater than 80 percent were identified as areas for redevelopment. The Village will use this information in order to plan and attract new businesses in the area. Recently, Gibson’s restaurant opened up on Spring Rd.
Lake Forest will have access to the web version of MapOffice™ beginning June 1st. The month of May was spent preparing the base data needed to get MapOffice™ up and running, which involved loading previous GIS data into the GIS Consortium standardized database.
MapOffice™ will provide staff and residents with information for each parcel and address in the city, which ranges from school districts and voting information to garbage pick up days. A link to the Lake County Assessor’s website for each individual address is also provided to gain further information regarding building and property dimensions, assessed value, and sales history. Tools will be available to the user to provide further analysis if needed, such as measuring and links to both Google Street View and Bing Maps Bird’s Eye View.
Information commonly used by staff to assist residents will now all be available in one place, increasing efficiency, as well as providing basic information to residents who may have otherwise had to call in to ask about in the past. Work continues on data creation for MapOffice™ Advanced, which is scheduled to be available on the City intranet by mid-June.
Every year the Village of Oak Brook performs improvements on roads, water main and infrastructure as a part of their capital improvement program. Prior to the improvements starting, the village is required to notify all residents that are directly and indirectly impacted by the improvements.
In the past, the village scanned and copied a paper village address map to highlight the addresses affected by the improvements. This proved to be a tedious task as maps had to be created for each address. In order to make this process run more smoothly, the Village asked for the help of the GIS department.
Through the use of GIS, maps highlighting the addresses impacted by the improvements were created. Residents that were primarily and secondarily affected by the improvements were shown in different colors with their address number and the latest aerial imagery. Residents that were primarily affected were those address located adjacent to the improvement site. Residents that lived in the general area of the improvement site were classified as secondary. For 2010, residential mailings have been sent for the paving, water main and crack sealing projects.
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.
The Special Service Area 16 came up for it’s first three year review in the Spring of 2010. The City Manager required methods to determine if the Special Service Area had fulfilled it’s goal of maintaining an economically vibrant downtown. He decided that a study of the location units used for retail, services, office, and vacant units would supply the required information
The first part of the project was joint field survey conducted by Engineering and Community Development to determine the first floor uses of each building within the Special Service Area. They walked the entirety of the Special Service Area and record the use of each commercial unit. The survey results were entered into an Excel spreadsheet and given to the GIS Office.
The GIS office reviewed the survey and quickly realized that many buildings have multiple businesses associated with them. Therefore, it was decide to split the buildings into appropriate units and assign the business information to each unit. These units were categorized by commercial use to create three final products, Retail Map, Service and Office Map. The Director of Community Development reviewed the maps and then GIS Office submitted to the City Manger.
By using GIS, the city was able to create maps that showed specific economic activity within the Special Service Area. For example, clusters of vacant and retail-orientated business were found on the maps. These maps are helping the City Manager to make the case that the Special Service Area is successful in maintaining the economic vitality of the Central Business District.
Although Geographic Information System (GIS) are used to store and retrieve data often times in a highly complex fashion, they also provide a medium for map simple production. A special event map is a regular request of GIS professionals and can be generated in a relatively short time frame with good communication between the event coordinators and the map maker.
Because the Village of Riverside has invested in a GIS program, they are able to create many graphic products to support their day-to-day business and community events such as the Riverside Arts Fair, Farmer’s Market, and race events. These products provide a shared perspective and help organize efforts for event staff and attendees alike.
The Village of Norridge requires that every residential property within the Village limits to have at least 65% green space on the property. This means that the homeowner can only have 35% of the property consist of impervious surface areas such as the building, garage, driveway, and patios. Any resident in violation of this policy can face fines and may be forced to make changes to their property. In the past, the Village would calculate the green space percentage by measuring the area of the parcels and the features using a ruler and a pencil. The Village asked the GIS department to come up with something that would aid in their analysis.
A map was created showing the percentage of green space for each parcel in the community. The percentage was calculated by combining all the building foot prints, driveways, garages, and sidewalks into one feature then dividing the area of impervious surface in a parcel by the area of the parcel itself. Even though the number is not necessarily exact due to some of the features, like patios, not being collected in the data, it provides a good starting point for any calculations and allows the village to see what properties may be in violation of the ordinance and then act accordingly. By using GIS, the village is able to cut down the amount of time calculating the green space area by hand and find properties that may be in violation that they might not have had a reason to check in the past.
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.
The Tyler Edens application is an important financial and permit enterprise system that allows the city easily track finances and permit status. The application will only function efficiently if it has good base information such as zoning districts, addresses, and owner information. This information is readily available but requires the tools within the GIS to combine this information into one table. The GIS tools also clean up the County provided assessor owner information to assure owners within the city of Highland Park has correct street names. The GIS office annually creates a flattened import file that is used to keep the Edens data current.
A second role of the GIS is providing the layers for the interactive map within Edens. This map shows parcels, buildings, and utilities. By using the map, users scan interactively select properties and see the related records for each property. This makes workflows more efficient as users do not need to manually search by addresses.
A final support process of the GIS is creating the impervious values for each property. The impervious areas used to asses a storm water fee for water billing customers. Without GIS, the Edens application would not contain much of the valuable information it now contains and would create more frustration for users trying to use the application.
The Village of Winnetka hosts numerous special events over the course of a year and, for each event, the Police and Public Works departments are involved in providing operational support. These events range from parades to festivals and require a wide-range of supportive actions. These actions are assigned via an event orders sheet provided to each department that describes the extent of the event and where various elements of the event are occurring. However, in the order sheet format, it can be difficult for personnel to get an overall view of the event’s total operations. To assist with providing this comprehensive view for the Village’s Memorial Day parade, the GIS Department was asked to develop a mapping product that would help assigned personnel to be better informed about the overall event orders.
The Memorial Day parade is an annual event that requires a variety of special operational orders to ensure residents are safe and enjoy the event proceedings. To assist with the execution of these orders, the GIS Department was provided with a copy of the event order sheet and asked to create a map showing the location of several key components of the parade. These included officer posting locations, parking restriction areas, severe weather shelters, and the parade staging area. Viewing this information spatially allows each officer and public works crew member to gain a better understanding of the scope of the event and provides a visual tool to assist with executing the operational orders sheet. While not a replacement for the written orders, the Memorial Day map acts as a supplemental tool for supporting Village departmental actions before and during the parade.
Providing a visual format for viewing a special event’s operations provides a quick reference tool for viewing the overall event setup. This broad perspective supplies more information to assigned Village personnel, helping them to make more informed and efficient decisions.
Keeping a record of the past is important to help give those in the present and future a better idea of how their current surroundings developed. Whether these surroundings are cultural, political, or genealogical, tracking the history of each can be a way to maintain a connection to where an individual or group of individuals came from. The same holds true for municipal entities, which can track the historical development of their political boundaries using annexation records that are maintained over time.
For Des Plaines, annexations are approved based on a series of legal sheets describing the boundaries of each area. While these are useful for court cases and in regulating land disputes, it can be difficult to get a sense of how the community developed by reviewing each document individually. To help get a comprehensive view of the city’s boundary development, the GIS department began tracking these areas in a GIS system to provide both an analytical tool and a means to develop a mapping product that can be provided to city departments. As an analytical tool, other city GIS data layers can be used in conjunction with the annexation information to help answer a variety of capital asset-related questions such as the age of utility mains and potential roadway resurfacing schedules. As a mapping tool, having the annexation information in GIS allows for spatial products to be created that allow for city departments, alderman, and, potentially, residents to see how the city developed over time.
Integrating annexations into the city’s GIS system has taken detailed legal descriptions of annexation plats and converted them into a more digestible, visual format for review. This makes understanding the boundaries of these annexation areas easier, which can lead to faster and more efficient decision making.
The recent collection of planimetric data or improved features such as buildings, roadways, parking lots, driveways, etc. in Elk Grove Village has provided for some new analysis possibilities through its GIS (Geographic Information System). One of the evaluations conducted was the distance between primary building structures and also a count of the number of addresses that exist within each building structure.
The results of this assessment will be shared with the village’s Fire Department and used to update such information in their database that inventories the businesses throughout the community. There is additional potential for use in dispatch to residential buildings for example that are not currently tracked to understand the number of families affected in a multiunit event or to realize the close proximity of adjacent homes on all sides of a building in the event of a house fire.
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.
Federal funding is a fundamental part of local government by helping to provide the necessary monetary assets for programs ranging from infrastructure improvements to low income housing support. While numbers and statistics related to a specific program are the nuts and bolts that eventually lead to funding being denied or awarded, including a spatial analysis of the data as a component of the funding application can help to clarify the provided information and increase a local government’s chance of receiving the requested funds.
Recently, the City of Des Plaines Community Development Department requested the assistance of the city’s GIS Department to develop a map showing the population density of low income census block group areas to be included in a federal city housing report. Since specific information regarding current income and population levels for each block group was not readily available, it was decided to use housing unit information as a substitute for population values. The assumption was that the more addresses in an area considered to be low income, the higher the potential low income population. Using this assumption and the available GIS address information, a map showing low to high density housing areas was developed to be used as a tool by the Community Development department to determine proper funding allocation. Also, by including this map in the housing report, the city was able to provide a visual method for highlighting the areas of greatest need as well as the extent to which low income housing is distributed across the city.
While statistics alone can provide the necessary information a community is trying to convey, by including a visual component, the data becomes more accessible and potentially easier to understand for those that are reviewing a report. Including a mapping component puts the information into a real world context and can give local government a more concrete method of sharing critical information that can lead to increased federal support.
For a 7.5 mile stretch of Dundee Rd., from Milwaukee Ave. to Green Bay Rd., the only section without a bikeable sidewalk or path is a small section within Wheeling village limits from the Des Plaines River to the Interstate 294 overpass. Without a path or sidewalk, this section of Dundee Rd. can be dangerous for any biker who attempts to ride in the grass or on the street itself. The Village of Wheeling is looking to build a bike path to connect the two sections to help provide a safe passage for bicyclists.
Using GIS, the village planner was able to put together multiple maps to use in proposals to outside agencies for additional funding for the project. The maps show the location of the proposed extension in relation to other bike paths in the area, while also showing how the extension will help connect the existing bike path network. By using GIS, the maps were created quickly and used information from neighboring communities that might not have been available and the map had to be created by hand. No matter what the decision is on additional funding, GIS helped play a role in getting the proposal to the table.
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.
The Village of Norridge has a newsletter that they typically mail to all addresses in the village. In addition to going to all houses, the newsletters are sent to every unit in every apartment or condo building. Because of the natural turnover in apartment renting, many times the newsletters come back to the village because there is no one currently living at the address. This costs the village money in returned and wasted postage. The village asked the GIS department to come up with a map that would present a solution to the problem.
To create the map, the buildings in the village were first sorted out by the zoning code to determine which ones were multi-unit. Then a count was taken for each building to determine how many units were in each one. Labels were then created to display the number of units in each builidng allowing an employee to physically drop off the appropriate amount of flyers and not have any returned in the mail.
By creating and displaying the units on the map, a simple solution presented itself allowing the village to save some money in a time when money is tight. Without GIS, the village would have had to sort through water billing records to determine the amount of units, which would be far more time consuming then the GIS solution.
The Village of Lincolnwood has been hard at work trying to secure grants that will help produce bicycle routes and paths throughout the Village. The grant, Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC), is administered through the Regional Transportation Authority. It is federally funded to help people of lower income travel to their places of employment. Providing assistance for this grant application has been the Village’s Geographic Information System (GIS). Throughout the process GIS has played an important part by providing maps and analysis. The Village is a member of the GIS Consortium (GISC) which is a Using the GIS Consortiums subscription to Business Analyst Online, the Village compiled necessary statistics for use in the grant. In addition to the statistics, locations of stoplights were mapped out to provide a list for use in field checks. Also, using GIS, the Village was able to verify that manhole covers and inlets along the proposed bike route corridors were of a certain type; openings were not large enough for a bicycle tire to become stuck.
The grant application process can be demanding and very competitive. With so many communities looking for free money, the more information the Village can provide, the better their chances at securing the grant. GIS has the ability to help during these processes. Map creation and analysis provided by the GIS staff have supplied necessary components of this grant.
Employees for the Village of Glenview often request very simple, but effective ways for determining attributes for property owners and one of these attributes is\are, zip codes. With assistance from Geographic Information System (GIS), Employees are now able to quickly look at the zip code map and find out a residence(s) zip code in a matter of seconds.
With the readiness of the GIS data\maps for zip codes, Employees are now capable of verifying residences zip codes on the fly. You may not think this is very important, but before GIS, Employees had to look this information up on the County’s website which in most cases took\takes 5-10 minutes. Not only does GIS provide maps like this, it also increases Employee productivity.
The Village of Oak Brook contains a number paths and trails including multi-use paths in Fullersburg Woods. The paths run through Central Park and many of the residential subdivisions. They provide residents and visitors the opportunity to stay fit and explore the village. In order to assist residents and visitors the Village hired an outside vendor to create a bike path map showing the location of the various paths throughout the village as well as important places of interest such as the Drake Hotel and Historic Graue Mill.
While this map was useful for a general overview of the bike paths across the village did not include detailed information such as ownership and bridge locations. In order to create a more detailed and accurate map, the GIS department was contacted to revise and update the bike path map.
The new bike path map included additional bike paths that had been added since the publication of the old map. Since the old map had not been updated since 2005, some bike paths were missing and some places of interest were added and removed. Bridge locations were also added to inform the public of crossings.
In order to improve the maintenance of the bike paths, the paths were broken into categories based on ownership/maintenance. All village owned paths on the street were color coded as blue, park district paths were color coded as purple, all other village owned properties were color coded as red and all other paths including forest preserve paths were color coded as orange. These categories allow village staff to quickly identify who was responsible for each path in order to quickly make repairs should they arise. The on road and off road classifications also proved to be a useful resource for the public as they could easily identify the surface type of the paths.
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 two parts of the housing market that at times can have a significant impact on a local community, housing demolitions and property foreclosures.
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 or are vacant due to foreclosures. At the Village of Morton Grove, 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. On top of this software, the village has also invested in a service to retrieve property foreclosure information from the internet. But how do you analyze all of these records spatially in order to know if there are any trends in housing within your community borders? For this difficulty alone, it makes analysis a tough thing to do unless you have a visual component such as an accurate map.
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 address data file and locate where an address falls on a particular parcel. Moreover, this same geocoding process was followed for property foreclosure information. Once these addresses were converted into a true geographical location, they could then be represented on a map allowing building officials to begin analyzing the trends that are happening on the streets within their community.
Without being able to locate these demolitions and property foreclosures geographically, it is very difficult to analyze what trends may be forming on a daily basis. Moreover, instead of leaving these records hidden in a database it is much easier to give this data a geographical location in the form of a map which in turn can to tell the village board what is really happening to the homes within their community.
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 may plan more affectively for what be coming on the road ahead.
The City of Highland Parks contains a vibrant downtown full of many service-orientated businesses that wish to provide outdoor seating for their customers. The City of Highland Park requires these businesses to apply for a permit, which allows outdoor seating. One of the main purposes of the permit is ensuring that the outdoor seating locations do not cause a public safety hazard by obstructing the pedestrian traffic or by being too close to the street
Part of the permit application process requires the requester to submit a hand drawn map showings were the tables and or chairs are located. They must also diagram a five-foot clear walkway around or through the outdoor seating area. These hand drawn maps create many issues including, legibility, not drawn to scale, and inaccurate measurements. Previously these drawings required field verification by a city employee. These field verification often held up the permit process as the person processing the permit had to wait for verification from the person who checked the site in the field.
In 2006, the City of Highland Park asked the GIS Department to create digital maps for these permits. The GIS approach held many advantages. The five-foot clear walkways were accurately applied to each map. Map symbols representing correct table and chair alignments provide an accurate display of the site setup. Furthermore, the digital maps contain other obstructions, such as planters, lights and trees. By creating the maps in standard scales, users can accurately measure distances on them. Field checks are not longer required to verify the site as most issues are reviewed on the paper copies of the maps
The maps are digital products that are easily updated as businesses makes changes to their outdoor seating areas. Many of the same businesses apply for these permits every Spring. Because the permits contain existing maps from previous years, it removes the cost of creating new maps every year. GIS was effectively used to make previously manually intensive process into a quicker automated and more accurate process.
Addresses play an important role in the day to day activities of the Village of Lincolnshire whether it is for water billing information, permits or locating a resident in case of an emergency. In addition, a physical address can serve as a link to answering such questions what school district do I belong to or what zoning district am I in?
In order to create a centralized location for the address information in Lincolnshire, a master address database was created in the Geographic Information System (GIS). This database contains address information from several sources including water billing, community development and the official address map produced by the village. In the database, each address follows the United States Postal standard with a pre direction, address number, street, pre modifier (such as street or avenue) and a post direction.
Every address in the database is represented by a point feature known as an address pin point. This point has specific x and y coordinates that allow it to be placed in a known location on the earth. This point is linked to a table containing information about that particular address including a PIN number, parcel information and assessor information.
The address pin point is typically placed in the center of the corresponding parcel. Using aerial imagery and building information, this point can be placed at the entrance of the main building to better depict the location of the address. Moreover, this address is stored as a primary address pin point. A secondary pin point is established for buildings and parking lots that have the same address as the main building, but are located on another parcel.
Address pin points allow for quick and simple retrieval of data at a particular location. Additional data layers including utilities, subdivisions and library districts can be overlaid onto the address pin point to quickly determine the location of the nearest fire hydrant to a property or the number of homes within a particular library district. This eliminates the need for village staff to check multiple sources for information which essentially can save both time and money.
Since the address pin points are directly tied to a database, any additions or deletions can be quickly made and stored as a saved edit. Addresses can also be labeled and set to a defined scale. Prior to the creation of the database the village had to manually update every address on a paper map annually with any changes to the community boundary, parcels and streets. This took a significant amount of time depending on the amount of changes in a particular year. Also due to the large scale of the map, reading addresses in highly dense areas such as apartment complexes or townhomes proved to be difficult. In GIS, these addresses can be viewed electronically and maps can be created at any scale in order to easily view and locate addresses.
Overall, it is easy to see how the creation of a centralized address database will assist every department throughout the village. For example, the Community Development Department can quickly locate an address and determine which zoning district it is apart of without having to search a zoning map or permits. The Public Works Department will be able to identify and notify all of the residents that will be impacted when a water main break occurs and the Police and Fire Departments will be able to locate and respond to an emergency call at a particular address. All in all it is safe to say that the enhancements a village will receive by having an accurate address database will become known as the GIS programs continues to evolve and relationships with other departments continue to strengthen.
According to federal law, “Adult Uses” are protected uses under the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and if a community does not provide a sufficient amount of land area for this use to exist, the municipality can be considered as violating free speech. Furthermore, this municipality could end up in Federal Court.
Morton Grove drafted regulations in their zoning ordinance in 1998. At that time, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that 3% of a municipality’s total land area should be available for an Adult Use location. In addition, the State of Illinois adopted legislation that required adult uses to be a distance of no less than 300 feet from a residential area, church, park, or school. Adult Entertainment Facilities in the Village of Morton Grove were made special uses in the M-2 General Manufacturing District only, and met both federal and state regulations at the time. Based on more recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings, the new constitutional test is that “Adult Uses” must be allowed as of right in a location that comprises either 1% of the total land area of the municipality or 5% of the total non-residential land area; thus the reason for conducting this study.
In regards to these new rulings the Village of Morton Grove, not only wanted to determine which of the newly prescribed land areas would yield the least amount of acreage they would need to make available for an adult use, but also wanted to determine if they could increase the distance from a residential area, church, park, or school in which an Adult Entertainment Facility could be located from the previous 300 feet buffer to 500, 700, or even 1,000 feet. All of this of course would be dependent on the possible amount of land area inside of the M2 Manufacturing District that could satisfy the new Supreme Court rulings. The project challenge now resided in finding enough land area inside of the M-2 Manufacturing District to comply with the federal rulings, increase the buffer distance, and try and keep an new state laws an Adult Entertainment Facilities from locating on major thoroughfares. The first step was to determine the acreage for 1% of the total land area, and 5% of the non-residential land area. This was calculated very efficiently by using the GIS system, which showed that the 1% of total land area was 32.75 acres and the 5% of non-residential land was 26.47 acres.
Therefore, if the Village of Morton Grove was able to find at least 26.47 acres inside of the M-2 Manufacturing District, and not on a major thoroughfare, they could then start measuring out the possible distances from residential areas, churches, parks, or schools to see if an increase from the original 300ft buffer to either 500, 700, or 1,000ft was feasible.
- Would there be enough usable land inside of the M-2 Manufacturing District to conclude this study?
- Would the Village of Morton Grove be able to increase their buffer and strengthen their ordinance on Adult Entertainment
These sorts of questions are what got Senior Planners investigating the use of GIS for its time saving techniques and accurate analysis of the village’s land composition. Now it was up to the GIS Specialist, with assistance from the Senior Planner, to calculate the possibilities of increasing the strength of the village ordinance on “Adult Uses.” Facilities? The GIS Specialist for the Village of Morton Grove was contacted by the Planning Department in regards to this project and a meeting was held to exemplify the ease of this analysis by using the GIS.
The first primary goal was to obtain a center point for the entire M-2 Manufacturing District in order to get a visual display on where parcels with a larger land area lied close to this center point. By doing so this would help ensure that a larger buffer has a better chance of being implemented without affecting residential areas, churches, parks, or schools The second objective was to start collecting parcels that totaled at least 26.47 acres that did not lie on major thoroughfares. Once this criterion was met the GIS Specialist was able to create multiple buffers at the 300, 500, 700, and 1,000ft ranges in order to see what areas, if any, outside of the M-2 Manufacturing District were affected. Furthermore, this part of the analysis allowed the GIS to prove whether or not a new ordinance could be written with a stronger restriction placed on Adult Entertainment Facilities. Even better, this analysis saved the village planners time and inaccuracies from attempting to measure these distances by hand. The GIS provided the answer and it was apparently obvious that the Village of Morton Grove could indeed increase their buffer distance from residential areas, churches, parks, or schools from the original 300ft restriction to a 700ft buffer restriction as long as the Forest Preserve was not included.
“The GIS saved the analysis and we can share it with other communities that may want to do the same thing when/if they update their codes. Maybe the ease of this with GIS will serve as a wake up call to all the communities that haven't but should update their adult use regulations to avoid any legal challenges!”(Jacobson, B. 2006)
More often than not a local community has a need to notify their residents when a large event is about to occur. Whether it is a fourth of July fireworks display or a street closing for a street festival, residents deserve to know when something is going to affect them and the neighborhood around them. For the Village of Morton Grove the act of notifying residents has been practiced in many ways but it was not until the implementation of the Geographic Information System (GIS) that a simpler method came to fruition.
By using the tools located within the GIS, notifications that normally took a few hours could now be completed in only a few minutes. With the ability of the GIS to house all addresses within the village as well as the proper tools to apply a buffer from the location of the event, the old methods of manual measurements could now be retired.
A typical situation may involve the Police Department who is concerned with the flow of traffic around such a large event as well as keeping the streets free and clear within a specific distance of the event. From there the request is made to the GIS Department to select all addresses within a one hundred foot buffer of the streets that have been assigned to be closed during the event. Buffering the closed streets by one hundred feet will ensure that all residents on both sides of the street are aware of the “no parking restriction” and thus forth, keep the streets clear during the event. Once the GIS has applied the one hundred foot buffer and then selects all of the addresses within the buffered area, these addresses are then exported to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. In addition, this excel spreadsheet can eventually be used in a mail merge in order to create printed address labels that will be applied to the notification letters.
Although the processes of dropping fliers in a mailbox or knocking on the doors of residents still works to notify them of something important, it is rather time consuming and may be difficult to handle. Moreover, manual measurements on a map to retrieve all addresses within a certain distance can be highly inaccurate. But by using the tools within the GIS, much of the time consuming hard work and error possibilities can be avoided. Thus, displaying a simple solution to a fairly complex operation.