A Breath of Fresh Air for Capital Improvement Project Planning

Each year many communities must review and re-evaluate their Capital Improvement Project (CIP) plan.  In the Village Northbrook, IL this is a long and detailed process which plans major projects for the next five years and, after the creation of the plan, it must then be presented to the Board of Trustees.  While preparing for this presentation, the Village Manager came to the village Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department looking for a way to present the information in a new, exciting, and engaging method which demonstrates GIS’s capabilities.

Before Northbrook joined the GIS Consortium, the CIP plan was presented using PowerPoint slides and printed maps in handbooks.  The year after Northbrook joined the GIS Consortium a custom layer was used to display the different CIP projects by planned year in the village’s browser-based mapping application, MapOfficeTM.  While this was a great improvement for presenting the CIP information to both the Board and the public, it had its limitations.

GIS was able to use leverage an online mapping application called ArcGIS Online to create a customized and an extremely interactive presentation experience called a Map Journal that is useful to both the Board and the public.  The Map Journal is able to combine the interactive map capabilities of MapOfficeTM with presentation styling’s of PowerPoint.  The Map Journal can include text explaining the CIP projects, charts or graphs outlining the finances, and pictures showing areas in need of improvements and the engineering plans and diagrams to fix them.  The Map Journal is even capable of embedding websites and videos for a truly interactive experience.  The Map Journal is a simple web application that will be available on the Village website for easy access by residents, thereby making the planning process more transparent to all impacted parties