Aggregating Data and Analyzing Localized Flooding

Locating and addressing storm water and flooding issues are an important responsibility of any community and their Public Works Department.  The Village of Northbrook, IL Public Works Department began to look at localized flooding by aggregating multiple sources of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data into a single platform.

GIS was asked to compile multiple sources of data including known flooding areas, current building footprints, historic aerial photography, FEMA floodways, and residential construction permits.  The village’s browser-based mapping application, MapOfficeTM, is the perfect interactive mapping application in which to hold all of these data sets using already accessible tools, such as historic aerial photography dating back to 1998 and a tool to display the FEMA floodways, and the ability to create custom layers for display.

With the aggregated data, Public Works looks for trends that might correlate residential construction with known localized flooding.  Residential construction permit data dating back to 1998 was collected from the Planning department’s databases and added as a custom layer in MapOfficeTM, along with known flooding areas provided by Public Works and building footprints data held in GIS.  Now, Public Works staff can compare current building footprints to historic building footprints using aerial photography and see when and what type of residential construction took place.  Staff can now look for trends in residential construction and increases in building footprint square footage to see if those might be contributing factors to local flooding issues.  Trends in residential construction can also help Public Works to plan future storm water projects to prevent flooding.

Aggregating this information in MapOfficeTM has been a crucial and effective tool in assisting the village with identifying potential problem areas for flooding and developing strategies to mitigate flooding in the future.