Entries by Ana Grahovac

Crystal Lake Teams up with GIS to Fight Fires in Lakewood

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Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department

Is it possible to save resources, improve community services, and help a fellow neighbor all at the same time? If you ask Crystal Lake, the answer is an enthusiastic “Yes!” ​


In 2015, Crystal Lake’s neighbor, the Village of Lakewood, was in search of a new fire service provider. That summer, Lakewood approached Crystal Lake with a proposal to enlist the Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department as the new provider with the caveat that the city would provide more efficient and cost-effective services.  


Fighting Fires With GIS 


Enthusiastic to help, Crystal Lake turned to its GIS program for assistance with the endeavor. To better understand if the city would be able to effectively provide this service, the fire department collaborated with the city’s GIS program to answer the following question: Can the Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department respond from each station to all areas of Lakewood more effectively than the village’s current provider?  
 

Evaluating Distance Response Times

 

Crystal Lake’s GIS team created an emergency drive response time map to analyze how long it would take emergency responders to travel from the station to different areas of Lakewood. The team discovered that Crystal Lake is able to respond faster than the current provider. Upon reviewing various resources, Crystal Lake’s bid, and the drive time analysis, Lakewood chose to unite with the Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department as the community’s new fire protection service provider.  



A New Year, A New Beginning 


January 1, 2016 marked the first official day of the new fire protection partnership. To ensure that the two communities made a successful transition sans service interruptions, the GIS Program developed a plan to facilitate the changeover. The GIS team and the fire department joined forces to use drive time analysis to map out ideal routes from each station to locations throughout both communities. The results and maps were shared with the staff to inform them of the new coverage area, and fire protection services were set into motion. 

By leveraging GIS and coordinating with the fire department, Crystal Lake and Lakewood combined resources and ideas to provide fire services to both communities. This collaboration enabled each community to receive efficient and effective services while saving time and resources. 


Take the Lead 


Discover, innovate, and collaborate with the GIS Consortium today! Contact your community’s GIS Specialist to discuss project opportunities, Consortium services, and GIS.  

If you would like to learn more about this initiative or if you have questions, please contact agrahovac@mgpinc.com. 

 

Author: Alexandria Caputo, GIS Specialist in Crystal Lake 

Published: 6/22/2016 11:00 AM
Title: Crystal Lake Teams up with GIS to Fight Fires in Lakewood

Communities That Collaborate Win!

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A disruptive model for collaboration was set into motion in 1998 knitting four communities together to form the GIS Consortium; in this model communities share staffing, software, and infrastructure to enhance communication and sharing of information across departments by delivering a robust geographic information system (GIS) in their communities.  The charter members of the GIS Consortium included the City of Highland Park, City of Park Ridge, Village of Lincolnshire, and Village of Glencoe.  Today the GIS Consortium is 32 communities strong and growing!

In the fall of 2014 the managers of these communities came together for a strategic discussion where they considered questions like, “What other big problems could we solve together?”  “How can we get access to enhanced services for our residents while revenues decline and expenses rise?” “How do we leverage the buying power we have in more places?”  Today this group of managers call themselves the Leadership Roundtable and they are committed to thrive despite the circumstances around them by operating from their circle of influence.

Local government has always solved tough issues; these communities are simply leveraging the opportunity to do this together.  We predict that this forum of managers will continue to be leaders who demonstrate what is possible when communities in local government collaborate. 

Communities that collaborate win!

Published: 12/15/2015 7:01 PM
Title: Communities That Collaborate Win!

We Will Acccomplish More Together Than We Will On Our Own!

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A forum of managers in local government in northern Illinois, the Leadership Roundtable, came together in early 2015 to generate a list of common problems they could solve together.  As the list of project ideas grew one of them quickly floated to the top of the list.  As a result, the managers prioritized a project that would enhance service by improving communication between residents and the municipality.

Next, the managers authored a charter document that outlined clear outcomes for the project, and then selected their top Thought Leaders to participate on an innovation team who would work together to achieve the desired outcome.

In 4 months’ time the team…

  • used the innovation process
  • wrote user stories
  • issued a Request for Information (RFI)
  • short-listed five vendors
  • conducted interviews and demonstration
  • created a presentation
  • presented their recommendation to the managers of the Leadership Roundtable. 

 

The team’s recommendation was to partner with a solution provider they found would achieve the outcomes of the charter best.  The recommendation to implement a Citizen Service Request system has been accepted by 14 communities and we expect that number to keep growing.  The communities are now in the process of negotiating collectively with the vendor of choice to obtain the best possible outcomes.  Implementation of the solution will begin in the first quarter of 2016. 

We will accomplish more together than we will on our own!

Published: 12/15/2015 6:56 PM
Title: We Will Acccomplish More Together Than We Will On Our Own!

On the Fast Track to Updating Bikeway Information

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The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) helps local governments plan land use and transportation initiatives to promote sustainability. CMAP’s GO TO 2040 comprehensive plan is designed to achieve this by providing recommendations on transportation, human capital and governance. One way in which CMAP strives to improve the livability of communities is through their Soles and Spokes Plan which encourages citizens to walk and bike.

The Village of Tinley Park, IL was asked to provide information about their existing walking and biking facilities for integration into CMAP’s Bikeway Information System (BIS). In order to respond to CMAP’s request, the Village had to fill out a questionnaire and mark a map with any changes or updates to the bikeway system. 

After consulting with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the Village responded to CMAP’s request by structuring bikeway facility data around the questionnaire. Bikeways were drawn using GIS and attributed based on CMAP’s interest in facility type, status, location, and other factors. By relying on GIS, the Village of Tinley Park reduced the time to complete a written response for each bikeway. Data is now stored in a system that is easily accessible and can be queried whenever needed by staff.

Published: 7/8/2015 6:37 AM
Title: On the Fast Track to Updating Bikeway Information

Know the Flow: Who Has Residential Sprinklers

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During a fire event, a sprinkler system is a key ally in battling the blaze and minimizing the damage. The City of Park Ridge, IL understands this firsthand and requires any new construction be equipped with a fire sprinkler system. While a long-time standard for commercial structures, this now includes residential buildings. 

Sprinkler information was traditionally tracked in a spreadsheet. However, locating a particular address wasn’t an easy or robust process, and not all staff members had direct access. As a result, the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Office was asked to devise a more effective way of delivering this information to staff.

GIS created a MapOffice™ Web Access Business Intelligence connection that references residential sprinkler locations throughout the city. Now when staff want to determine whether or not a residential sprinkler is installed at a home, all they do is type in an address when the connection is on. They can then click a point on the map and the spreadsheet information attributed to that address can be quickly accessed.

This is a great example of how GIS can connect with address-based tabular data and make information immediately accessible to those who need it.

Published: 7/8/2015 6:26 AM
Title: Know the Flow: Who Has Residential Sprinklers

Maintaining Village Property More Efficiently

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The Village of Mundelein, IL owns a number of properties that require regular maintenance. This ranges from mowing and fertilizing to plant bed care. Every two years the Village seeks bids from contractors to service these areas. 

In the bid proposal, the Village includes a list of locations with site numbers. Each record in the list includes an address or description of the location and the type of maintenance required. Maps with the location of site numbers are included to make it easier for contractors to find and evaluate sites.

The Public Works Department asked the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Office to assist with this year’s bids by creating maps for each location. Since most sites are small, one requirement was to format maps so that several would fit on one page. Using the Data Driven pages toolbar in Esri’s ArcMap software, the GIS Office set up an atlas with four maps per page. Because map layers are linked to data, they can be quickly updated with new information.

The result is a win-win for the Village and its vendors. By including maps in bid proposals, contractors can accurately bid on maintenance.  And by leveraging the power of GIS, Public Works can automate the creation and updating of maps with greater efficiency.

Published: 7/8/2015 6:19 AM
Title: Maintaining Village Property More Efficiently

Building Better Communication Community-Wide

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Infrastructure improvements are invaluable in keeping a community running smoothly. Unfortunately, they can turn into annoyances when a road must be closed or a car is trapped in a driveway due to road resurfacing. That is why it’s important for municipalities to communicate effectively with their residents about upcoming and ongoing construction projects.

Traditionally communities created a report with details about ongoing construction. However, this was problematic for new residents, who may not be familiar with the street network, to understand exactly where projects are occurring. While some communities use a PDF map, this can confuse residents who may not easily connect the list of projects to locations on the map.

To get around some of these issues, the Village of Mundelein, IL decided to develop interactive map to display construction locations. Residents can click on the location of a project and immediately see information in a pop-up bubble. Projects are updated each week with their current status. The interactive map is a great tool for the Village to deliver timely information, promote transparency, and minimize inconvenience for the community.

Published: 7/8/2015 6:16 AM
Title: Building Better Communication Community-Wide

Assigning Feet on the Street for the Sub Beat

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How can police analyze the number of crimes that occur and use that information to assign resources effectively? For the Village of Mundelein, IL, the answer was mapping. Because Police Sub Beats are integral to the process of assigning resources, it is important to know how many incidents occur in each. The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Office recommended mapping incidents on top of Police Sub Beats to see correlations and frequencies at a glance.

The project focused on mapping auto and structural burglaries over the past two years. Locations were overlaid on Police Sub Beats and three maps were created to display data from a variety of viewpoints. One map depicted the location of each incident; a second map showed the number of incidents in each Sub Beat; and a third map displayed the density of burglaries throughout the Village.

Now the Chief of Police can look at the number of incidents per Sub Beat and determine if Sub Beats need to be realigned or if more resources must be assigned. By combining information from dispatch record software and GIS databases, the GIS Office quickly created a trio of maps to help police visualize burglary “hot spots” in the community.

Published: 7/8/2015 6:11 AM
Title: Assigning Feet on the Street for the Sub Beat

Ready, Aim, Scan with QR Codes

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The City of Lake Forest, IL is harnessing the power of maps and mapping applications to share information with city staff and residents. Often maps refer users to another source for additional information. For example, a zoning map might direct people to the city’s Community Development website or a summer festival guide might feature website links of participating food vendors.

The downside is that referencing a website on a printed map forces the user to manually type a web address to access more information. An easy solution is to implement Quick Response (QR) codes on published maps. A QR code acts as a barcode that links to a specific website.  When the code is scanned with a smartphone or tablet, it takes the user directly to the site.

The first step is to determine the associated website. Then Geographic Information Systems (GIS) staff creates a QR code using a QR code generator website. Creating a QR code has no cost, is saved as a JPEG and can be added to any publication or map. Once finalized, the user simply scans the QR code with a smart device to instantly access associated content.

QR codes are an intuitive and time-saving way to share content. They give Lake Forest residents a convenient source of information without the extra step of typing in web addresses.

Published: 5/8/2015 10:35 AM
Title: Ready, Aim, Scan with QR Codes

Making Community Events More Interactive

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The Village of Mundelein, IL holds a variety of activities throughout the year, which are promoted through traditional outlets, such as newsletters and online calendars.   While these outlets work to inform residents, the village sought a better way to increase public awareness and civic engagement. 

The village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department recommended an interactive, online map to showcase all the events.  This type of environment offers many benefits and is also very customizable to specific requirements and easy to update.  Most importantly, the map lists all the events so viewers can click on any one and instantly see more information.  As a viewer zooms into an area of Mundelein, the list shrinks to only include events which occur in that part of the map. The map can tell the whole story or a very specific story for a neighborhood.

By creating an interactive map, Mundelein gives residents and visitors an online tool to explore events. It represents the village’s continuing commitment to provide the community with easy access to timely information and increase public awareness and engagement.

Published: 5/8/2015 10:10 AM
Title: Making Community Events More Interactive