Entries by Ana Grahovac

Home Foreclosure Tracking

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Within the Village every month homes are receiving notice, entering into, and being sold out of foreclosure.  These documents are mailed to Village hall and scanned electronically.  However, due to the constant change and sometimes long process involved it was difficult for the Community Development and Planning Department to easily keep track of specific properties.  GIS was asked to create a system to record and display which properties are involved in the foreclosure process, and their current status. 

At the end of every month GIS reviews the scanned documents and records on an excel spreadsheet the dates that a property receives a lis pendens or notice of foreclosure, is foreclosed upon, and is sold out of foreclosure.  This list of addresses is then geocoded and displayed on a map by status:  yellow for pending foreclosure, red for homes currently in foreclosure, and purple for homes that have come out of foreclosure.  This map is then distributed by email to both the Planning and Police departments for use.  Knowing which properties are involved in the foreclosure process is helpful to planning inspectors who check for code violations as well as police who are interested in knowing which homes may be vacant.  Moving forward as more data is collected and tracked GIS will be able to perform more in-depth analysis and look for possible trends.

Published: 8/12/2014 6:56 AM
Title: Home Foreclosure Tracking

GIS Assists with Dispatch Expansion

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The Board of Trustees in the Village of Wheeling recently approved a five-year agreement to take over emergency police dispatch services for the City of Des Plaines. Both parties are excited stepping forward, especially since both communities are members of GIS Consortium. The GIS Consortium is a group of local communities working together to develop geographic information systems (GIS) solutions that effectively reduce cost and risk.

GIS is currently assisting dispatch and police in both communities by supplying address ranges, jurisdiction information, and mapping incident locations. This GIS information is being shared with Wheeling’s Police Department to make their dispatchers and first responders more familiar with the City of Des Plaines. Familiarizing dispatch with an entire new community can be a daunting task, but the tools provided by GIS aid in the transition. Custom GIS layers were created for Wheeling’s Police Department that are displaying police beats, road ownership information, parolee and sex offender locations within Des Plaines. Information that would once take days or months to become familiar with is available instantaneously through GIS.

The use of GIS technology has allowed the Police Departments in both communities to continue their obligation to assist residents, all while making the service more affordable and less of a burden to maintain.

Published: 8/12/2014 6:51 AM
Title: GIS Assists with Dispatch Expansion

GIS Assists in Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Planning

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The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act has outlined where medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers cannot be located. Yet the burden is left up to the communities on where these facilities are to be located. The Pilot Program requires a cultivation center cannot be located within 2,500 feet of a school, daycare facility or within a residentially zoned area.  A dispensary cannot be located within 1000 feet of a school, daycare facility or within a residentially zoned area. Utilizing GIS, the Village of Lincolnshire was able to determine what areas of the Village were restricted by applying a 1,000 foot and 2,500 foot buffer around the daycare facilities.

The analysis provided a clear picture that a cultivation center cannot exist within the Village, but a number of areas within the Village could develop a dispensary. The 1,000 foot buffer had little impact on the main commercial district of the Village. Once this analysis was given to the Zoning Board they concluded a dispensary could only be located in the main commercial district (O/Id).  Displaying which parcels were vacant or available in that commercial district would present exactly which properties could be developed into a medical marijuana dispensary. GIS allows a community to confidently and efficiently plan for one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the country, and recognize they are entirely within the law.

Published: 8/12/2014 6:46 AM
Title: GIS Assists in Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Planning

Using Interactive Mapping to View Available Commercial Properties

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The City of Lake Forest, IL has developed an intuitive application that allows the public to view available commercial properties and related property information that are located throughout the city. Economic Development requested a method for staff and potential occupants to be able to quickly view vacant commercial properties. With the assistance of staff from the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department, the Economic Development department created a map application that will display the location of all properties. Each property will have a unique photo, as well as a comprehensive list of related information.

The first step is for GIS staff to acquire all of the locations and information. The available commercial properties were then mapped and the related information populated. The data will be loaded into an online map environment, called Story Maps, which is powered by ESRI’s ArcGIS Online application. The Story Maps interface provides a user the ability to host an inactive map showing localized data, in this case vacant commercial properties. The end result of this project will be a URL web link that is embedded on the city’s webpage. Once the Story Map is published users can view available properties. Once a property is chosen, additional information is displayed in a pop-up dialog box.

Creating this interactive map provides staff and potential occupants with a streamlined source of information. Users can be able to browse available properties without looking through a cumbersome word document or spreadsheet. Having this information in an intuitive format and in accessible location has proven to be a valuable and time saving resource.

Published: 8/12/2014 6:43 AM
Title: Using Interactive Mapping to View Available Commercial Properties

Using Interactive Mapping to Search Historical Landmark Properties

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The City of Lake Forest, IL has developed an intuitive application that allows the public to view historical landmark properties and related property information that are located throughout the city. Community Development requested a method for staff and residents to be able to search for historical properties by address or architect. With the assistance of staff from the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department, the Community Development department will created a map application that will display the location of all historical properties. Each property will have a unique photo, as well as a comprehensive list of related information.

The first step is for GIS staff to acquire all of the locations and information. The historic properties were then be mapped and the related information will be populated. The data will be loaded into an online map environment, called Story Maps, which is powered by ESRI’s ArcGIS Online application. The Story Maps interface provides a user the ability to host an inactive map showing localized data, in this case historical landmark properties. The end result of this project will be a URL web link that is embedded on the city’s webpage. Once the Story Map is published users can search property by address or architect. Once a property is chosen, additional information is displayed in a pop-up dialog box.

Creating this interactive map provides staff and residents with a streamlined source of information. Users can be able to browse historical landmark properties without looking through a cumbersome database. Having this information in an intuitive format and in accessible location has proven to be a valuable and time saving resource.

Published: 8/12/2014 6:42 AM
Title: Using Interactive Mapping to Search Historical Landmark Properties

Providing Contractors Information using GIS

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Each spring, The City of Lake Forest, IL Forestry Department places there mowing maintenance responsibilities out for contractual bid. Mowing maintenance include areas that require weekly mowing and that are managed by the city. Since the mowing is not performed internally, landscaping companies place a bid on the project. Once a winning bid has been chosen, the landscaping company requires a set of reference maps illustrating the mowing sites. Previously, GIS staff would create mapbooks, having a page for each mowing site. Recently, an interactive, online mapping application called Story Maps was developed to provide contractors a means of viewing the mowing sites on their mobile device.

 

The first step is for GIS staff to acquire the mowing site information from the Forestry Department. The mowing sites will then be mapped and the related information will be populated. The locations and data will be loaded into the Story Map, which is powered by ESRI’s ArcGIS Online application. The Story Map’s interface provides a user the ability to host an inactive map showing localized data, in this instance, mowing sites. The end result of this project will be a URL web link that will be provided to the contractors.

Creating an interactive map rather than using paper mapbooks will provide contractors with easy to manage reference material. Rather than transporting a mapbook with hundreds of pages, contractors can reference their phone to search to a desired area. The Story Map also contains a GPS function that will allow users to identify their location within the map. Having this information in an intuitive format on a mobile application allows residents a streamlined and innovative experience.

Published: 8/12/2014 6:40 AM
Title: Providing Contractors Information using GIS

Highland Park Launches Community Portal

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The City of Highland Park made a recent addition to the main page of the website; Property Search, also known as Community Portal. Highland Park has long been directing the public to MapOffice Public for their information needs but now the public has another site at just the click of a mouse.

Community Portal makes looking up property information quick and easy.  On the front page of the Highland Park webpage is a “Property Search” widget that directs the public to enter an address for more information.  When an address is entered in, Community Portal launches itself with a “Property Summary” landing page. Multiple tabs of information are provided within Community Portal and it is completely customizable based on the community’s needs. The idea behind Community Portal that makes it so different from MapOffice is that not all information needs to be displayed on a map such as garbage pickup day/time, rather just text information is needed which is where Community Portal steps in. It is the simplicity and ease of use that makes Community Portal so beneficial to Highland Park.

As Highland Park begins to understand what information the public is looking for, Community Portal will be developed further around that. As stated earlier, it is completely customizable based on the communities needs and that is how Highland Park will advance itself in providing need to know information to the public. More to come with Community Portal!

Published: 8/12/2014 6:37 AM
Title: Highland Park Launches Community Portal

Tree Work Order Tracking

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Tree work orders were recorded in the past on paper by the Administrative Specialists, but when the Forrester in Elk Grove Village created his own database to track the phone calls and complaints from residents, GIS staff came up with the idea of tracking these work orders in MapOffice.

By allowing staff to search the records for the work orders by complaint type and date, staff can track both the complaint information and the work that was done by Public Works in response to the complaint. This technology also allows staff to determine if multiple work orders have been created from the same address or same resident. Staff would have to map each work order and update the map with the work done every day, if GIS technology was not available.

Published: 8/12/2014 6:33 AM
Title: Tree Work Order Tracking

Street Sign Inventory Field Collection

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As part of the MUTCD Sign Retroreflectivity program, communities are required to keep an inventory of their existing street signs which they will then use to create a maintenance program for sign retroflectivity.  The City of Des Plaines has a sign inventory that they have created in the past, but they wanted to make sure their inventory was up-to-date.  They determined that they wanted to send employees out in the field to confirm existing sign locations and collect any additional signs or information.

The City of Des Plaines decided to use the ArcGIS Online Collector Application to capture missing sign locations and information.  The Collector Application is a program that can be downloaded to most mobile devices that allows the user to capture GIS field data, such as point locations and attribute information, and then sync the data back with the main database.  The City of Des Plaines is using an Apple iPad with offline editing, meaning that all the changes are stored on the device and then when an online collection is established back in the office, the changes are then synched.  The Collector Application is set up so that the user only has to place sign or post locations and then choose from drop down menus for any of the sign attributes.  This allows the user to quickly place locations and add in the necessary information, without wasting any time.  By using the Collector App and GIS, the City of Des Plaines is quickly revising their Sign Inventory in conjunction with the MUTCD Sign Retroreflectivity Program.

Published: 8/12/2014 6:29 AM
Title: Street Sign Inventory Field Collection

Using GIS to Assist in the Bid Process

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​The Des Plaines Fire Department is on duty 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  Challenges providing emergency services change with the seasons.  One of the largest hindrances to Fire Fighters in the winter is snow.  When Mother Nature pounds the city with snow for months the snow piles grow exponentially, as residents shovel driveways and municipalities plow roads.  Fire hydrants along the road easily become covered with snow, which makes them much harder to find in an emergency situation.  While Public Works, the Fire Department, and volunteer residents work to keep the hydrants clear, when a heavy snowfall occurs it is nearly impossible to keep all the hydrants visible. 

The Des Plaines City Council approved a proposal to add markers (5 foot tall poles with a flag on top) to fire hydrants to make them more visible in the winter months.  Fire Chief Wax decided that initially they wanted to mark all hydrants in cul-de-sacs and on roads with 4 lanes, as these locations collect the most snow. 

 

The Fire Department utilized GIS to determine how many hydrants were in these specific locations.  Cul-de-sacs and 4 lane roads were located in GIS and then a simple search of hydrants within a specified distance was performed.  By utilizing GIS and GIS data the Fire Department was able to give a very accurate estimation of the number of markers that were going to be needed.  The actual number needed was smaller than originally estimated, so the project will come in under budget.  Mapbooks of the hydrant locations were created and given to project bidders to aid in their bid estimate and will be utilized again when placing the markers on the hydrants.  By teaming together the Fire and GIS Departments were able to provide an quick and efficient bidding process, which in the end will benefit the city and its residents.

Published: 8/12/2014 6:26 AM
Title: Using GIS to Assist in the Bid Process