Entries by Mitch Greenan

More information for better decision making


The Lake County, IL Assessors Office has a database of information about properties that is a useful resource for numerous local municipal operations.   This information includes details about the structures on a property, assessment values, and other general information.  Having access to this type of information would be of tremendous value to a local government.  Therefore The Village of Mundelein, IL requested this database from Lake County and then asked the county Geographic Information System (GIS) Office to create a useful way to view this information natively in the village’s GIS environment. 

The county GIS Office created a layer of information from the Assessor database and provided it to the village GIS staff for use.  This layer was then added it to the village’s web-based mapping application, MapOffice™ Web Access, as a custom layer for display.  The intent of the overlay is to expose this information to village staff to give them the opportunity to brainstorm additional ways that it can be used moving forward.   One current idea is to push this information into the village’s CityView application during the next software upgrade.  This will provide inspectors with quick access to information about structures, as well as other useful structural information.    Another idea is to create maps showing the Equalized Assessed Values (EAV) of properties and the age of structures within the Village.

By using GIS, the Village developed an easy way to view rich detail of each property.  This is a more efficient way to access the data other than clicking on each property and waiting to link to a report from the Assessor’s office.   By creating a custom overlay to view in the village mapping environment, village users can interact with the data more directly and better visualize potential future products.

Published: 3/17/2014 2:45 PM
Title: More information for better decision making

Water main Repair Frequency


​Since the late 1970s The Village of Mundelein, IL has aggressively replaced older ductile iron water main with PVC watermain.  This has resulted in a safer water supply and a lower maintenance cost water system.  There are still a few areas of the Village with older ductile iron water mains and these areas also tend to have the highest frequency of breaks. 

The Mundelein Public Works Department desired an effective way to show the Village Board that they need to dedicate funding to replace the older pipes in these few remaining areas.   They contracted the Geographic Information System (GIS) Office about creating a map the shows the locations of breaks and the age of the pipes.  The GIS Office created a map showing the density of water main repairs, which displayed breaks grouped in a few specific areas.  Next they symbolized the water mains by year and material to show which ones are new or have been replaced and which water mains are still original.

When the water main repair density information, which showed which pipes where new or replaced, was visually compared to the general water main data, it was immediately clear that all the repair issues were located in areas that still contained original water mains.  Now the Department of Public Works had a visual display that clearly showed that the primary problem areas are those that contain most of the older water mains.   Public Works intends to use this map as a visual resource during future council meetings, where they plan to request funding from the Village Board for replacing these problem mains. 

Published: 3/17/2014 2:30 PM
Title: Water main Repair Frequency

Mapping and Analysis of Water Main Breaks



The Village of Tinley Park has detailed records on water main breaks.  To see spatially where these breaks are happening provides an addition tool when examining where breaks are most frequent and can assist in the planning of future budgets on capital improvement projects.  Tinley Park’s public works department recently asked the GIS Consortium to create a map displaying where every single water main break has occurred within the village.  The GIS department was able to find historical water main break data from as early as 1981.  Plotting the break data from 1981-2013 provides a unique outlook on the state of the water system and will shed light on areas that need to be looked into for future replacement.

Identifying areas with a high number of breaks is just one step in analyzing the water system.  The village can dig deeper and evaluate types of material that are most common for breaks, what role if any does water main depth play, or even the average age of the water mains that are breaking.  With GIS, the Village of Tinley Park has the resources available to track and analyze these questions.

Published: 2/28/2014 9:00 AM
Title: Mapping and Analysis of Water Main Breaks

Accessing Laserfiche through MapOffice(TM)



Over the years, the Village of Northbrook has scanned paper documents including, engineering drawings and plat maps in the effort of going paperless using software called Laserfiche. Laserfiche provides a framework for storing, organizing, and searching scanned documents. There are many benefits to having paper documents digitized including the ability to create backups and reducing staff’s time that went towards manually searching through boxed historical records.
The GIS Consortium created an easy way to find these documents using MapOffice. Staff can save time by locating the address they are interested in on MapOffice and turning on a Custom Overlay of the Village Subdivisions. Staff can click on the subdivision and bring up a hyperlink of the folder containing the associated documents and drawings for the subdivision the address falls into. The integration of Northbrook’s GIS data and Laserfiche will provide an invaluable tool for staff members when they need to access information.

Published: 2/28/2014 8:50 AM
Title: Accessing Laserfiche through MapOffice(TM)

Collecting Asset Inventories Using Mobile Applications



The City of Lake Forest, IL Engineering Department collects a sidewalk condition inventory every five years. This inventory is used to spatially plan annual capital improvement projects. Historically, Engineering staff field survey sidewalk conditions with a laptop and desktop Geographic Information System (GIS) software to identify areas of concerns. The sidewalk inventory information is then exported to spreadsheets and populated with construction dates which coordinate with the rest of the City’s Capital Improvement plan. To help streamline this process and remove some of the steps involved, the sidewalk survey is now performed using a mobile application called Collector provided by a company named Esri.

With the use of the free Collector application, staff can now perform the sidewalk inventory using just a tablet or smartphone. This method eliminates the need for using a laptop to conduct this inventory. Using Collector, users create a point at a desired location, define attributes associated to that point, and capture a related photo. The captured sidewalk survey data is then extracted from the tablet onto the Engineering workstations. The data can now be exported in a spreadsheet form and used for capital improvement planning and biddings.

The above process can be replicated to field capture any location inventory. Utilizing a tablet or smartphone is a more convenient platform for use in the field. The intuitive functionality of the mobile application reduces training time compared to advanced GIS software. The ability to capture the inventory without requiring desktop GIS software saves money in licensing fees and provides the city with the flexibility to replicate the process for collecting other asset information in the future.

Published: 2/26/2014 4:20 PM
Title: Collecting Asset Inventories Using Mobile Applications

Water System Operator Magazine Recognizes Quality Leaders in the Village of Norridge


​Water System Operator Magazine recently published an article on the Village of Norridge, showing its success with technology improvements and service.  It reviews the work of Doug Strempek, the IT and GIS Coordinator for the Village, in the updating of core technologies and services. Read the full article at Water Systems Operator.  Congratulations Doug!

Published: 2/25/2014 3:30 PM
Title: Water System Operator Magazine Recognizes Quality Leaders in the Village of Norridge