Automating Field Atlas Creation

The Village of Mundelein, IL, like many municipalities, requires a variety of map book products, or atlases, to help keep asset maintenance projects organized.  In the past, the work areas for smaller projects were hand drawn on printed maps or aerial photos.  Larger projects, such community wide utility reviews or asset checks, required the time intensive development of map grids that would then be used to create individual maps, one at a time, until the entire village was represented.  To help improve the process of developing these asset atlases, the village’s Public Works department contacted the Geographic Information System (GIS) department and requested a redesign of the village’s current atlas products. 

Using a function called the data driven pages, available as part of ESRI’s desktop application, ArcMap, the GIS office was able to quickly create customized atlases for each requested work project.  For seasonal operations, such as snow removal and street sweeping, it was as easy as using existing work zones already created in the village’s GIS environment to create the extent of each atlas page.  For other operational processes, such as root cutting and degreasing, custom map areas were created.  Using custom extents for atlas products is valuable because each map area can be scaled as needed based on the content being displayed.

Although electronic access to data in the field is becoming more common, there is still the need for paper atlases.  The ability to quickly create atlases using the data driven page process, customized to specific project extents, has resulted in a tremendous time savings to the workflow of these projects, both for the GIS staff creating the maps and the Public Works staff using the end product.