Skokie Backlot Bash Special Event Support

​​The Village of Skokie, IL hosts an annual event every year called "Skokie’s Back Lot Bash", which is a festival that combines live music, food, and other entertainment in its downtown area.  Since this is an important event for the village, Skokie wanted to provide a map on their village website that was interactive and provided more detailed information than a simple paper map.

Working together with the Skokie Park District, Skokie village staff provided the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department with pictures from the previous year, as well as menu options, time slots, and other pertinent information related to the event. With the map setup to link locations on a map with accompanying pictures, each picture was chosen to represent what an attendee would find at that event location.   In addition to the pictures, clickable links and other information were available to those viewing the map to allow them to find which music performers were playing when or what food was available at the food tents.

Skokie’s Back Lot Bash interactive map exceeded the standards of a simple paper map and provided a modern interactive environment for residents and visitors. The map powerful yet simple, easy to use, and informative. It could also be accessed on a mobile device, which helped contributed to the success of the event.

Downtown Skokie Parking Ordinance Map

The Village of Skokie, IL recently altered their municipal lot parking restrictions throughout the downtown area of the village. In order to make this transition easy for Skokie residents and visitors, a map product that displays parking times and locations is an important asset. The Village of Skokie needed a map to bring to board members and the public alike.

The data gathering was a collaboration between the policymakers in Skokie and work orders from the newly placed signage at these parking lots. To assist with creating the desired map product, the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department reviewed the signage work orders to create the data and then reviewed the map with the policymakers to make sure it was accurate. Since this map faced the public and would be on the web site for the public to reference, it was important that this map be accurate.

The finished map now provides an easily referenced resource for future policy decisions and for residents or visitors to Skokie to know where they are allowed to park their vehicle and when. Most importantly, it prevents confusion during the transition since there are a number of different time restrictions.

Snow Removal Program Mapping in Schiller Park

Every year the Village of Schiller Park, IL provides snow removal services to its residents that are unable to remove snow themselves.  These services are done through outside contractors working for the village and some of the services include snow removal of a resident’s driveway, pathway or sidewalk. All of the services offered are separate costs for each occurrence.   With over 100 applicants each year the Village of Schiller Park has asked their Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department to help map out all of the snow removal applicants and determine which contractors to assign to each of four designated sections in town.

To create each section map, the GIS department took the ever growing list of applications and mapped the resident locations, which were then color coded to represent each of the four contractors’ sections.  Viewing this information in a spatial environment provides the village with a quick reference resource it can now distribute to each contractor to get the work done quickly and efficiently without village staff needing to coordinate with the contractors on where the applicants are within the village.

Using ArcGIS Online to Promote Holiday Events

The Village of Tinley Park, IL offers a variety of holiday events in December, most of which are centered on an event called the Holiday Market.  The Holiday Market provides a range of different activities for families that include parades, movies, carriage rides, carousel rides, crafts, and ice-carving.  In order to better inform residents on where these events are located, the village has provided an interactive map on their website that provides event descriptions, dates and times for each event, as well as where they are located in downtown Tinley Park. 

The map leverages an application designed by a company called Esri that allows users to interactively move between a map and a text panel to better understand the spatial context of an event, article, or story.  These story maps can also be customized to incorporate specific designs or branding.  Tinley Park was interested in putting a spotlight on local businesses that had helped sponsor the Holiday Market, so this year’s Holiday Market story map was customized to include sponsor branding and inclusion in event descriptions.  This helps to improve the visibility of these local businesses and may also help the Village obtain sponsors for future events.

Promoting Mundelein as a Bicycle Friendly Village

The Village of Mundelein, IL is located in the center of Lake County, which put it at the crossroads of several important bike paths including the Millennium Trail and the North Shore Bike Trail.  Mundelein also has network of multi-use trails that provide access to parks and other amenities throughout the Village. As a result, the Village was interested in promoting the bike path information to visitors hoping that it would encourage cyclists to bike to Mundelein.  To do so, the village asked the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Office about what type of map products could be created for distribution on the village website and through other mediums. 

After a discussion of what was needed, it was decided to add the bike route information as layer that can be turned on and off in the village’s online mapping application, MapOffice™.  There were several elements that made the layer useful for public consumption. The first was adding recommended on-street route information to show how the street network connects the various paths.  The second included adding hyper-linked points at the entry points of major trails that link to larger PDF maps of the trail so that visitors would see where Mundelein was located in relation to other major trials.

By using MapOffice™ to display bike trail information the Village of Mundelein has a powerful tool that makes it easier for bicyclists to plan their trips through Mundelein.  It is also a great way to promote all the cycling opportunities in the village.

Flood Location Mapping for a Series of Rain Events

During the summer of 2014 the Village of La Grange, IL experienced multiple high intensity rain events that exceeded the capacity of the village’s sewer system, resulting in flooded basements, streets, and rear yards.   On August 22nd, 2014, approximately 4.24 inches of rain fell over the area in a short amount of time.  In this and several other heavy rain events in June, water flowed overland and pooled in depression areas, resulting in water entering houses through window wells and other low openings. This event caused numerous basement backups throughout the village, of which the Public Works Department received hundreds of reports of flooding and damage as a result.  To help the department get a better picture of the extent of the flooding, they asked the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department to map all the locations where a flooding call was reported to see if there were any patterns that could be determined.

As a new member of the GIS Consortium, the village’s Public Works Director called upon GIS to map out the addresses provided by the callers in order to distinguish where concentrations of various types of flooding occurred. The GIS department took the address and flooding type list provided by Public Works and mapped these addresses against the address database in La Grange. This plotted out the points on a map and the points were symbolized according to the flooding type. The maps were used as tools to best deploy resources and understand areas of focus and concern.

Using GIS to Plan Bigger and Better Special Events

Elk Grove Village, IL hosts a summer concert series every year that are free, family friendly concerts that occur every Tuesday evening during the month of July.  This event has been steadily growing in attendance every year, leading to an increase in the amount of time and cost put towards planning the event by village staff. With higher attendance numbers, parking has become a major concern.  For the summer 2015 series the village is considering changing venues to allow for more parking within close proximity of the concert area.  In order to determine how much parking is going to be available near the new venue, the Police department utilized the village’s Geographic Information System (GIS). 

At the new venue there are several criteria that need to be taken into account to determine the amount of available parking: parking is only allowed on one side of the street, driveways are not to be blocked, parking is not allowed within 20 feet of a crosswalk, and 22 feet of space is required for each car.  The village’s GIS team was able to take these parameters and visualize them in GIS, providing the police department with an estimation of the number of cars that could be parked in each designated parking quadrant.  The police then used this information to support their request for the new venue location.  This workflow proved so successful that the Police department plan to use it moving forward for every event that requires on-street parking.  Utilizing GIS, the Elk Grove Police Department was able to help the village plan more effectively, which in turn adds value for the residents who attend by making it easier to access the event space. 

Locate Your Polling Station

It is election season once again, and the frequency of residents contacting their community leaders for polling place locations will undoubtedly increase.  Generally this information is made available to the public in a static format, such as a paper document or map. The document will notify the voter of where polling stations are located and perhaps the precinct boundaries, but which is the nearest voting station and what precinct do you reside in? All of these questions can be answered in one application; Community Portal.

Community Portal is a user friendly GIS powered application that presents useful information that every resident within a community would find useful. When you search for an address within a community it will identify all of property information unique to that address. If a resident is intending to educate themselves before the election, Community Portal will provide information on all of their state and federal representatives along with the address of the nearest polling station. This information is dynamic, current and can always be relied on for its accuracy. The Village of Wheeling is discovering this is an easy way to conserve time and educate their community.

Village of Mundelein Launches Community Portal

The Village of Mundelein, IL recently added a Property Search function to the main page of their community website that allows residents to type in an address and get directed to a property information application called Community Portal. Community Portal makes looking up property information quick and easy. When an address is entered into the Property Search window, Community Portal launches and redirects to that property’s "Property Summary" page, which contains information regarding zoning, voting precinct information, and much more. In addition to "Property Summary", there are other tabs that can be added to the Community Portal interface, which is completely customizable based on the community’s needs.  What makes Community Portal so different from traditional, map-based address search applications is that, while the information returned for a property is being served up from a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database, it’s being displayed in a text based environment without the necessity of a map.  While the option exists within Community Portal to display a property on a map, often times it’s the information associated with an address that is most important to whoever is initiating the search.  Simplifying how this information is displayed, and the ease of use of the search function, is what makes Community Portal so beneficial to Mundelein.

As Mundelein begins to understand what information the public is looking for, Community Portal will continue to develop and grow.  As stated earlier, it is completely customizable based on the community’s needs, which is how the village will continue to move forward with its goal of being more transparent with the information that it provides to the public.  There is more to come with Community Portal in Mundelein, so stay tuned!

Mapping out a Community-Wide Garage Sale in Schiller Park

As the weather gets warmer, garage sales start popping up all across communities in the Chicagoland area. The Village of Schiller Park, IL made the decision to have a community-wide garage sale to bring people to the Village and generate interest in community events as the summer comes to a close. The Village gets dozens of residents signing up to have garage sales each year and the Village even provides space to be rented out at the Community Center parking lot to those who are unable to have one at their residences.  Given the scope of this event and its importance to the village, staff wanted to provide an easy-to-use, visual resource for identifying where all the sales are at for both residents and visitors alike.

To assist those who want to visit each garage sale, Schiller Park wanted to provide a list of all the sale participants and a corresponding map to display on their website and distribute to the public. To create this map, the village turned to the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department.  To create this map, an Excel spreadsheet of the final list of garage sale participant locations was sent to GIS and a map displaying all of the addresses identified in the list was created. To ensure the map was available to the widest audience possible, it was posted on both the Village website and made available for pick up at Village Hall or other community buildings.

By creating a visual aid using GIS to supplement the existing participant list, the village was able to provide an additional layer of service to those interested in visiting the sale locations, especially those that are not from the village and are unfamiliar with where certain addresses are at.