Ready, Aim, Scan with QR Codes

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.

A Bright Idea for Managing Streetlights

The City of Lake Forest, IL is replacing all its streetlight bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs. With thousands of lights, data management can be challenging. Each location must be marked complete along with information related to wattage and voltage.

Historically, Streets department staff would capture maintenance information on paper or a laptop. Field notes were then transcribed to spreadsheets for future use. To streamline the process, staff is using a mobile asset collection application, Collector, to handle LED bulb management.

With the free Collector application, staff can perform streetlight maintenance using a tablet or smartphone. Streetlight locations are loaded into the app with predetermined fields that the user populates. These include bulb type, voltage, wattage and inventory number. Once a bulb is changed to LED, the location point changes color, indicating the action is complete. Data is extracted as a spreadsheet, eliminating the need for post-processing.

This process can be replicated to capture any inventory in the field on a tablet or smartphone. The mobile app is so intuitive, training time is reduced compared to advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software. Capturing inventory without desktop GIS software saves money on licensing fees and gives the city the flexibility to reproduce the process for other assets.

Use Interactive Mapping to See Construction and Build Relationships

The City of Lake Forest, IL developed an intuitive application that lets the public and staff see where construction projects are occurring throughout the year. With the assistance of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the City Manager’s Office and Engineering departments created a map application that will display the location of all construction sites in the city. Each site has a short project summary, along with photos and site plans. Information will be updated on a weekly basis.

The first step for GIS staff was to acquire all locations and related information. Construction sites were mapped and project details and photos were populated. Data was loaded into an online map environment, called Story Maps, powered by Esri’s ArcGIS Online application.  Story Maps enable a user to host an inactive map showing localized data, such as construction sites. The end result is a URL web link embedded on the city’s webpage. Once the Story Map is published, users can view construction sites and related information. When a site is selected, additional details are displayed in the left-hand panel of the webpage. 

Creating an interactive map gives Lake Forest residents a convenient source of information. They can browse construction sites and consume the most current project updates. Delivering data like this in an intuitive format and streamlined fashion is a valuable resource for building community relations.

Collecting Road Improvement Information in the Field

The City of Lake Forest, IL Engineering Department manages reported potholes on an annual basis. After the winter months, the streets become damaged from freezing and thawing and regular snow plowing efforts, resulting in potholes and other road repair issues. Historically, engineering staff would field survey reported pothole locations and pothole measurement and condition assessments would be made.  Those assessments would then be put into a spreadsheet with an associated address and that spreadsheet would be given to a village Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist to map the pothole locations. These methods proved to be inefficient and commonly resulted in data lose. To help streamline this process and remove some of the steps involved, the pothole inventory is now performed using a mobile application called Collector.

With the use of the Collector application, staff can now perform their pothole assessments using just a tablet or smartphone in the field. This method eliminates the need to hand write pothole details and have a GIS Specialist manually plot the potholes locations. Using Collector, staff can create a point at a desired location, define attributes associated to that point, and capture a related photo. The captured pothole data is then extracted from the tablet or phone onto the engineering workstations. The data can now be exported in a spreadsheet form and the locations captured in the field are ready to be mapped.

The process introduced by using the Collector application 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 and reduces the need to have multiple people working on one project. The ability to capture the inventory without having to manually plot the location later provides the city with the flexibility to replicate the process for collecting other asset information in the future.

How MapOffice™ Web Access has Eliminated GIS Software Costs

The City of Lake Forest, IL has recently eliminated the need and cost of having ArcGIS software on each of their utility locate field laptops. Now using an online application called MapOffice™ Web-Access (MOWA), Public Works staff now has the ability to perform their required tasks without the need to carry additional software costs. Previously the four utility laptops were equipped with desktop GIS software that required an annual maintenance fee. This software was not designed as a basic map viewing environment, which resulted in a challenging user experience for the Public Works staff as they would periodically need the guidance of GIS personnel in order to accomplish basic tasks. The laptops would also have to be decommissioned quarterly to perform data updates, which resulted in a brief stoppage of work.

The first step in migrating from the desktop software environment was to have the City of Lake Forest’s IT department work with GIS staff to implement MapOffice™ Web-Access within the city to allow it to be accessed from any city workstation or laptop.  Once MOWA is accessed, a login will be prompted to ensure data security. Due to the internet accessibility on the utility locate laptops, MOWA could now be utilized in the field as a substitute for the existing GIS desktop software. To make it easy for the Public Works staff to access and use MOWA, a shortcut link was placed on each of the laptop desktops and an initial training session was held for Public Works staff to provide them an opportunity to learn and ask question about the application.

The implementation of MapOffice™ Web-Access has greatly reduced the city’s GIS licensing costs and provided a more efficient method for Public Work staff to accomplish their utility locate duties. City staff also has an intuitive application that no longer requires a heavy learning investment and the laptops no longer need quarterly updates because the data is updated via the internet without interrupting use.

Using Interactive Mapping to view Capital Improvements

The City of Lake Forest, IL has developed an intuitive application that allows the public to view ongoing capital improvement projects and related project information. The Engineering department requested a method for residents to be able to quickly view capital improvements throughout the city. With the assistance of staff from the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department, the Engineering department hosted a map application that displayed the location of each project. Each project will have a unique photo, as well as a comprehensive list of related information.

The first step was for GIS staff to acquire all of the project locations and information. The capital improvement projects were then mapped and the related information populated. The data was then loaded into an online map environment, called Story Maps, which is powered by Esri’s ArcGIS Online environment. The Story Maps interface provides a user the ability to host an interactive map showing localized data, in this case improvement projects. The end result of this project was a URL web link that is embedded on the city’s webpage. Once the Story Map was published, users could view the current construction projects. A user could select a property on the map and additional information, including a photo, is displayed in a pop-up dialog box.

Creating this interactive map provides residents with a streamlined source of information. Users can be able to browse city capital improvement projects 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.

Using Interactive Mapping to View Available Commercial Properties

 

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.

Using Interactive Mapping to Search Historical Landmark Properties

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.

Providing Contractors Information using GIS

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.

Using Interactive Mapping to Search Historical Landmark Properties

 

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 city parks. Each park 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.