GIS Promotes Public Art Display

Blog_GISPromotesPublicArtDisplay.png

Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care is an organization that assists
patients and their families when treatment and recovery from an illness
are no longer possible. This year, they sponsored a series of butterfly
sculptures around the city painted and decorated by local artists. This
is not the first time they have done this. In previous years, rainbow
sculptures and animal sculptures were displayed with great success. The
city wanted to promote the butterfly sculptures and it was decided the
most efficient way to do this was by creating a map for the general
public using GIS.

The butterfly sculptures were mainly displayed in the uptown business
district, so the idea for this project was to promote the ability to
walk around and see them all. The only outliers were located at the two
city fire stations on the north and south sides of town. A map had to be
created to show all the locations in great detail but still show where
they were located in relation to each other. This was accomplished by
displaying three location maps of the sculptures and an overview map of
the city. The final maps were available to the general public online, at
city hall, the library, the chamber of commerce, the Metra station, and
at the Village of Mount Prospect who was running the same program. In
the end, the public art display ends up promoting the uptown business
district by bringing in people from around town and surrounding
communities.

Using GIS to promote the Library’s Economic Impact

Blog_UsingGIStopromotethe.png

In today’s world, every person, business, or organization wants to
justify its worth and promote its favorable relationships with other
people, places, or things. The public library is no exception to this
idea. It recently conducted an in-house and online user survey regarding
a resident’s reason for visiting the uptown business district. The
majority of the responses named the library as the main reason they
visited the area. The respondents were also asked to list any other
Uptown businesses they visited on the same trip to the library. Once all
this information was tabulated, a geographic representation was needed
and GIS was the most efficient way to accomplish this.

A map of the Uptown business district was created that showed the
locations of all the businesses that were mentioned in the resident’s
survey. This also included a list of the businesses and their addresses.
This map was then presented at a city council meeting to illustrate the
economic benefit that the library has on the nearby business community.
This shows that the library acts as an ‘anchor store’ for the other
businesses, being that more than 1,500 people visit the library daily.

GIS Assists in Sex Offender Relocation

Blog_GISAssistsinSexOffenderRelocation2.png

In Illinois, state law prevents a sex offender from living within 500
feet of a school, park, playground, or any other facility that provides
recreation or other services to children. When a sex offender moves
into a new community, they are required by law to register with their
local law enforcement agency. This includes providing their address of
their place of residence. The local police must determine whether or
not the sex offender’s address is within 500 feet of a restricted area.
We determined that the most efficient way to accomplish this was by
utilizing GIS.

Using GIS, the offender’s parcel was highlighted along with all the
other restricted areas within the community. A 500 foot buffer was
created from the offender’s parcel boundary and then overlaid to compare
with the restricted areas. In this case, the property was within 500
feet of a park, so the police officer must notify the offender that a
new place of residence is needed. Once a new residence is notified to
the authorities, this same process will occur all over again. This
method is a quick and efficient way of handling the problem, being that
it is uses an accurate measurement and it saves time and money by
avoiding unnecessary field work.

GIS Supports ISO Accreditation

Blog_GISSupportsISOAccreditation.png

About every ten years a Fire Department conducts a review of their
services in order to increase their chances of getting a better
Insurance Services Organization (ISO) rating; the better a rating the
Fire Department receives, the more money a commercial property will save
on their fire insurance. In order to prepare for this evaluation, The
City of Park Ridge Fire Department is using all the techniques they can
find to boost their chances of a better overall rating. A technology aid
that was not around the last time they conducted an ISO evaluation was
the Geographic Information System or better known as GIS.

Although GIS is not the only contributor to this in-depth evaluation
process, it definitely allows the Fire Department to take advantage of
their in-house GIS staff to prepare maps and data at a lower cost. These
maps and data outputs will supply the ISO reviewer with the information
that they need in order to accurately judge the type of services the
Park Ridge Fire Department supplies and should in help in all efforts to
better the city’s ISO rating. In addition, should any other questions
arise during the review process; the GIS will be a great place to start
when trying to gather quick and accurate information; thus proving the
usefulness of the Geographic Information System’s ability to help when
needed and better yet, save people some money.

GIS Supports Relief Sewer Identification

Blog_GISSupportsReliefSewerIdentification.png

Being able to get access to useful information at a moment’s notice
is something of a common trend these days. The only problem that really
arises is when the information you are searching for is not yet
created. As technology advances, so do the amount of portals that are
created to store mass amounts of information. One type of portal that
has been around for a long time is a Geographical Information System
(GIS). This type of information portal does not only store tabular data
but it also represents this tabular data in a spatial environment so
that correlation​s can be made between the different types of data on the
ground.

The City of Park Ridge, IL has been using a GIS for many years now
but they always seem to find new information that is worth adding to the
system in order to answer everyday questions or conduct detailed
analysis. One of the newer additions of data to the GIS is the
collection of relief sewer locations. This data is important to the
Engineering Department in order to understand where these relief sewers
are located in relation to other sewer lines as well as how they are
helping the overall flow of storm water in a certain area. Older
methods would have usually required the City Engineering Department to
dig up and review old as-builts and document where these lines are
located. Now the information is stored in the GIS and is as easy as
looking at a map for their review and analysis. A once labor intensive
process has now been made more efficient with the help of GIS.

GIS Supports Police Analysis Through Business Intelligence

Blog_GISSupportsPoliceAnalysisThroughBusinessIntelligence.png

Historically police departments do a great job of recording their
crime information for analysis as well as for public record. Though how
a police department staff chooses to analyze this data once it is
collected may vary widely. For the police department of Park Ridge,
IL, they have enlisted the services of the Geographical Information
Systems (GIS) over the past few years to create maps displaying the most
current burglary locations as well as any trends that may have been
occurring over time. These maps are very beneficial and are usually
created on a monthly basis. Although this timeline seems to work, a
large amount of burglaries can happen on any given day or week making
the need for fluctuation within these maps all the more necessary.

For this reason alone, the GIS Department has upgraded the police
department’s ability to analyze the data for any select day, week, month
or year by incorporating business intelligence into the citywide
interactive mapping application. In general terms, business
intelligence can be defined as accessing live data from a source that is
actively being edited and representing that data in form that is
usable, in this case it is for mapping purposes. The data that is
actively being edited by the Park Ridge Police Department is held within
an excel file that then gets saved to a .CSV file on a citywide central
server. Because the data is in a centralized location, GIS can connect
to it in order to read the data and map it on the fly within the
interactive mapping application. Additionally, the data can also
queried with the help of Structured Query Language (SQL) in order to
allow the police department to select which police beat they want to
analyze for any given time frame. The power is now in the hands of the
Police Department to query what they want, make a map of it and export
this map to a PDF format to insert into their weekly reports.

All in all, it is easy to see that with the help of GIS the Police Department can now analyze their data more efficiently.

GIS supports property setback review

Blog_GISsupportspropertysetbackreview.png

Home owners are almost always looking for ways to change their home
in order to make it a better fit for them and their family. At times it
is a simple fix within the home and at other times it is more complex,
for example, constructing an addition to the existing building
footprint. Most of these types of upgrades require permits and
inspections to be done by the local government in which the home
resides. More serious upgrades may at times may require a full review
of the property setbacks that are normal for the block on which the home
is located. In the City of Park Ridge, IL one case in particular
regarding an appilication for the rights to construct a garagae required
this type of review.

The property under inspection was applying to have a garage installed
in the back of their house which had an entrance off of a major road
and not an alley. In keeping in compliance with city standards, the
Community and Preservation Devlopment Department had to determine what
the average home setbacks were from the road on one particular block in
order to ensure that the applicant was not breaking the rules. The
normal workflow is to measure the setbacks of each house on that block
and decide if this new applicant is within compliance. The problem that
arises is how to display this information properly to the Board of
Appeals so they can understand the scenario first hand rather than just
being told facts from a piece of paper. For this instance the use of
the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Department was implemented to
help map out the scenario as it is out in the field so that the
reviewers of this specific case could easily decipher if the applicant
was worthy of acceptance. Now, instead of trying to envision the
problem at hand, the reviewers can see each property with its driveway
and setback distance from the road. Thus making decisions easier to
come by as well as highlighting the effectiveness of GIS mapping.

GIS Supports Sewer Lining Project

Blog_GISSupportsSewerLiningProject2.png

Over time sewer utility pipes deteriorate and may eventually collapse
causing an even bigger problem for a municipality to replace. Being
able to locate these problem pipes before these bigger problems occur is
ultimately the best practice. What normally happens at the local
government level is a problem area is identified by the Engineering
Department based on their analysis or by resident complaints. From
there, the Engineering Department will usually contract a company to
televise these problem pipes so they can review what is really happening
underground. If the pipes are in really bad shape than a full
replacement may be the only solution. Often times though, it is just a
case of tree root obstruction or deterioration to the pipe that is
restricting the flow of water. In these instances on e successful
solution that a municipality may select is to cut out all tree roots
with a small machine fed through the existing pipe and then line the
sewer with a manufactured heat sensitive tube.

In simple terms, it is called sewer lining and is something that the
City of Park Ridge, Illinois has recently started doing again.
Additionally, the City has leveraged the use of their Geographical
Information Systems (GIS) Department to help create maps depicting the
locations of the pipes that are to be reconstructed. The maps are
simple in nature but add to the City’s process of what they supply to
the contractor doing the work. So, instead of trying to describe the
scope of work, the City Engineer now has a visual to give to the
contractor that shows the location of the job, the pipes to be lined or
cleaned, as well as the attributes of each pipe that will be worked on
(i.e. size, material, and length). All in all, sometimes it is the
small things that make a contract go better and in this example it is
easy to see how a simple map from GIS may help alleviate some confusion.

GIS Supports Sewer Lining Project

Blog_GISSupportsSewerLiningProject2.png

Over time sewer utility pipes deteriorate and may eventually collapse
causing an even bigger problem for a municipality to replace. Being
able to locate these problem pipes before these bigger problems occur is
ultimately the best practice. What normally happens at the local
government level is a problem area is identified by the Engineering
Department based on their analysis or by resident complaints. From
there, the Engineering Department will usually contract a company to
televise these problem pipes so they can review what is really happening
underground. If the pipes are in really bad shape than a full
replacement may be the only solution. Often times though, it is just a
case of tree root obstruction or deterioration to the pipe that is
restricting the flow of water. In these instances on e successful
solution that a municipality may select is to cut out all tree roots
with a small machine fed through the existing pipe and then line the
sewer with a manufactured heat sensitive tube.

In simple terms, it is called sewer lining and is something that the
City of Park Ridge, Illinois has recently started doing again.
Additionally, the City has leveraged the use of their Geographical
Information Systems (GIS) Department to help create maps depicting the
locations of the pipes that are to be reconstructed. The maps are
simple in nature but add to the City’s process of what they supply to
the contractor doing the work. So, instead of trying to describe the
scope of work, the City Engineer now has a visual to give to the
contractor that shows the location of the job, the pipes to be lined or
cleaned, as well as the attributes of each pipe that will be worked on
(i.e. size, material, and length). All in all, sometimes it is the
small things that make a contract go better and in this example it is
easy to see how a simple map from GIS may help alleviate some confusion.

GIS Supports Easement Identification

Blog_GISSupportsEasementIdentification.png

When subdivisions are being designed they tend to plan for areas of
public access to such things as water, sewer, electrical utilities, etc.
These areas are called “easements.” Although the legal title to the
land that lies underneath these easements is retained by the property
owner, the existence of an easement still grants the right for others to
access this piece of land. So why are these easements important?
Answers may vary but for the City of Park Ridge, IL it is about the
legality of allowing workers to access this piece of land in order to
complete their assigned tasks. These workers may be private contractors
or city employees just looking to repair an electrical problem or fix
an issue with a water line that was installed years. Nonetheless, the
land they are accessing is not considered trespassing.

It is easy to see the importance of easements but it is not always so
easy to locate them in the real world. Easements are not usually
marked out in the field so it is up to either public knowledge or
consulting an existing subdivision plat to find out where they exist.
In the City of Park Ridge they have started to use the Geographical
Information System (GIS) to map out these locations based on what the
final subdivision plats have designated. As these easements are located
and mapped out, they will then be posted on the City’s interactive web
mapping application so users can find them easily. Although the data
collection process is lengthy, the amount of time that will be saved
versus having to look these easements up manually is invaluable. For
the comparison would have users searching through many uncategorized
plats to find what they need. Proof that an easement exists will now be
quicker and easier to access when a resident inquires about workers on
their property thanks to GIS.