Using GIS to realign utilities

​The Geographic Information System (GIS) Department routinely utilizes
its valuable resources to analyze the layout of its current utility
infrastructures. By using the aerial photography that the village paid
for in 2005, the GIS Specialist is able to review utility lines and
structures in their current location and compare them to where they are
located on the aerial photography. Since the utility infrastructure data
was originally created at a time when good aerial photography was hard
to come by, many of this data is not one hundred percent accurate.

Although going to the field to identify the locations of utility
lines and structures is a good method, the ability to quickly access
accurate aerial photography and use it in-house allows for a large
percentage of the data to be verified without leaving the desk. This
allows the village to save time and money for a good portion of the
review process.

It is important to note that using GIS not only can enhance the
integrity of the village’s utility data, but it is also key to recognize
that having this accurate data allows for trustworthy calculations. For
example, when the village conducts a water distribution study, they
rely on the most up-to-date data to submit to an outside consultant so
they can obtain the most accurate results. Moreover, when the Sewer
Department wants to inventory what supplies might be needed for an
upcoming project; they can easily look at the current utility
infrastructure in GIS to get some ideas. Without an accurate foundation,
most analyses cannot provide much value but by using available assets,
it is easy to see how GIS can improve the reliability of utility data
and make it a more trustworthy resource.

The aerial photography and utility infrastructure review process, in
conjunction with the help of GIS technology, helps to answer valuable
questions related to the services that the village provides. As times go
on, the village continues to successfully update their utility data in
order to better understand what they currently own and are in control
of, which helps the village to provide a service that on average is not
always recognized.

Using GIS to realign utilities

​The Geographic Information System (GIS) Department routinely utilizes
its valuable resources to analyze the layout of its current utility
infrastructures. By using the aerial photography that the village paid
for in 2005, the GIS Specialist is able to review utility lines and
structures in their current location and compare them to where they are
located on the aerial photography. Since the utility infrastructure data
was originally created at a time when good aerial photography was hard
to come by, many of this data is not one hundred percent accurate.

Although going to the field to identify the locations of utility
lines and structures is a good method, the ability to quickly access
accurate aerial photography and use it in-house allows for a large
percentage of the data to be verified without leaving the desk. This
allows the village to save time and money for a good portion of the
review process.

It is important to note that using GIS not only can enhance the
integrity of the village’s utility data, but it is also key to recognize
that having this accurate data allows for trustworthy calculations. For
example, when the village conducts a water distribution study, they
rely on the most up-to-date data to submit to an outside consultant so
they can obtain the most accurate results. Moreover, when the Sewer
Department wants to inventory what supplies might be needed for an
upcoming project; they can easily look at the current utility
infrastructure in GIS to get some ideas. Without an accurate foundation,
most analyses cannot provide much value but by using available assets,
it is easy to see how GIS can improve the reliability of utility data
and make it a more trustworthy resource.

The aerial photography and utility infrastructure review process, in
conjunction with the help of GIS technology, helps to answer valuable
questions related to the services that the village provides. As times go
on, the village continues to successfully update their utility data in
order to better understand what they currently own and are in control
of, which helps the village to provide a service that on average is not
always recognized.

Planimetric data in Elk Grove Village

​Planimetric data are geographic features captured during a
photogrammetric (airplane fight) mapping process that are flat and
without elevation information to depict the terrain. Such features
include bridges, roadways, building footprints, bodies of water, and
railroad lines. Photogrammetry is the most cost-effective method for
producing this type of mapping information for large areas and these
features typically represent the base data in a map.

As a member of the GIS Consortium Elk Grove Village participates in
an annual data collection process which allows them to obtain such
planimetric data. An advantage for the community is that they receive
cost savings being a part of such a large group contracting these
services. The current service provider for photogrammetric mapping is
Ayres and Associates of Madison, WI. There is a processing and review
procedure for the data to be sure it meets the accuracy standards that
have been established by the GIS Consortium. Generally, all planimetric
features will be within 1.67’ of their actual field location if
collected under the traditional Consortium standards. On occasion the
data collection has had to deviate from those standards due to
circumstances outside of the village’s control. Elk Grove Village
unfortunately falls into this category due to its proximity to O’Hare
International Airport and the flight restrictions they have over and
around the village.

In the spring of 2009 data was collected for Elk Grove Village and
planimetric features for the entire community were delivered, reviewed,
and integrated into the GIS (Geographic Information System) in the fall.
You may have noticed this new data in the MapOffice™ interactive
mapping application http://www.mgpinc.com/MapOffice™/. The alternate
flight height that was available provided for these features to be
within 3.33’ of their actual location which was acceptable and there was
an additional cost savings because this was a less accurate product
compared to the traditional data collection standards.

As mentioned above, this data is usually used to compose a map
presentation, but also provides for impervious surface estimations,
GASB34 statistics, routing, cost estimates for replacement or removal of
infrastructure, and preliminary design or planning.

Planimetric data in Elk Grove Village

​Planimetric data are geographic features captured during a
photogrammetric (airplane fight) mapping process that are flat and
without elevation information to depict the terrain. Such features
include bridges, roadways, building footprints, bodies of water, and
railroad lines. Photogrammetry is the most cost-effective method for
producing this type of mapping information for large areas and these
features typically represent the base data in a map.

As a member of the GIS Consortium Elk Grove Village participates in
an annual data collection process which allows them to obtain such
planimetric data. An advantage for the community is that they receive
cost savings being a part of such a large group contracting these
services. The current service provider for photogrammetric mapping is
Ayres and Associates of Madison, WI. There is a processing and review
procedure for the data to be sure it meets the accuracy standards that
have been established by the GIS Consortium. Generally, all planimetric
features will be within 1.67’ of their actual field location if
collected under the traditional Consortium standards. On occasion the
data collection has had to deviate from those standards due to
circumstances outside of the village’s control. Elk Grove Village
unfortunately falls into this category due to its proximity to O’Hare
International Airport and the flight restrictions they have over and
around the village.

In the spring of 2009 data was collected for Elk Grove Village and
planimetric features for the entire community were delivered, reviewed,
and integrated into the GIS (Geographic Information System) in the fall.
You may have noticed this new data in the MapOffice™ interactive
mapping application http://www.mgpinc.com/MapOffice™/. The alternate
flight height that was available provided for these features to be
within 3.33’ of their actual location which was acceptable and there was
an additional cost savings because this was a less accurate product
compared to the traditional data collection standards.

As mentioned above, this data is usually used to compose a map
presentation, but also provides for impervious surface estimations,
GASB34 statistics, routing, cost estimates for replacement or removal of
infrastructure, and preliminary design or planning.

GIS to Assist in Analyzing Train Gate Malfunction Data

​The safety and maintenance of train gates is an issue all communities
with rail lines crossing through their borders must deal with. For
many, the image of train gate lights flashing causes feelings of
impatience, but, in most cases, the wait for a train only lasts a few
minutes or so. However, train gates can malfunction, which can cause
significant traffic congestion and train delays. Recently, the City of
Des Plaines engineering department decided to analyze train gate
malfunction and delayed train information gathered from January 1st-
June 30th of 2009 at the city’s thirty-two at-grade train crossings. In
doing so, the department wanted to determine if there is a problem with
the city’s rail system that requires further investigation.

The source of the information used in this analysis came from calls
made to the city’s police department from drivers who were stuck at a
malfunctioning gate or were blocked by a delayed train. Once the
engineering department had a chance to review the numbers, the analysis
was broken down into four categories per gate: the total number of gate
malfunctions, total time of the malfunctions, number of trains delayed
due to a gate malfunction, and the total time the trains were delayed.
Initially, the analysis only involved an examination of the raw numbers
provided and was displayed primarily in a series of graphs and tables.
However, the results were lacking a comprehensive way to analyze the
problem city-wide. To help highlight problem gates found in the data,
the engineering department asked the city’s GIS department to assist
with the project.

By adding a spatial component to the analysis, gates with more
malfunctions or longer train delays could be visually identified across
the city. This helped to determine where problem areas are located or
which rail lines running through the city have the most gate-related
problems. While the numeric data provided by the police department
showed that there are problems with some of the city’s gates, it did not
show how the data for each gate is relevant compared to other gates in
the city. Providing a spatial snapshot of the gate data gave the
engineers a tool to see that not only are there a significant number of
gate malfunctions and train delays overall, but that the problem extends
to almost every gate in the city.

Being able to compare the data visually at a city-wide scale allowed
the engineering department to see the potential impact that train gate
malfunctions have on several critical traffic-related issues, such as
emergency response vehicle delays and daily traffic pattern congestion.
Working with both the numeric data and the maps provided by the GIS
department, the city engineers can more efficiently develop possible
solutions to mitigate the current problems and attempt to address the
question of why certain gates are malfunctioning more than others to
help reduce future incidents.

GIS to Assist in Analyzing Train Gate Malfunction Data

​The safety and maintenance of train gates is an issue all communities
with rail lines crossing through their borders must deal with. For
many, the image of train gate lights flashing causes feelings of
impatience, but, in most cases, the wait for a train only lasts a few
minutes or so. However, train gates can malfunction, which can cause
significant traffic congestion and train delays. Recently, the City of
Des Plaines engineering department decided to analyze train gate
malfunction and delayed train information gathered from January 1st-
June 30th of 2009 at the city’s thirty-two at-grade train crossings. In
doing so, the department wanted to determine if there is a problem with
the city’s rail system that requires further investigation.

The source of the information used in this analysis came from calls
made to the city’s police department from drivers who were stuck at a
malfunctioning gate or were blocked by a delayed train. Once the
engineering department had a chance to review the numbers, the analysis
was broken down into four categories per gate: the total number of gate
malfunctions, total time of the malfunctions, number of trains delayed
due to a gate malfunction, and the total time the trains were delayed.
Initially, the analysis only involved an examination of the raw numbers
provided and was displayed primarily in a series of graphs and tables.
However, the results were lacking a comprehensive way to analyze the
problem city-wide. To help highlight problem gates found in the data,
the engineering department asked the city’s GIS department to assist
with the project.

By adding a spatial component to the analysis, gates with more
malfunctions or longer train delays could be visually identified across
the city. This helped to determine where problem areas are located or
which rail lines running through the city have the most gate-related
problems. While the numeric data provided by the police department
showed that there are problems with some of the city’s gates, it did not
show how the data for each gate is relevant compared to other gates in
the city. Providing a spatial snapshot of the gate data gave the
engineers a tool to see that not only are there a significant number of
gate malfunctions and train delays overall, but that the problem extends
to almost every gate in the city.

Being able to compare the data visually at a city-wide scale allowed
the engineering department to see the potential impact that train gate
malfunctions have on several critical traffic-related issues, such as
emergency response vehicle delays and daily traffic pattern congestion.
Working with both the numeric data and the maps provided by the GIS
department, the city engineers can more efficiently develop possible
solutions to mitigate the current problems and attempt to address the
question of why certain gates are malfunctioning more than others to
help reduce future incidents.

GIS supporting parking needs

Blog_GIS_supporting_parking_needs.pngVillag​e employees continually review their current parking layouts
within active business districts so they are confident that they are
providing their residents with the best services possible. If the
village does not provide ample parking within shopping sectors of town,
it can easily fall victim to decreasing consumerism and complaints from
business employees who need a long-term location to park while they are
at work.

The Geographic Information System (GIS) Department of the Village of
Glencoe has began to utilize its valuable resources to map out the
current parking lot and space layouts in order to create a base for
analyzing future parking plans. By using the aerial photography that the
village purchased in the past and other resources, the GIS Specialist
was able to make out most of the street parking spaces and parking lot
layouts. The ability to quickly access accurate aerial photography and
use it in-house is allowing for the majority of the parking inventory
model to be done without going to the field. From there, all of
discernable spaces were then drawn into a geographic database. Once all
of the data for the parking model is created, field survey maps will be
generated to depict the current parking layout. These maps will be used
to identify parking lot, space, and street parking designations. Once
completed, this will allow village officials to activity review, plan,
and make proposed parking improvements within the village based on
highly accurate data. The completed model will also allow staff to
review statistical data including total number of permit spaces,
handicapped spaces, and other regulated lots and spaces.

GIS will be able to provide new maps that detailed the alternate
parking layout proposals. These proposals can be used by the village to
make decisions demonstrating how GIS can be utilized within local
government. The ultimate goal of this program is to use GIS technology
to help answer valuable questions related to the services that the
village provides for its residents and visitors.

GIS supporting parking needs

Blog_GIS_supporting_parking_needs.pngVillag​e employees continually review their current parking layouts
within active business districts so they are confident that they are
providing their residents with the best services possible. If the
village does not provide ample parking within shopping sectors of town,
it can easily fall victim to decreasing consumerism and complaints from
business employees who need a long-term location to park while they are
at work.

The Geographic Information System (GIS) Department of the Village of
Glencoe has began to utilize its valuable resources to map out the
current parking lot and space layouts in order to create a base for
analyzing future parking plans. By using the aerial photography that the
village purchased in the past and other resources, the GIS Specialist
was able to make out most of the street parking spaces and parking lot
layouts. The ability to quickly access accurate aerial photography and
use it in-house is allowing for the majority of the parking inventory
model to be done without going to the field. From there, all of
discernable spaces were then drawn into a geographic database. Once all
of the data for the parking model is created, field survey maps will be
generated to depict the current parking layout. These maps will be used
to identify parking lot, space, and street parking designations. Once
completed, this will allow village officials to activity review, plan,
and make proposed parking improvements within the village based on
highly accurate data. The completed model will also allow staff to
review statistical data including total number of permit spaces,
handicapped spaces, and other regulated lots and spaces.

GIS will be able to provide new maps that detailed the alternate
parking layout proposals. These proposals can be used by the village to
make decisions demonstrating how GIS can be utilized within local
government. The ultimate goal of this program is to use GIS technology
to help answer valuable questions related to the services that the
village provides for its residents and visitors.

Using GIS to assist with capital improvements

​Capital improvement projects are essential for a local municipality
to maintain a good quality of life for its residents. Resurfacing roads
and replacing aging utility mains provide a more reliable
infrastructure for the community and ensure that residents do not
experience things such as uneven roads and interruptions in utility
services. Recently, the Village of Winnetka used Geographic Information
System (GIS) to help with the coordinating and planning of future
capital projects between various village departments to reduce project
duplication and maximize project overlap.

The first step in coordinating capital project work between
departments is to get the planned project information into the GIS
system. Traditionally, the information for each project was stored in a
“flat” excel worksheet format that provided a lot of information
regarding the projects, but did very little to show their distribution
across the village. To assist with spatially displaying this data, the
GIS department was provided with the Public Works Department’s capital
projects file, which was converted to a GIS compatible format. This
consisted primarily of spatially locating the project area within a GIS
map and creating a line segment feature to represent the proposed extent
of the project work. Once the line segment features were created, each
project could be mapped and visually analyzed against projected capital
improvements planned by other village departments.

The primary department coordinating with Public Works was the Water
and Electric Department. As the village water mains age, numerous
breaks occur along the older lines that cause interruptions in service
for residents and costly repairs for the village. To help mitigate this
issue, the Water and Electric department wanted to replace the mains
that had experienced the most breaks over the last decade. To avoid
tearing up roads after they have been resurfaced as part of the Public
Works capital improvement project plan, Water and Electric asked the GIS
department to compare the existing water main break data in GIS with
the recently developed capital project data layer to see where high
break mains corresponded to planned road repair project areas. The
resulting analysis revealed that 5 high break mains existed along
proposed capital improvement roads. A map was then created that showed
these main locations and included the year that the road improvement
projects are planned. With this information spatially displayed
together, the departments now have a tool to coordinate planning and
budgeting efforts to ensure that project overlap occurs in a given year.

Using GIS to assist with the village capital improvements planning
process has allowed for inter-departmental project coordination that
will help reduce unnecessary and costly project duplication over the
next several years. By viewing the information spatially, each
department is able to see where they have overlapping project work,
which, by planning the projects collectively, ultimately will save the
village money on construction costs into the foreseeable future.

Using GIS to assist with capital improvements

​Capital improvement projects are essential for a local municipality
to maintain a good quality of life for its residents. Resurfacing roads
and replacing aging utility mains provide a more reliable
infrastructure for the community and ensure that residents do not
experience things such as uneven roads and interruptions in utility
services. Recently, the Village of Winnetka used Geographic Information
System (GIS) to help with the coordinating and planning of future
capital projects between various village departments to reduce project
duplication and maximize project overlap.

The first step in coordinating capital project work between
departments is to get the planned project information into the GIS
system. Traditionally, the information for each project was stored in a
“flat” excel worksheet format that provided a lot of information
regarding the projects, but did very little to show their distribution
across the village. To assist with spatially displaying this data, the
GIS department was provided with the Public Works Department’s capital
projects file, which was converted to a GIS compatible format. This
consisted primarily of spatially locating the project area within a GIS
map and creating a line segment feature to represent the proposed extent
of the project work. Once the line segment features were created, each
project could be mapped and visually analyzed against projected capital
improvements planned by other village departments.

The primary department coordinating with Public Works was the Water
and Electric Department. As the village water mains age, numerous
breaks occur along the older lines that cause interruptions in service
for residents and costly repairs for the village. To help mitigate this
issue, the Water and Electric department wanted to replace the mains
that had experienced the most breaks over the last decade. To avoid
tearing up roads after they have been resurfaced as part of the Public
Works capital improvement project plan, Water and Electric asked the GIS
department to compare the existing water main break data in GIS with
the recently developed capital project data layer to see where high
break mains corresponded to planned road repair project areas. The
resulting analysis revealed that 5 high break mains existed along
proposed capital improvement roads. A map was then created that showed
these main locations and included the year that the road improvement
projects are planned. With this information spatially displayed
together, the departments now have a tool to coordinate planning and
budgeting efforts to ensure that project overlap occurs in a given year.

Using GIS to assist with the village capital improvements planning
process has allowed for inter-departmental project coordination that
will help reduce unnecessary and costly project duplication over the
next several years. By viewing the information spatially, each
department is able to see where they have overlapping project work,
which, by planning the projects collectively, ultimately will save the
village money on construction costs into the foreseeable future.