Centralizing address updating with GIS

Blog_Centralizing_address_updating_with_GIS.jpg

Addresses play an important role in the daily activities of Village
of Riverside staff whether it is for water billing information, permits,
or locating a resident in case of an emergency. In addition, a physical
address can serve as a link for answering such questions as what school
district do I belong to or what zoning district am I in? However,
obtaining this information for a specific address often requires
searching through multiple spreadsheets, databases, and paper documents.

In order to create a centralized location for the address information
in Riverside a master address database was created in the Geographic
Information System (GIS). This database was generated from several
sources including water billing, permits, fire inspections, and business
licenses. It was necessary to utilize all address resources to ensure
the existing databases and spreadsheets could relate to this new address
resource. Because these independent sources were each developed with a
specific focus, which limited them from including all addresses within
the community, it is also important to obtain all address records from
these independents sources. For example, one address database may have
only included business addresses, another contained residential
addresses, and a third identified suite and apartment information.

Each address in the master database follows the United States Postal
standard with a prefix direction, address number, street, street type
(such as boulevard or avenue) and a suffix direction. This information
is captured in separate fields that allows for combining all of those
values or just a select few. An example is 1190 Arlington Heights or
1190 S Arlington Heights Rd.

The GIS allows for all of the addresses in the database to be
represented by a point feature referencing an x and y coordinate that
places it in a known location on the earth. This point is linked to a
table containing additional information about that particular address
including a Property Identification Number or PIN number and assessor
information. The address point is typically placed in the center of the
corresponding parcel, but can be placed at a more descriptive location
such as the main entrance by using aerial imagery and building footprint
information. Moreover, this address is stored as a primary address
point. Often times additional buildings and parking lots that have the
same address as the main building are located on another parcel. These
structures are given a secondary address point to differentiate them
from the primary address location.

By design, the GIS allows for quick and simple retrieval of data at a
particular location. An address point can be identified and overlaid
with additional data layers including utilities, subdivisions, school
districts, and a road network to quickly determine the location of the
nearest fire hydrant to a property or the number of homes within a
particular school district. This eliminates the need for village staff
to check multiple sources of information which can save time, money, and
in the case of emergency services, lives. Overall, it is safe to say
that the enhancements a village receives by having an accurate address
database will become known as the GIS programs continue to evolve.

Centralizing address updating with GIS

Blog_Centralizing_address_updating_with_GIS.jpg

Addresses play an important role in the daily activities of Village
of Riverside staff whether it is for water billing information, permits,
or locating a resident in case of an emergency. In addition, a physical
address can serve as a link for answering such questions as what school
district do I belong to or what zoning district am I in? However,
obtaining this information for a specific address often requires
searching through multiple spreadsheets, databases, and paper documents.

In order to create a centralized location for the address information
in Riverside a master address database was created in the Geographic
Information System (GIS). This database was generated from several
sources including water billing, permits, fire inspections, and business
licenses. It was necessary to utilize all address resources to ensure
the existing databases and spreadsheets could relate to this new address
resource. Because these independent sources were each developed with a
specific focus, which limited them from including all addresses within
the community, it is also important to obtain all address records from
these independents sources. For example, one address database may have
only included business addresses, another contained residential
addresses, and a third identified suite and apartment information.

Each address in the master database follows the United States Postal
standard with a prefix direction, address number, street, street type
(such as boulevard or avenue) and a suffix direction. This information
is captured in separate fields that allows for combining all of those
values or just a select few. An example is 1190 Arlington Heights or
1190 S Arlington Heights Rd.

The GIS allows for all of the addresses in the database to be
represented by a point feature referencing an x and y coordinate that
places it in a known location on the earth. This point is linked to a
table containing additional information about that particular address
including a Property Identification Number or PIN number and assessor
information. The address point is typically placed in the center of the
corresponding parcel, but can be placed at a more descriptive location
such as the main entrance by using aerial imagery and building footprint
information. Moreover, this address is stored as a primary address
point. Often times additional buildings and parking lots that have the
same address as the main building are located on another parcel. These
structures are given a secondary address point to differentiate them
from the primary address location.

By design, the GIS allows for quick and simple retrieval of data at a
particular location. An address point can be identified and overlaid
with additional data layers including utilities, subdivisions, school
districts, and a road network to quickly determine the location of the
nearest fire hydrant to a property or the number of homes within a
particular school district. This eliminates the need for village staff
to check multiple sources of information which can save time, money, and
in the case of emergency services, lives. Overall, it is safe to say
that the enhancements a village receives by having an accurate address
database will become known as the GIS programs continue to evolve.

Looking at front yard setbacks

Blog_Looking_at_front_yard_setbacks.png

The Village of Lincolnshire like many municipalities relies on zoning
ordinances to help shape and control the growth of the Village. Along
with zoning requirements, the Village also regulates development of
residential zones by deploying setback regulations. These regulations
help control the size and placement of structures on the lot to ensure
adequate spacing within structures within each district or block. This
ensures that any given subdivision, street, or block is appealing and
avoids any possible situation of residential structures being built too
large for the lot it is on.

The Community Development Department approached the GIS Department to
determine the feasibility of visually displaying and mapping the
setback regulations throughout the village. It was determined that the
data provided gave the required information to place the regulations
into a GIS layer viewable in map or GIS applications. The GIS
Department began to organize and develop a draft map that displayed each
setback regulation, along with the property on each block that
established the setback, and labels that displayed the extents of the
setbacks. The data was designed to display colored lines with labeled
values for each setback and highlighted the property that established
the Setback. The goal of this map was to vividly show the setbacks so
they can be observed on a wall-mounted map in the Community Development
Department. During the review process, the map took on a few different
forms and finally it was decided to break the village into quadrants to
achieve a better visible scale. A snapshot of the map is displayed to
the right.

The outcome of this map is still under development, but the value of
the map will be realized when completed and the village staff will be
able to see all setbacks in visual form for the entire village and
compare how areas are being developed. The map will also serve as a
historical and archiving tool storing this information in visual form
outside the normal text environment. Without GIS, this task would be a
challenge to complete.

Looking at front yard setbacks

Blog_Looking_at_front_yard_setbacks.png

The Village of Lincolnshire like many municipalities relies on zoning
ordinances to help shape and control the growth of the Village. Along
with zoning requirements, the Village also regulates development of
residential zones by deploying setback regulations. These regulations
help control the size and placement of structures on the lot to ensure
adequate spacing within structures within each district or block. This
ensures that any given subdivision, street, or block is appealing and
avoids any possible situation of residential structures being built too
large for the lot it is on.

The Community Development Department approached the GIS Department to
determine the feasibility of visually displaying and mapping the
setback regulations throughout the village. It was determined that the
data provided gave the required information to place the regulations
into a GIS layer viewable in map or GIS applications. The GIS
Department began to organize and develop a draft map that displayed each
setback regulation, along with the property on each block that
established the setback, and labels that displayed the extents of the
setbacks. The data was designed to display colored lines with labeled
values for each setback and highlighted the property that established
the Setback. The goal of this map was to vividly show the setbacks so
they can be observed on a wall-mounted map in the Community Development
Department. During the review process, the map took on a few different
forms and finally it was decided to break the village into quadrants to
achieve a better visible scale. A snapshot of the map is displayed to
the right.

The outcome of this map is still under development, but the value of
the map will be realized when completed and the village staff will be
able to see all setbacks in visual form for the entire village and
compare how areas are being developed. The map will also serve as a
historical and archiving tool storing this information in visual form
outside the normal text environment. Without GIS, this task would be a
challenge to complete.

Street light inventory to assist in maintenance and replacement

Ensuring proper lighting of streets is a public service that local
communities take satisfaction in providing. Without lights, streets
would be impossible to drive on, walk on, or even live along.
Therefore, the Public Works Department for Village of Morton Grove
decided it was crucial to create a street light inventory of lights that
they maintained. This inventory would help them provide better service
for their residents. Moreover, they also wanted to locate the
electrical lines that supplied power to each streetlight in order to be
certain that field crews would not accidently come into contact with
them when digging for other utilities.

Although many of the field workers were aware of the locations
streetlights owned by the village, they were unaware of how the
electrical lines in the ground connected them together. In addition to
this problem, they did not have an easy way of directing new employees
to the location streetlights and electrical lines. This would prove to
be a major safety concern for crews out in the field. For these reasons,
the Public Works Department decided to enlist the services of the
Geographical Information Services (GIS) Department to help them map out
the location of electrical utilities.

The first step of this inventory process involved providing the
Public Works field crews with an atlas of maps so that they could
temporarily mark down the locations of the streetlights and underground
electrical lines while working out in the field. Once all the maps were
updated with, proper field note corrections they were then submitted to
the GIS Department to begin the entry process into the computer. At
this point, the GIS Department analyzed the real world features to
determine which features were important for the Public Works Department.
A model that easily depicted what was happening out on the streets was
created based on this analysis.

Once the model was created, the data entry portion then took place by
digitizing these features and storing them in a geographical database.
Streetlight poles, streetlights, electrical lines, splice boxes and
control features were added into the database as well as the proper
relationships between these features (i.e. this street light pole has
two street lights attached to it and each light is incandescent). By
having the data in this fashion, it was easy for the Public Works
Department to locate these features on a map but also allow them to
answer questions like “How many lights need replacing?” or “What control
box turns these lights on and off?”

The final step in this inventory process was for the GIS Department
to create a new map atlas that displayed this street light model in its
entirety and deliver the printed copies of this atlas to the field
crews. The field crews carried these atlases in their vehicles for easy
access to assist them with determining if they are digging in an unsafe
area or need to know where to turn of the electrical current for a set
of streetlights.

This successful process displays how taking real world features from
the field and mapping them in GIS allowed the Public Works Department of
Morton Grove to continue providing an efficient service of lighting
streets as well keeping their employees safe when working in the field.

Street light inventory to assist in maintenance and replacement

Ensuring proper lighting of streets is a public service that local
communities take satisfaction in providing. Without lights, streets
would be impossible to drive on, walk on, or even live along.
Therefore, the Public Works Department for Village of Morton Grove
decided it was crucial to create a street light inventory of lights that
they maintained. This inventory would help them provide better service
for their residents. Moreover, they also wanted to locate the
electrical lines that supplied power to each streetlight in order to be
certain that field crews would not accidently come into contact with
them when digging for other utilities.

Although many of the field workers were aware of the locations
streetlights owned by the village, they were unaware of how the
electrical lines in the ground connected them together. In addition to
this problem, they did not have an easy way of directing new employees
to the location streetlights and electrical lines. This would prove to
be a major safety concern for crews out in the field. For these reasons,
the Public Works Department decided to enlist the services of the
Geographical Information Services (GIS) Department to help them map out
the location of electrical utilities.

The first step of this inventory process involved providing the
Public Works field crews with an atlas of maps so that they could
temporarily mark down the locations of the streetlights and underground
electrical lines while working out in the field. Once all the maps were
updated with, proper field note corrections they were then submitted to
the GIS Department to begin the entry process into the computer. At
this point, the GIS Department analyzed the real world features to
determine which features were important for the Public Works Department.
A model that easily depicted what was happening out on the streets was
created based on this analysis.

Once the model was created, the data entry portion then took place by
digitizing these features and storing them in a geographical database.
Streetlight poles, streetlights, electrical lines, splice boxes and
control features were added into the database as well as the proper
relationships between these features (i.e. this street light pole has
two street lights attached to it and each light is incandescent). By
having the data in this fashion, it was easy for the Public Works
Department to locate these features on a map but also allow them to
answer questions like “How many lights need replacing?” or “What control
box turns these lights on and off?”

The final step in this inventory process was for the GIS Department
to create a new map atlas that displayed this street light model in its
entirety and deliver the printed copies of this atlas to the field
crews. The field crews carried these atlases in their vehicles for easy
access to assist them with determining if they are digging in an unsafe
area or need to know where to turn of the electrical current for a set
of streetlights.

This successful process displays how taking real world features from
the field and mapping them in GIS allowed the Public Works Department of
Morton Grove to continue providing an efficient service of lighting
streets as well keeping their employees safe when working in the field.

Analyzing the storm events with GIS

​The City of Highland is very responsive to residents concerns of
basement flooding and sewer backups during heavy rain events. The major
issue is storm water infiltration of the wastewater sewers exceeding
the wastewater sewer’s carrying capacity. Damaged or aging wastewater
laterals are a major source of this infiltration.

In previous years, the city conducted a program that evaluated the
conditions of laterals in targeted neighborhoods and required the
property owners to repair or replace damaged laterals. Many property
owners complained that it was an expensive repair and requested city
assistance with paying the cost of these repairs.

The city decided to investigate the cost of assisting with these
repairs by assuming ownership of the laterals within the right-of-way.
In this way, the city could possibly reduce the repair costs to property
owners, by paying to repair the portion of the lateral within the
right-of-way. Before proceeding, the city had to know the expense of
maintaining the laterals and thus the feasibility of assuming ownership
of these laterals. The approximation of expense required an estimation
of the linear feet of laterals within the right-of-way.

Because the city does not maintain utility service layers, the
estimation of laterals in the right-of-way is a difficult task. The
city decided to use the analytical power of GIS tools to create the
estimation figures. The process of creating the estimation involved
performing a distance analysis from the primary structure to the nearest
right-of-way boundary and the nearest sewer. By subtracting distance
to the right-of-from the distance to the sewer, the city established an
approximate linear feet in the right-of-way. The process involved
manual cleanup of anomalies, such as private roads and structures on
corners or near the back of lots.

After the completing the cleanup of the distance values, the linear
feet in the right-of-way was combined into a final total. This provided
the city with reasonable approximation the linear feet within the
right-of–way. Using the cost of maintaining a linear foot of lateral
with the approximate linear feet of lateral in the right-of-way provides
the city a means of creating a final cost evaluation.

Analyzing the storm events with GIS

​The City of Highland is very responsive to residents concerns of
basement flooding and sewer backups during heavy rain events. The major
issue is storm water infiltration of the wastewater sewers exceeding
the wastewater sewer’s carrying capacity. Damaged or aging wastewater
laterals are a major source of this infiltration.

In previous years, the city conducted a program that evaluated the
conditions of laterals in targeted neighborhoods and required the
property owners to repair or replace damaged laterals. Many property
owners complained that it was an expensive repair and requested city
assistance with paying the cost of these repairs.

The city decided to investigate the cost of assisting with these
repairs by assuming ownership of the laterals within the right-of-way.
In this way, the city could possibly reduce the repair costs to property
owners, by paying to repair the portion of the lateral within the
right-of-way. Before proceeding, the city had to know the expense of
maintaining the laterals and thus the feasibility of assuming ownership
of these laterals. The approximation of expense required an estimation
of the linear feet of laterals within the right-of-way.

Because the city does not maintain utility service layers, the
estimation of laterals in the right-of-way is a difficult task. The
city decided to use the analytical power of GIS tools to create the
estimation figures. The process of creating the estimation involved
performing a distance analysis from the primary structure to the nearest
right-of-way boundary and the nearest sewer. By subtracting distance
to the right-of-from the distance to the sewer, the city established an
approximate linear feet in the right-of-way. The process involved
manual cleanup of anomalies, such as private roads and structures on
corners or near the back of lots.

After the completing the cleanup of the distance values, the linear
feet in the right-of-way was combined into a final total. This provided
the city with reasonable approximation the linear feet within the
right-of–way. Using the cost of maintaining a linear foot of lateral
with the approximate linear feet of lateral in the right-of-way provides
the city a means of creating a final cost evaluation.

Water main break analysis

Blog_Water_main_break_analysis.jpg

Whether it is to take a shower or fill up a glass of water, people
use water everyday. Although the process seems to happen without much
exposure, it is definitely noticed when the water stops running. The
procedures that a local community conducts in order to provide their
residents with clean and useable water are something that they take
seriously. In order maintain the water system, the Village of Oak Brook
decided to investigate the strength of the water utility system.

When a water main break occurs in the water system, it is reported to
Public Works Department, who service the break. The location and
description of water main repaired is recorded on a break report sheet
and the address or intersection of the break is entered into a
spreadsheet. The water main breaks are then hand drawn on a map by the
village engineer based off of the spreadsheet. This is a time consuming
and inefficient process as information on the water main break, year,
pipe material, etc. are not transferred onto the map. In order to more
efficiently track the water main breaks, the village enlisted the
resources of the Geographic Information System (GIS) department.

By using the tools located within the GIS, the addresses recorded for
each water main break could easily be given a geographic location
through a process called geocoding. Geocoding is an operation that
searches a street centerline data layer and locates where an address
falls on a particular street within a specific block. Once these
addresses are located, they are then placed on a map in order to analyze
where the most breaks occur.

Using this information, the village was able to plot the water main
breaks in five year increments from 1978 to 2009. Further analysis was
performed to create a map classifying the number of water main breaks
per pipe segment. Soil information from the Illinois Geological Survey
was overlaid onto the water main break data to determine if the soil
type contributed to the water main breaks. These maps allowed
Engineering and Public Works to locate the problematic areas and decide
which water mains needed to be replaced.

The maps created from this project are studied and eventually brought
before the budget committee when considering how much money should be
allocated for fixing these problems and what areas are given higher
priority. All in all, it is easy to see how taking data from a simple
spreadsheet and using it within GIS has converted a simple recording
project into an analysis tool that the village can ultimately use in
order to provide their residents with the valuable resource of water.

Water main break analysis

Blog_Water_main_break_analysis.jpg

Whether it is to take a shower or fill up a glass of water, people
use water everyday. Although the process seems to happen without much
exposure, it is definitely noticed when the water stops running. The
procedures that a local community conducts in order to provide their
residents with clean and useable water are something that they take
seriously. In order maintain the water system, the Village of Oak Brook
decided to investigate the strength of the water utility system.

When a water main break occurs in the water system, it is reported to
Public Works Department, who service the break. The location and
description of water main repaired is recorded on a break report sheet
and the address or intersection of the break is entered into a
spreadsheet. The water main breaks are then hand drawn on a map by the
village engineer based off of the spreadsheet. This is a time consuming
and inefficient process as information on the water main break, year,
pipe material, etc. are not transferred onto the map. In order to more
efficiently track the water main breaks, the village enlisted the
resources of the Geographic Information System (GIS) department.

By using the tools located within the GIS, the addresses recorded for
each water main break could easily be given a geographic location
through a process called geocoding. Geocoding is an operation that
searches a street centerline data layer and locates where an address
falls on a particular street within a specific block. Once these
addresses are located, they are then placed on a map in order to analyze
where the most breaks occur.

Using this information, the village was able to plot the water main
breaks in five year increments from 1978 to 2009. Further analysis was
performed to create a map classifying the number of water main breaks
per pipe segment. Soil information from the Illinois Geological Survey
was overlaid onto the water main break data to determine if the soil
type contributed to the water main breaks. These maps allowed
Engineering and Public Works to locate the problematic areas and decide
which water mains needed to be replaced.

The maps created from this project are studied and eventually brought
before the budget committee when considering how much money should be
allocated for fixing these problems and what areas are given higher
priority. All in all, it is easy to see how taking data from a simple
spreadsheet and using it within GIS has converted a simple recording
project into an analysis tool that the village can ultimately use in
order to provide their residents with the valuable resource of water.