GIS Support in Storm Response

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During the April 18th storm that brought heavy rain and record
setting flooding to the Chicagoland area, many communities were
adversely affected by Mother Nature, and the Village of Glenview was no
exception. Between April 18 and April 22, village staff fielded over 300
calls from the community, with reports ranging from home and yard
flooding to sanitary sewer backups.

Working together with the Public Works and Capital
Projects/Inspectional Services departments, the GIS department was able
to map out each individual call to identify areas in the community that
were hit the hardest. Documenting the effects of the flood in the form
of maps and graphics allows for the assessment of the flood from a
spatial perspective, thus providing staff with a better understanding of
high risk areas throughout the village. It can also help staff identify
parts of the sewer systems that may require inspection to ensure they
are functioning at an optimal level.

While many homes were affected by the flooding, roadways didn’t fare
much better. Over 10 road closures occurred on the morning of April 18,
stretching from the far east side of the village all the way to its
western end. An overlay of these closures was created on MapOffice™
Advanced to inform staff of current road conditions. Road closure
mapping can provide staff and the public with a convenient way to
identify inaccessible areas and alternate routes throughout the village.

With the aid of GIS in flood events, the village has a resource for
developing powerful visual tools and providing important information to
staff and the general public in an easy to understand format.

Planning for a Heavy Rain event

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During the week of April 14, 2013 – April 20, 2013The National
Weather Service was forecasting 4-6 inches of rain for the greater
Chicago area. Luckily for the Village of Mundelein most of the heavy
rain missed the Village. However, in anticipation of the potential
impact of heavy rains Village of Mundelein began planning for monitoring
flooded streets. The Director of Public Works asked the GIS Office to
create a map that would assist the Street Superintendent with monitor in
storm water infrastructure during the heavy rain event.

The Streets Department requested that GIS created a Strom Water
Maintenance Map. This map divided the Village into two sections. Each
section was monitored by a Village Employee driving in a truck. As
different issues were observed, street flooding, streams overflowing,
the location would be marked on the map. Any actions taken to correct
the flooding, such as clearing an inlet, would also be marked on the
map. The map also showed streets that tend to flood frequently so
employees would know which streets to check regularly.

Asking the GIS Office to create a map provided the Public Work
Streets Department with a valuable tool for monitoring heavy rain
events. It provided any easy way to track new events and ongoing events
as they were reported by Village staff. In the past the Superintendent
would have met with employees after the event and reviewed the log
books. Now the Superintendent can see events as they are occurring and
thus make more informed decisions when responding to new incidents.

Construction Improvement Projects Overlay

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It’s that time of year again. Just as the warm temperatures surge
northward from the Gulf of Mexico, the start of Road Construction season
begins. Many of these improvement projects can create large traffic
buildups and frustrate many commuters and residents. Keeping the public
notified on what projects are currently in progress, so they can plan
their commuting routes accordingly is very important.

The Construction Improvement Projects (CIP) Overlay is a quick
and simple way for the public to get all the updated information on the
construction projects that are ongoing in the village. As you can see in
the figure above, the map display is easy to read and provides a quick
look up on the areas undergoing construction. The pink areas will be
undergoing Road Construction, while the blue areas are undergoing other
Improvement Projects. As an added bonus, the user can click on any of
the icons or highlighted areas, which will provide them with all of the
key information pertaining to that project including Project Type,
Project Name, a short description, Start Date, Completion Date,
Contractor, Contact Information, and the Project Impact. A direct link
to the website associated with each project whether it is from the
Village of Elk Grove’s Construction Webpage, IDOT, or the Illinois
Tollway Department for more information.

Tracking capital improvements in MapOffice

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The City of Highland Park has found a new more improved way of tracking
Capital Improvements. Historically, Capital Improvements were tracked by
the Public Works Engineering Department and were mapped out on a
request as needed basis. A static map would be sent to Engineering for
their viewing and distributed as desirable but now a virtual map with
additional mapping options can be viewed through MapOffice™!

The Capital Improvements are spatially viewable through a Custom Overlay
and when the improvement is clicked on in the map, more information
appears in a pop-up box. Furthermore, a weblink is available to view
PDF’s of the project. This keeps all of the Capital Improvements
information stored in one easy to access location and with all the other
capabilities of MapOffice™ on hand. This tracking shows that GIS is
continuously enhancing and building upon itself. What was once a simple
mapping project has developed into an all in one information location
system. With just a click of the mouse, Highland Park staff is able to
access all of the Capital Improvements, view information on that project
and the PDF associated to it. MapOffice™ has become the go to location
for spatial information.

GIS supports a holistic approach to infrastructure management

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All municipal governments face the challenge of how to prioritize
infrastructure maintenance work. Everything from road repairs to sewer
lining to water main upgrades have to be itemized in the annual budget,
and as such tend to be managed as unrelated projects. Unfortunately,
this method can result in inefficient project planning because a
particular component might be repaired in one year, only to be dug up
again the next year to complete a different project.

GIS is well-suited to assist local governments with this challenge,
as the Village of Lincolnshire can illustrate. First, the Village paid
outside contractors to collect data on its road infrastructure and a
portion of its sanitary sewer. Next, it used GIS to conduct an in-house
analysis of the spatial distribution of water main breaks. Finally, GIS
was used to combine all of the findings to pinpoint locations where
multiple problems are occurring. Some clear patterns emerged, which made
it easy for the Village engineers to prioritize their project plans for
the coming year.

This analysis led to a larger discussion with the Village board about
infrastructure management. Using maps and statistics, Village staff
members were able to demonstrate to the trustees how the road and
sanitary surveys augmented their decision-making abilities. Further, the
presentation justified the planned studies on storm water retention and
more of the sanitary system. Once all of the studies are completed, GIS
will be used to aggregate the data and look for spatial patterns
throughout the Village. The findings allow for a holistic approach to
infrastructure management, avoiding needless waste of time and resources
in areas that have multiple issues to address.

GIS Supports Street Light Bidding

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The Village of Morton Grove’s engineering department recently called
upon its geographic information system (GIS) to support its 2013 street
light bidding project. This year the Village is looking to contract out
more than 300 of its street lights along Dempster St, Waukegan Rd,
Ferris Ave, and Lincoln Ave. GIS was used to provide supporting
materials to contractors bidding on the project.

To assist in the bidding process, GIS first inventoried all of the
street lights within the contract boundaries on each respective street.
Each boundary is defined by a street light controller that provides
power to all of the street lights on its grid. Additionally some Village
owned parking lots were included. The next step was to assign a unique
identification number to each street light based off of original plans
as well as the physical address of the controller. This provides a way
for contractors to easily distinguish which light they are performing
work on and will assist in managing the plethora of street lights in a
given area.

Without the use of GIS there would be no quick and efficient way to
not only display the street lights spatially but to maintain a multitude
of attributes for management purposes. Keeping these two paired
together is where the strength of GIS really is.

Pavement Marking Asset Management

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In local government, preparing a department’s budget for an upcoming
fiscal year can be challenging considering all the unknown variables
that determine the available funds for both operational and special
project work, such as tax revenue and unexpected capital expenditures.
This planning process can be complicated further if information on the
quantity and quality of the assets being budgeted is incomplete,
unknown, or inaccurate. To assist with developing a more accurate
supply budget for pavement marking maintenance, the City of Des Plaines,
IL Engineering Department asked the city’s Geographic Information
System (GIS) to assist with developing a database that could be used to
track the actual location of the pavement markings that the city is
responsible for maintaining in order to more accurately track the amount
of materials needed to conduct maintenance on each marking.

The city did not have an existing inventory to work with, either in
digital or paper form, so the GIS department was free to develop a
solution that could be tailored to the information requested for
collection by the Engineering Department. To this end, a file
geodatabase was setup which contained information on the type of marking
being collected (i.e. stop bar), the color of the marking (i.e. white),
and the length of the marking, which was measured automatically within
GIS. To collect this information, internal Engineering Department
staff already familiar with how to use the desktop GIS software was
trained on how to enter information into the database, while using
resources such as the city’s aerial imagery and recently updated Google
Street View imagery, to determine where each marking was located and
what type of marking it is.

By systematically going through the city and drawing in these
markings, the Engineering Department staff was able to develop a
comprehensive marking inventory that could be easily analyzed and
reviewed in a spatial environment. Viewing and managing the information
this way gives context to where the marking is located, allowing for
better coordination between marking maintenance and other department
projects, such as road reconstruction or utility system improvements.

GIS Assists in Locating Potential New Sidewalk Locations

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Sidewalks are an important part of any neighborhood, especially one
that is heavily urbanized. Residents need to have a safe option of
getting around locally without always relying on something that has four
wheels. At a recent Village Board meeting, the issue of some local
streets not having sidewalks was brought to the village’s attention. A
study was then requested to locate areas of the village that were
missing sidewalks, and GIS was the tool selected in order to locate
these sidewalk gaps.

For this study, only village owned streets were used. Carriage walks
were considered existing sidewalks and treated as such. Using a variety
of spatial queries based on existing GIS data, locations were found that
contained sidewalk gaps on these local streets. The data was then
broken down into three possible categories; The street could have
sidewalks on both sides, a sidewalk on one side, or no sidewalks on
either side. There also was a pattern of sidewalks existing in front of
one house but not the next. Intermittent sidewalks seemed to be common
throughout much of the community. Finally, the total number of linear
feet of sidewalk gaps was calculated and a map was created for use at
the next Committee of the Whole meeting. By using GIS, tedious and time
consuming work by village staff of going block by block looking for
sidewalk gaps and then calculating the total number of linear feet of
those gaps was avoided.

Water Detention Analysis using GIS

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The Village of Oak Brook and the local Butler School District have
been diligently working over the past few months to determine the
feasibility of adding a new school on Oak Brook Sports Core property.
In order to determine whether or not it would be possible, there was a
considerable amount of analysis pertaining to the amount of available
property, ease of access, available detention, and determining the
general layout of the actual school grounds. The majority of the
preliminary analysis was done in house between Village Engineers and GIS
staff in order to keep cost down before entering the actual planning
phase. As a result there were multitudes of general site layout maps
generated. But as the planning process moved further along, the
required maps and statistics became more advanced because the property
was determined feasible for development. One of the final phases of
analysis that was done internally, prior to the hiring of an
architecture company, was the determination of required detention for
new development.

At this point in the project a general site plan had been proposed,
which included the calculation for approximate impervious surface area.
By taking the calculation of impervious surface area, Village Engineers
and GIS staff were able to determine the amount of detention area that
will be required for new development, based off of the elevation
statistics from an already existing detention area. Once the
approximate required detention area was determined, the GIS specialist
was able to use lidar elevation data to determine an already existing
area, which would require the minimum amount of earth being moved to
support the required detention. As shown in the image, the blue area is
the required detention area, which is surrounded by a red line
representing the total amount of area including the surrounding
retention burm. By using GIS we were able to complete this analysis in
less than two hours at the cost of day to day staffing. Had a
consultant been used, it would have required them to spend extended time
in the field, which would then require additional time to process the
data and development maps and statistics.

GIS Assisting the Public during the Lake Cook Road Construction Project

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Lake Cook Rd and Waukegan Rd, two of Deerfield’s busiest roads, will
be undergoing construction this year as part of the Lake Cook Road
Construction Project.* The Waukegan Rd portion of the project will
feature three stages of construction, with alternating lane closures and
changing traffic patterns. Likewise, the Lake Cook Rd portion of the
project will feature lane closures and changes to traffic patterns
during its four stages of construction.

Due to the high traffic volume and abundance of businesses along
these roads, the Lake Cook Road Construction Project will affect many
motorists and business owners alike. Thus, the Village has asked the GIS
(Geographic Information Systems) Department to create a series of maps
depicting not only the extent of construction, but also the lane
closures and temporary traffic patterns that will take effect throughout
each stage of construction. The creation of these maps through GIS
allows the public to have a better understanding of how they will be
impacted throughout the duration of the construction project.

*Construction is slated to begin in the spring of 2013. At this time,
all phases of construction are proposals and subject to change.