Business Intelligence Launches in Northbrook

 

The Village of Northbrook has recently launched the MapOffice Web Access tool called Business Intelligence.  Business Intelligence is a tool that allows users to filter and display live data from community or custom databases. 

Three attributes of Business Intelligence, filtering, visualization, and live data, make it a very powerful tool.  Business Intelligence allows users to visualize data on a map by plotting that data by address or XY coordinates.  Many times, community databases or software do not have great ways to display the wealth of data they hold.  Business Intelligence helps solve this problem by connecting to those databases and displaying the data on MapOffice so users can gain further incite about the data or look for trends.

When looking for trends it is sometimes necessary to manipulate how you view the data.  Business Intelligence permits the user to filter the data by date and/or a field within the data.  For example, Northbrook has set up a connection to a custom home foreclosure database that allows users to filter foreclosures by date and the foreclosure status.  Now the user can narrow the data that is displayed to show only what they are interested in.

Finally, Business Intelligence offers live connections to the databases.  This can be extremely powerful as users can view and analyze data held in the database as it is updated without having to wait for data to be uploaded to MapOffice.

The Village of Northbrook looks forward to taking advantage of this useful and powerful tool by connecting to community databases and software such as FireHouse, an ERP system, and many others to come.

GIS supports Village Commission in goal to make Northbrook more ‘bicycle-friendly”

 

There are a number of Boards and Commissions within the Village of Northbrook that allow for residential leadership and input on various community topics.  One such group is the Northbrook Bicycle Task Force who works "…to coordinate all bicycle-related initiatives within the community and to review the need for access to bicycle transportation on behalf of the Village…to determine the existing needs, and to make recommendations to make the Village of Northbrook more ‘bicycle-friendly"

The Northbrook Bicycle Task Force approached GIS to help create an online map that residents could use to easily view the recommended and available routes throughout the Village.  GIS was able to digitize the majority of the routes from a paper map that was created for the Task Force by the League of Illinois Bicyclists which ranked the routes by comfort level.  Next, additional trails and information were added based on review by the Task Force members before the map was added to the Village’s online interactive mapping application, MapOffice, for public viewing as a custom overlay.  Also included on the map are difficult intersections, trails, bike rack locations, emergency service buildings, schools, Metra stations, and public facilities for reference.  Now residents are able to easily access and learn more about biking in the Village of Northbrook at their convenience.  Additionally, GIS was able to create a letter sized paper map for the Bicycle Task Force to distribute at various community events they participate in such as the Earth and Arbor Day Celebration.

Highland Park Launches Community Portal

 

The City of Highland Park made a recent addition to the main page of the website; Property Search, also known as Community Portal. Highland Park has long been directing the public to MapOffice Public for their information needs but now the public has another site at just the click of a mouse.

Community Portal makes looking up property information quick and easy.  On the front page of the Highland Park webpage is a "Property Search" widget that directs the public to enter an address for more information.  When an address is entered in, Community Portal launches itself with a "Property Summary" landing page. Multiple tabs of information are provided within Community Portal and it is completely customizable based on the community’s needs. The idea behind Community Portal that makes it so different from MapOffice is that not all information needs to be displayed on a map such as garbage pickup day/time, rather just text information is needed which is where Community Portal steps in. It is the simplicity and ease of use that makes Community Portal so beneficial to Highland Park.

As Highland Park begins to understand what information the public is looking for, Community Portal will be developed further around that. As stated earlier, it is completely customizable based on the communities needs and that is how Highland Park will advance itself in providing need to know information to the public. More to come with Community Portal!

GIS Consortium 3D Mapping Potential

 

A recent objective of the technical staff in the GIS Consortium (GISC) has been to investigate the potential for 3D mapping and to be sure the GISC’s data model continues to advance and support these new technologies easily.  3D mapping in GIS has been possible for some time now, but it has always been a matter of the ease of doing so.  The value of the 3D products must provide a benefit greater than the time and software costs required to create them.

 

The GISC’s software provider, ESRI, has an extension called 3D Analyst which provides the 3D mapping opportunities by rendering GIS data that has elevation, height, or level information assigned to it.  A new addition to their suite, called CityEngine, provides for texturing of data to make it appear even more real if needed, but much more time is required to add those components to the map.  These zoning and tree infestation images highlight the kind of maps that can be created and analysis that can be performed using 3D Analyst.  It is quite clear how valuable the third dimension of information is to communicate the volume of infrastructure, natural or manmade, that exists in an area and the impact they have on their surroundings.  GIS is a decision support tool and 3D obviously has a part to play for the GIS Consortium member communities.

ArcGIS Online Finder Application

 

ArcGIS Online provides many downloadable applications that can be used on smartphones, tablets, and desktops.  This includes web application templates, which are specifically designed to take a web map and then apply graphics, charts, and other related information.  The templates are easy to use and require minimal coding and configuration to get them up and running.  One of these templates is the Finder Application, which is a configurable application template that allows the user to use an attribute search on various feature layers.  This is similar to the Find and Go feature on MapOffice™, but it can be configured to search for any feature attribute, not just address information.

Currently, the GIS Consortium and communities are using the ArcGIS Online Finder Application to create small web based maps that can’t be currently created in MapOffice™.  The Village of Deerfield has put together a web map that allows residents to search a cemetery for specific graves based on the deceased name, and The Village of Lake Forest has an application that allows a user to search for local landmarks.  By using the ArcGIS Online Finder Application, the communities of the GIS Consortium are using new technology to make data querying easier and more efficient.

MapOffice public deployed to Lake Forest employees and residents

Blog_MapOffice_public_deployed_to_Lake_Forest.png

Lake Forest will have access to the web version of MapOffice™
beginning June 1st. The month of May was spent preparing the base data
needed to get MapOffice™ up and running, which involved loading previous
GIS data into the GIS Consortium standardized database.

MapOffice™ will provide staff and residents with information for each
parcel and address in the city, which ranges from school districts and
voting information to garbage pick up days. A link to the Lake County
Assessor’s website for each individual address is also provided to gain
further information regarding building and property dimensions, assessed
value, and sales history.  Tools will be available to the user to
provide further analysis if needed, such as measuring and links to both
Google Street View and Bing Maps Bird’s Eye View.

Information commonly used by staff to assist residents will now all
be available in one place, increasing efficiency, as well as providing
basic information to residents who may have otherwise had to call in to
ask about in the past. Work continues on data creation for MapOffice™
Advanced, which is scheduled to be available on the City intranet by
mid-June.

MapOffice public deployed to Lake Forest employees and residents

Blog_MapOffice_public_deployed_to_Lake_Forest.png

Lake Forest will have access to the web version of MapOffice™
beginning June 1st. The month of May was spent preparing the base data
needed to get MapOffice™ up and running, which involved loading previous
GIS data into the GIS Consortium standardized database.

MapOffice™ will provide staff and residents with information for each
parcel and address in the city, which ranges from school districts and
voting information to garbage pick up days. A link to the Lake County
Assessor’s website for each individual address is also provided to gain
further information regarding building and property dimensions, assessed
value, and sales history.  Tools will be available to the user to
provide further analysis if needed, such as measuring and links to both
Google Street View and Bing Maps Bird’s Eye View.

Information commonly used by staff to assist residents will now all
be available in one place, increasing efficiency, as well as providing
basic information to residents who may have otherwise had to call in to
ask about in the past. Work continues on data creation for MapOffice™
Advanced, which is scheduled to be available on the City intranet by
mid-June.

Improving resident communication with GIS

​More often than not a local community has a need to notify their
residents when a large event is about to occur. Whether it is a fourth
of July fireworks display or a street closing for a street festival,
residents deserve to know when something is going to affect them and the
neighborhood around them. For the Village of Morton Grove the act of
notifying residents has been practiced in many ways but it was not until
the implementation of the Geographic Information System (GIS) that a
simpler method came to fruition.

By using the tools located within the GIS, notifications that
normally took a few hours could now be completed in only a few minutes.
With the ability of the GIS to house all addresses within the village
as well as the proper tools to apply a buffer from the location of the
event, the old methods of manual measurements could now be retired.

A typical situation may involve the Police Department who is
concerned with the flow of traffic around such a large event as well as
keeping the streets free and clear within a specific distance of the
event. From there the request is made to the GIS Department to select
all addresses within a one hundred foot buffer of the streets that have
been assigned to be closed during the event. Buffering the closed
streets by one hundred feet will ensure that all residents on both sides
of the street are aware of the “no parking restriction” and thus forth,
keep the streets clear during the event. Once the GIS has applied the
one hundred foot buffer and then selects all of the addresses within the
buffered area, these addresses are then exported to a Microsoft Excel
spreadsheet. In addition, this excel spreadsheet can eventually be used
in a mail merge in order to create printed address labels that will be
applied to the notification letters.

Although the processes of dropping fliers in a mailbox or knocking on
the doors of residents still works to notify them of something
important, it is rather time consuming and may be difficult to handle.
Moreover, manual measurements on a map to retrieve all addresses within a
certain distance can be highly inaccurate. But by using the tools
within the GIS, much of the time consuming hard work and error
possibilities can be avoided. Thus, displaying a simple solution to a
fairly complex operation.

Improving resident communication with GIS

​More often than not a local community has a need to notify their
residents when a large event is about to occur. Whether it is a fourth
of July fireworks display or a street closing for a street festival,
residents deserve to know when something is going to affect them and the
neighborhood around them. For the Village of Morton Grove the act of
notifying residents has been practiced in many ways but it was not until
the implementation of the Geographic Information System (GIS) that a
simpler method came to fruition.

By using the tools located within the GIS, notifications that
normally took a few hours could now be completed in only a few minutes.
With the ability of the GIS to house all addresses within the village
as well as the proper tools to apply a buffer from the location of the
event, the old methods of manual measurements could now be retired.

A typical situation may involve the Police Department who is
concerned with the flow of traffic around such a large event as well as
keeping the streets free and clear within a specific distance of the
event. From there the request is made to the GIS Department to select
all addresses within a one hundred foot buffer of the streets that have
been assigned to be closed during the event. Buffering the closed
streets by one hundred feet will ensure that all residents on both sides
of the street are aware of the “no parking restriction” and thus forth,
keep the streets clear during the event. Once the GIS has applied the
one hundred foot buffer and then selects all of the addresses within the
buffered area, these addresses are then exported to a Microsoft Excel
spreadsheet. In addition, this excel spreadsheet can eventually be used
in a mail merge in order to create printed address labels that will be
applied to the notification letters.

Although the processes of dropping fliers in a mailbox or knocking on
the doors of residents still works to notify them of something
important, it is rather time consuming and may be difficult to handle.
Moreover, manual measurements on a map to retrieve all addresses within a
certain distance can be highly inaccurate. But by using the tools
within the GIS, much of the time consuming hard work and error
possibilities can be avoided. Thus, displaying a simple solution to a
fairly complex operation.

Establishing a safe walking route to school

​Picking a community that resides within a good school district is
something that is often queried when a family is on the move. Not only
is the idea of a good education important to this family, but the safety
of that school and its location to heavily trafficked areas. The City
of Park Ridge decided that on top of offering numerous great schools for
their students to attend, they would also offer those students a safe
route to those schools.

A few years ago the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department
was presented with the task of mapping out of all the safest walking
routes to each school based on the decisions made by the school board.
One month ago they decided to update these maps by re-evaluating the old
routes and to additionally include the locations of each adult school
crossing guard. Creating a useable and understandable map was the most
difficult task of this project considering the fact that there were
multiple routes to each school and many of these routes overlapped one
another as the routes got closer to the school. Each school had an
average of five separate routes branching out from the periphery of the
school boundary and as many as three adult crossing guard locations.

Using the resources of the GIS Department, the old school walking
routes were reviewed and edited based on the suggestions that were
submitted by the members of the school board. Each school and its
respective school walking routes were then assigned a specific color
scheme so that it was easy to delineate which routes were heading to
which school. In order to make the map more readable each route was
given a number in the form of a label that would sit on top of each
walking route line. As multiple routes began to overlap each other when
they got to closer to the school, the labels denoting the route number
would stagger their position allowing for easy route demarcation.
Furthermore, each adult crossing guard location was added to the map to
help define the walking routes where children would be crossing major
streets.

Once the general design was finalized a map was made of each school
and all maps were then submitted to the school board. From there the
school board was able to distribute these maps to the parents who were
sending their kids to these schools and ultimately provide an additional
service that has been well received by the local residents.

In conclusion, it is easy to see that a simple product is sometimes
all that is needed to keep people informed. In this case it was the
communication between the city’s staff, the GIS Department and the
school board that made it feasible to make these simple maps useable for
the general public. All in all, helping the residents feel good about
choosing the City of Park Ridge for their place to live.