Most Public Works and Forestry departments know the magnitude and attention to detail that must be paid to tree plantings each year. What locations should we plant trees in? What is the most efficient route to take? How do we stay within budget and get the project done in a timely manner?
In the spring and fall of each year, the City of Park Ridge must answer these questions to coordinate and manage tree planting in the parkway. The planting process is conducted by contractors and can include 100 to 300 trees, depending on the fiscal year and money available. Because of the vast number of trees paired with the extensive planting area, coordinating and managing an efficient tree planting project can be a difficult task.
How Trees Are Planted
In the past, planters worked off only a map of the planting locations, without any directions regarding how to order the plantings. This was problematic for Village staff needing to work on trees following a tree planting, as staff would not know where trees had been or were going to be planted next. GIS was able to simplify and streamline this process by creating a map of the optimal route planters should follow. This helps Village staff to better manage the planting process and know which locations to visit.
Efficiency, Collaboration, and Technology
The route is created using a tree location address list provided by Public Works and ESRI’s Network Analyst extension, a tool shared within the GIS Consortium. The mapped addresses are ordered to reduce mileage and drive time in the overall route.
These tasks work together to create a systematic and efficient workflow for the planters and city staff, reducing the time and effort spent on coordinating the bi-yearly tree planting. To further aid in management of the tree planting process, the time it takes to plant a tree could be incorporated into the analysis. This would give all involved a better idea of how many trees should be expected to be planted per day. Such a process and workflow is not limited to planting trees but could be created for other projects as well.
Contact a specialist to discuss ways in which this process could be applied to improve a workflow!
Take the Lead
Discover, innovate, and collaborate with the GIS Consortium today! Contact your community’s GIS Specialist to discuss project opportunities, Consortium services, and GIS.
If you would like to learn more about this initiative or if you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Louise Hahn, GIS Specialist
A forum of managers in local government in northern Illinois, the Leadership Roundtable, came together in early 2015 to generate a list of common problems they could solve together. As the list of project ideas grew one of them quickly floated to the top of the list. As a result, the managers prioritized a project that would enhance service by improving communication between residents and the municipality.
Next, the managers authored a charter document that outlined clear outcomes for the project, and then selected their top Thought Leaders to participate on an innovation team who would work together to achieve the desired outcome.
In 4 months’ time the team…
- used the innovation process
- wrote user stories
- issued a Request for Information (RFI)
- short-listed five vendors
- conducted interviews and demonstration
- created a presentation
- presented their recommendation to the managers of the Leadership Roundtable.
The team’s recommendation was to partner with a solution provider they found would achieve the outcomes of the charter best. The recommendation to implement a Citizen Service Request system has been accepted by 14 communities and we expect that number to keep growing. The communities are now in the process of negotiating collectively with the vendor of choice to obtain the best possible outcomes. Implementation of the solution will begin in the first quarter of 2016.
We will accomplish more together than we will on our own!
The Village of Mundelein, IL owns a number of properties that require regular maintenance. This ranges from mowing and fertilizing to plant bed care. Every two years the Village seeks bids from contractors to service these areas.
In the bid proposal, the Village includes a list of locations with site numbers. Each record in the list includes an address or description of the location and the type of maintenance required. Maps with the location of site numbers are included to make it easier for contractors to find and evaluate sites.
The Public Works Department asked the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Office to assist with this year’s bids by creating maps for each location. Since most sites are small, one requirement was to format maps so that several would fit on one page. Using the Data Driven pages toolbar in Esri’s ArcMap software, the GIS Office set up an atlas with four maps per page. Because map layers are linked to data, they can be quickly updated with new information.
The result is a win-win for the Village and its vendors. By including maps in bid proposals, contractors can accurately bid on maintenance. And by leveraging the power of GIS, Public Works can automate the creation and updating of maps with greater efficiency.
Infrastructure improvements are invaluable in keeping a community running smoothly. Unfortunately, they can turn into annoyances when a road must be closed or a car is trapped in a driveway due to road resurfacing. That is why it’s important for municipalities to communicate effectively with their residents about upcoming and ongoing construction projects.
Traditionally communities created a report with details about ongoing construction. However, this was problematic for new residents, who may not be familiar with the street network, to understand exactly where projects are occurring. While some communities use a PDF map, this can confuse residents who may not easily connect the list of projects to locations on the map.
To get around some of these issues, the Village of Mundelein, IL decided to develop interactive map to display construction locations. Residents can click on the location of a project and immediately see information in a pop-up bubble. Projects are updated each week with their current status. The interactive map is a great tool for the Village to deliver timely information, promote transparency, and minimize inconvenience for the community.
Trees are one of the many assets that local municipalities manage on an annual or semi-annual basis. One of the ways to promote their vigor and longevity is to schedule plantings to replace damaged, diseased and dying trees. Often the Public Works or Forestry Department hires an outside contractor to handle the plantings. This spring, the Village of Schiller Park, IL called upon Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to create a map of planting locations and an optimal route for their third party contractor.
Public Works provided GIS with a list of addresses adjacent to each tree planting location. After mapping trees to the closest address, staff created an optimized route using GIS software to generate a sequential numbering system. This sequence was used to mark tree plantings, in order, from start to finish. The map was given to Public Works to distribute to the contractor.
By coordinating efforts and generating a map for both the village and third party contractor, staff saved valuable time that can be put towards other projects.
Hydrant flushing is an annual task that usually takes place in early spring and lasts approximately one month. Many may view this as a wasteful act or an inconvenience for commuters. However, it ensures the quality of water in village homes is free of discoloration, unpleasant taste and odor.
The build-up of sediment and deposits in the water distribution system causes these negative aspects. The most effective way to purge debris is through unidirectional flushing. This can be very taxing on Public Works departments because the locations of system valves, hydrants and pressurized mains must be identified prior to flushing. The Village of Wheeling, IL relies on unidirectional flushing and maps their entire water distribution system in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
The GIS department in Wheeling created hydrant flushing map books to streamline the process for Public Works. (The image below shows a page in the map book.) Each page displays a specific flow boundary that isolates hydrants to their associated water main. Flushing empties the entire water main.
GIS also included the exact order each hydrant should be opened to maximize efficiency. (The red letters in the image below are the sequence for opening hydrants.) Utility map books are not uncommon in Public Works, but GIS provides the necessary customization so local government can more effectively serve the community.
Special thanks to Dustin Chernoff and Jeff Wolfgram in the Village of Wheeling Public Works for providing the necessary information.
Aging infrastructure affects not only water delivery, but the revenue stream in municipalities. When water mains leak or break, the Village of Tinley Park, IL responds quickly to assess the damage and fix the problem.
Over time, sections of the water main leak or break repeatedly, prompting replacement. To be more proactive in determining which pipes to replace, the village’s Public Works department turned to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) staff to analyze incidents over location and time and determine which sections are high priority.
The analysis compared the age, location, and number of incidents on each pipe section throughout the village. By comparing the density of leaks and breaks within a 33-year period and a more recent 10-year period, those sections with the most incidents were identified and highlighted in maps.
Using these maps, Public Works easily prioritized which ones to replace in the upcoming year. The GIS analysis also gave staff insight into areas of town where leaks and breaks would likely occur in the future.