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.

Editing water utility data using Mobile GIS

​Village staffs in the water utility department, including managers,
operators and executive directors, need an updated understanding of how
utility systems are performing, where employees should be focusing their
efforts and how village residents are affected. Geographic Information
System (GIS) can help to provide a dynamic view of operations and
activities throughout your community. One of the main components of
making this system work is consistently updating your data so that it is
current. While GIS staff knows how to enter and manage GIS systems they
often don’t have the expertise or the opportunity to make data changes
out in the field.

With the availability of mobile computers and skilled public works
staff it is now possible that the ones out in the field doing the manual
work can also make the updates to the GIS. This significantly
streamlines the workflow process. Crews will have more up to date
information in the field, better information in the field beyond the
labels on their paper maps, and won’t have to fill out paper forms. The
important part in implementing mobile GIS updating is that you keep it
straightforward. Once users are comfortable with mobile mapping you can
expand its functionality. This summer the village did just that by
having its valve turning GIS data updated in the field.

Using a rugged laptop, public works staff, with great success, has
been updating all the system valve data for the village water utility as
they turn valves. When completed this data will be checked and imported
back into the utility system for display in key village programs like
MapOffice™ Advanced. It is a great start to what mobile GIS and is just
the beginning for the village’s plans for mobile GIS editing.

Editing water utility data using Mobile GIS

​Village staffs in the water utility department, including managers,
operators and executive directors, need an updated understanding of how
utility systems are performing, where employees should be focusing their
efforts and how village residents are affected. Geographic Information
System (GIS) can help to provide a dynamic view of operations and
activities throughout your community. One of the main components of
making this system work is consistently updating your data so that it is
current. While GIS staff knows how to enter and manage GIS systems they
often don’t have the expertise or the opportunity to make data changes
out in the field.

With the availability of mobile computers and skilled public works
staff it is now possible that the ones out in the field doing the manual
work can also make the updates to the GIS. This significantly
streamlines the workflow process. Crews will have more up to date
information in the field, better information in the field beyond the
labels on their paper maps, and won’t have to fill out paper forms. The
important part in implementing mobile GIS updating is that you keep it
straightforward. Once users are comfortable with mobile mapping you can
expand its functionality. This summer the village did just that by
having its valve turning GIS data updated in the field.

Using a rugged laptop, public works staff, with great success, has
been updating all the system valve data for the village water utility as
they turn valves. When completed this data will be checked and imported
back into the utility system for display in key village programs like
MapOffice™ Advanced. It is a great start to what mobile GIS and is just
the beginning for the village’s plans for mobile GIS editing.

ArcReader in the Public Works Department

​The Village of Glencoe Public Works Department came to the GIS
Department requesting an alternative method to viewing utility data in
the field compared to the current method of viewing data in an atlas
often called Field Note Map Books. Although this product has performed
well over the years the village has had a continuing interest for
implementing new methodology. After completing a needs assessment
conducted by the GIS Department it was decided that the best approach
was to move forward with an application called ArcReader. Moreover,
ArcReader application was at no additional cost to the village and
customized projects could easily be installed on Public Works Laptops
with minimal effort from the GIS Department.

The following report briefly outlines the scope of the project from
start to finish and can be broken down into four phases which include:

Phase 1: Project Identification and Planning

Phase Phase 2: Project Development Phase

Phase 3: Project Installation and Testing Phase

Phase 4: User Training and Briefing

Phase 1: The first phase of the project was for the GIS Department to
determine the best approach to meet the request of the Public Works
staff. An internal review of available hardware and software was
completed and the following key requirements were labeled as issues that
needed to be addressed in the new application:

  • Ability to clearly see and identify utility information in the field
  • Ability to display all necessary background mapping information while in the field
  • Ability to turn aerial imagery on and off
  • Ability to use GIS tools while in the field including distance measuring
  • Ability to update data efficiently and reduce the reproduction time and cost associated with printing utility atlases

The GIS Department concluded that ArcReader was the best software
solution to achieve these goals. This decision was based on a following
factors:

  • ArcReader is free, available and ready to install
  • ArcReader satisfied all of the requirements listed above
  • ArcReader satisfied the requirements of hardware specifications
  • ArcReader mirrored the look and feel of ArcView currently being used in the office by Public Works staff

Phase 2: The GIS Department began developing the ArcReader project
file based off of existing data layers and utility projects in-use with
ArcView platforms. Once all the data was loaded into the project time
was spent updating the aesthetics of the map product as well as the
creation of custom labels for the ids of all utility devices. This
addition was important because village staff had historically used these
ids for tracking purposes but now with the ArcReader project it would
be easier than with products are currently being used. After the
project was completed, the GIS staff created the output file which
packaged all the project and data into one product making it ready for
installation on the computers of Public Works staff members.

Phase 3: As soon as the project was ready the GIS Department
conducted a brief test that included the installation of the initial
software as well as the uploading of the ArcReader project onto a single
Laptop computer. The installation process was overseen with the help
of the Village IT Department and it was concluded that after the first
successful results were reported installation was approved for the
remaining Laptop computers within the Public Works Department. After
the installations on all laptops were performed successfully it was
declared that the computers were ready for distribution and use.

Phase 4: The distribution phase included the GIS Department, the IT
Department and the Public Works Department. During this final phase a
meeting was scheduled in order to demonstrate the new ArcReader
application and distribute the laptops to the Public Works staff
members. In addition, an interactive group discussion took place I
regards to how often data would be updated as well as what methods would
be used for updating of these ArcReader projects on all computers. The
Village of Glencoe Public Works Department decided that the update
cycle would three times a year based on the average rate of data change
over a one year cycle.

In conclusion, after multiple meetings and careful planning between
the GIS Department and the Public Works staff a new technology was
introduced that allowed data stored in the GIS to become usable data in
the field ultimately helping to assist the Public Works Department with
their daily operations.

ArcReader in the Public Works Department

​The Village of Glencoe Public Works Department came to the GIS
Department requesting an alternative method to viewing utility data in
the field compared to the current method of viewing data in an atlas
often called Field Note Map Books. Although this product has performed
well over the years the village has had a continuing interest for
implementing new methodology. After completing a needs assessment
conducted by the GIS Department it was decided that the best approach
was to move forward with an application called ArcReader. Moreover,
ArcReader application was at no additional cost to the village and
customized projects could easily be installed on Public Works Laptops
with minimal effort from the GIS Department.

The following report briefly outlines the scope of the project from
start to finish and can be broken down into four phases which include:

Phase 1: Project Identification and Planning

Phase Phase 2: Project Development Phase

Phase 3: Project Installation and Testing Phase

Phase 4: User Training and Briefing

Phase 1: The first phase of the project was for the GIS Department to
determine the best approach to meet the request of the Public Works
staff. An internal review of available hardware and software was
completed and the following key requirements were labeled as issues that
needed to be addressed in the new application:

  • Ability to clearly see and identify utility information in the field
  • Ability to display all necessary background mapping information while in the field
  • Ability to turn aerial imagery on and off
  • Ability to use GIS tools while in the field including distance measuring
  • Ability to update data efficiently and reduce the reproduction time and cost associated with printing utility atlases

The GIS Department concluded that ArcReader was the best software
solution to achieve these goals. This decision was based on a following
factors:

  • ArcReader is free, available and ready to install
  • ArcReader satisfied all of the requirements listed above
  • ArcReader satisfied the requirements of hardware specifications
  • ArcReader mirrored the look and feel of ArcView currently being used in the office by Public Works staff

Phase 2: The GIS Department began developing the ArcReader project
file based off of existing data layers and utility projects in-use with
ArcView platforms. Once all the data was loaded into the project time
was spent updating the aesthetics of the map product as well as the
creation of custom labels for the ids of all utility devices. This
addition was important because village staff had historically used these
ids for tracking purposes but now with the ArcReader project it would
be easier than with products are currently being used. After the
project was completed, the GIS staff created the output file which
packaged all the project and data into one product making it ready for
installation on the computers of Public Works staff members.

Phase 3: As soon as the project was ready the GIS Department
conducted a brief test that included the installation of the initial
software as well as the uploading of the ArcReader project onto a single
Laptop computer. The installation process was overseen with the help
of the Village IT Department and it was concluded that after the first
successful results were reported installation was approved for the
remaining Laptop computers within the Public Works Department. After
the installations on all laptops were performed successfully it was
declared that the computers were ready for distribution and use.

Phase 4: The distribution phase included the GIS Department, the IT
Department and the Public Works Department. During this final phase a
meeting was scheduled in order to demonstrate the new ArcReader
application and distribute the laptops to the Public Works staff
members. In addition, an interactive group discussion took place I
regards to how often data would be updated as well as what methods would
be used for updating of these ArcReader projects on all computers. The
Village of Glencoe Public Works Department decided that the update
cycle would three times a year based on the average rate of data change
over a one year cycle.

In conclusion, after multiple meetings and careful planning between
the GIS Department and the Public Works staff a new technology was
introduced that allowed data stored in the GIS to become usable data in
the field ultimately helping to assist the Public Works Department with
their daily operations.

Analyzing the community infrastructure

​The cycle of weather in the Chicagoland area results in an
instability that catches up with communities in the spring. Cleaning up
after the harsh winter that batters the roadways and underlying water
and sewer utilities can be a very demanding task. Every year streets are
resurfaced and water mains are broken and then replaced. These tasks
seem simple to the public: village crews go out, dig up the pavement,
and replace it. What the public may not realize is the planning that is
involved and the analysis which is provided by the Skokie Geographic
Information System Department (GIS).

By using GIS, the Village of Skokie’s Public Works Department now has
the ability to analyze their street, water and sewer data. Because
Skokie’s infrastructure is heavily stressed by the freeze and thaw cycle
during the winter months, maintenance of the infrastructure begins
during the spring. Data kept by the water and sewer department serves
as the base analysis carried out by the GIS department. Water main
breaks are plotted and color coded by year to allow the user to easily
identify areas containing a high density of breaks. In addition to
plotting water main breaks, the mains are categorized by year of
installation and color coded as well.

Combined and storm sewers are also found in the infrastructure
analysis. These sewers are rehabbed and are categorized by a rating
system. By using this system, public works can easily track the
locations and years in which the work was completed, eliminating the
need to use paper documents such as as-builts or other technical
drawings. This is also true for street resurfacing. Keeping data
simple and accessible provides critical information to the decision
makers of the community.

Users of GIS benefit from the technology’s ability to transform data
in table format to spatial locations plotted on a map, while keeping the
attributes of the table. GIS creates an environment that can easily
analyze geographic data and help facilitate decision making. By keeping
records of water main breaks, sewer rehabilitation, and street
resurfacing, the Village of Skokie can locate and analyze areas with
ease.

Analyzing the community infrastructure

​The cycle of weather in the Chicagoland area results in an
instability that catches up with communities in the spring. Cleaning up
after the harsh winter that batters the roadways and underlying water
and sewer utilities can be a very demanding task. Every year streets are
resurfaced and water mains are broken and then replaced. These tasks
seem simple to the public: village crews go out, dig up the pavement,
and replace it. What the public may not realize is the planning that is
involved and the analysis which is provided by the Skokie Geographic
Information System Department (GIS).

By using GIS, the Village of Skokie’s Public Works Department now has
the ability to analyze their street, water and sewer data. Because
Skokie’s infrastructure is heavily stressed by the freeze and thaw cycle
during the winter months, maintenance of the infrastructure begins
during the spring. Data kept by the water and sewer department serves
as the base analysis carried out by the GIS department. Water main
breaks are plotted and color coded by year to allow the user to easily
identify areas containing a high density of breaks. In addition to
plotting water main breaks, the mains are categorized by year of
installation and color coded as well.

Combined and storm sewers are also found in the infrastructure
analysis. These sewers are rehabbed and are categorized by a rating
system. By using this system, public works can easily track the
locations and years in which the work was completed, eliminating the
need to use paper documents such as as-builts or other technical
drawings. This is also true for street resurfacing. Keeping data
simple and accessible provides critical information to the decision
makers of the community.

Users of GIS benefit from the technology’s ability to transform data
in table format to spatial locations plotted on a map, while keeping the
attributes of the table. GIS creates an environment that can easily
analyze geographic data and help facilitate decision making. By keeping
records of water main breaks, sewer rehabilitation, and street
resurfacing, the Village of Skokie can locate and analyze areas with
ease.

Following flooding

Blog_Following_flooding.jpg

Being situated along a river has many advantages, but can also create
many issues that have a direct impact on the residents adjacent to
these natural features. Riverside has most of its southern boundary
defined by the Des Plaines River and there are significant natural areas
throughout the community that surround the river which provide for
activities such as fishing and scenic walking. These landscapes usually
act as a buffer from flooding that can occur during major rain events,
but do not always absorb the impact of these events.

The Geographic Information System (GIS) provides the community a
resource to consume Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood
information. This data is updated every year and helps determine
insurance rates and flood hazards in developed areas. The FEMA data can
be combined with property and other geographic information and features
in the GIS that allows for recognition of trends and provides a
superior decision making resource when compared to previous methods.

This information is currently being provided to village staff as a
map image and through a mapping application called MapOffice™ Advanced.
MapOffice™ Advanced provides an interactive resource where staff can
quickly view properties, addresses, roadways, waterways, and FEMA flood
zones. The map image provides similar viewing capability, but has also
incorporated other flood and drainage information that has been captured
in the GIS such as the extent of the flooding from the September 2008
storm event and yard drainage issues that have been reported throughout
the community.

Other geographic analysis is being considered to further impower
village staff and support their efforts to mitigate these events and
issues. In the meantime, combining and overlaying this various but
related information will continue to provide a valuable resource for the
village.

Following flooding

Blog_Following_flooding.jpg

Being situated along a river has many advantages, but can also create
many issues that have a direct impact on the residents adjacent to
these natural features. Riverside has most of its southern boundary
defined by the Des Plaines River and there are significant natural areas
throughout the community that surround the river which provide for
activities such as fishing and scenic walking. These landscapes usually
act as a buffer from flooding that can occur during major rain events,
but do not always absorb the impact of these events.

The Geographic Information System (GIS) provides the community a
resource to consume Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood
information. This data is updated every year and helps determine
insurance rates and flood hazards in developed areas. The FEMA data can
be combined with property and other geographic information and features
in the GIS that allows for recognition of trends and provides a
superior decision making resource when compared to previous methods.

This information is currently being provided to village staff as a
map image and through a mapping application called MapOffice™ Advanced.
MapOffice™ Advanced provides an interactive resource where staff can
quickly view properties, addresses, roadways, waterways, and FEMA flood
zones. The map image provides similar viewing capability, but has also
incorporated other flood and drainage information that has been captured
in the GIS such as the extent of the flooding from the September 2008
storm event and yard drainage issues that have been reported throughout
the community.

Other geographic analysis is being considered to further impower
village staff and support their efforts to mitigate these events and
issues. In the meantime, combining and overlaying this various but
related information will continue to provide a valuable resource for the
village.

Gypsy moth spray areas

​Since 2004, the gypsy moth has plagued northern Illinois, destroying
oak trees in parks and recreation areas. These moths have been migrating
slowly from the northern United States to the southern United States.
In order to manage the gypsy moth population, the Village of Oak Brook
performs aerial sprays in areas where oak trees are present. The
treatment consists of a naturally occuring bacterium called Kacillus
Thuringiensis (BTK). BTK is highly effective in controlling gypsy moth
populations, but is not harmful to people, pets, livestock, or the
environment.

The village first needed to define the boundary for each spray area
using a combination of aerial imagery and parcel boundaries in
Geographic Information System (GIS). Each spray area was then
classified as either ”Village” or ”Forest Preserve” to determine who was
responsible for the spraying. The amount of BTK required for each
aerial spray was then calculated using the total acreage for each spray
area. Maps were created for each individual spray area as well as a map
showing the location of all the spray areas throughout the village.
The maps were sent to residents in the spray areas to provide
information on the location and extent of the sprays.

The map below shows each spray area along with its classification.
Village spray areas include Heritage Oaks, Timber Trails, and the Bath
and Tennis Club. Forest Preserve spray areas include portions of
Fullersburg Woods and Yorkshire Woods. Also defined were elective spray
areas or areas that contain a small number of oak trees. These areas,
which are the responsibility of the village, include: Trinity Lakes,
Chateaux Woods, and select locations throughout the village.

Through GIS, gypsy moth spray areas can be quickly defined,
classified, and their total acreage can be calculated in minutes.
Public Works staff can determine how much spray is needed and who is
responsible for each spray area. Maps of the spray areas allow village
residents to easily visualize the location and extent of the spray
areas. This information can be used as a reference when determining
spray areas for future years as well.