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.

Water main infrastructure stability

​Whether it is to take a shower or fill up a glass of water people use
the resource of water everyday. Although the process of getting this
resource to the consumers 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 is something that they take very seriously; so it is
no wonder why they continually investigate the strength of the water
utility infrastructure. For the Village of Morton Grove they have
decided to do just that.

Every time a water main break occurs within the village limits it is
first reported to the public works department and then it is serviced.
The third process that the Village of Morton Grove performs is to track
the closest address to where the water main break occurred. These
addresses are then entered into a spreadsheet every month and stored
away for records sake. Although this method was efficient it lacked one
final step that would allow for the village engineers to truly study
what was happening to their water utility system, a visual component.
Having a visual component would help the engineers to analyze where the
most water main breaks were occurring and if they were continuing to
happen on the same water main. This is where the village enlisted the
resources of the Geographic Information System (GIS) department.

By using the tools located within the GIS, the addresses that were
recorded for each water main break could easily be given a geographic
location on the earth based on 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.

In addition to plotting the water main break locations by month the
village decided that the true benefit would come by mapping out these
incidents per year and even more in depth, by multiple years. In total,
this type of analysis allowed for the village to locate the most
problematic areas of town and decide on what water mains might actually
need to be replaced before more breaks continue to come about.

Since the inception of this project the analysis has been performed
at least once a year. Moreover, the maps that are generated from the
project are studied and eventually brought before the budget committee
when considering how much money should be allocated for fixing these
problems. 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 infrastructure stability

​Whether it is to take a shower or fill up a glass of water people use
the resource of water everyday. Although the process of getting this
resource to the consumers 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 is something that they take very seriously; so it is
no wonder why they continually investigate the strength of the water
utility infrastructure. For the Village of Morton Grove they have
decided to do just that.

Every time a water main break occurs within the village limits it is
first reported to the public works department and then it is serviced.
The third process that the Village of Morton Grove performs is to track
the closest address to where the water main break occurred. These
addresses are then entered into a spreadsheet every month and stored
away for records sake. Although this method was efficient it lacked one
final step that would allow for the village engineers to truly study
what was happening to their water utility system, a visual component.
Having a visual component would help the engineers to analyze where the
most water main breaks were occurring and if they were continuing to
happen on the same water main. This is where the village enlisted the
resources of the Geographic Information System (GIS) department.

By using the tools located within the GIS, the addresses that were
recorded for each water main break could easily be given a geographic
location on the earth based on 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.

In addition to plotting the water main break locations by month the
village decided that the true benefit would come by mapping out these
incidents per year and even more in depth, by multiple years. In total,
this type of analysis allowed for the village to locate the most
problematic areas of town and decide on what water mains might actually
need to be replaced before more breaks continue to come about.

Since the inception of this project the analysis has been performed
at least once a year. Moreover, the maps that are generated from the
project are studied and eventually brought before the budget committee
when considering how much money should be allocated for fixing these
problems. 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.

Mapping snow sidewalk removal routes

​The Village of Glencoe and the Geographic Information System (GIS)
department have been continuously looking for new ways to incorporate
GIS into projects that assist staff in their daily workflows and
business processes. An opportunity occurred when the Public Works
department called on the GIS department with a request to update and
replace older Snow Sidewalk Removal Maps that are used by staff during
snow removal operations. These maps were to supplement the existing
programs in place which included a comprehensive Snow Removal Route
database along with Salting Routes and associated Trucks.

The public works department provided the GIS department with existing
examples and requested that these books be recreated using GIS so we
can produce a product that can be efficiently maintained, updated, and
distributed. The maps were designed to fit into existing booklets that
included multiple 8 ½” by 11” sheets broken down by 3 main Snow Sidewalk
Removal routes. Each sheet also contained very important information
used by staff including: Work Area Statistics, Mileage, Start and Finish
Times, Unit Numbers, Hour and Time Tracking Statistics, and Date. Each
map sheet was designed to show the portions of the Route and Areas
within that Route. The maps also displayed very important information
including locations and extents of priority sidewalks, normal sidewalks,
and locations of where the actual sidewalk ends.

The conversion of the map was a basic operation, in a sense, which
involved recreating the existing products after the Routes were
developed in the GIS database. Special attention was needed to match
these products as close as possible to avoid conflicts. During this
process a few cartographic tricks were used to carry out the full effect
of the maps. Once a few review cycles were completed the product was
completed and sent to production.

In conclusion, it is easy to see how the functionality of GIS within
the community can be beneficial for all parties. It is very important
for both the GIS department and other village departments to continue to
seek out opportunities where they can share important information. GIS
is uniquely positioned to help provide a common platform for data
collection, maintenance and visualization of geographical information
and the above project showcase is a prime example of how existing data
from multiple departments can be shared and used more efficiently.

Mapping snow sidewalk removal routes

​The Village of Glencoe and the Geographic Information System (GIS)
department have been continuously looking for new ways to incorporate
GIS into projects that assist staff in their daily workflows and
business processes. An opportunity occurred when the Public Works
department called on the GIS department with a request to update and
replace older Snow Sidewalk Removal Maps that are used by staff during
snow removal operations. These maps were to supplement the existing
programs in place which included a comprehensive Snow Removal Route
database along with Salting Routes and associated Trucks.

The public works department provided the GIS department with existing
examples and requested that these books be recreated using GIS so we
can produce a product that can be efficiently maintained, updated, and
distributed. The maps were designed to fit into existing booklets that
included multiple 8 ½” by 11” sheets broken down by 3 main Snow Sidewalk
Removal routes. Each sheet also contained very important information
used by staff including: Work Area Statistics, Mileage, Start and Finish
Times, Unit Numbers, Hour and Time Tracking Statistics, and Date. Each
map sheet was designed to show the portions of the Route and Areas
within that Route. The maps also displayed very important information
including locations and extents of priority sidewalks, normal sidewalks,
and locations of where the actual sidewalk ends.

The conversion of the map was a basic operation, in a sense, which
involved recreating the existing products after the Routes were
developed in the GIS database. Special attention was needed to match
these products as close as possible to avoid conflicts. During this
process a few cartographic tricks were used to carry out the full effect
of the maps. Once a few review cycles were completed the product was
completed and sent to production.

In conclusion, it is easy to see how the functionality of GIS within
the community can be beneficial for all parties. It is very important
for both the GIS department and other village departments to continue to
seek out opportunities where they can share important information. GIS
is uniquely positioned to help provide a common platform for data
collection, maintenance and visualization of geographical information
and the above project showcase is a prime example of how existing data
from multiple departments can be shared and used more efficiently.

Checking in: Using SDE technology to perform multi-user database edits

​Allowing multiple users to edit the same database within a Geographic
Information System (GIS) system can often be very important to
maintaing an efficient and steady workflow. While it’s possible for one
database user to make edits and then have another user make additional
edits on the same database, this approach can be risky as data can be
lost or corrupted. To help avoid this situation the City of Des
Plaines implemented a SDE-based approach to managing its sewer utility
system that allows for more than one user to perform edits on a set of
data with the capability to review the changes to ensure data integrity
is maintained.

The event that directed the city to use this approach was the
purchase of a sewer televising software that allows for the city’s GIS
sewer data to be viewed and edited in the field through an ESRI® mapping
interface. While providing the primary sewer utility database to the
city’s public works field crews was an option, it was not practical for
the city’s utility update workflow. With edits being performed to the
sewer system both in the field and in the office, an alternate approach
needed to be adopted that would permit edits to be performed in both
locations without the risk of data being over-written.

The resulting workflow involved using an SDE method of database
managment called a ”check out”. This approach allows for multiple
snapshots of the primary database to be created and distributed for
editing. These snapshots capture the current state of the data (i.e.
spatial location of features, attributes, etc.) so that a user can work
with it as if they were working with the primary data source. Using
this method, multiple users can make edits using engineering drawing,
field-based edits, etc., without having to worry about data the being
lost. For the city’s sewer televising project, a ”check out” was
created to be used in the televising truck, allowing both the field
crews and the office staff to seemlessly continune their workflows.

Once edits are made, the ”check out” database is ”checked in” to the
primary database, which copies the changes made in the field database
over to the primary database in the office. Without SDE technolgy,
performing this action could be risky in terms of maintaing data
integrity, but the main advantage of using the SDE-based approach is
that edits made by different users to the same data can be compared
against each other. This ability to review the data before it is
permenantly added to the primary database greatly improves the stability
of using a multi-editor approach.

By taking advantage of SDE technolgy to assist with successfully
implementing a multi-user sewer utility editing approach, the City of
Des Plaines has helped to maximize the usefulness of the televising
software and the efficency of its utility editing workflow.

Targeting utility infrastructure improvements

​As the country’s utility infrastructure continues to age, many local
governments will be faced with the task of updating or replacing
deteriorating structures. Since this process can result in high costs
for a community, many municipalities prefer to develop an infrastructure
improvement plan to make sure the areas most in need get updated first.
As part of the Village of Winnetka’s utility improvement plan, the
water and electric department recently analyzed the structural integrity
of village water mains by reviewing water main break incidents from the
last 20 years.

Main break records help to identify mains that are weak or have
become unreliable over time and, therefore, are in need of repair.
While several department members were aware of numerous water main
breaks that have occurred over the years, without a comprehensive view
of the entire village, it was difficult to determine which mains should
be considered high priority updates. To assist with identifying
priority update areas, the GIS department used address and location
information associated with each main break incident record to create a
spatial layer for the water main breaks that could be mapped and
analyzed in the GIS software.

While being able to spatially review the main break locations was
useful in identifying general problem areas across the village, it did
not help to highlight the individual water main features in the GIS that
the breaks occurred along. To help accomplish this task, the GIS
software allows for multiple features to be linked together using a
common attribute, which can allow for information from one feature to be
applied to another. For this project, both the water mains and the
main break records contained a water main numbering system used by
department staff to track and identify individual records. Using this
numbering scheme, the break records were successfully linked to the
water mains, thereby allowing each main feature to be visually
identified by the number of break records associated with it.

With the main breaks both spatially referenced and linked to the
existing water main features in the GIS system, the water and electric
department now has an efficient tool for reviewing mains where multiple
breaks have occurred. Being able to locate these high priority areas
without performing time-consuming field checks has also provided a
cost-savings to the department by improving staff efficiency and
allowing them to focus on other tasks. Using GIS to assist with this
project has improved the department’s ability to develop a more
efficient water main improvement plan and provides a visual reference
tool to assist with planning future improvement projects.

Improving utility information via the use of a sewer televising program

​The Village of Lincolnshire and the Geographic Information System
Department have been continuously looking for new ways to incorporate
GIS into the daily business processes and work flows conducted by their
departments. The village’s Public Works Department had previously
installed a “Sanitary Sewer Televising” Program and for many years since
its inception has used it to help identify and maintain the condition
of the sewers within the village. The idea of taking this data and
integrating it with the GIS utility databases was an easy decision for
the village since it would improve data efficiency and allow for better
accuracy.

Once the idea of integration was decided upon the GIS Department and
the village’s Public Works Department began to outline a plan for proper
methods of data capture in order to better understand the sanitary
sewer system and what might be needed for this process to work. The
ultimate goal was to use highly accurate base data collected by an
external consultant and update this information on the existing sanitary
sewer system database within the GIS Department. Features that were
identified included residential and commercial service connection
locations, pipe size verification, pipe material identification, pipe
and asset condition and the positional accuracy of sewer mains and
structures.

With all goals outlined in the project’s plan the next phase looked
into the process of how to incorporate the data from the external
consultant into the GIS database. Since many functions of GIS data
creation involve manual work it was determined that best approach was to
use televising reports and cross check these reports the GIS system.
During this process, GIS technicians would review data provided and
update the system while conducting normal data maintenance procedures.
This method enabled crucial data updates and information to be added
into the system as part of a normal work flow. Although the updates
would not occur overnight they would however be integrated into the GIS
database progressively with an eventual output to the end users.

In conclusion, it is easy to see how the functionality of GIS along
with other business processes within the community can be beneficial for
all parties. It is very important for both the GIS Department and
other village departments to continue to seek out opportunities where
they can share important information. GIS is uniquely positioned to
help provide a common platform for data collection, maintenance and
visualization of geographical information and the above project showcase
is a prime example of how existing data from multiple departments can
be shared and used more efficiently.

Using Field Note Map Books to maintain utility information accuracy

​The Village of Oak Brook relies on accurate utility information in
order to assist the community staff with their day to day activities
just like any other local government does. For example, the Engineering
Department utilizes storm sewer information to assess and resolve
drainage issues as well as general pipe replacement. The Public Works
Department needs accurate utility information in order to indentify
water main size, type and location in order to respond to water main
breaks. In addition, the Fire Department needs to have access to fire
hydrant information for flow rate testing and to locate the nearest
hydrant in the event of a fire. This information has been stored in
multiple locations including engineering plans and permit applications
but ultimately should reside in one centralized location.

As far as holding this information in one centralized location a
Geographic Information System (GIS) is most certainly one of the better
options on the market today. Storing utility information from resources
like as-builts, hand drawn maps and other sources can easily be filed
into two specific databases based on whether it is a sewer or water
utility system. These individual databases contain information on the
type, size and location of features including some basics as pipes
manholes for the sewer system as well as hydrants and valves for the
water system. Not only are these databases excellent locations for
storing data they also have the ability to link to external databases as
long as the proper structure and attributes are maintained (i.e.using a
number identification system in order to link to the Water Billing
Department so that water billing records can be easily linked and
retrieved).

In order to easily update and modify changes in the storm and water
databases, field note map books are created. A field note map book is
usually an atlas of pages sized as 17×22 where a full community is
broken down into multiple pages by a grid in order to present the map at
a 1’=100’ scale. Moreover, by using a grid based on the Professional
Land Survey township system the community can be subdivided into
equalized quarter-sections (northeast, southwest). Once the community
is properly split up into quarter-sections the grid number is placed on
its respective field note map book page.

In addition to the grid information each field note map book shows
the utility system and aerial photography for that particular location
at a 1" =100′ scale. At this scale, structures can be easily
distinguished and field crews can easily markup the pages for edits that
need to be made to the utility system by the GIS Department. The notes
section on the right of the field note map book page provides an area
where field crews and engineering staff can provide comments on
discrepancies between what is in the GIS and what is said to be true in
the field. The image below shows an example field note map book page for
the water distribution system. Hydrants and valves are labeled with
their location as well as the length of the water main. Also included on
each page is a site map of the village. This allows field crews and
engineering staff to quickly determine the location of the water main
relative to the village.

Resurfacing streets made easier with GIS

Within the sector of local government there are many important
services that a co
mmunity provides for their residents. Among the long
list, one service that often gets a lot of discussion is the condition
of the streets, or better yet, the street resurfacing program. Whether
residents file a complaint about the vast number of potholes on a street
or someone passing through town inquires about a refund for a road
induced flat tire, the general condition of a street attracts a fair
amount of attention. With these ideas in mind the Village of Morton
Grove decided to take a different approach at surveying the condition of
their streets in an effort to better understand the current state of
their road infrastructure.

The village decided that to maximize the use of their time and money
they would create a street resurfacing inventory with the help of an
application called MicroPaverTM as well as the resources of the
Geographic Information System (GIS). Collectively, both applications
had something that the other program did not necessarily excel at.
MicroPaverTM was very proficient at managing a street inventory and
assigning all streets with an accurate condition rating based on
multiple street condition attributes. On the other hand, the GIS was
very good at producing a final product in the form of a map and making
the results from the MicroPaverTM more understandable to the common
viewer.

Although the village engineers were more concerned with the numbers
and statistics reported from the MicroPaverTM software, they knew that
the data had to be readable to the village board staff that were not
engineers themselves. By having access to the capabilities that the
MicroPaverTM technology provided it was quite simple to use an export
tool that would transfer the street data into a GIS useable file. Once
in the GIS, the streets were categorized based on their pavement
condition rating and given a color scheme to delineate which streets had
a status of pass and which had a status of failure. Applying the
proper color scheme to the final map product was crucial since the map
would eventually be displayed at the village’s budget meeting and act as
a mechanism for understanding the overall condition of the current
street infrastructure. In addition, the more streets that were displayed
with a failing status might lead the board to believe that more of the
budget dollars should be allocated to the street resurfacing program.

In conclusion, community projects that require definitive answers
usually require a systematic approach. In the example listed above it
easy to see that using GIS in conjunction with the MicroPaverTM software
allowed the Engineering Department of Morton Grove to answer some
serious questions in regards to an important community service, street
resurfacing