Village working with the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC)

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​In the Spring of 2012, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
contacted the Village of Skokie to participate in a graduate level
course allowing Planning and Geographic Information Systems
(GIS)students to get hands on experience working for a local government.
After a few phone calls and meetings to discuss possible projects, the
UIC class was tasked with collecting the locations of parking meters and
street lights in the downtown area and providing a recommendation as to
where pay stations could be located if the Village were to do away with
single meters. After the 5 week course where the students acted as a
consultant, the Village received the data, maps and analysis outlining
the students work.​

ComEd Disaster Exercise

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In the wake of last year’s power outages, the Village of Skokie has been
working with ComEd to solidify the communication during outage events.
On June 21, 2012 the Village, ComEd and other surrounding communities
participated in disaster exercise aimed at testing the communication and
response in the Village and with ComEd. The exercise, a simulated
tornado, called for events ranging from gas leaks and fires to
overturned tankers spilling fuel into the sewer system to looters. The
Village’s Geographic Information System (GIS) played a supporting role
in the dissemination of information once events began to occur. Using a
database to input the calls for service and MapOffice™ Advanced to
display the information through Business Intelligence, the GIS
Specialist was able to track events and gives decision makers more
information to make better informed decisions.

Using GIS for Collecting Sign Inventories

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The Village of Skokie started maintaining street signs over 30 years
ago. Over time, the inventory evolved from strictly paper/mylar based to
eventually incorporate an Excel spreadsheet with ID’s of signs on the
paper maps. While this has worked in the past, current technology
provides a much better solution for managing the Village’s signs. By
using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the Village can utilize a
technology that is already used throughout the enterprise. This is
especially helpful considering the Federal government has set dates for
compliance for three (3) major traffic sign maintenance requirements.
The U.S. Department of Transportation requires the following:

January 2012 All agencies will have to establish and implement a sign
maintenance program that addresses the minimum sign retroreflectivity
requirements

January 2015 All agencies must comply with the new retroreflectivity
requirements for most of their traffic signs they have installed,
including all red and white or white and black “regulatory” signs (such
as STOP signs and Speed Limit signs), yellow and black “warning” signs,
and ground-mounted green and white “guide” signs (except street name
signs)

January 2018 All agencies must comply with the new retroreflectivity
requirements for overhead guide signs and all street name signs

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

In order to meet the requirement for January 2012, the Village began
conducting a sign inventory in August, 2011. Once the inventory is
complete, the Village will maintain the data using GIS and will publish
the data internally for planning, analysis, and maintenance purposes.

Using GIS for Collecting Sign Inventories

Blog_UsingGISforCollectinignInventories.png

The Village of Skokie started maintaining street signs over 30 years
ago. Over time, the inventory evolved from strictly paper/mylar based to
eventually incorporate an Excel spreadsheet with ID’s of signs on the
paper maps. While this has worked in the past, current technology
provides a much better solution for managing the Village’s signs. By
using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the Village can utilize a
technology that is already used throughout the enterprise. This is
especially helpful considering the Federal government has set dates for
compliance for three (3) major traffic sign maintenance requirements.
The U.S. Department of Transportation requires the following:

January 2012 All agencies will have to establish and implement a sign
maintenance program that addresses the minimum sign retroreflectivity
requirements

January 2015 All agencies must comply with the new retroreflectivity
requirements for most of their traffic signs they have installed,
including all red and white or white and black “regulatory” signs (such
as STOP signs and Speed Limit signs), yellow and black “warning” signs,
and ground-mounted green and white “guide” signs (except street name
signs)

January 2018 All agencies must comply with the new retroreflectivity
requirements for overhead guide signs and all street name signs

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

In order to meet the requirement for January 2012, the Village began
conducting a sign inventory in August, 2011. Once the inventory is
complete, the Village will maintain the data using GIS and will publish
the data internally for planning, analysis, and maintenance purposes.

Storm event response using GIS

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The Chicagoland area was battered with storms during the morning of
June 21, 2011. The strong winds and lightning wrecked havoc regionally.
During the aftermath, Public Safety in the Village of Skokie was busy
taking reports of downed power lines, trees, damaged traffic signals and
street lights. During disasters like this storm, it is highly effective
to be able to map these locations in real time so at any one moment,
Public Safety can pinpoint priorities and allocate the proper manpower.

Mapping falls in the realm of the Village’s Geographic Information
System (GIS). By using the GIS, Village staff can enter address or
street locations and easily associate the data with an actual spatial
location. For example, the Village mapped out all locations of known
trees or branches down following the storm. After placing these
locations on a map, staff was able to allocate manpower to the high
density areas. However, by analyzing the data spatially, the GIS can
paint a picture of where the hardest hit areas are located without
having to analyze The future of GIS in Emergency Management is evolving,
and it is more important now than ever to be able to see real time
data. It allows manpower to be distributed to the proper areas as well
as provides the most accurate look into the current conditions.

Storm event response using GIS

Blog_StormeventresponseusingGIS2.png

The Chicagoland area was battered with storms during the morning of
June 21, 2011. The strong winds and lightning wrecked havoc regionally.
During the aftermath, Public Safety in the Village of Skokie was busy
taking reports of downed power lines, trees, damaged traffic signals and
street lights. During disasters like this storm, it is highly effective
to be able to map these locations in real time so at any one moment,
Public Safety can pinpoint priorities and allocate the proper manpower.

Mapping falls in the realm of the Village’s Geographic Information
System (GIS). By using the GIS, Village staff can enter address or
street locations and easily associate the data with an actual spatial
location. For example, the Village mapped out all locations of known
trees or branches down following the storm. After placing these
locations on a map, staff was able to allocate manpower to the high
density areas. However, by analyzing the data spatially, the GIS can
paint a picture of where the hardest hit areas are located without
having to analyze The future of GIS in Emergency Management is evolving,
and it is more important now than ever to be able to see real time
data. It allows manpower to be distributed to the proper areas as well
as provides the most accurate look into the current conditions.

Emergency Incident Tracking

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While it may not occur as part of the day to day operations, an
unfortunate reality for all local governments is the need to coordinate
response and cleanup efforts as the result of an emergency event, such a
severe storm or other natural disaster. To assist with tracking
reported incidents as the result of a recent severe weather event, the
Village of Winnetka, IL used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to
store and display the incident locations during the event, as well map
their locations to assist with the extensive cleanup efforts after the
event took place.

Prior to using GIS to store and display the emergency event data,
village staff would store the incident information in a variety of
different mediums, including paper post-it notes, scarps of notebook
paper, and non-standardized excel sheets, just to name a few. As a
result, trying to coordinate response efforts was difficult, as post-its
would get lost, pieces of paper would get thrown away, etc. In
addition, without having a visual way to organize each incident
location, departments would often duplicate efforts and send multiple
response crews to deal with one incident, instead of distributing the
available resources to maximize efficiency.

To help reduce these inefficiencies, the village GIS department
provided a Structured Query Language (SQL) database with a Microsoft
Access form front end that allowed staff to enter the information for
each incident location as it was received in a standard format that
could be easily accessed and reviewed by everyone involved in the
response efforts. From the SQL database, each incident could be
extracted and mapped in the village’s internet browser-based GIS
application for all staff to see. Using this visual platform, the
nature of the incident and its current status could be shared quickly
across all departments, reducing redundancy and maximizing the
effectiveness of each response crew.

Special event the Festival of Cultures

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The Skokie Park District in conjunction with the Village of Skokie hosts
the Festival of Cultures. Over the years, it has become a premier
ethnic festival in Illinois celebrating the food, music, and sports that
define cultures throughout the world. This year will be the 21st for
the festival. The Village of Skokie has a high presence during this
festival and is working to promote downtown businesses during the event.
The idea was to create a flyer to promote the Village’s downtown
restaurants. To do this, the Village Manager’s office worked with the
Village’s Geographic Information System to gather data and create a map
showing all restaurants in the downtown area. The Village will be
passing these out at their booth during the festival.​

Special event the Festival of Cultures

​​Blog_SpecialeventtheFestivalofCultures.png

The Skokie Park District in conjunction with the Village of Skokie hosts
the Festival of Cultures. Over the years, it has become a premier
ethnic festival in Illinois celebrating the food, music, and sports that
define cultures throughout the world. This year will be the 21st for
the festival. The Village of Skokie has a high presence during this
festival and is working to promote downtown businesses during the event.
The idea was to create a flyer to promote the Village’s downtown
restaurants. To do this, the Village Manager’s office worked with the
Village’s Geographic Information System to gather data and create a map
showing all restaurants in the downtown area. The Village will be
passing these out at their booth during the festival.​

Supporting local government decision making with business intelligence

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The Village of Skokie keeps track of a comprehensive land use
database using standards set forth by the American Planning Association.
The Land Based Classification Standards (LBCS) is a series of codes
that defines the Function, Site, Structure, Activity, and Ownership of
land. The Village has been diligently working to incorporate the land
uses into its Geographic Information System(GIS). By integrating land
use and GIS, the Village can better analyze and visualize where specific
classifications of businesses are in geographic terms.

Business Intelligence, a tool in MapOffice™ Advanced, allows internal
employees to search for specific land uses in a map interface. By
linking databases and providing a web service on the backend, the GIS
Department enables connections to any enterprise software that meets
certain requirements. Since all GIS Consortium (GISC) communities do not
use the same software, Business Intelligence uses properties to enable
multiple types of data connections (SQL Server, ODBC, Access, etc).
Since not all employees have access to the land use database, Business
Intelligence was the best option to publish this data to employees.