GIS Aids Public Notification Systems

Providing residents with notifications of emergencies and current events can be a difficult task for any community.  The Village of Northbrook, IL has deployed a public notification system using an online application called Everbridge.  Residents and businesses throughout Northbrook can sign up to receive notifications on a variety of topics.  Notifications can include emergencies or weather related disasters, hydrant flushing, road construction, or current events pertaining to the village. 

Everbridge has a mapping component to aid in selecting resident contacts for notifications.  Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has been involved with the village’s notification system workgroup to be sure Everbridge, specifically the mapping component, is used as effectively as possible.  GIS has been able to use existing data layers, such as the village boundary and the Public Works maintenance grids, and upload them to the Everbridge application.  Staff can use these layers to select and target residents to provide notifications that are pertinent to them.  For example, Public Works performs hydrant flushing in certain neighborhoods throughout the village based on their grid system.  Now, Public Works staff can use Everbridge and the layers provided by GIS to select and notify only the residents within grids that are being flushed that week. 

These preloaded layers can also be extremely useful in the case of severe weather and flooding.  Residents in specific areas can be notified of street flooding, downed trees or electrical wires by using Public Works grids or fire districts to target the residents affected.  In emergency situations, the preloaded layers can save valuable time in sending out notifications and limit the number of phone calls being placed to Public Works by providing accurate information to residents who need it.