GIS Assists with Developing a Streetlight Inventory

A common challenge faced by many local governments is keeping an accurate inventory of its physical assets, and the City of Park Ridge, IL is no different.  Over the past several years, the city has been gradually building an inventory of its streetlights to allow for quick reference for routine maintenance, replacement, or even emergency purposes. To assist with managing this asset collection process of the city’s 1,500 streetlights the city’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department was consulted to help development the framework and management process for collecting, maintaining, and most importantly, displaying the collected data for quick reference by city staff.

Using a handheld GPS unit, a city engineer collected the geographic location for all streetlight locations throughout the city. Once the data was quality controlled and attributed with the correct ownership and maintenance information, a comprehensive streetlight inventory was created in GIS and added to MapOffice™ Advanced, a mapping and property information program that all city staff have access to. Staff can type in an address and have the streetlight information display instantly using the application’s utility display tools.  Another added bonus that this project provided was that, once the inventory was built in GIS, it was cross-checked with a city streetlight location list provided by ComEd, which in turn resulted in the findings of a number of streetlights that ComEd was charging the city for that did not actually exist.  This inventory is also invaluable when it comes to reporting the location of a streetlight outage by allowing city staff to see exactly where it’s located on a property and which agency is responsible for fixing it.

Without GIS, a city employee would need to search through large binders filled with text based descriptions of streetlight locations.   That type of approach to identifying streetlight locations would be much more time consuming and result in increased workflow inefficiencies.  Having a location based, easy to access, visual tool for locating streetlights helps to streamline department workflows and increase turnaround time for dealing with light maintenance or ownership issue.