Improving resident communication with GIS

​More often than not a local community has a need to notify their
residents when a large event is about to occur. Whether it is a fourth
of July fireworks display or a street closing for a street festival,
residents deserve to know when something is going to affect them and the
neighborhood around them. For the Village of Morton Grove the act of
notifying residents has been practiced in many ways but it was not until
the implementation of the Geographic Information System (GIS) that a
simpler method came to fruition.

By using the tools located within the GIS, notifications that
normally took a few hours could now be completed in only a few minutes.
With the ability of the GIS to house all addresses within the village
as well as the proper tools to apply a buffer from the location of the
event, the old methods of manual measurements could now be retired.

A typical situation may involve the Police Department who is
concerned with the flow of traffic around such a large event as well as
keeping the streets free and clear within a specific distance of the
event. From there the request is made to the GIS Department to select
all addresses within a one hundred foot buffer of the streets that have
been assigned to be closed during the event. Buffering the closed
streets by one hundred feet will ensure that all residents on both sides
of the street are aware of the “no parking restriction” and thus forth,
keep the streets clear during the event. Once the GIS has applied the
one hundred foot buffer and then selects all of the addresses within the
buffered area, these addresses are then exported to a Microsoft Excel
spreadsheet. In addition, this excel spreadsheet can eventually be used
in a mail merge in order to create printed address labels that will be
applied to the notification letters.

Although the processes of dropping fliers in a mailbox or knocking on
the doors of residents still works to notify them of something
important, it is rather time consuming and may be difficult to handle.
Moreover, manual measurements on a map to retrieve all addresses within a
certain distance can be highly inaccurate. But by using the tools
within the GIS, much of the time consuming hard work and error
possibilities can be avoided. Thus, displaying a simple solution to a
fairly complex operation.