Integrating a Custom Document Management System with GIS

The Village of Tinley Park, IL Planning Department was recently searching for a way to access scanned property plan documents using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which entails being able to search for a property using a map interface and viewing any documents associated with that property.  In order to leverage the capabilities of the village’s internet browser based mapping application, MapOffice™ Advanced, a new method for maintaining plan documents had to be established so that the planners could easily add documents to the village document management system and make them available in a spatial environment for viewing. 

To implement this functionality, a directory was created on the village network that contains folders for every address in the village.  Once a plan document is scanned into a digital format, a user can save that document in the appropriate property address folder for reference.  To help automate the process of connecting a document to its associated property in the GIS address data, a custom script was created that iterates through the entire folder directory and, if any new documents have been added, it adds that document name to a master reference list.  This list is then used to update the connection to MapOffice™ Advanced, thereby allowing users to access these documents in a spatial medium. Since most of this process is automated, the only task the village planners have to do is add documents to the correct property address folder and they will be available to access in MapOffice™ Advanced soon afterwards.

This process can be implemented for many types of documents, which makes it appealing for staff which may not have access to a formal document management system or if the current process of updating documents in a formal system is confusing or time consuming.  By leveraging the power of GIS, village planners now have an easy-to-use tool for accessing plan documents in an environment that naturally ties that document to the physical property it’s associated with.