Optimizing Tree Planting in Park Ridge

 

January 2017 Tree Planting

Most Public Works and Forestry departments know the magnitude and attention to detail that must be paid to tree plantings each year. What locations should we plant trees in? What is the most efficient route to take? How do we stay within budget and get the project done in a timely manner?  

 

In the spring and fall of each year, the City of Park Ridge must answer these questions to coordinate and manage tree planting in the parkway.  The planting process is conducted by contractors and can include 100 to 300 trees, depending on the fiscal year and money availableBecause of the vast number of trees paired with the extensive planting area, coordinating and managing an efficient tree planting project can be a difficult task.  

 

How Trees Are Planted 

In the past, planters worked off only a map of the planting locations, without any directions regarding how to order the plantings. This was problematic for Village staff needing to work on trees following a tree planting, as staff would not know where trees had been or were going to be planted next. GIS was able to simplify and streamline this process by creating a map of the optimal route planters should follow. This helps Village staff to better manage the planting process and know which locations to visit. 

 

Efficiency, Collaboration, and Technology 

The route is created using a tree location address list provided by Public Works and ESRI’s Network Analyst extension, a tool shared within the GIS Consortium. The mapped addresses are ordered to reduce mileage and drive time in the overall route.   

 

These tasks work together to create a systematic and efficient workflow for the planters and city staff, reducing the time and effort spent on coordinating the bi-yearly tree planting. To further aid in management of the tree planting process, the time it takes to plant a tree could be incorporated into the analysis. This would give all involved a better idea of how many trees should be expected to be planted per day. Such a process and workflow is not limited to planting trees but could be created for other projects as well.   

 

Contact a specialist to discuss ways in which this process could be applied to improve a workflow! 

 

Take the Lead 

Discover, innovate, and collaborate with the GIS Consortium today! Contact your community’s GIS Specialist to discuss project opportunities, Consortium services, and GIS.  

 

If you would like to learn more about this initiative or if you have questions, please contact agrahovac@mgpinc.com. 

 

Author: Louise Hahn, GIS Specialist 

 

Fast Forward to Better Service, Delivery, and Performance!


In October 2015, the city and village managers in the GIS Consortium approved a recommendation made by leaders from their communities, to negotiate with Accela for the purchase of their Customer Relationship Management solution (formerly PublicStuff). Prior to this recommendation, the communities engaged in this project were using a variety of methods to track requests for service. The common challenge was that they were unable to easily share the information with each other or with the public, and this wasted valuable staff time. This is a short explanation of key accomplishments the Citizen Service Request Workgroup made in just 1 years’ time, which is really something to celebrate! 

 

Negotiating a Win-Win Agreement with Accela 

By the end of January 2016, the communities approached Accela as a group to create a one-of-a-kind agreement. This agreement assists communities with receiving discounts on the annual subscription cost of the software, the cost per integration, the cost for add-on features, and a reduction in the percentage for future price increases. As a result of creating this unique agreementAccela benefits by onboarding many new clients at once, establishing stronger presence in Illinois, and lowering their cost of sales. 

 

Standards and Governance 

By the end of February 2016, the communities standardized a list of service request types and definitions. The group that spearheaded this effort worked diligently to ensure the standards mirrored what a typical resident would requestSome examples of these include: Fallen Tree Limb, Construction Concern, Graffiti, Tall Grass and Weeds, Street Light Out, and Water Quality Concern.  The solution offers communities the best of both worlds: structure and flexibility with the administration of the system  

 

8 Communities Launch Initiative in the First Year! 

A short six months into the initiative, four communities have already gone live with the system: Lincolnwood, Downers Grove, Riverside, and Des Plaines!  Elk Grove Village, Mount Prospect, Buffalo Grove, and Norridge are set to launch before the end of 2016Here is what a couple of them have to say since their implementation: 

 

Doug Petroshius, Assistant Village Manager in Lincolnwood says, “In Lincolnwood the CRM is enhancing communication by providing residents updates on service requests, by making it easy to access the village staff directory, and by receiving priority information from the village through push notifications. The Village of Lincolnwood app has also been well received by the Board members and other community leaders.” 

 

Megan Miles, Downers Grove Management Analyst says, Our staff found the system easy to learn and use, and that benefits our residents because we have a good tool that allows us to quickly find and relay information to them.” 

 

Planning for the Future 

Only a year ago, this project collaboration was merely an idea to solve two prevalent pain points: to enhance communication and service to residents, and to provide a more robust, user friendly tool for community staff. The leaders of this GIS Consortium initiative made these outcomes possible and we congratulate all of them for this tremendous accomplishment. The year 2016 produced robust advancementsand we can’t wait to see what 2017 brings!  


Take the Lead 

Discover, innovate, and collaborate with the GIS Consortium today! Contact your community’s GIS Specialist to discuss project opportunities, Consortium services, and GIS.  


If you would like to learn more about this initiative or if you have questions, please contact agrahovac@mgpinc.com. 

 

Author: Maria Storm, MGP Client Experience Manager

Cheers! Mundelein Employs Interactive Mapping to Manage Liquor Licenses

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Problem-Solving 

How can communities determine the balance between having too many and too few liquor licenses in a certain area? Many communities are faced with this challenge. If they allow too many businesses to sell alcohol, they risk stretching their policing resources too thin.  If they allow too few, they risk alienating future business. Mundelein recently tackled this concern with an innovative new way to visualize their liquor license data. 
 
A Traditional Approach 

Like many communities, Mundelein used to track businesses with liquor licenses in a spreadsheet, an excellent approach for managing information, but not for visualizing it. For instance, a spreadsheet only allows the user to view an address, but not the physical location of the property. So the user might accidently issue a liquor license to a business that is too close to a prohibited location, such as a religious building. To prevent situations like this one, the community decided to innovate their liquor license tracking process. 
 
A Better Understanding  

To improve upon the current situation, Community Development and GIS collaborated to discuss mapping the location of liquor licenses in the Village utilizing an interactive map called a custom overlay, which is available in MapOfficeInteractive maps are more visually appealing than PDF maps, are easier to understand, and are quick to update. By taking this new approach, Mundelein improved its liquor license tracking process and utilized a new way to view pertinent information. 


Continuing to Improve 
 Although the Liquor License custom overlay is a great step in visualizing this data, Mundelein desired to further improve their workflow efficiency. The community then asked about adding a search function to locate businesses by name. Community Development and GIS developed an ArcGIS Online map that shows the location of all the businesses with liquor licenses and has a search tool to locate businesses by name. This innovation gave the community a new way to search for businesses and visualize data that was previously tucked away in a spreadsheet. 

 

Benefits to the Community 

Both the custom overlay and the ArcGIS Online map improved the ability of users to see how many licenses are in a commercial district or at a specific property such as a mall. Further, the maps are only visible to community staff, so all data is secure. Mundelein progressed from viewing data in a spreadsheet to working with it in an interactive map that significantly enhances the community’s liquor license review process.  ​

Take the Lead 

Discover, innovate, and collaborate with the GIS Consortium today! Contact your community’s GIS Specialist to discuss project opportunities, Consortium services, and GIS.  


If you would like to learn more about this initiative or if you have questions, please contact agrahovac@mgpinc.com. 

 

Author: Mike Falkofske, GIS Specialist in Mundelein 

Crystal Lake Teams up with GIS to Fight Fires in Lakewood

Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department

Is it possible to save resources, improve community services, and help a fellow neighbor all at the same time? If you ask Crystal Lake, the answer is an enthusiastic “Yes!” 

 

In 2015, Crystal Lake’s neighbor, the Village of Lakewood, was in search of a new fire service provider. That summer, Lakewood approached Crystal Lake with a proposal to enlist the Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department as the new provider with the caveat that the city would provide more efficient and cost-effective services.  

 

Fighting Fires With GIS 

 

Enthusiastic to help, Crystal Lake turned to its GIS program for assistance with the endeavor. To better understand if the city would be able to effectively provide this service, the fire department collaborated with the city’s GIS program to answer the following question: Can the Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department respond from each station to all areas of Lakewood more effectively than the village’s current provider?  
 

Evaluating Distance Response Times

 

Crystal Lake’s GIS team created an emergency drive response time map to analyze how long it would take emergency responders to travel from the station to different areas of Lakewood. The team discovered that Crystal Lake is able to respond faster than the current provider. Upon reviewing various resources, Crystal Lake’s bid, and the drive time analysis, Lakewood chose to unite with the Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department as the community’s new fire protection service provider.  

 


A New Year, A New Beginning 

 

January 1, 2016 marked the first official day of the new fire protection partnership. To ensure that the two communities made a successful transition sans service interruptions, the GIS Program developed a plan to facilitate the changeover. The GIS team and the fire department joined forces to use drive time analysis to map out ideal routes from each station to locations throughout both communities. The results and maps were shared with the staff to inform them of the new coverage area, and fire protection services were set into motion. 

By leveraging GIS and coordinating with the fire department, Crystal Lake and Lakewood combined resources and ideas to provide fire services to both communities. This collaboration enabled each community to receive efficient and effective services while saving time and resources. 

 

Take the Lead 

 

Discover, innovate, and collaborate with the GIS Consortium today! Contact your community’s GIS Specialist to discuss project opportunities, Consortium services, and GIS.  

If you would like to learn more about this initiative or if you have questions, please contact agrahovac@mgpinc.com. 

 

Author: Alexandria Caputo, GIS Specialist in Crystal Lake 

 

Communities That Collaborate Win!

A disruptive model for collaboration was set into motion in 1998 knitting four communities together to form the GIS Consortium; in this model communities share staffing, software, and infrastructure to enhance communication and sharing of information across departments by delivering a robust geographic information system (GIS) in their communities.  The charter members of the GIS Consortium included the City of Highland Park, City of Park Ridge, Village of Lincolnshire, and Village of Glencoe.  Today the GIS Consortium is 32 communities strong and growing!

In the fall of 2014 the managers of these communities came together for a strategic discussion where they considered questions like, “What other big problems could we solve together?”  “How can we get access to enhanced services for our residents while revenues decline and expenses rise?” “How do we leverage the buying power we have in more places?”  Today this group of managers call themselves the Leadership Roundtable and they are committed to thrive despite the circumstances around them by operating from their circle of influence.

Local government has always solved tough issues; these communities are simply leveraging the opportunity to do this together.  We predict that this forum of managers will continue to be leaders who demonstrate what is possible when communities in local government collaborate. 

Communities that collaborate win!

We Will Acccomplish More Together Than We Will On Our Own!

A forum of managers in local government in northern Illinois, the Leadership Roundtable, came together in early 2015 to generate a list of common problems they could solve together.  As the list of project ideas grew one of them quickly floated to the top of the list.  As a result, the managers prioritized a project that would enhance service by improving communication between residents and the municipality.

Next, the managers authored a charter document that outlined clear outcomes for the project, and then selected their top Thought Leaders to participate on an innovation team who would work together to achieve the desired outcome.

In 4 months’ time the team…

  • used the innovation process
  • wrote user stories
  • issued a Request for Information (RFI)
  • short-listed five vendors
  • conducted interviews and demonstration
  • created a presentation
  • presented their recommendation to the managers of the Leadership Roundtable. 

 

The team’s recommendation was to partner with a solution provider they found would achieve the outcomes of the charter best.  The recommendation to implement a Citizen Service Request system has been accepted by 14 communities and we expect that number to keep growing.  The communities are now in the process of negotiating collectively with the vendor of choice to obtain the best possible outcomes.  Implementation of the solution will begin in the first quarter of 2016. 

We will accomplish more together than we will on our own!

On the Fast Track to Updating Bikeway Information

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) helps local governments plan land use and transportation initiatives to promote sustainability. CMAP’s GO TO 2040 comprehensive plan is designed to achieve this by providing recommendations on transportation, human capital and governance. One way in which CMAP strives to improve the livability of communities is through their Soles and Spokes Plan which encourages citizens to walk and bike.

The Village of Tinley Park, IL was asked to provide information about their existing walking and biking facilities for integration into CMAP’s Bikeway Information System (BIS). In order to respond to CMAP’s request, the Village had to fill out a questionnaire and mark a map with any changes or updates to the bikeway system. 

After consulting with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the Village responded to CMAP’s request by structuring bikeway facility data around the questionnaire. Bikeways were drawn using GIS and attributed based on CMAP’s interest in facility type, status, location, and other factors. By relying on GIS, the Village of Tinley Park reduced the time to complete a written response for each bikeway. Data is now stored in a system that is easily accessible and can be queried whenever needed by staff.

Know the Flow: Who Has Residential Sprinklers

During a fire event, a sprinkler system is a key ally in battling the blaze and minimizing the damage. The City of Park Ridge, IL understands this firsthand and requires any new construction be equipped with a fire sprinkler system. While a long-time standard for commercial structures, this now includes residential buildings. 

Sprinkler information was traditionally tracked in a spreadsheet. However, locating a particular address wasn’t an easy or robust process, and not all staff members had direct access. As a result, the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Office was asked to devise a more effective way of delivering this information to staff.

GIS created a MapOffice™ Web Access Business Intelligence connection that references residential sprinkler locations throughout the city. Now when staff want to determine whether or not a residential sprinkler is installed at a home, all they do is type in an address when the connection is on. They can then click a point on the map and the spreadsheet information attributed to that address can be quickly accessed.

This is a great example of how GIS can connect with address-based tabular data and make information immediately accessible to those who need it.