Ensuring proper lighting of streets is a public service that local
communities take satisfaction in providing. Without lights, streets
would be impossible to drive on, walk on, or even live along.
Therefore, the Public Works Department for Village of Morton Grove
decided it was crucial to create a street light inventory of lights that
they maintained. This inventory would help them provide better service
for their residents. Moreover, they also wanted to locate the
electrical lines that supplied power to each streetlight in order to be
certain that field crews would not accidently come into contact with
them when digging for other utilities.
Although many of the field workers were aware of the locations
streetlights owned by the village, they were unaware of how the
electrical lines in the ground connected them together. In addition to
this problem, they did not have an easy way of directing new employees
to the location streetlights and electrical lines. This would prove to
be a major safety concern for crews out in the field. For these reasons,
the Public Works Department decided to enlist the services of the
Geographical Information Services (GIS) Department to help them map out
the location of electrical utilities.
The first step of this inventory process involved providing the
Public Works field crews with an atlas of maps so that they could
temporarily mark down the locations of the streetlights and underground
electrical lines while working out in the field. Once all the maps were
updated with, proper field note corrections they were then submitted to
the GIS Department to begin the entry process into the computer. At
this point, the GIS Department analyzed the real world features to
determine which features were important for the Public Works Department.
A model that easily depicted what was happening out on the streets was
created based on this analysis.
Once the model was created, the data entry portion then took place by
digitizing these features and storing them in a geographical database.
Streetlight poles, streetlights, electrical lines, splice boxes and
control features were added into the database as well as the proper
relationships between these features (i.e. this street light pole has
two street lights attached to it and each light is incandescent). By
having the data in this fashion, it was easy for the Public Works
Department to locate these features on a map but also allow them to
answer questions like “How many lights need replacing?” or “What control
box turns these lights on and off?”
The final step in this inventory process was for the GIS Department
to create a new map atlas that displayed this street light model in its
entirety and deliver the printed copies of this atlas to the field
crews. The field crews carried these atlases in their vehicles for easy
access to assist them with determining if they are digging in an unsafe
area or need to know where to turn of the electrical current for a set
This successful process displays how taking real world features from
the field and mapping them in GIS allowed the Public Works Department of
Morton Grove to continue providing an efficient service of lighting
streets as well keeping their employees safe when working in the field.