Using GIS to Support Sidewalk Snow Removal

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Winter operations for local government Public Works departments
involve many different tasks, from snow and ice removal to decorating
for the holiday season. Often times these operations can require a
significant amount of resources and man hours from department staff to
complete, which can be further complicated by personnel turnover,
illness, or some other event that impacts staff availability. To
assist with better documenting their sidewalk snow removal routes for an
easier transfer of information between staff members, the Village of
Winnetka, IL Public Works department asked the village’s Geographic
Information Systems (GIS) department to help develop a series of maps
showing the different routes and highlighting certain areas that may
require additional attention during a snow event.

In addition to information provided by department personnel on the
location of each snow removal route, the GIS department was also
provided with a series of old Computer-Aided Design (CAD) drawings to
use as a starting point for developing the requested series of maps.
Using both these sources, and existing sidewalk data that was already
available, the GIS department staff was able to extract out the
necessary sidewalk features that are associated with each removal route
and develop a series of color coded maps that highlight each removal
area as well as areas of additional concern (i.e. areas of steep
incline, etc). After a thorough review of the maps, the Public Works
staff approved the new products and implemented them into a snow removal
map book that is now available in every department plow truck and snow
removal vehicle.

Having this resource moving forward will make it easier and less time
consuming to communicate removal routes to new staff or existing staff
that needs to fill in on a route they are unfamiliar with. By
transferring the sidewalk snow removal information to a visual medium,
the Village of Winnetka Public Works Department now has a more efficient
and standardized resource for communicating information between
department personnel.