Technology can be used to assist local government in many different
ways. For the Village of Winnetka, IL, their investment in technology
includes a Geographic Information System (GIS) program that provides all
village departments with maps, analysis results, and data that assists
with day to day operations and future planning efforts.
Traditionally, access to the village’s GIS data, and the ability to
analyze it, has been limited to those who are trained on how to use a
high end GIS software program, which can both cost prohibitive and
technically challenging to implement as a tool for all village staff.
However, with the development of a web-browser based GIS viewer
application called MapOffice™, all staff now has the ability to view all
GIS data collected by the village, as well as conduct basic analysis of
certain data to gather more in-depth information about a particular
assets or process.
A recent analysis of village assets conducted using MapOffice™
involved the village’s Public Works department, which used the
application to conduct a sewer system flow analysis live during a
meeting with a firm that is conducting a sewer system flow monitoring
study for the village. During the meeting, the Public Works Director
was able to use MapOffice™ to highlight areas that the village wanted to
include as part of the flow monitoring study and, using a sewer system
tracing tool, trace how each area was connected within the entire system
and where the flow for each study area started and ended. By
conducting this analysis during the meeting, using existing village data
and an existing tool available to all village staff, the Public Works
Director was able to clearly display which areas he wanted the firm to
focus on for the study and saved the village time and money by not
having the firm conduct the same flow analysis prior to starting the
flow monitoring study.
By making GIS more available through a commonly used medium (i.e. a
web browser), the ability to access and analyze village assets is now
possible to all village staff. Increased access to this information now
allows all departments to leverage the village GIS data to make more
informed decisions that are saving time and reducing the need for extra
expenditures to produce the same level of results.