Using GIS to Display City Parks and Amenities


The City of Lake Forest, IL is developing an intuitive application
that will allow residents to view city park locations and related
information. Currently, residents retrieve parks information from the
City’s Parks and Recreation webpage that lists information without a map
or photo component. With the assistance of staff from the Geographic
Information Systems (GIS) department, the Parks and Recreation
department will create a map application that will display the location
of all city parks. Each park will have a unique photo, as well as a
comprehensive list of available amenities and information for each park.

The first step is for GIS staff to acquire all of the parks
information from the Parks Department. The park locations will then be
mapped and the related information will be populated. The parks data
will be loaded into an online map environment, called Story Maps, which
is powered by ESRI’s ArcGIS Online application. The Story Maps interface
provides a user the ability to host an inactive map showing localized
data, in this case park locations and information. The end result of
this project will be a URL web link that is embedded on the city’s

Creating an interactive map showing the city’s parks will provide
residents with a streamlined source of information. Users will be able
to browse city parks, view available amenities (i.e. number of grills,
shelters and baseball fields), and view general park information.
Having this information in an intuitive format and in accessible
location may reduce the amount of resident calls to city staff to obtain
this information.

Identifying High Risk Crime Areas with GIS


Ensuring public safety is one of the most important duties of local
government, and also one of its greatest challenges. Like most
communities, the Village of Glenview, IL is no stranger to
inconsistencies in crime location throughout the village. However, there
are some areas that require extra attention. The Police Department has
identified locations across the Village that are considered high risk or
prone to a heavy volume of calls to the department. Understanding where
these locations are and what categorizes them as high risk can go a
long way in providing exceptional police service and ensuring public

The Glenview Police Department recently tasked the Geographic
Information Systems (GIS) Department with developing a way to display
these areas of high risk from a spatial perspective, along with
additional information on each location. The end result serves the
purpose of not only providing officers-in-training with a resource to
learn where high risk areas are, but also to allow veteran officers to
view these areas from a more spatial perspective. Using information
provided by Police, GIS staff created a custom layer in the village’s
interactive mapping application, MapOffice™ Advanced, which displays
each of these locations, along with additional information as needed.
In some instances, such as the residence of a frequent perpetrator, a
mug shot image is linked to the location for display to further aid

Without GIS, the Police Department would have to rely on personal
knowledge or rough sketches drawn up that show the locations of these
high risk areas, along with viewing any recorded notes that may exist
for each area. In both documenting and displaying these high risk areas
using GIS, Police can now obtain a wealth of information with the click
of a mouse, further enabling them to continue to provide the high level
of public safety that is so important to the Village of Glenview

GIS Supports Deerfield-Riverwoods Dispatch Consolidation


In early October 2013, the Village of Deerfield, IL began providing
emergency dispatch to the neighboring Village of Riverwoods. Citing
Deerfield’s state-of-the-art communications center, well-trained
Dispatch staff and proximity to Riverwoods, the two communities reached
an agreement that Deerfield would be Riverwoods’s dispatch provider in
early September 2013. The Deerfield Police Department has asked the
village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Department for assistance
in providing the dispatch center with the necessary maps and address
information needed in order to provide effective dispatch service to

The Village of Deerfield uses New World Systems software to dispatch
Police units to reported incidents. This software relies heavily on GIS
information, such as accurate addresses, correct street names and
supporting map layers. The GIS Department was responsible for acquiring
Riverwoods GIS data, reviewing it for accuracy, and modifying it to fit
the New World Systems standards. As accurate addresses are a crucial
aspect of providing effective dispatch service, close attention was paid
to the address point and street centerline GIS data of Riverwoods. As
part of an ongoing process, GIS staff is responsible for maintaining
accurate and supportive address data and map layers, resolving data
related issues where necessary.

Without a local GIS system, the Village would have had to look to an
outside vendor for the appropriate data, which could result in receiving
data that is with less accurate and more costly to maintain. In
addition, the Village would not have the direct support and quick
turnaround with data management it currently has. When dealing with the
safety and well-being of the public, these aspects cannot be

Invasion of the Pumpkins


With autumn in full swing, many communities take this time to
celebrate the season with Halloween-themed special events for the public
to take part in. This year, the Village of Deerfield, IL is holding its
first annual “Invasion of the Pumpkins” parade, which features 16
five-foot tall fiberglass pumpkins painted by Deerfield High School
students and community partners. Each pumpkin will feature a local
charity and have a built-in coin slot for donations, with the Deerfield
Fine Arts Commission voting on its favorite pumpkin.

To help support this event, the Village requested the assistance of
the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Department to create a
user-friendly parade route map to be placed in the event handout and
posted on the Village website. With the parade route running through
many of Deerfield’s neighborhoods and past a number of its parks, the
parade route map serves as a helpful resource for the public to utilize
while planning their participation in the event. Residents can determine
their favorite location top watch the parade in advance, whether it is
the lawn of Wilmot Park or their own front porch, and watch in delight
as these giant pumpkins invade Deerfield!

Bike Network Information Added to MapOffice™


The City of Des Plaines, IL obtained a Congestion Mitigation and Air
Quality (CMAQ) grant in 2008 to assist in the development of the city’s
bike network. By the summer of 2011 this grant provided enough funding
to develop a bike network that includes 15 miles of signed on-street
routes and 5 miles of shared lane markings or other supportive pavement

In the past, information regarding the bike network was available to
the public through a series of static PDF maps on the city’s website,
but city staff wanted to consolidate information to make it easier for
residents and staff to view. To do this, staff from the Engineering
department worked with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) personnel to
develop a custom layer for display in MapOffice™, the city’s
interactive map application. Within this custom layer the current bike
network is symbolized by the type of routes that are currently in place
and proposed future route improvements. Bike rack locations are also
included in the layer, as well as points of interest found along each
route. This layer is displayed in both an internal version of
MapOffice™ available to village staff and well as a public version of
MapOffice™ available on the city’s website.

Making this information available in the city’s interactive map
environment allows residents and staff to view the bike network
spatially and also obtain information regarding the network features.
City staff hopes that this layer will give residents easy access to more
information about their bike riding options and provide answers to
questions that were previously only available by contacting the city

Integrating the City’s Permit Program with GIS


Every community looks for ways to streamline operations to improve
its productivity when serving the public. One way of doing this with a
GIS system is to incorporate other application programs a community uses
by linking them into GIS so the user can access a variety of
information within one program. For the City of Park Ridge, the
Community, Preservation, and Development Department was looking towards
GIS to access information from their permits program through the city’s
GIS program, MapOffice Advanced.

To start this process, a connection was created between the permits
program and MapOffice Advanced. Once the connection was made, the
relevant data fields that would be displayed had to be decided on by
community staff. In the end, only a small percentage of the available
fields were chosen showing only basic information such as permit number,
type of permit, important dates, and owner information. Once this was
all setup, it was ready to be accessed by community staff. In order to
use this tool, staff would use the Business Intelligence by Address task
in MapOffice Advanced to select an address on the map. Once the address
was selected, a popup window with all permitting information related to
that address would be displayed, and the user could get the information
that he or she was looking for.

By having this new connection between GIS and the permits program, a
user can now locate pertinent information regarding permits without
actually having to open up the permits program. This increases customer
response time either on the phone or in person when a resident is going
through the permitting process. Another advantage with this setup is
that additional information can be added or removed quickly and easily,
based on a request from a user. The hope around the city is that this
is the first of additional programs that GIS can integrate with.

Using GIS to Maximize Snow Management Efficiency


The City of Lake Forest, IL is considering purchasing land that will
function as a Municipal Services satellite location. This land will be
primarily used as a location to dump excess snow in the winter months.
Currently, snow is transported to the current Municipal Services
location on the northwest end of the city, with the centralized plowing
area where snow is retrieved being downtown Lake Forest. There are five
potential satellite locations being considered that are spread across
different areas of the city. To assist with determining the best
satellite location, the Public Works staff enlisted the assistance of
the city’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) personnel. The factors
being considered when deciding on the best site are drive time, existing
site infrastructure, and proximity to residential areas.

The first step was to map the proposed satellite Municipal Services
locations as provided by Public Works staff. Using ESRI’s Network
Analyst tools, drive times were calculated from each proposed location
to the downtown area. Residential zoning was added to the analysis to
assess potential noise disturbances along the proposed removal routes
and Public Works staff was able to provided knowledge of preexisting
infrastructure at each proposed site. After performing the analysis, the
previous Municipal Services location proved to be the most appropriate
for snow dumping. The property held the least amount of drive time from
downtown at under 2 minutes. Since garages still remain on site, there
is no need to invest in storage. Lastly, the previous Municipal Services
location is primarily surrounded by commercial infrastructure which
will reduce the concern of disturbing residence.

By utilizing GIS, Public Works staff members are able to make an
informed decision about what property acquisition best meets their
needs. While the final decision was to continue using the existing
dumping site, the property purchase is now supported with reliable data.
With this routing analysis the city is able to efficiently locate
their resources and ultimately better serve the community.

Vulnerable Resident Locations


Natural disaster events are unavoidable and unpredictable. The best
thing a community can do is prepare for any situation that may arise as
best they can. This means being proactive and creative in visualizing
scenarios and thinking of ways to handle those situations effectively.
It was through this process that the Village’s Human Services Department
decided to contact its geographic information system (GIS) department
to assist them in the event of an emergency.

The Village’s Human Services Department provides a plethora of services
to all Skokie residents from short-term counseling to social services.
One of those services includes assisting senior residents. In the event
of an emergency event, like a flood, being able to quickly identify
those residents who are affected and contacting them to ensure their
safety is important. To accomplish this GIS was given access to a
database of the Village’s vulnerable resident addresses and phone
numbers. These individuals were mapped out and added as a custom layer
in the Village’s mapping application MapOfficeTM Advanced. This allows
the Human Services Department employee to interactively pan the map,
quickly identify the resident, and get that resident’s location and
phone information at the click of a mouse.  

Integrating a tree inventory into GIS to streamline daily workflows


In 2013, the Village of Lincolnshire, IL hired The Davey Tree Expert
Company to collect an inventory of all Village-owned trees. This
inventory included trees not only in public rights-of-way, but also in
all nine public parks managed by the Public Works Department. When
completed, the Geographic Information System (GIS)-compatible database
held a total of 6,180 trees, stumps, and planting locations, all with
varying maintenance needs. Since the end product was GIS-compatible,
the on-site specialist was able to generate a number of products quickly
that support the daily workflows of both the Village arborist and the
Village Parks manager.

The biggest impact on daily workflow was the addition of custom
layers for display in the village’s interactive, browser-based mapping
application, MapOffice™ Advanced. Working with the Village arborist, the
GIS specialist created two layers: one that shows all Village-owned
trees, and one that highlights ash trees by their surveyed condition.
The arborist uses these layers daily in place of making multiple field
checks to confirm existing conditions. The ash tree layer also assists
the arborist in prioritizing the removal of trees that have become
hazards as a result of damage from the emerald ash borer.

While Davey Tree offers a software package for managing its tree
inventories, Lincolnshire made the decision to manage its inventory with
the GIS software it already owned. Not only does this save money on
additional product licenses, but it also shifts the workload of data
maintenance from part-time employees to the GIS specialist with
expertise in data management. Instead of maintaining a separate
database, Village staff reports updates to the specialist, who manages
the data as a normal part of the GIS program’s workflow.

Urban Speed Districts


​Effective July 1, 2013 Illinois law enforcement agencies were required
to identify tickets issues for speeding 25 MPH over the posted limit in
an “Urban District”. The Police Department contacted the GIS Office
about creating a layer that defined the Urban District within Mundelein.
There was concern that not all of The Village would be included within
the defined are of an Urban District. Since the new law requires
officers issuing citations to note if the violation occurred in an urban
area, it was important understand which parts of the village might be
outside of an urban area.
The Police Department asked the GIS
Office to define urban districts by using the statutory definition which
reads: (625 ILCS 5.0/1-214) is: The territory contiguous to and
including any street which is built up with structures devoted to
business, industry or dwelling house at intervals of 100 feet for a
distance of a quarter of a mile or more. Using this definition GIS
Office focused locating areas where the buildings were with 100 feet of
each other. These buildings were used to select properties and the
properties were merged into an urban district area. Then the area was
reviewed to remove anomalies created by parks or other open areas.
The final product showed all the areas of the Village that met the
definition of an urban area. The next step was creating a wall map so
that people could clearly see which areas of The Village where in or out
of an Urban District. By contacting the GIS Office the Police
Department received an accurate product that helps officers understand
which parts of Mundelein are outside of an Urban District.