Improving Accessibility to Data with Business Intelligence

To better understand why certain types of crime are concentrated in different parts of the village, the Village of Woodridge, IL Police Department was looking for a way to show the locations of the current calls for service, as well as information from their police database, in a spatial environment. While creating a static map product periodically would have been one option, a more dynamic option would be to integrate this data into the village’s web-based mapping application, MapOffice™, using Business Intelligence. Business Intelligence allows the police department to view these different data sources dynamically, side-by-side on a map and visualize trends that may not be readily apparent when looking at the data in a spreadsheet or other tabular format. 

Business Intelligence is a technology that allows connections to be made to a variety of data sources that include spreadsheets, databases, dispatch systems, and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. The Woodridge police department benefits from this type of connection since their service call data and police database are stored in different places. Now, when police staff use MapOffice™, they can see multiple data sources together, including call data, locations where illegal property trespasses have occurred, and where patrolling location of interest are located. Officers can also access this information in the field using laptops in their patrol cars.

Business Intelligence connections in MapOffice™ is a powerful technology that allows multiple sources of data to be integrated into a single location, which can provide deeper insight into common questions.

Using GIS to Delineate Disputed Fire District Boundaries

The Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company provides the fire protection services to the Village of Glen Ellyn, IL as well as its surrounding unincorporated areas. Over the years there has been some dispute and confusion over whose jurisdiction some of the unincorporated parcels actually belong to. This dispute could lead to a potentially life threatening situation if an emergency happens in a disputed area where the dispatch center does not have the correct department information for a property. To assist with resolving some of these jurisdiction issues, the village’s Geographic Information System (GIS) department was consulted to help with determining the correct jurisdiction that these border parcels belong in.

GIS used a variety of resources in helping to determine the correct jurisdiction for each parcel. Using tax information provided by DuPage County, the borders of the response areas were redrawn to match the taxing body. The county data did have its limitations though. One difficulty with having a volunteer fire department is that residents within the district do not have a fire protection tax on their property tax bill, resulting in the county not being able to confirm that some of these unincorporated areas were in the Glen Ellyn fire district.   To get around this issue, a special service area was created in 2009 for all unincorporated parcels within the Glen Ellyn fire district, so that list was cross-referenced with the county data to provide an accurate picture for the boundary. Once this information was updated in the village GIS data, meetings were held between the Glen Ellyn Fire Company and neighboring fire districts to compare shared borders and work out any other possible indiscretions.

The final GIS data and printed map product were provided to DuPage Public Safety Communications (DU-COMM) where their dispatch system will be updated accordingly. This project helped more than thirty parcels get updated with the correct fire district information, resulting in more reliable fire protection for those properties. Using GIS saved a tremendous amount of time bringing all the taxing resources into one location making it easy to see where changes needed to be made.

Deerfield Cemetery Searchable Map

The Village of Deerfield, IL Cemetery contains the burials site of many of the founding members of the community and other influential citizens that have resided within the boundaries of Deerfield over the history of the community. Up until recently, the only way to find information regarding burial locations in the cemetery was to go to the Deerfield Historical Society and view paper documents and books in various states of condition and quality.  To help make this information more accessible, the Deerfield Cemetery Association and the village’s Community Development department worked with the village Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department to provide a spatial solution to locating burial plots within the cemetery.   

Historical information such as burial location, historical accounts, and veteran status were collected and standardized so they could be easily integrated into the GIS environment.  All of this data was added to an online map application that allowed the burial plot locations to be viewed in conjunction with an aerial image of the cemetery. To make the information easier to access, a function was added to the map that allows for users to search for any person buried in the cemetery by section, birthdate, day of death, or by any part of their name.  By exposing this information in a spatial environment, the residents of Deerfield and genealogy researchers now have a tool to open up a new world of data. This map will also continue to evolve as more information and research are added to the online application.