Using Mobile GIS to Track Street Resurfacing Ratings

The City of Park Ridge, IL streets are constantly facing the wear and tear of everything from vehicles to weather, which leads to the roads needing to be resurfaced after a number of years once they’ve reached a certain level of damage. To better track which streets need to be resurfaced in a given year, city staff need to inventory them on a yearly basis and assign a numerical value to prioritize which ones are in the greatest need. To help accomplish this, the city leveraged a mobile Geographic Information Systems (GIS) application that allowed staff to go out and track this type of information in the field.

The street condition ratings used to prioritize the streets resurfacing program were collected using a mobile application called Collector. This application allows a user to collect GIS data out in the field on a tablet or other mobile device, add attribute information to it, and even add photos or other attachments to the geographic location. This information can easily be imported and accessed in a desktop GIS system, allowing for data collected in the field to be mapped and analyzed by the city’s GIS staff.   For the current year’s street resurfacing rating project, every street that’s maintained by the city was loaded into the Collector application and displayed based on the rating information that was collected from the previous year’s review. With the Collector application, the engineer leading this project went out in the field using a city iPad, determined the new street rating, and manually entered the new rating directing into the GIS data rather than entering it into a spreadsheet and providing it to the GIS staff for entry.  Once all the street ratings were entered for the current year, the engineer began the process of determining which streets need to be resurfaced based on the information captured using the Collector application. 

Using GIS to Plan Bigger and Better Special Events

Elk Grove Village, IL hosts a summer concert series every year that are free, family friendly concerts that occur every Tuesday evening during the month of July.  This event has been steadily growing in attendance every year, leading to an increase in the amount of time and cost put towards planning the event by village staff. With higher attendance numbers, parking has become a major concern.  For the summer 2015 series the village is considering changing venues to allow for more parking within close proximity of the concert area.  In order to determine how much parking is going to be available near the new venue, the Police department utilized the village’s Geographic Information System (GIS). 

At the new venue there are several criteria that need to be taken into account to determine the amount of available parking: parking is only allowed on one side of the street, driveways are not to be blocked, parking is not allowed within 20 feet of a crosswalk, and 22 feet of space is required for each car.  The village’s GIS team was able to take these parameters and visualize them in GIS, providing the police department with an estimation of the number of cars that could be parked in each designated parking quadrant.  The police then used this information to support their request for the new venue location.  This workflow proved so successful that the Police department plan to use it moving forward for every event that requires on-street parking.  Utilizing GIS, the Elk Grove Police Department was able to help the village plan more effectively, which in turn adds value for the residents who attend by making it easier to access the event space. 

Importing Data from CAD into GIS

The City of Des Plaines, IL is fortunate to have a talented in house engineering staff that designs and manages many of the city’s infrastructure projects.  As a part of the construction process the engineers create plans using CAD (Computer Aided Design).  These plans show what is being constructed and also details about the pipes and structures being installed.  In addition to these construction plans, the city’s utility system information is also inputted and tracked in the city’s robust Geographic Information System (GIS).  This allows all staff to view the utilities in a web-based mapping application called MapOffice™ and also be used for analysis in the GIS desktop software.  The current process of inputting data into GIS is slow and inefficient.  Once the engineer completes their plans they are given to the GIS Specialist, who then draws the data in GIS.  This current workflow has a duplication of efforts, and the turnaround time can be quite high. 

To alleviate this slow turnaround time, a city engineer and the GIS Specialist worked together to determine if there was a more efficient workflow that could be used to get the location information and data from CAD to GIS.  It was determined that that if the engineer was to use a pipe network, which is a component of the CAD software, when entering their plans that data could easily be moved from CAD to GIS with little to no manual effort needed on the GIS side.  Pipe networks allow engineers to utilize what’s called a part catalog, which stores more information about the features being installed than if they were simply drawn in.  Using the pipe network allowed the GIS staff to export the network using a process provided by the CAD environment and then import the data directly into GIS. 

This process saves a significant amount of time and also removes the duplication of effort since the utility information is only being drawn once.  To further improve this process GIS staff will collaborate with all the city’s engineers to build their pipe network catalog to contain as much useful information as possible, which will allow it to integrate seamlessly into the GIS database structure.