Entries by Mitch Greenan

GIS Uses MapOffice Advanced to Display the Impervious Surface Analysis


After the previously reported article on the implementation of the Impervious Surface Analysis and how GIS was in the development stages, GIS has taken it one step further and displayed all information for Village staff to view using MapOffice Advanced! It was clear that Village staff needed a way to view the data fast and easy – MapOffice Advanced!


In addition to using the MapOffice Advanced custom overlays, HTML code inserted into the GIS data to create defined groupings of information. Since the Impervious Surface Analysis takes into account many sources of data, it was necessary to have them grouped by category of data. No longer is there just a list of information in a pop-up window. The HTML code was simple to use to create a great output! 

Published: 5/20/2014 9:07 AM
Title: GIS Uses MapOffice Advanced to Display the Impervious Surface Analysis

GIS Integrates Sign Inventory into Business Intelligence


The Village of Winnetka Public Works Department has long been heavily involved with the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department to create new project ideas. One such idea was to take a newly updated sign inventory and bring it into Business Intelligence for staff viewing. Previously, Village staff would refer to paper maps to view the all of the signs. This was functional but could be much improved with the help of GIS and MapOffice™. 

Using Business Intelligence, staff is able to view the sign inventory by category, making it easier to view and understand. This limits what is seen based on the request of the staff member.  It was decided to break down the sign inventory into these types and condition categories:

  •  All Type

  •  Ornamental – OK Condition

  •  Ornamental – Poor Condition

  •  Regulatory – Fair Condition  

  •  Regulatory – OK Condition

  •  Regulatory – Poor Condition

  •  School Area – Fair Condition

  •  School Area – OK Condition

  •  School Area – Poor Condition

  •  Service – Fair Condition

  •  Service – OK Condition

  •  Street Name – OK Condition

  •  Street Name – Poor Condition

  •  Unknown – Fair Condition

  •  Unknown – OK Condition

  •  Unknown – Poor Condition

  •  Warning – Fair Condition

  •  Warning – OK Condition

  •  Warning – Poor Condition


Now staff can view data based on the criteria selected. This gives staff an ease of viewing and accessing data. 

Published: 5/20/2014 9:04 AM
Title: GIS Integrates Sign Inventory into Business Intelligence

GIS Integrates Hydrant Painting Schedules into MapOffice™


The Village of Winnetka Public Works and Water and Electric Departments has long been heavily involved with the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department to create new project ideas. One such idea was to take an existing project for the hydrant painting schedule and incorporate it further into GIS and MapOffice™. Previously, Winnetka GIS was creating paper maps on request for the hydrant schedules. This was well maintained but the process could be improved for easy access.

Due to the need to view the hydrant maps on a more regular basis when GIS may not be onsite, it was decided to create a custom overlay for staff to reference at any time. No longer does GIS need to continuously print hydrant maps, rather staff can refer to the custom overlay and print directly from MapOffice™. Also, when updated schedules are created, the data can be updated by GIS which is then updated in MapOffice™ as well. 

Without GIS, Winnetka would still be referring to paper maps on request. This worked well for Winnetka but as technology advances, so does the way in which it is accessed. With having a custom overlay of the hydrant painting schedules, it is easy for staff to view at any given time.

Published: 5/20/2014 9:02 AM
Title: GIS Integrates Hydrant Painting Schedules into MapOffice™

GIS Attributes All Light Poles!


The Village of Winnetka Public Works Department is in the process of creating painting schedules for all light poles in the Village. GIS was able to help accomplish this with staff assistance and MapOffice™! Previously, Midwest GIS was contracted out by Winnetka to inventory all of the signs in the Village. However, the attributes of each pole were not populated such as height and color. With the help of village staff, GIS was able to update each light pole and attribute all the necessary fields correctly. 

Having the attributes populated allowed for developing basic maps for developing painting schedules. Additionally, for ease of viewing, the light pole data was brought into MapOffice™ as a custom overlay. Staff is now able to easily view the light pole data by pole type and painting schedule. 

Published: 5/20/2014 8:58 AM
Title: GIS Attributes All Light Poles!

GIS Assists in TIF Redevelopment


The Village of Wheeling is in the process or reevaluating two TIF districts.  A TIF district is described to be an “instrument created by the State of Illinois to promote the economic development or redevelopment of high priority areas within a community.”1  There are many factors and variables that come into play when creating or adjusting a TIF district.  The GISC was able to assist the redevelopment process by performing a thorough analysis of parcels, PINs, and addresses that fall within the redevelopment boundaries.


Analysis was performed on Wheeling’s address data allowing us to select addresses that fell within the TIF boundaries and also addresses that fell within a specific buffer.  The GIS department was then able to export the addresses into an Excel worksheet for use in legal documents, public notices, and even labels for mailings.  This is another example of how GIS can provide an impact in a community by streamlining workflows and eliminating duplication of work. You can find more information about Wheeling’s TIF districts on their website.

Published: 5/7/2014 2:05 PM
Title: GIS Assists in TIF Redevelopment

GIS as a Tool for State Legislation Compliance



In compliance with the Medical Cannabis Act (MCA) that was passed in August 2013, in the state of Illinois, municipalities would like to identify areas of potential impact.  The MCA legislation outlines strict requirements for the licensing of medical cannabis dispensaries and cultivation centers.  The state passes the enforcement and regulation of these businesses onto the municipalities.  

*The state guidelines are as follows:

Cultivation Centers– Cannot be located within 2,500 feet of a pre-existing public or private preschool, elementary school, secondary school, day care center, daycare home, group day care home, part day child care facility, or in an area zone for residential use.

Dispensaries– May not be within 1,000 feet of a pre-existing public or private preschool, elementary school, secondary school, day care center, daycare home, group day care home, or part day child care facility, or in an area zoned for residential use.

The GIS Department of Wheeling put together visual aids identifying how Wheeling is affected by the MCA legislation.  The process consisted of collecting the location data for all private and public schools and daycares within the village and neighboring communities as well as the zoning information.  A buffer was applied to each of them based on the distance outlined in the legislation.  With the buffered zones placed over parcels, the village was able to identify if and where cultivation centers or dispensaries were allowed to apply for licenses within the Village of Wheeling.

This is just the first step in identifying how the Medical Cannabis Act will affect the Village of Wheeling. The initial study by the GIS Department provides a starting point for this very complex process.

*This is a simplified explanation of the “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act” 

Published: 5/7/2014 2:03 PM
Title: GIS as a Tool for State Legislation Compliance

Supporting Economic Growth with GIS


 The Department of Economic Development requested resources they could hand out to potential clients in a recruitment effort to bring new businesses to Lincolnshire.  The end product would be a simple document that could call out areas of Lincolnshire that would benefit from economic growth.  The GIS Department created a document that showcased development sites, available for purchase, overlayed with aerial imagery that accurately represents the landscape.  This allowed potential candidates to see right off the bat if the available space was suitable for development or if the terrain fit their needs.  The map document also called out traffic counts for neighboring roads and business logos for clients that have already set up shop in Lincolnshire.  This allows potential businesses to evaluate if competitors are in the area and if their services fit the local economy and area.


With GIS, Lincolnshire is able to create effective resources that will give them a leg up over competing municipalities who are also looking to attracted new business.

Published: 5/7/2014 1:59 PM
Title: Supporting Economic Growth with GIS

Using MapOffice to View FEMA Documentation



The City of Lake Forest, IL Engineering Department needed a method to quickly look up residential properties that have been granted a FEMA Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA). When a property owner thinks that their property has been incorrectly mapped in a Special Flood Hazard Area, the owner may submit a request to FEMA for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA). The granted LOMA will state that an existing structure is on naturally high ground and will not be overcome by a base flood. Acquisition of a LOMA could result in reduced flood insurance premiums. 

FEMA sends copies of the granted LOMAs to the requestor and to the applicable community. These letters are used by the community to ensure floodplain regulation compliance. Previously, the LOMAs were filed and had to be manually referenced and sorted through during the permitting process. To expedite this workflow, the digital LOMAs were all renamed to be indicative of the associated address. Each LOMA address was mapped as a point feature and related to the appropriate document. The locations are now shown in MapOffice as a custom overlay. When a user searches a specified property in MapOffice and selects the location, the LOMA will appear in a new browser tab.  

Enabling users to search and view LOMAs by address in MapOffice saves community staff time and residents can receive a prompt response about floodplain related inquiries. Staff members no longer have to sort through documents to locate the correct file. If a resident is applying for permits where the flooding is of concerns, staff can quickly search an address and determine that a LOMA has been granted. 

Published: 5/7/2014 1:58 PM
Title: Using MapOffice to View FEMA Documentation

Using Disconnected Devices for Inventory Collection


The City of Lake Forest, IL Public Works Department will be collecting residential b-box locations throughout the city. B-boxes are used to shut off water to a desired location. This inventory will assist Inspectors and Contractors with quickly locating the water shut off devices. B-boxes can be buried or covered by landscaping which results in will city staff exhausting time locating the b-boxes. Performing these locates will expedite work flows greatly. The b-box inventory will performed using ESRI’s mobile application, Collector.


With the use of the free Collector application, staff can perform locates using just a tablet or smartphone. This method eliminates the need for using a laptop to conduct this inventory. Using Collector, users create a point at a desired location, define attributes associated to that point, and capture a related photo. The captured b-box locations are then extracted from the tablet or phone onto staff workstations. The Collector application also has the ability to collect data without an internet or cellular connection. The inventory project is set-up while a device is connected, data collection occurs while disconnected, and data is then synchronized when a connection has been reestablished. The disconnected functionality elevates the need to have a cellular connection on a device. Poor reception quality is also no longer an issue.

The above process can be replicated to field capture any location inventory. Utilizing a tablet or smartphone is a more convenient platform for use in the field. The intuitive functionality of the mobile application reduces training time compared to advanced GIS software. The ability to capture the inventory without requiring desktop GIS software saves money in licensing fees and provides the city with the flexibility to replicate the process for collecting other asset information in the future.

Published: 5/7/2014 1:56 PM
Title: Using Disconnected Devices for Inventory Collection

GIS Directly Links the Public to Capital Improvements


The City of Highland Park has been using GIS for many years but recently more advances have been made, specifically in the way in which the public can view the capital improvements in the City. Previously, when the public would want information on the capital improvements, they would call into Public Works and be directed to MapOffice Public and then to the custom overlay to locate the information. This method worked for the city but GIS worked at developing an easier way for the public to view the information on their own or through just a click of one button! The solution was MapOffice Public and a direct constructions project link on the City webpage.


Now, when the public calls in for information on capital improvements in the city, staff only needs to direct them to the City webpage and to click on “Construction Projects.”  From there, automatically MapOffice Public appears and the capital improvements custom overlay is brought up! No instructions needed to locate the custom overlay because it is already visible at the click of one button! This has drastically improved the way in which staff directs residents to the capital improvements and cuts back on the individual call time.

Published: 5/7/2014 1:48 PM
Title: GIS Directly Links the Public to Capital Improvements