Using ArcGIS Online to Promote Holiday Events

The Village of Tinley Park, IL offers a variety of holiday events in December, most of which are centered on an event called the Holiday Market.  The Holiday Market provides a range of different activities for families that include parades, movies, carriage rides, carousel rides, crafts, and ice-carving.  In order to better inform residents on where these events are located, the village has provided an interactive map on their website that provides event descriptions, dates and times for each event, as well as where they are located in downtown Tinley Park. 

The map leverages an application designed by a company called Esri that allows users to interactively move between a map and a text panel to better understand the spatial context of an event, article, or story.  These story maps can also be customized to incorporate specific designs or branding.  Tinley Park was interested in putting a spotlight on local businesses that had helped sponsor the Holiday Market, so this year’s Holiday Market story map was customized to include sponsor branding and inclusion in event descriptions.  This helps to improve the visibility of these local businesses and may also help the Village obtain sponsors for future events.

GIS Assists in Available Property Tour

The Village of Woodridge, IL encourages economic development in a variety of ways, but one of their most direct methods is hosting a tour of the village for real estate brokers and those interested in investing in property.  The tour is held each year, and begins at the Village Hall where attendees are greeted by members of the village.  The attendees then get on a bus that drives around the village, and Community Development staff work as guides to point out available properties and answer any questions.  To help give those attending a better idea of what a recent tour would entail, the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department was asked to create a map showing the proposed tour route and the planned stops.

Before utilizing GIS for the tour, staff relied on notes to determine the order of properties visited on the tour and information associated with them.  The Village now uses GIS to assist in this event by creating a map book.  This map book is distributed to attendees and it highlights the route of the tour in addition to displaying the properties they will be visiting.  This was also a great help to the staff so they could better manage their time when travelling from property to property, as well as to better relate answers that involved highlighting nearby amenities or other available properties. 

GIS performs marijuana mapping for Village of Lincolnwood

Due to recent legal updates and changes regarding medical marijuana laws in the State of Illinois, the Village of Lincolnwood’s Community Development department was looking for a way to be very clear about how these regulations would affect businesses in the community.  They approached the villge’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department to create maps that took into consideration all of the regulations used to regulate location of both dispensaries and cultivation centers.  This was done in an effort to get a better understanding of which areas within the village could be potential sites for these businesses to operate. 

GIS was able to use the existing community zoning and school data, in conjunction with data from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, to create buffers at the varying distances of restricted zones stated in the law for both dispensaries and cultivation centers.  These buffers were then combined and overlaid with village property line data to highlight lots that could conceivably operate a business based on the current regulations.  These maps allowed village staff to be better prepared to deal with and answer questions from potential applicants, as well as present a very clear image to the village board about what areas within the village have the potential for dispensaries and cultivation centers to operate in the future.

GIS helps plan for next Turkey Trot race

Every November the Village of Lincolnwood, IL Parks and Recreation Department hosts a Turkey Trot 5K and 10K race for residents.  This year the village’s normal route needed to be recertified, which provided an opportunity for staff to re-evaluate their options and look into changing the route from previous years.  To do so, the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department was contacted to help in this process to try and find viable alternative options for routes that maintained the same start and end points, but avoided certain roads to try and reduce the amount of traffic congestion caused by closures. 

Using desktop GIS software, as well as an internet based mapping application called MapOffice™ Web Access, GIS was able to provide multiple examples of available routes that were clear and easily consumable, giving the Parks and Recreation staff a simple way of making this decision leading up to race day.  After the route decision was made, GIS was then able to aid in creating updated route maps that included the new logo for the current year that was used to help plan and promote the event.  These maps were also made available on the village website leading up to Thanksgiving as a resource for participants to view the route, as well as location of water stations, and the start and finish line.

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.

Mapping out a Community-Wide Garage Sale in Schiller Park

As the weather gets warmer, garage sales start popping up all across communities in the Chicagoland area. The Village of Schiller Park, IL made the decision to have a community-wide garage sale to bring people to the Village and generate interest in community events as the summer comes to a close. The Village gets dozens of residents signing up to have garage sales each year and the Village even provides space to be rented out at the Community Center parking lot to those who are unable to have one at their residences.  Given the scope of this event and its importance to the village, staff wanted to provide an easy-to-use, visual resource for identifying where all the sales are at for both residents and visitors alike.

To assist those who want to visit each garage sale, Schiller Park wanted to provide a list of all the sale participants and a corresponding map to display on their website and distribute to the public. To create this map, the village turned to the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department.  To create this map, an Excel spreadsheet of the final list of garage sale participant locations was sent to GIS and a map displaying all of the addresses identified in the list was created. To ensure the map was available to the widest audience possible, it was posted on both the Village website and made available for pick up at Village Hall or other community buildings.

By creating a visual aid using GIS to supplement the existing participant list, the village was able to provide an additional layer of service to those interested in visiting the sale locations, especially those that are not from the village and are unfamiliar with where certain addresses are at. 

Business Intelligence Launches in Northbrook


The Village of Northbrook has recently launched the MapOffice Web Access tool called Business Intelligence.  Business Intelligence is a tool that allows users to filter and display live data from community or custom databases. 

Three attributes of Business Intelligence, filtering, visualization, and live data, make it a very powerful tool.  Business Intelligence allows users to visualize data on a map by plotting that data by address or XY coordinates.  Many times, community databases or software do not have great ways to display the wealth of data they hold.  Business Intelligence helps solve this problem by connecting to those databases and displaying the data on MapOffice so users can gain further incite about the data or look for trends.

When looking for trends it is sometimes necessary to manipulate how you view the data.  Business Intelligence permits the user to filter the data by date and/or a field within the data.  For example, Northbrook has set up a connection to a custom home foreclosure database that allows users to filter foreclosures by date and the foreclosure status.  Now the user can narrow the data that is displayed to show only what they are interested in.

Finally, Business Intelligence offers live connections to the databases.  This can be extremely powerful as users can view and analyze data held in the database as it is updated without having to wait for data to be uploaded to MapOffice.

The Village of Northbrook looks forward to taking advantage of this useful and powerful tool by connecting to community databases and software such as FireHouse, an ERP system, and many others to come.

Visualization of the Medical Marijuana State Law on a Local Community

On January 1, 2014, the state of Illinois legalized the use and sale of medical marijuana.  Numerous area based regulations were included as part of the law, forcing local governments that are considering medical marijuana dispensary and cultivation centers within their community to look at each case within a spatial context.  To assist with this type of analysis, the Village of Schiller Park, IL Community Development and Administration departments called upon the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department to help visualize how these different regulations looked within the community and, as a result, where potential dispensaries and cultivation centers where legally allowed to locate. 

The restrictions dictated by the law are as follows, a cultivation center may not be within 2,500 feet of the property line of a public or private school, day care center, or an area zoned for residential use.  A dispensary may not be located within 1,000 feet of the property line of a public or private, day care center and may not be located in a house, apartment, condominium, or an area zoned for residential use.  Schiller Park was interested in seeing what areas in its village fall within and outside of these 1,000 and 2,500 foot restriction areas. Combining local knowledge from the Village staff, the regulations stated in the law, and existing GIS data, map products were generated showing the two types of restrictions as they applied to the village.  This was done by mapping the facility locations and property lines, then creating two separate buffers that correspond to the two types of regulations for each facility type.   Any area that fell within the buffers is restricted and any area that fell outside the buffers is open for consideration.

With the assistance of GIS, Community Development and Administration staff now have an easy to understand, visual tool to assist them with answering questions from residents and other interested parties that may come up in light of this fairly new law.