How can communities determine the balance between having too many and too few liquor licenses in a certain area? Many communities are faced with this challenge. If they allow too many businesses to sell alcohol, they risk stretching their policing resources too thin. If they allow too few, they risk alienating future business. Mundelein recently tackled this concern with an innovative new way to visualize their liquor license data.
A Traditional Approach
Like many communities, Mundelein used to track businesses with liquor licenses in a spreadsheet, an excellent approach for managing information, but not for visualizing it. For instance, a spreadsheet only allows the user to view an address, but not the physical location of the property. So the user might accidently issue a liquor license to a business that is too close to a prohibited location, such as a religious building. To prevent situations like this one, the community decided to innovate their liquor license tracking process.
A Better Understanding
To improve upon the current situation, Community Development and GIS collaborated to discuss mapping the location of liquor licenses in the Village utilizing an interactive map called a custom overlay, which is available in . Interactive maps are more visually appealing than PDF maps, are easier to understand, and are quick to update. By taking this new approach, Mundelein improved its liquor license tracking process and utilized a new way to view pertinent information.
Continuing to Improve
Although the Liquor License custom overlay is a great step in visualizing this data, Mundelein desired to further improve their workflow efficiency. The community then asked about adding a search function to locate businesses by name. Community Development and GIS developed an ArcGIS Online map that shows the location of all the businesses with liquor licenses and has a search tool to locate businesses by name. This innovation gave the community a new way to search for businesses and visualize data that was previously tucked away in a spreadsheet.
Benefits to the Community
Both the custom overlay and the ArcGIS Online map improved the ability of users to see how many licenses are in a commercial district or at a specific property such as a mall. Further, the maps are only visible to community staff, so all data is secure. Mundelein progressed from viewing data in a spreadsheet to working with it in an interactive map that significantly enhances the community’s liquor license review process.
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Author: Mike Falkofske, GIS Specialist in Mundelein
A forum of managers in local government in northern Illinois, the Leadership Roundtable, came together in early 2015 to generate a list of common problems they could solve together. As the list of project ideas grew one of them quickly floated to the top of the list. As a result, the managers prioritized a project that would enhance service by improving communication between residents and the municipality.
Next, the managers authored a charter document that outlined clear outcomes for the project, and then selected their top Thought Leaders to participate on an innovation team who would work together to achieve the desired outcome.
In 4 months’ time the team…
- used the innovation process
- wrote user stories
- issued a Request for Information (RFI)
- short-listed five vendors
- conducted interviews and demonstration
- created a presentation
- presented their recommendation to the managers of the Leadership Roundtable.
The team’s recommendation was to partner with a solution provider they found would achieve the outcomes of the charter best. The recommendation to implement a Citizen Service Request system has been accepted by 14 communities and we expect that number to keep growing. The communities are now in the process of negotiating collectively with the vendor of choice to obtain the best possible outcomes. Implementation of the solution will begin in the first quarter of 2016.
We will accomplish more together than we will on our own!
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) helps local governments plan land use and transportation initiatives to promote sustainability. CMAP’s GO TO 2040 comprehensive plan is designed to achieve this by providing recommendations on transportation, human capital and governance. One way in which CMAP strives to improve the livability of communities is through their Soles and Spokes Plan which encourages citizens to walk and bike.
The Village of Tinley Park, IL was asked to provide information about their existing walking and biking facilities for integration into CMAP’s Bikeway Information System (BIS). In order to respond to CMAP’s request, the Village had to fill out a questionnaire and mark a map with any changes or updates to the bikeway system.
After consulting with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the Village responded to CMAP’s request by structuring bikeway facility data around the questionnaire. Bikeways were drawn using GIS and attributed based on CMAP’s interest in facility type, status, location, and other factors. By relying on GIS, the Village of Tinley Park reduced the time to complete a written response for each bikeway. Data is now stored in a system that is easily accessible and can be queried whenever needed by staff.
The Village of Northbrook, IL Community Development and Planning Department approached the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department with the idea of using an online map application to help display and promote the development projects within the Village. GIS chose to use a template called a Map Journal because it allowed for the integration of different multimedia formats such as text, images, map elements, and hyperlinks. The interactive and media based template really draws in and engages the viewer. This template serves as a great way to aggregate all the pertinent information related to a specific development project in one place and makes it easily consumable and accessible over the web or from a mobile device.
The Map Journal template was also very useful for this project, because the builder allows for quick updates to be made when there are changes to a development project, or a new entry needs to be added. Instead of having to upload entire datasets when a modification is made, GIS can easily work within the builder to make and save changes. Finally, the map was customized to fit the look and feel of Northbrook’s website branding to create an elegant and useful website for the public to gain a better understanding of the major residential and commercial development projects within their community.
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.
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.
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.