A Rising Interest in Emergency Event Support

So, Here’s a Story (Map)

We Will Acccomplish More Together Than We Will On Our Own!

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!

Assigning Feet on the Street for the Sub Beat

How can police analyze the number of crimes that occur and use that information to assign resources effectively? For the Village of Mundelein, IL, the answer was mapping. Because Police Sub Beats are integral to the process of assigning resources, it is important to know how many incidents occur in each. The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Office recommended mapping incidents on top of Police Sub Beats to see correlations and frequencies at a glance.

The project focused on mapping auto and structural burglaries over the past two years. Locations were overlaid on Police Sub Beats and three maps were created to display data from a variety of viewpoints. One map depicted the location of each incident; a second map showed the number of incidents in each Sub Beat; and a third map displayed the density of burglaries throughout the Village.

Now the Chief of Police can look at the number of incidents per Sub Beat and determine if Sub Beats need to be realigned or if more resources must be assigned. By combining information from dispatch record software and GIS databases, the GIS Office quickly created a trio of maps to help police visualize burglary "hot spots" in the community.

GIS Informs Public of Neighborhood Speed Surveys

The speed at which vehicles travel can have a dramatic effect on a residential neighborhood. If there are particular streets or neighborhoods that vehicles have a tendency of driving too fast through, the public well-being is in jeopardy. The City of Park Ridge, IL Police department conducts a number of speed surveys throughout the year to measure the average speed on a given block over a period of time, generally in the week to ten day range. Using data from these surveys, decisions can be made to add additional signs, barriers, or traffic devices to decrease speeding if the statistics warrants it. However, the Police department wanted a method of having all of this speed survey information available to the public, without having the resident have to sift through a lengthy list to find information on their street. To accomplish this, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) was chosen as the optimal way to display this information to the public.

A custom layer was created for the village’s browser-based mapping application, MapOffice™, a property information search program, showing all the speed survey locations completed in the city dating back to 2008. A direct link to this layer was posted on the Park Ridge Police website where a resident could search for a speed survey location by just typing in an address along the survey route. All relevant speed survey statistics could then be accessed by clicking on the survey line along the particular street. By having this information available to the public, residents can now be more aware of the speed survey program as a whole, along with seeing survey statistics for areas that they may have originally been inquiring about.

Tracking Progress in the City’s Police/Resident Interaction Program

​The City of Park Ridge, IL Police department has begun an outreach program for the city’s residents. The purpose of this program is to improve the relationship between the public and the department to potentially improve the overall service the department can provide. The program involves a police officer making personal contact with every address in the city. During each encounter, questions or concerns of the resident can be addressed by the officer. Tracking the progress can be daunting, however, with over 17,000 different addresses in the city. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) was chosen as the best way to track the progression of this program.

To start this project, GIS created a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with every city address broken down by police beat that could be used by the department to track the progress of the officers throughout the city.  A member of the Police department then fills in a status within the spreadsheet as an officer makes contact with that address. If contact was made with the resident, a "made contact" status is entered. If contact was not made, an "attempted" status is entered. These statues are then linked to GIS, where they are mapped automatically on a daily basis to the city’s browser-based mapping application, MapOffice™. Once the data is displayed in MapOffice™, department staff can visually see the progress made on a map and the statuses of each encounter. Staff also uses the map to determine the next city block scheduled for this project. Without GIS, all the tedious tracking by the Police department would have to be limited to just a spreadsheet or plotted out manually by hand from online map printouts.

Using Business Intelligence to Track Home Foreclosures

In the past the Village of Northbrook, IL has worked with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to setup a process to help better record and track properties as they move through the foreclosure process.  This process involves a monthly review of mailed foreclosure documents and entry of dates into an excel spreadsheet correlating to when a lis pendens or pre-foreclosure notice is filed, when the property is found to be in foreclosure, and finally when the court approves the sale of that property and it is no longer in foreclosure.  Previously a static map was created from this information and sent to the Community Development and Planning Department and Police for use in their workflows.  With the new capabilities provided by Business Intelligence connections in the village’s browser-based mapping application, MapOffice™ Web Access, this process has been streamlined and provides increased access to the associated foreclosure information. 

To allow for this connection to occur, GIS created a database connection that allows Village Staff to query the information stored in the foreclosure spreadsheet in MapOffice™ by property status and date.  These query results are then displayed by location in MapOffice™ Web Access.  Using Business Intelligence, community staff has increased access to the information being tracked within the excel spreadsheet, where before they could only see the latest date and status for a specific property.  They also able to view the individual dates and gain a better understanding of the history behind a property.  Also, because the legal documents are scanned and stored by address within the village’s document management environment, a custom hyperlink is included with each entry which staff is able to click on to directly find and view the specific documents associated with the dates displayed on the map for verification or more information.

Integrating Police Calls for Service into MapOffice™

​The Police Department in the Village of Morton Grove, IL is interested in seeing their crime data on a map for use in squad cars and at the station to inform their staff of what activities to watch out for as they conduct their operations. These activates are generated by any call for service made and then added to a database within their dispatch software. Due to the nature of this kind of data, the Police Department needed the map to be live, accurate, confidential, and user-friendly. A Business Intelligence connection was the best way to connect their dispatch software to the village’s internet browser based mapping application, MapOffice™ Web Access, so that the locations of activity are updated instantly. Further, a connection to MapOffice™ Web Access meant that police officers can view this data in their squad cars during and at the beginning of their shift to keep them updated on what’s going on in the community without needing to leave their patrols.

This direct connection required collaboration between Glenview Police, who dispatches for Morton Grove, Morton Grove Police Department, and the Morton Grove Geographic Information Systems (GIS) team to make the connection. The challenges in creating this connection were overcome by the dedication and willingness to work together to find solutions.

Now that the connection is made, there is no requirement by the GIS Specialist to perform any maintenance on the data, since the Business Intelligence connection reads directly from Glenview’s Dispatch. The Morton Grove Police Department sees everything they put into the database without a middleman. Also, since this operates under a MapOffice™ Web Access environment, it can be locked to only specific users, such as the Police Staff and won’t risk the public or other village staff accessing sensitive data. The Morton Grove Police Department is now capable of seeing the calls for service in their community at a glance and their patrol staff is now better and more quickly informed in the field.

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.