Make Confident Decisions on Community Assets with Asset Management

A Bright Idea for Managing Streetlights

The City of Lake Forest, IL is replacing all its streetlight bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs. With thousands of lights, data management can be challenging. Each location must be marked complete along with information related to wattage and voltage.

Historically, Streets department staff would capture maintenance information on paper or a laptop. Field notes were then transcribed to spreadsheets for future use. To streamline the process, staff is using a mobile asset collection application, Collector, to handle LED bulb management.

With the free Collector application, staff can perform streetlight maintenance using a tablet or smartphone. Streetlight locations are loaded into the app with predetermined fields that the user populates. These include bulb type, voltage, wattage and inventory number. Once a bulb is changed to LED, the location point changes color, indicating the action is complete. Data is extracted as a spreadsheet, eliminating the need for post-processing.

This process can be replicated to capture any inventory in the field on a tablet or smartphone. The mobile app is so intuitive, training time is reduced compared to advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software. Capturing inventory without desktop GIS software saves money on licensing fees and gives the city the flexibility to reproduce the process for other assets.

Visualizing an Improved Streetscape

The Village of Mundelein, IL is planning streetscape improvements for Hawley between Morris Ave and James Ave.  The improvements will include removing existing trees and planting trees in new locations, as well as adding decorative signs, benches, and flower pots along that will improve the aesthetics of the street corridor. 

One of the biggest challenges with promoting streetscape improvements is visualizing how the improvements will look.  The village Streets department had attempted to markup an aerial image with a marker to get an idea of what it might look like, but the markups were difficult to see.  Therefore, the Streets Department decided to contact the village Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Office about creating a map that would show the proposed changes in a visually appealing and easy to understand way.

 The primary objective was to create symbols that would stand out on an aerial map.  The GIS Office chose 3D symbols and bright colors to make the improvements stand out.  They symbols made it easy to distinguish new tree locations from the trees that were being removed.  It also made the locations of new garbage cans, benches, and decorative signs stand out. 

By using the tools available in GIS the Village was able to quickly create a map that used an aerial to show how the streetscape currently looks.  Proposed improvements were clearly overlaid on the aerial to show how the streetscape could look in the future. The final map is a powerful tool for telling the story of how the Village plans to improve this important business corridor.

Field Collection of Lighting Infrastructure

The Village of Glenview, IL streets contain over 1,800 street lights and taking care of them is a daunting task even in the best of circumstances.  By leveraging the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department, the Public Works department was able to put in place a procedure to more rapidly and accurately collect data about their own lighting network to assist with asset management activities.

By utilizing an application called ArcGIS Online Collector, the GIS and Public Works staff were able to collaborate and design a process that is simple to use in the field, easy to learn, and function in all types of conditions. The Collector application is able to run on both Android and Apple tablets and smartphones, providing additional flexibility to staff with how and when they could collect the necessary information in the field.

In addition to tracking the physical location of the light infrastructure in the village, this application also allows village staff to track issues with certain lights, repair history, and parts needed to fix parts of the network. In addition to collecting information about a particular light, the application also allows for the capture of photographs of the lights that can be uploaded instantaneously to a server environment.  Is allows staff back in the office to review the data collection as needed without having to travel into the field to do so.  All of this data is easily accessible through an online interface and is available for download and implementation into a work order tracking spreadsheet.

By utilizing this mobile technology, the Village of Glenview is able to have a more accurate picture of their assets in the field.  This provides both staff in the office and staff in the field a centralized environment to access and modify asset information, thereby saving time on duplicated work efforts and money on staff time spent looking for the most current information.

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.

Adopt-A-Roadway Management

​The Village of Mundelein is the process of implementing an Adopt-A-Road program.  These programs provide opportunities for groups to adopt a section of roadway and get involved in helping to maintain it by picking up litter and trash.  This program is part of a bigger effort to make the Village look more attractive to both residents and visitors alike and a critical component of the program is tracking which sections of road are available and which sections are already adopted by groups.

To assist with tracking this information in a way that is easily consumable by those answering questions about the program, the Assistant Director of Public Works asked the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) office to create a map to hang on the wall in Public Works showing all potential Adopt-A-Roadway sections in the Village.  The sections were color coded red to show sections that were adopted and green for available sections.  This map provides a quick view for staff of which segments are available so they can contact organizations near those areas to determine if any of them are interested in adopting the roadway. 

A future is step in the project is creating a custom layer showing potential roadway sections for display in the village’s interactive web-based mapping application, MapOffice™, which is accessible by anyone from the village website.  Exposing this information on the village website will allow interested organizations to find their own available road segments and place a request to adopt them by referencing a hyperlink to the road adoption form that will be associated with each road segment in the map.  By using GIS the village is leveraging a powerful tool to better manage and promote the Adopt a Roadway program and ensure that future programs like it have a model of success to follow.