North Shore Gas Address Review and Confirmation


Recently the Village of Glencoe received a request from North Shore Gas to complete an address audit, in which the addresses in the North Shore Gas list would be compared to the Glencoe addresses on file. Without GIS, this would need to be done by hand using simple technology such as excel or access but would consist of manual comparison work. This would take hours to complete from staff and was not efficient. With GIS, a new way of comparing data can be completed.

From the request of North Shore Gas, the Finance Department requested if an address comparison could be completed using GIS. This could not only be completed in GIS, but in a much more time efficient way. Through GIS, addresses in the North Shore Gas list can be spatially located and then compared to see if it matches a GIS address. A small amount of manual comparison was needed based on apartment/unit differences but was vastly sped up using GIS. Without GIS, this process of address comparisons would take a large amount of time.

Available Commercial Properties Interactive Map



Historically, the Village of Glencoe has kept track of all available commercial properties located within the Village limits.  This list was available as a Microsoft Word Document and located on the Village’s website.  This document contained a picture of the property as well as any relevant information such as address, square footage, and contact information.  The Village decided that they wanted to make it easier for prospective buyers and renters to compare properties, so they asked the GIS Department to create a map that provided location and attribute information. 

An interactive online map was created using a product from ESRI called ArcGIS Online.  This product creates something called a “Story Map”, which is a combination of pictures, maps, and information.  The Story Map created specifically for Glencoe has an interactive map with points representing each available property.  When a user clicks on the point, a pop-up window appears that contains a picture of the property as well as information about the property.  The user can easily navigate between locations to do a comparison of each property.  By using GIS, the Village of Glencoe is able to provide prospective commercial real estate buyers and renters with a tool that makes it easier for them to make buying and renting decisions.

ComEd Owned Street Light Audit


Like a lot of communities around Chicago, The Village of Glencoe has a small collection of street lights that they own and maintain.  The rest of the lights are owned and maintained by ComEd, and The Village is then billed for their usage.  ComEd provides The Village of Glencoe with a list of all the lights in its database that are within Glencoe’s village limits.  The Public Works department asked the GIS Department to see if all the lights could be mapped out and then analyzed to make sure that The Village was being billed correctly and that ComEd had the right information for each street light that they owned.

The GIS Department began using a combination of address information, aerial imagery, and Google Streetview to find the locations of each street light provided by ComEd.  First, the street light locations were mapped against the Village’s address and street range databases placing them in the general vicinity.  Then by using a combination of aerial imagery and Google Streetview, the locations of each light were narrowed down.  Any street lights in the ComEd database that can’t be mapped will be then marked in the database and the Village will have to have discussions with ComEd to figure out the discrepancy.  When the street light mapping is completed, The Village of Glencoe will then be assured that they are being billed correctly for their street light usage and that their own street light database is up-to-date. 

Fire Hydrant Flow Rates

Every few years, coinciding with Emergency Management’s ISO Review, The Village of Glencoe contracts out companies to provide Hydrant Flow Rate Testing out in the field.  This past year, M.E. Simpson Co., Inc. did the testing and upon completion provided the Village with a report containing flow rate and other information pertaining to each fire hydrant.  This data was then integrated with the Village’s current water model so it can be used by Emergency Management and other departments.


The Village provided M.E. Simpson Co., Inc. with a scaled down version of its hydrant database, which included a unique Hydrant ID.  By providing a unique ID number, combined with location information, the Village was able to seamlessly integrate the data back into their GIS water model eliminating the ambiguity in hydrant locations.  With the updated data now in the GIS model, village staff can now view it using the in-house GIS Mapping Software, MapOffice™, or in traditional paper maps.  By using the unique ID number, the Village was able to eliminate a lot of issues with trying to integrate data collected out in the field with data currently in the GIS model.

GIS System Integration with Finance Databases

Like all local governments, the Village of Glencoe Finance Department uses software to manage all their accounts.  The department has been looking for ways to analyze and add a visual component to specific sets of data such as vehicle stickers or water billing.  The GIS department uses a feature called Business Intelligence, which is a way for the GIS system to integrate with Village databases and software.  Because the connection is to live data, anytime the Village databases are updated, the changes are reflected in the Village’s in-house mapping software, MapOffice™.   The databases are typically linked via address or PIN Number, which allows the mapping software to plot each data record on the map.  The data records can then be queried by specific attributes that are contained within the data.  This allows the Finance department to see such things as which residents haven’t bought a vehicle sticker, which houses have their water turned off, and which ones have purchased pet licenses, among other things.  By providing a visual aspect to a set of data tables and with the ability to query specific attributes, the Finance department is able to do more complex analysis that wouldn’t normally be possible.

Park District MapOffice Tree Inventory


The Village of Glencoe Public Works Forestry Division maintains all
the trees located in the public right-of-ways throughout the Village
using tree inventory software. They handle all maintenance on the trees
which includes but is not limited to: trimming branches, spraying for
pests, and the removal of dead and diseased trees. All trees that are
removed are replaced with new ones if adequate space exists. The
Village documents and manages all of this by using a computerized
inventory data system. Any tree within a Village Park is owned and
maintained by the Park District, which does not have a tree inventory
system. The Park District looked for assistance from The Village in
help with maintaining it.

The Village has added all trees that are within the Village park
limits into its online GIS mapping program, MapOffice™. Each tree is
represented by icon that shows the leaf type as well as the relative
size of the tree. When a tree is clicked on, a pop-up box displays the
attributes of that tree such as: Species, Diameter, Condition, and ID
Number. There is also a layer that shows trees that have been removed.
By having the Park District Tree data in MapOffice™, the Park District
is able to see the locations of each tree, which then allows them to
keep the data organized. Having the information in MapOffice™ also
gives the public a chance to see what the Park District is planting and

Emergency Management Map Books


The Village of Glencoe is a small community and is surrounded on all
sides by Highland Park, Northbrook, Winnetka, and Lake Michigan. On
occasion, these other communities have to provide emergency aid to
locations within the Village of Glencoe limits. Since the neighboring
fire and police department don’t have an intimate knowledge of Glencoe,
like its own emergency management department does, they need extra
information provided to them to make sure they can respond to call in a
timely manner. The Village asked the GIS Department to create a map
book that could be handed out to neighboring communities, which would
provide them with essential information if they needed to respond to a

Each page in the map book corresponds to one of the ten fire
districts within the village. Each page shows information such as:
addresses, streets, important buildings, and fire hydrant locations with
flow rates. The back page contains a street name list that lets the
user know what fire grid each street is located in and if that street
spans multiple grids. The map books are 8.5” x 11”, so they are small
enough that they can be stored in an emergency vehicle. By using GIS,
the Village of Glencoe was able to put together important information
for neighboring communities in a portable format that provides emergency
responders with crucial information about the Village.

GIS Supports Shared Services Initiative in Glencoe


In 2012, the Village of Glencoe and the Glencoe Park District kicked
off a shared services pilot program to reduce internal costs. The two
entities agreed to work together to accomplish routine maintenance tasks
in-house rather than hiring contractors when equipment or human
resources ran short. For example, the Park District has taken over grass
mowing while the Village handles routine tree maintenance.

GIS was asked to support this initiative by creating a database of
tree locations that the two entities could share. Using the new custom
overlay for public option in MapOffice™, GIS was able to share the Park
District’s tree inventory and associated data in an easy-to-use format.
Each tree’s unique ID number is displayed on the map, which gives staff
members an easy way to communicate about a specific location without
having to do a site visit. To view additional information about a
particular tree, such as its species, overall condition, or planned
maintenance work, the user simply clicks on the tree to bring up an
information box. As trees are pruned, removed, or replaced, this data is
updated to show the completed work. If a supervisor needs to send a
crew out to do work on a particular tree, he or she can mark up and
print out a map to send out in the field for reference.

The shared services initiative has already saved the Village roughly
$100,000 in maintenance expenses. Thanks to its membership in the GIS
Consortium, Glencoe didn’t have to turn around and spend any of that
money on new software to share data with its new partner.

History in the making: Glencoe leverages GIS to assist with architectural survey


Glencoe is known through the north shore as a picturesque village
with abundant parks, attractive beach access, and remarkable
architecture. Tourists and potential residents alike enjoy driving the
village streets to see its beautiful private homes and public buildings.
What they may not know, however, is that a significant number of these
structures have historically significant architecture. The styles range
from 19th century Victorian Gothic to 20th century English Tudor to the
passive solar architectural innovations of George and William Keck. The
Village’s Historic Preservation Board currently has a list of about 100
homes along a walking tour route for visitor enjoyment.

In summer 2012, the Village hired a sustainability and historic
preservation consultant to conduct a community-wide survey of its
architecture. After completing extensive archival research, the
consultant turned up a list of nearly 400 structures that, if still
standing, could be historically significant. To confirm this, the
consultant’s next step was to visit every address on her list. GIS was
able to lend a hand in this process by mapping out every location and
determining the most efficient route for completing field checks. Not
only did this increase efficiency by spatially organizing the data, it
also reduces the likelihood that the consultant will miss structures on
her list and have to return to the same streets on multiple days. Once
the consultant is finished with her survey and is ready to present her
findings, GIS will also assist by creating an interactive map for the
public that showcases her findings in an easy-to-use format.

Mappings hazards for water rescue response


Despite having state-of-the-art GIS technology at its fingertips, the
Village of Glencoe still faces situations where access to electronic
data is limited. One example of this is when emergency response
personnel are involved in water rescues at Skokie Lagoons or the shores
of Lake Michigan. When officers are using Public Safety watercraft, they
do not have access to the same mapping technology that is available in
the squad cars and other emergency vehicles. Fortunately, GIS is still
able to provide support through print media, which can be stored on
board for quick reference in an emergency.

One product recently added to the Public Safety watercraft cache is a
map that highlights areas that are not traversable by watercraft. This
map combines recent aerial photography with overlays to point out
hazards such as spillways and shoals that are not immediately visible at
ground level. This map will also be useful to incident command, should a
significant rescue operation need to be planned in a waterway.