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.

Water Main and Bike Path Improvement Support

A small portion of the Village of Glenview’s 2014 capital improvements budget was allocated to pave a dirt bike path located in a public right of way between the backyards of two neighborhoods.  Once the village engineers began planning the paving project, they realized it would be advantageous to also replace an aging water main that runs adjacent to the bike path in an effort to minimize construction costs and the frequency of construction in the area.  Since this was somewhat of a last minute project, engineers decided to do all planning and construction internally, rather than using an outside contractor.  Engineers were able to field check a quick plan that seemed to fit in the small area, but in order to verify the plan would work prior to surveying the area, they asked the village Geographic Information Systems (GIS) staff to create a map displaying accurate measurements to verify that their field checks align spatially with the surrounding infrastructure, fences, and private property.

To ensure the mapping for this project was accurate, GIS staff located and digitized existing water infrastructure, fence lines, private property, and the existing bike path using multiple sets of aerial imagery from various years.  Once these fixed points were identified, the GIS staff used the field measurements provided by engineering staff to create a map displaying the proposed new water main in the exact location it would be at when installed in the field.  Without GIS, village engineers would not have been able to mock up the project beforehand and would have needed to survey the project right away, without the guarantee that their plan would work.   This would cost a considerable amount of money, both in initial costs and in potential redesign costs if the project did not work as planned.  GIS was able to quickly turn around a map that was used as both a planning tool by village staff and a tool to inform residents where work would be done near their homes.

Snow Plow Route Efficiency Analysis

During the record setting winter of 2013-2014, the Village of Glenview, IL snow plows were kept busy with 80 inches of snow falling in the area. Combined with very low temperatures causing icy roads, there were very real concerns about driver fatigue, salt reserves, and snow removal budgetary issues. 

Working together with Public Works, the village Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department was able to simulate the best routes available in the village for use with two scenarios, one with involved 10 snow plows and one that involved 12 snow plows. By modeling the best way to remove snow in the least amount of time through GIS, the Public Works department was able to identify inefficiencies in the existing routes. This tool was also able to provide turn by turn directions to the drivers, ensuring that these new routes would be easy to implement through staff training.

While the increase in route efficiency was one of the desired goals, this project provided results in two other ways. The cost savings associated with a quicker and more efficient snow plow route provides more monetary resources for the Public Works department to provide other quality services to the residents of Glenview.  Safety is also a major consideration, and the less time a snow plow driver is on the road, the safer the roads are for snow plow drivers, pedestrians, and other vehicles.

With the aid of GIS, the village developed a powerful cost saving tools that allow for greater flexibility in winter operations, and better service to village residents.

Selling Unincorported Utility System Assets

​The Village of Glenview, IL has historically provided sewer and water service to the unincorporated North Maine Township, located south of the village limits.  Providing these utility services to the unincorporated area caused a conflict with the village’s overall mission to provide the best service to the residents of Glenview, as managing this system took away from staff’s ability to directly service village residents.    A solution to this conflict appeared when an opportunity to sell these utilities to a larger local utility network was offered. The village Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Department was asked to assist with the transition and eventual sale of the utilities and easements in the North Maine area through the production of both map products and utility statistics for the area in question.

By working together with the Community Development and Public Work departments, the GIS department was able take current land use data (such as residential zoned, commercial zoned, recreation zoned, etc.) and determine the utility easements that pass through a given land use classification.  By determining the area taken up by the easements, the village appraiser was able to determine a fair price for the sale of these utilities based on the land use classification and land value.

Without the aid of GIS in a study such as this, intensive work on the ground involving multiple staff members would be needed to gain the same information that GIS was able to accomplish in a relatively short time. This investment of manpower and time was easily averted by leveraging the village’s existing GIS services, leading to a significant cost and times savings.

Identifying High Risk Crime Areas with GIS


Ensuring public safety is one of the most important duties of local
government, and also one of its greatest challenges. Like most
communities, the Village of Glenview, IL is no stranger to
inconsistencies in crime location throughout the village. However, there
are some areas that require extra attention. The Police Department has
identified locations across the Village that are considered high risk or
prone to a heavy volume of calls to the department. Understanding where
these locations are and what categorizes them as high risk can go a
long way in providing exceptional police service and ensuring public

The Glenview Police Department recently tasked the Geographic
Information Systems (GIS) Department with developing a way to display
these areas of high risk from a spatial perspective, along with
additional information on each location. The end result serves the
purpose of not only providing officers-in-training with a resource to
learn where high risk areas are, but also to allow veteran officers to
view these areas from a more spatial perspective. Using information
provided by Police, GIS staff created a custom layer in the village’s
interactive mapping application, MapOffice™ Advanced, which displays
each of these locations, along with additional information as needed.
In some instances, such as the residence of a frequent perpetrator, a
mug shot image is linked to the location for display to further aid

Without GIS, the Police Department would have to rely on personal
knowledge or rough sketches drawn up that show the locations of these
high risk areas, along with viewing any recorded notes that may exist
for each area. In both documenting and displaying these high risk areas
using GIS, Police can now obtain a wealth of information with the click
of a mouse, further enabling them to continue to provide the high level
of public safety that is so important to the Village of Glenview

Using GIS to review and categorize delinquent parcel data


 Each year, Cook County provides its local municipalities with a list of
parcels that are delinquent on their property taxes. Unless the issues
are resolved, the county will eventually sell the delinquent parcels at
auction. For the Village of Glenview, the main concerns with reviewing
this list are A) identifying parcels owned by the Village that have been
incorrectly placed on this list, and B) identifying delinquent parcels
adjacent to existing Village property for possible purchase. This could
be a significant challenge for the staff to accomplish without GIS
because of the large number of parcels involved. As an example, the 2011
list had 65,534 total PINs that communities would traditionally have to
review manually.

In Glenview, GIS was able to join its parcel data with the list of PINs
provided by the county to efficiently narrow the properties to the area
of geographic interest. The refined list was compared to the existing
list of Village-owned properties, and any matches were flagged for the
Finance Department’s review. After that, GIS searched for parcels that
touched a Village-owned property and marked those PINs for review as
well. As a final step, the remaining parcels that were neither owned by
the Village nor adjacent to Village property were attributed with the
most recent owner on record as well as the corresponding municipality.
Completing this same level of review without GIS would easily take the
staff months, if not years, to finish. However, GIS was able to
accomplish all of this within about an hour’s time, making the process
far more efficient and practical than via any other method.  

Detour Ahead: Glenview assists residents by mapping out traffic flow impacts


Each year, Glenview Capital Projects staff members compile a list of
improvement projects that will affect traffic flow in the area. In the
past, they have shared this information with the public on a static PDF
map as well as in Google Maps. This year, they were able to take
advantage of the option to publish custom overlays in MapOffice™ so that
the public could see the work in relationship to a highly accurate
online map of Glenview. The final product displayed not only planned
projects by the Village, but also state initiatives as well as the
nationally renowned Encompass Golf Championship at Glenview Golf Club.

In the short time since its release, this interactive map has been
viewed more than 600 times. A link from the main page of the Village
website opens MapOffice™ with the layer already turned on, and an
information box tells the users that they can click on any line or icon
to view details about the event. Once the users click on a location, a
pop-up box briefly explains the project and its anticipated impact. It
also provides additional links to project blogs and maps as available.
As the summer projects progress, this map will serve as a one-stop
resource for Glenview residents to find updates.

GIS Support in Storm Response


During the April 18th storm that brought heavy rain and record
setting flooding to the Chicagoland area, many communities were
adversely affected by Mother Nature, and the Village of Glenview was no
exception. Between April 18 and April 22, village staff fielded over 300
calls from the community, with reports ranging from home and yard
flooding to sanitary sewer backups.

Working together with the Public Works and Capital
Projects/Inspectional Services departments, the GIS department was able
to map out each individual call to identify areas in the community that
were hit the hardest. Documenting the effects of the flood in the form
of maps and graphics allows for the assessment of the flood from a
spatial perspective, thus providing staff with a better understanding of
high risk areas throughout the village. It can also help staff identify
parts of the sewer systems that may require inspection to ensure they
are functioning at an optimal level.

While many homes were affected by the flooding, roadways didn’t fare
much better. Over 10 road closures occurred on the morning of April 18,
stretching from the far east side of the village all the way to its
western end. An overlay of these closures was created on MapOffice™
Advanced to inform staff of current road conditions. Road closure
mapping can provide staff and the public with a convenient way to
identify inaccessible areas and alternate routes throughout the village.

With the aid of GIS in flood events, the village has a resource for
developing powerful visual tools and providing important information to
staff and the general public in an easy to understand format.

Repurposing GIS data


With a GIS program, local governments are able to save time and money
by managing their data centrally and then exporting it for use in other
in-house database applications. From Public Works to Public Safety,
nearly every department in the Village of Glenview has a program that is
efficiently maintained using the master address and base map data
stored in GIS. Some updates are simple. For example, the Public Works
department uses a program called TreeKeeper to manage their tree
inventory data. On an annual basis, GIS is tasked with updating both the
address database and the base map in this program so that the arborists
have correct reference data when making updates. The process takes a
matter of minutes, but the benefits last throughout the year.

Another example of GIS data being repurposed is in a program called
New World Systems, which provides mapping and record-keeping
functionality for Fire, Police, and Dispatch. Any time an address is
added, changed, or deleted from the master GIS database, it is quickly
and efficiently loaded into the New World system for everyone to use.
Emergency responders get the information they need when they need it,
which could make the difference between life and death. In addition to
efficient data maintenance, in-house GIS data replaces the need to
purchase pre-formatted datasets for each program. Outside vendors charge
thousands of dollars to collect and share this information, and would
have to be repurchased on a regular schedule or manually updated in each
system. Thanks to the versatility of GIS data, the Village of Glenview
is able to avoid this added expense and hassle.

Monitoring Police Call Activity in Glenview


Crime is an issue that no community takes lightly, and the reduction
and prevention of crime is something that all Police and Public Safety
Departments strive to achieve. An important aspect of this is the
understanding of crime occurrence from a visual perspective. In doing
so, Police and Public Safety Departments can attempt to identify crime
patterns throughout their community. The Village of Glenview Police
Department works with the GIS Department to create a monthly crime
incident map for various types of crime throughout the Village,
including burglary, criminal damage, and theft. A monthly report of
police call activity is generated, which includes both the type and
location of each call. The GIS Department then maps out each call on the
report by incident type. In displaying each incident visually, GIS can
help the Police Department identify any patterns that may exist.

The monthly crime incident maps are also posted on the Village
website for the public to view. This keeps residents informed and helps
them to understand where crime is taking place in their community.

Without the help of GIS, it would be more difficult to visualize the
location of each crime incident and, in turn, any potential spatial
trends occurring throughout the community.