Northbrook Maps Fiber Network US GIS

​The Village of Northbrook has many utility systems and features that it maintains and tracks.  One such system is the fiber optic network.  Fiber optic cable has been laid throughout the Northbrook to provide fast and secure internet and communication for both Village and other governmental agency buildings.  While not all of the fiber network is owned and maintained by the Village it is necessary to keep track of its location to prevent damage during construction work or for repairs and maintenance.  For these reasons GIS was asked to assist in entering, maintaining, and providing maps for locates.  To complete this project the GIS specialists combined imported CAD data from the Village and field notes from the JULIE locator to enter the most up to date fiber location information possible.  After being reviewed by Public Works staff, a custom overlay was created and added to MapOffice Web Access detailing overhead vs underground, status, and ownership of the lines.  Also included are the locations of hand holes, poles, and splice points.  By making this map available on the MapOffice web application, staff in the field doing JULIE locates can easily pull up the information on their field laptops for use as well as send updates and additions using the ‘Markup’ tool from the field.  Additionally, maintaining this utility network in GIS provides the Northbrook IT department with a clear picture of where their important fiber optic assets are located across the Village, and can be used to help locate outages if they occur.

3D Modeling Aids Decision Making

 

3D mapping is a relatively underutilized aspect of GIS in local government.  The Village of Northbrook was recently able to use 3D mapping when considering two options for an intersection improvement.  One option included the construction of new curbs to adjust the traffic pattern.  The other option called for orange road delineators to direct traffic in place of curb construction.  The road delineators would be the less expensive option but there were concerns from Village staff about the appearance of a permanent road delineator installation. 

This is where GIS was contacted and asked if there was a way to model the intersection in 3D to better understand how the intersection would look with permanent road delineators.  We were able to take advantage of the ESRI 3D Analyst extension, a shared resource available through GIS Consortium, which can be used to create and view scenes in 3D.  Using road delineator specifications and accurate GIS data such as roads and buildings, GIS was able to create a 3D model relatively accurate to scale.  GIS was then able to provide engineers and decision makers with multiple views and angles including bird’s eye and profile views of what the intersection would look like.

The 3D intersection model can now be used by decision makers to weigh the costs and benefits of the road delineator option by comparing both the associated construction or maintenance costs and visual appearances.    

GIS supports Village Commission in goal to make Northbrook more ‘bicycle-friendly”

 

There are a number of Boards and Commissions within the Village of Northbrook that allow for residential leadership and input on various community topics.  One such group is the Northbrook Bicycle Task Force who works "…to coordinate all bicycle-related initiatives within the community and to review the need for access to bicycle transportation on behalf of the Village…to determine the existing needs, and to make recommendations to make the Village of Northbrook more ‘bicycle-friendly"

The Northbrook Bicycle Task Force approached GIS to help create an online map that residents could use to easily view the recommended and available routes throughout the Village.  GIS was able to digitize the majority of the routes from a paper map that was created for the Task Force by the League of Illinois Bicyclists which ranked the routes by comfort level.  Next, additional trails and information were added based on review by the Task Force members before the map was added to the Village’s online interactive mapping application, MapOffice, for public viewing as a custom overlay.  Also included on the map are difficult intersections, trails, bike rack locations, emergency service buildings, schools, Metra stations, and public facilities for reference.  Now residents are able to easily access and learn more about biking in the Village of Northbrook at their convenience.  Additionally, GIS was able to create a letter sized paper map for the Bicycle Task Force to distribute at various community events they participate in such as the Earth and Arbor Day Celebration.

Celebrating the Fourth of July

 

The Village of Northbrook has enjoyed a Fourth of July celebration every year since 1949.  Events include a parade, pancake breakfast, rubber ducky race, and of course, fireworks.  Past years the Village had put together static maps displaying the parade route.  This year, GIS was contacted to create a dynamic, interactive, online map to promote the celebration and provide attendees with more event information.

GIS worked with the Public Works Department and the Fourth of July Planning Committee to create a map that not only displays the locations of events but provides information.  Users can click on an event to open a pop-up window with event details and times as well as a picture from last year’s event.  Users can also take advantage of hyperlinks to go directly to the website of the event host for even more details.

Northbrook Fire Department wanted to use the opportunity of an interactive map to display information regarding public safety for the events.  GIS mapped the locations of emergency medical services, fireworks restricted areas, and available fireworks parking. 

The interactive online map was a great option for promoting the celebration to attendees as well as supplying them with up to date information in a very accessible and easy to use format.

Home Foreclosure Tracking

Within the Village every month homes are receiving notice, entering into, and being sold out of foreclosure.  These documents are mailed to Village hall and scanned electronically.  However, due to the constant change and sometimes long process involved it was difficult for the Community Development and Planning Department to easily keep track of specific properties.  GIS was asked to create a system to record and display which properties are involved in the foreclosure process, and their current status. 

At the end of every month GIS reviews the scanned documents and records on an excel spreadsheet the dates that a property receives a lis pendens or notice of foreclosure, is foreclosed upon, and is sold out of foreclosure.  This list of addresses is then geocoded and displayed on a map by status:  yellow for pending foreclosure, red for homes currently in foreclosure, and purple for homes that have come out of foreclosure.  This map is then distributed by email to both the Planning and Police departments for use.  Knowing which properties are involved in the foreclosure process is helpful to planning inspectors who check for code violations as well as police who are interested in knowing which homes may be vacant.  Moving forward as more data is collected and tracked GIS will be able to perform more in-depth analysis and look for possible trends.

Celebrating the Fourth of July in Northbrook

 

The Village of Northbrook has enjoyed a Fourth of July celebration every year since 1949.  Events include a parade, pancake breakfast, rubber ducky race, and of course, fireworks.  Past years the Village had put together static maps displaying the parade route.  This year, GIS was contacted to create a dynamic, interactive, online map to promote the celebration and provide attendees with more event information.

GIS worked with the Public Works Department and the Fourth of July Planning Committee to create a map that not only displays the locations of events but provides information.  Users can click on an event to open a pop-up window with event details and times as well as a picture from last year’s event.  Users can also take advantage of hyperlinks to go directly to the website of the event host for even more details.

Northbrook Fire Department wanted to use the opportunity of an interactive map to display information regarding public safety for the events.  GIS mapped the locations of emergency medical services, fireworks restricted areas, and available fireworks parking.  

The interactive online map was a great option for promoting the celebration to attendees as well as supplying them with up to date information in a very accessible and easy to use format.

Home Foreclosure Tracking in the Village of Northbrook

 

Within the Village every month homes are receiving notice, entering into, and being sold out of foreclosure.  These documents are mailed to Village hall and scanned electronically.  However, due to the constant change and sometimes long process involved it was difficult for the Community Development and Planning Department to easily keep track of specific properties.  GIS was asked to create a system to record and display which properties are involved in the foreclosure process, and their current status.  

At the end of every month GIS reviews the scanned documents and records on an excel spreadsheet the dates that a property receives a lis pendens or notice of foreclosure, is foreclosed upon, and is sold out of foreclosure.  This list of addresses is then geocoded and displayed on a map by status:  yellow for pending foreclosure, red for homes currently in foreclosure, and purple for homes that have come out of foreclosure.  This map is then distributed by email to both the Planning and Police departments for use.  Knowing which properties are involved in the foreclosure process is helpful to planning inspectors who check for code violations as well as police who are interested in knowing which homes may be vacant.  Moving forward as more data is collected and tracked GIS will be able to perform more in-depth analysis and look for possible trends.

Story Map Helps Celebrate Earth and Arbor Day

Every year the Village of Northbrook holds an Earth and Arbor Day Celebration open to the public to raise awareness about sustainability and conservation efforts.  The festivities include a recycling drop off area, vendor expo featuring over 50 different vendors showcasing sustainable products and ideas, the chance to volunteer to clean up community areas, and fun activities for the whole family such as live music and pony rides.  To help advertise and inform residents of all the different events and opportunities offered the Village of Northbrook asked GIS to make an Online Story Map. 

 

A story map was ideal for this because it is customizable, eye catching, and user friendly.  In the case of the Earth and Arbor Day Celebration, tabs for each activity complimented the map window to show the details and locations of the different events.  Bookmarks were also used to allow users to easily zoom to the different clean up areas that were located further from the main festivities.  Another reason the story map was a great solution for Northbrook was that it allowed the event organizers to continuously update the web map to reflect vendor additions and changes as they occurred, and the view tracking feature made it easy to monitor the map usage leading up to the event.  Overall the map helped to promote the event and gave Village residents the ability to dynamically explore everything the celebration had to offer in advance so they did not miss out on any of the fun.

Utilizing Water Main Break Data

​The Village of Northbrook Public Works Department has collected water main break data for decades.  Public Works approached GIS to find a way to better utilize the large amounts of data collected over the years as well as track new water main breaks. 

 

Water main break data was originally stored in tabular format.  The first step to better utilize this data was to visually display it on a map so Public Works could see the data.  This provided Public Works the ability to look for historical patterns and perform analysis to aid in water main replacement decisions.  A custom overlay was created on MapOffice, an interactive web mapping application, which allows all Public Works staff to view water main break locations and the associated data.

After the creation of the custom overlay on MapOffice, Public Works staff requested a method to retrieve reports and photographs that pertain to individual water main break events.  These documents and photographs were placed in Laserfiche, a document storage system, and can be retrieved using the custom overlay in MapOffice through hyperlinks.  Now Public Works has the ability to easily retrieve documents and review data from past water main breaks to expedite the repair on new main breaks in the same vicinity.  

The utilization of the tools provided by GIS has saved time and energy for staff with a single source for viewing, analyzing, and preparing for water main breaks. 

Accessing Laserfiche through MapOffice(TM)

 

Over the years, the Village of Northbrook has scanned paper documents including, engineering drawings and plat maps in the effort of going paperless using software called Laserfiche. Laserfiche provides a framework for storing, organizing, and searching scanned documents. There are many benefits to having paper documents digitized including the ability to create backups and reducing staff’s time that went towards manually searching through boxed historical records.
The GIS Consortium created an easy way to find these documents using MapOffice. Staff can save time by locating the address they are interested in on MapOffice and turning on a Custom Overlay of the Village Subdivisions. Staff can click on the subdivision and bring up a hyperlink of the folder containing the associated documents and drawings for the subdivision the address falls into. The integration of Northbrook’s GIS data and Laserfiche will provide an invaluable tool for staff members when they need to access information.