Skokie Backlot Bash Special Event Support

​​The Village of Skokie, IL hosts an annual event every year called "Skokie’s Back Lot Bash", which is a festival that combines live music, food, and other entertainment in its downtown area.  Since this is an important event for the village, Skokie wanted to provide a map on their village website that was interactive and provided more detailed information than a simple paper map.

Working together with the Skokie Park District, Skokie village staff provided the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department with pictures from the previous year, as well as menu options, time slots, and other pertinent information related to the event. With the map setup to link locations on a map with accompanying pictures, each picture was chosen to represent what an attendee would find at that event location.   In addition to the pictures, clickable links and other information were available to those viewing the map to allow them to find which music performers were playing when or what food was available at the food tents.

Skokie’s Back Lot Bash interactive map exceeded the standards of a simple paper map and provided a modern interactive environment for residents and visitors. The map powerful yet simple, easy to use, and informative. It could also be accessed on a mobile device, which helped contributed to the success of the event.

Downtown Skokie Parking Ordinance Map

The Village of Skokie, IL recently altered their municipal lot parking restrictions throughout the downtown area of the village. In order to make this transition easy for Skokie residents and visitors, a map product that displays parking times and locations is an important asset. The Village of Skokie needed a map to bring to board members and the public alike.

The data gathering was a collaboration between the policymakers in Skokie and work orders from the newly placed signage at these parking lots. To assist with creating the desired map product, the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department reviewed the signage work orders to create the data and then reviewed the map with the policymakers to make sure it was accurate. Since this map faced the public and would be on the web site for the public to reference, it was important that this map be accurate.

The finished map now provides an easily referenced resource for future policy decisions and for residents or visitors to Skokie to know where they are allowed to park their vehicle and when. Most importantly, it prevents confusion during the transition since there are a number of different time restrictions.

Warning Siren Decibel Propagation Analysis

​The Village of Skokie, IL uses their warning sirens for both alerting residents of impending emergencies and declaring alternate-side street parking.   Since these sirens serve as a method for notifying village residents regarding multiple issues, the Village of Skokie wanted to conduct an analysis to ensure their siren noise propagation covered the entire village and could be heard clearly by every resident.

Leveraging their local Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department, the village conducted this analysis based on the known locations and sound decibel range data for each siren that was provided by the manufacturer.  By viewing this information spatially, Skokie was able to see that their current siren alignment provides total coverage for the entire village.   As a result of confirming the level of siren coverage, village staff can confidently respond to requests from residents for siren information or claims of not being able to hear sirens.  By integrating this siren propagation information into the village’s internet browser based mapping application, MapOffice™, as a viewable layer, village staff are now able search for the address of the calling resident, locate their property, and find which decibel rating the property falls under.   This reduces staff guesswork and provides a simple and efficient tool to quickly respond to resident inquiries.

Vulnerable Resident Locations


Natural disaster events are unavoidable and unpredictable. The best
thing a community can do is prepare for any situation that may arise as
best they can. This means being proactive and creative in visualizing
scenarios and thinking of ways to handle those situations effectively.
It was through this process that the Village’s Human Services Department
decided to contact its geographic information system (GIS) department
to assist them in the event of an emergency.

The Village’s Human Services Department provides a plethora of services
to all Skokie residents from short-term counseling to social services.
One of those services includes assisting senior residents. In the event
of an emergency event, like a flood, being able to quickly identify
those residents who are affected and contacting them to ensure their
safety is important. To accomplish this GIS was given access to a
database of the Village’s vulnerable resident addresses and phone
numbers. These individuals were mapped out and added as a custom layer
in the Village’s mapping application MapOfficeTM Advanced. This allows
the Human Services Department employee to interactively pan the map,
quickly identify the resident, and get that resident’s location and
phone information at the click of a mouse.  

Interactive Village Maps


 Residents often frequent the Village website to get a multitude of
different information. Some of that information comes from maps that are
provided in the Village Maps section of the website. In an effort to
provide more convenience to residents and give them a better overall
experience on the Village website, the Village of Skokie’s Manager’s
Office recently called upon its Geographic Information System (GIS) to
assist in creating a more interactive map experience for residents.

Creating interactive maps in addition to standard “paper” or PDF maps,
Village residents are able to navigate to their home, place of work, or
anywhere throughout the Village to access information that may be
difficult to read on a standard paper map. In total, seven paper maps
were converted into interactive maps including Village zoning, recycling
days, garbage collection, and bicycle routes. Without having these
interactive maps available, residents may have a difficult time
pin-pointing where their exact location of interest on a given map is.
Now, the resident is given the power to navigate anywhere in the Village
with the map information adjusting to their every movement. To view the
maps please visit the Village of Skokie Maps page at: 

Flood disaster response


Over the past few months the Village of Skokie’s Fire and Police
Departments had been preparing for a full-scale flood disaster exercise.
This exercise saw the activation of the Emergency Operations Center
(EOC) at the Skokie Police Department and a number of scenarios that
personnel had to react and respond to. The exercise simulated a flooding
event resulting after 72 hours of successive rainfall, wind damage, and
utility disruption. In preparation for the event, the Village called
upon its Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to prepare maps and
participate in the exercise by mapping storm events in real-time.

To prepare for the disaster exercise, GIS was used to create damage
assessment maps that were given to all personnel in the EOC. These paper
maps highlight critical infrastructure around the Village and allow
responders to record issues that are occurring during and after the
event. In addition GIS was used during the exercise to map out
incidents’ such as street flooding, power lines down, trees down, and
others in real-time. This allowed staff in the EOC to see where
different types of events were occurring and provided them with
information to make informed decisions.

Street Rating Inventory Management


One of the major responsibilities of any local government’s
engineering department is to maintain and upkeep the locally owned
streets. The Village of Skokie’s Engineering Department recently called
upon its Geographic Information System (GIS) to assist in managing its
street ratings for all Village-owned streets. Village engineers
canvassed the area and assigned a 1 – 100 rating to each street segment
throughout the Village.

Using GIS, the engineers are not only able to track the location of a
rated street but any associated information about that street as well.
For example, the street pavement type, last year it was resurfaced,
previous years’ ratings, etc. are all pertinent information that is
powerful and can assist in decision making. Moving forward there will be
a historical context to the ratings that will allow Village engineers
to see which streets have degraded and how to better predict which
streets will need work done for a given year.

Without GIS Village engineers would have a hard time managing ratings
not only for all the streets but throughout time. Any supplemental
information about that particular street segment (i.e. pavement type)
would be stored elsewhere decreasing efficiency and creating information
silos. GIS ties everything together so all pertinent information is at
the user’s fingertips.

GIS Supports Community Sculpture Brochure


The Administration Department recently called upon the Village’s
Geographic Information System (GIS) to assist with the creation of a map
to be included in the Village sculpture brochure. The brochure is meant
to provide some history and a brief description about the Village’s ten
sculptures. In 2012, the Public Arts Advisory Committee (PAAC) bought
five new sculptures to be displayed around the Village. The PAAC
receives funds by tacking on a small fee to building permits exceeding
$10,000. The funds are exclusively used to make Skokie a more artistic
and aesthetically pleasing place to live.

To support the community sculpture brochure, GIS created a map of the
locations of each sculpture. These locations are numbered so the
corresponding sculpture can be referenced throughout the brochure. This
allows the reader to quickly locate and find information related to each
respective sculpture. Without the help of GIS the sculpture brochure
would not have a useful way to display the locations of the sculptures
on a map and getting to each sculpture would be more difficult.

GIS Assists in Spooky Happenings


The month of October was an exciting time around the Village of
Skokie. The onset of autumn was apparent with seasonal decorations going
on display and trees changing into their fall colors. This year the
Village manager’s office decided to put on a fun activity or
“spook-tivity” for local area children to celebrate the Halloween season
and donate food items to a good cause. GIS was called upon to create
the map that would be placed into the guide for the children to navigate
to participating businesses in the downtown area.

To help the children get to all thirty-four participating businesses,
a custom map was created to be inserted in the guide. The children were
asked to visit at least ten area businesses where they would receive a
check mark for visiting and a tasty Halloween treat. To make this
process easy for children to follow, the map was numbered with the
participating merchants which corresponded to numbered bubbles on the
back of the guide for the children to check off. Without a map the
children would not have had an easy and fun way to get to each business.

Clinic Referrals for Uninsured and Underinsured Residents


The Personal Health Division within the Health Department at the
Village of Skokie provides numerous services to its residents. From
immunizations to testing for diabetes, the Health Department offers a
wide range of clinics at affordable prices. There are however, services
that the Health Department simply does not have the resources to offer.

To aid residents seeking for health services not offered at the
Village, the Village’s Geographic Information System (GIS) was used to
provide a map of available clinics in the Greater Chicagoland area for
uninsured and underinsured residents. This map is used as a brochure at
the Health Department for an easy way to guide an individual to a clinic
that will service their needs. The map highlights five clinics,
detailing their respective addresses and where they are spatially
located in the Chicagoland area. Without GIS the Health Department
would not be able to provide an easy-to-read map that allows residents
to choose the clinic that is closest and most convenient for them.