On the Fast Track to Updating Bikeway Information

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) helps local governments plan land use and transportation initiatives to promote sustainability. CMAP’s GO TO 2040 comprehensive plan is designed to achieve this by providing recommendations on transportation, human capital and governance. One way in which CMAP strives to improve the livability of communities is through their Soles and Spokes Plan which encourages citizens to walk and bike.

The Village of Tinley Park, IL was asked to provide information about their existing walking and biking facilities for integration into CMAP’s Bikeway Information System (BIS). In order to respond to CMAP’s request, the Village had to fill out a questionnaire and mark a map with any changes or updates to the bikeway system. 

After consulting with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the Village responded to CMAP’s request by structuring bikeway facility data around the questionnaire. Bikeways were drawn using GIS and attributed based on CMAP’s interest in facility type, status, location, and other factors. By relying on GIS, the Village of Tinley Park reduced the time to complete a written response for each bikeway. Data is now stored in a system that is easily accessible and can be queried whenever needed by staff.

GIS Keeps Water and Revenue Flowing

Aging infrastructure affects not only water delivery, but the revenue stream in municipalities. When water mains leak or break, the Village of Tinley Park, IL responds quickly to assess the damage and fix the problem.

Over time, sections of the water main leak or break repeatedly, prompting replacement. To be more proactive in determining which pipes to replace, the village’s Public Works department turned to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) staff to analyze incidents over location and time and determine which sections are high priority.

The analysis compared the age, location, and number of incidents on each pipe section throughout the village. By comparing the density of leaks and breaks within a 33-year period and a more recent 10-year period, those sections with the most incidents were identified and highlighted in maps.

Using these maps, Public Works easily prioritized which ones to replace in the upcoming year. The GIS analysis also gave staff insight into areas of town where leaks and breaks would likely occur in the future.

Using ArcGIS Online to Promote Holiday Events

The Village of Tinley Park, IL offers a variety of holiday events in December, most of which are centered on an event called the Holiday Market.  The Holiday Market provides a range of different activities for families that include parades, movies, carriage rides, carousel rides, crafts, and ice-carving.  In order to better inform residents on where these events are located, the village has provided an interactive map on their website that provides event descriptions, dates and times for each event, as well as where they are located in downtown Tinley Park. 

The map leverages an application designed by a company called Esri that allows users to interactively move between a map and a text panel to better understand the spatial context of an event, article, or story.  These story maps can also be customized to incorporate specific designs or branding.  Tinley Park was interested in putting a spotlight on local businesses that had helped sponsor the Holiday Market, so this year’s Holiday Market story map was customized to include sponsor branding and inclusion in event descriptions.  This helps to improve the visibility of these local businesses and may also help the Village obtain sponsors for future events.

Making Building Plans Available in Emergency Dispatch Software

When responding to an emergency dispatch call, first responders must be prepared to handle anything that comes their way.  For fire response in particular, it is important to have knowledge of the structure that is being responded to in order to effectively put out a fire or prevent one from spreading further.  A critical resource for knowing this information is building pre-plans, which are drawings that detail the layout of a building or structure and show the locations of things like utility shut offs (i.e. gas & electric) or where potentially hazardous materials are stored (i.e. oxygen or flammable chemicals).  To assist the Fire department with exposing this type of information in a spatial environment, the village asked their Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department to integrate these pre-plans with new dispatch software that was recently implemented. 

The computer-aided dispatch (CAD) software that was recently purchased has a mapping component that allows dispatch staff and responders to view information related to call locations.  Since connections to outside map applications can be consumed by the CAD software, this allowed for the integration of the village’s existing GIS environment and the Fire departments existing pre-plans into the CAD system.  The integration of the pre-plans into the CAD system involved manually mapping the utility and storage area locations in GIS from existing PDFs and computer-aided drawings provided by the Fire department. Once this process was complete, the pre-plan GIS layer was published as part of the village’s existing GIS map application that was also being consumed by the CAD system.   With these pre-plans now available in CAD, the process of accessing this valuable information has been streamlined so firefighters and other responders can more effectively do their job and be better prepared when arriving on scene.

GIS Integrates with Emergency Dispatch System

The Village of Tinley Park, IL recently invested in a new public safety dispatch system with mapping and vehicle tracking capabilities.  Mapping capabilities for emergency response is crucial and having a map that shows detail such as building outlines, parking lot entry ways, and hydrant locations allows emergency responders to formulate a response plan prior to arriving on scene. The village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program, along with the dispatch system vendor, was able to setup a web mapping service that allowed first responders the ability to directly connect to the village’s GIS mapping environment.  This direct connection helps provide them with the most up to date mapping information. 

The mapping functionality and highly detailed map product integration came at no additional cost to the village and the ability to connect to the map was an out of the box function of the dispatch system, making this entire process a cost effective resource for the village’s local responder. The dispatch base mapping is also tied into the centralized village GIS databases.  Having the base map tied into these centralized GIS databases allows for easy updating of the map from one location and eliminates the need to update data in several locations. This saves multiple man hours while also providing a detailed, customizable map to dispatchers and first responders.

Analyzing Ambulance Response Using GIS

Improving emergency response times in a community requires knowledge of areas that receive a large volume of dispatch calls, as well as past trends that may help in forecasting future response needs.  To assist with conducting this type of analysis, the Village of Tinley Park, IL EMS department leveraged their local Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department to acquire this knowledge for consideration when determining whether to renew an existing ambulance contract or move on to explore other options. 

To analyze past call pattern trends, GIS was used to spatially display ambulance call locations from 2012 through 2014 to help visualize areas of high volume, both overall and for several different scenarios.  A series of maps were created that displayed the count of calls by address, as well as a "hot spot" map that compares localized call densities to determine areas of high activity and areas of low activity.  When these maps are compared side-by-side, the user can determine call trends over the last few years and how these trends could impact the village residents based on the chosen service provider.

In addition to identifying trends in call volume, call density mapping can also be used as a data exploration tool for public safety department staff when determining what may be the cause for areas that have experienced increased or decreased call activity. Once these areas of interest have been determined, future analysis can be done to determine if department response initiatives, socioeconomic factors, or other influences may be the cause.

Integrating a Custom Document Management System with GIS

The Village of Tinley Park, IL Planning Department was recently searching for a way to access scanned property plan documents using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which entails being able to search for a property using a map interface and viewing any documents associated with that property.  In order to leverage the capabilities of the village’s internet browser based mapping application, MapOffice™ Advanced, a new method for maintaining plan documents had to be established so that the planners could easily add documents to the village document management system and make them available in a spatial environment for viewing. 

To implement this functionality, a directory was created on the village network that contains folders for every address in the village.  Once a plan document is scanned into a digital format, a user can save that document in the appropriate property address folder for reference.  To help automate the process of connecting a document to its associated property in the GIS address data, a custom script was created that iterates through the entire folder directory and, if any new documents have been added, it adds that document name to a master reference list.  This list is then used to update the connection to MapOffice™ Advanced, thereby allowing users to access these documents in a spatial medium. Since most of this process is automated, the only task the village planners have to do is add documents to the correct property address folder and they will be available to access in MapOffice™ Advanced soon afterwards.

This process can be implemented for many types of documents, which makes it appealing for staff which may not have access to a formal document management system or if the current process of updating documents in a formal system is confusing or time consuming.  By leveraging the power of GIS, village planners now have an easy-to-use tool for accessing plan documents in an environment that naturally ties that document to the physical property it’s associated with.    

GIS Provides Foundation for New Village Dispatch System

​Village of Tinley Park, IL has recently invested in modernizing their village Computer Aided Dispatch System (CAD). Part of this modernization was building the foundation of the new CAD upon data that is created, updated and managed by the village Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program.  This data includes residential and commercial addresses and address ranges to allow for vehicle routing to calls made from homes or from cell phones throughout the village.  Important information such as fire hydrant locations, building characteristics, and building entry points were also built in GIS to allow first responders a chance to create an operational plan prior to arriving at the scene of an emergency.

Arriving on scene with a plan allows for quick action in a situation where minutes can be critical to the outcome of an emergency. GIS also can help track data that will allow the village map and report on reoccurring incidents in the village, such as auto accidents or burglaries.  Having a GIS program helped to save the village tens of thousands of dollars in data implementation costs for the CAD system, as well as provide local authoritative data and more robust product for emergency responders.

Mapping and Analysis of Water Main Breaks


The Village of Tinley Park has detailed records on water main breaks.  To see spatially where these breaks are happening provides an addition tool when examining where breaks are most frequent and can assist in the planning of future budgets on capital improvement projects.  Tinley Park’s public works department recently asked the GIS Consortium to create a map displaying where every single water main break has occurred within the village.  The GIS department was able to find historical water main break data from as early as 1981.  Plotting the break data from 1981-2013 provides a unique outlook on the state of the water system and will shed light on areas that need to be looked into for future replacement.

Identifying areas with a high number of breaks is just one step in analyzing the water system.  The village can dig deeper and evaluate types of material that are most common for breaks, what role if any does water main depth play, or even the average age of the water mains that are breaking.  With GIS, the Village of Tinley Park has the resources available to track and analyze these questions.

GIS Assists in Updating Reverse 911 Data


The Village of Tinley Park, IL uses a public safety communications
system known as Reverse 911. This critical administrative tool is used
to communicate important or time sensitive information to groups of
people in a defined geographic area. The system uses a database of
telephone numbers and associated addresses, which, when tied into the
village’s Geographic Information System (GIS), can be used to deliver
recorded emergency notifications to a selected set of telephone service
subscribers within the village limits.

By leveraging GIS applications, and a standardized address model, the
process of updating reverse 911 data has become a more efficient
process. Along with making the process more efficient, GIS also provides
a more accurate database for the reverse 911 system which, in an
emergency, can make all the difference.