Conceptual utility planning using GIS


Any storm event that disrupts day to day operations can often spur
local government to investigate solutions to help mitigate future
problems. After a major emergency event that occurred on July 23rd 2011
caused significant flood damage to the Village of Winnetka, IL, the
village’s Public Works Department began looking at options for improving
its storm water utility system to help reduce the impacts of future
flooding. As part of the investigative process, department staff is
required to present all options under consideration to the general
public as a way to show progress. To assist with these presentations,
the village’s Geographic Information System (GIS) department was asked
to create a map showing all project locations to help provide the public
with a tool for visualizing the proposed improvements.

After working with an engineering firm to determine areas of need and
design the new storm water system components, the Public Works staff
provided the GIS department with each project location and requested a
map product that was easy to understand in order provide the public with
a preview of the changes without confusing things with too many
details. Using a basic street map of the community, the project
streets and the surrounding areas impacted by the proposed construction
were highlighted and color coded based on the projected impact they
would have on the village’s flood mitigation plan. Showing the
information this way provides context for how each project will improve
flood control in the village and help to reduce the risk of future flood