Defining School Boundaries Using GIS

One of the most common questions that staff at the Village of Woodridge, IL receive from new residents is "What school will my children attend?"  The majority of the village’s residential areas are within Woodridge School District 68, which includes seven different elementary schools.  Previously, village staff would forward questions like this to the school district offices to get answered or, depending on where the resident lived, to the individual schools themselves.  However, through the capabilities of the village’s Geographic Information System (GIS) department, the locations of each of these school boundaries within the district were mapped out and provided as part of the village’s web-based mapping application, MapOffice™, allowing village staff and residents to find the information they’re looking for in a fraction of the time.

Mapping the attendance boundaries of each of the seven schools required collaboration between the village, the school district, and each of the schools.  Traditionally, school district staff relied on memory and street name lists to determine which school a student would attend.  In order to transfer this knowledge to a map environment, the village GIS staff had multiple conversations with staff at the district and each school and several iterations of a boundary map were created for them to review to determine the existing attendance boundary for each school.  Once these boundaries were determined and finalized with input from the schools, they were exposed as a custom map layer in MapOffice™ for use by the public, school district personnel, and village staff.  Now staff and residents can access this information easily by searching for an address and activating the boundary layer.  This project demonstrates how GIS can be used as a collaborative tool for optimizing a workflow between multiple organizations.