Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony


With the winter holiday season quickly approaching, several local
community festivals and other events related to the holidays are
starting to move into their planning stages, which involves coordinating
with internal community staff and external organizations involved with
the event, as well as beginning the process of developing an agenda for
how the event will proceed. For the City of Des Plaines, IL, an annual
holiday tradition is holding a formal city tree lighting ceremony in
the downtown area, complete with food and beverage vendors and
family-friendly activities that allow the city residents to celebrate
the start of the season as a community. Related to this event, the
city’s Police and Emergency Management departments requested the
assistance of the city’s Geographic Information System (GIS) department
in developing a map for the event, showing things such as officer
posting locations, street closures, and other specifics related to the
event, which can assist the departments with their planning efforts and
coordinating personnel during the lighting ceremony.

The initial development of the event map involved a representative
from the GIS department meeting with representatives from the Police and
Emergency Management departments to discuss the extent of the event
area that needed to be displayed on the map, as well as the specific
locations of planned officer postings, road barricades, and vehicle
parking during the ceremony. Once these locations were determined, a
preliminary map was developed by the GIS department and provided back to
Police and Emergency Management for further review and updating. As
more information regarding the event became available, additional
requests were submitted to the GIS department for changes to the map,
which was updated accordingly.

Since the GIS department for the city was involved from the very
beginning with the lighting ceremony planning efforts, and then
continuously throughout the planning process, the map was able to
continuously develop over time and be used as an effective medium for
transferring information to all departments involved. Having a visual
resource for the event provided a consistent, well understood format for
departments to share information, making the planning efforts more
efficient and, ultimately, the execution of the plan more successful.