Using Field Note Map Books to maintain utility information accuracy

​The Village of Oak Brook relies on accurate utility information in
order to assist the community staff with their day to day activities
just like any other local government does. For example, the Engineering
Department utilizes storm sewer information to assess and resolve
drainage issues as well as general pipe replacement. The Public Works
Department needs accurate utility information in order to indentify
water main size, type and location in order to respond to water main
breaks. In addition, the Fire Department needs to have access to fire
hydrant information for flow rate testing and to locate the nearest
hydrant in the event of a fire. This information has been stored in
multiple locations including engineering plans and permit applications
but ultimately should reside in one centralized location.

As far as holding this information in one centralized location a
Geographic Information System (GIS) is most certainly one of the better
options on the market today. Storing utility information from resources
like as-builts, hand drawn maps and other sources can easily be filed
into two specific databases based on whether it is a sewer or water
utility system. These individual databases contain information on the
type, size and location of features including some basics as pipes
manholes for the sewer system as well as hydrants and valves for the
water system. Not only are these databases excellent locations for
storing data they also have the ability to link to external databases as
long as the proper structure and attributes are maintained (i.e.using a
number identification system in order to link to the Water Billing
Department so that water billing records can be easily linked and

In order to easily update and modify changes in the storm and water
databases, field note map books are created. A field note map book is
usually an atlas of pages sized as 17×22 where a full community is
broken down into multiple pages by a grid in order to present the map at
a 1’=100’ scale. Moreover, by using a grid based on the Professional
Land Survey township system the community can be subdivided into
equalized quarter-sections (northeast, southwest). Once the community
is properly split up into quarter-sections the grid number is placed on
its respective field note map book page.

In addition to the grid information each field note map book shows
the utility system and aerial photography for that particular location
at a 1" =100′ scale. At this scale, structures can be easily
distinguished and field crews can easily markup the pages for edits that
need to be made to the utility system by the GIS Department. The notes
section on the right of the field note map book page provides an area
where field crews and engineering staff can provide comments on
discrepancies between what is in the GIS and what is said to be true in
the field. The image below shows an example field note map book page for
the water distribution system. Hydrants and valves are labeled with
their location as well as the length of the water main. Also included on
each page is a site map of the village. This allows field crews and
engineering staff to quickly determine the location of the water main
relative to the village.