Utilizing Water Main Break Data

​The Village of Northbrook Public Works Department has collected water main break data for decades.  Public Works approached GIS to find a way to better utilize the large amounts of data collected over the years as well as track new water main breaks. 


Water main break data was originally stored in tabular format.  The first step to better utilize this data was to visually display it on a map so Public Works could see the data.  This provided Public Works the ability to look for historical patterns and perform analysis to aid in water main replacement decisions.  A custom overlay was created on MapOffice, an interactive web mapping application, which allows all Public Works staff to view water main break locations and the associated data.

After the creation of the custom overlay on MapOffice, Public Works staff requested a method to retrieve reports and photographs that pertain to individual water main break events.  These documents and photographs were placed in Laserfiche, a document storage system, and can be retrieved using the custom overlay in MapOffice through hyperlinks.  Now Public Works has the ability to easily retrieve documents and review data from past water main breaks to expedite the repair on new main breaks in the same vicinity.  

The utilization of the tools provided by GIS has saved time and energy for staff with a single source for viewing, analyzing, and preparing for water main breaks.