Winter Operations Support: Snow Removal


Seasonal operations planning is a process all municipalities, large
and small, must deal with throughout the year. Whether it’s ordering
salt for the winter months or flowers for the spring plantings, all
municipalities are involved with planning out their process for
providing seasonal services. For the Village of Winnetka Public Works
department, snow removal has always been one of the primary services
included in its winter operation plans. In past years, the snow removal
maps used by the plow operators have been maintained in a Computer Aided
Design (CAD) based system, which has proven difficult to update and
maintain. In an effort to improve map maintenance and currency, the
department asked the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
department to assist in recreating them to both update the mapped routes
and make the mapping process more efficient.

In addition to providing an administrative advantage for overall
planning, having “easy-to-update” maps creates an operational advantage
by providing a consistent tool for any truck operator who is not
familiar with his assigned route. Developing the maps in GIS allows for
duplication and redundancy with the mapping, resulting in a much easier
process for printing off new maps as needed. By converting the
village’s snow removal route information to GIS, the Public Works
department has improved its winter operations planning efficiency and
developed a more stable operational resource for the truck operators.
For these reasons, the department has decided to use GIS as its primary
medium for maintaining this information moving forward.