Zoning Variance Document Links in MapOffice


Leveraging geospatial technology to make a department, or
departments, within municipal government more efficient can take on many
different forms. For the Village of Winnetka, IL Community Development
Department, this involved integrating scanned zoning variance documents
with an existing GIS mapping application and using the application’s
address search tool to locate the documents. These efforts involved
working closely with the Village’s Geographic Information System (GIS)
department to ensure that the scanned documents were properly linked to
the correct locations in the village so they could be easily searched.

The first step in managing this type of external data
integration is making sure the data in updated in a timely manner, to
make sure that the searchable data is current and provides the most
benefit to the department. To that end, a process was setup where
department staff notifies the GIS department when a new document is
scanned, which ensures that there is no lag time between when the
document is available and when it can be accessed via the GIS
application. The next step in this process was to create the links
between the documents and their associated spatial locations. This was
done by having the GIS department map a list of variance document
locations provided by Community Development and, within the GIS data,
link the mapped location to the village network drive where their
associated scanned variance documents are stored. The final step was
to take the mapped, linked GIS variance data and add it to the GIS
application as a spatial layer that can be turned on and off for display
as needed.

By providing the Community Development Department with a spatial
interface to search and reference scanned zoning variance documents,
GIS has provided a more efficient solution for retrieving department
files. The previous method for locating these documents involved
searching a village network drive for the correct scanned document,
which was disruptive to the department workflow and often difficult to
navigate. Using an existing, spatial platform, the department has
leveraged available geospatial technology to make better use of staff
time and available village resources, which has, in turn, made the
department more productive and cost effective.