The Village of Norridge actively participates in a Geographic Information Systems program, referred to as GIS. Now, you probably just read the first sentence and asked yourself what is GIS? And secondly, how does this affect me as a resident and/or a business owner. We will answer both of those questions for you, and we are even going to explain the idea behind joining a consortium.
Let’s first start off by answering the question what is GIS? Simply said, GIS (Geographic Information Systems) involves putting maps on the computer. Technically said, it is an organizational approach to information management utilizing a common integration platform of geography. The goals of the system are to link databases together back to an object or a parcel on a specific map. In short, we are taking a map on a computer screen and viewing various information. We also use icons on the map to link back to a database or databases, maybe water meter reading information or garbage route information. So you could say we are linking geography with information. This system will constantly be updated with information and it takes time to develop something of this magnitude.
Now, you may be asking how is this going to affect me? As a resident or business-owner, initially this may have no direct affect on you, but in the background it has an effect on the services we will be able to provide and the speed at which we provide them. The Village of Norridge will be using this system to do everything from tracking tree information, sewer and water information - water breaks, building construction, traffic analysis, crime analysis, incident tracking, Homeland Security-related issues, roadway improvements, and even simpler things like locations of fire hydrants and buffalo boxes in the front lawn. However, the most important aspect is the role it plays in 911. The Village will now have the ability to track a 911 call coming into the radio room. When you dial 911, the call will come into our radio room and the dispatcher will know the location of the originating home or business. If you dial 911 from your cell phone, the dispatcher will also know the location of the caller; this would not be possible without GIS. This proves to be beneficial if someone is not able to complete an emergency call by indicating the location of the emergency. Also, if someone is dialing 911 as a prank call or dialing the emergency number at another location in the Village, the called can be traced to its source location.
Quick Facts on GIS:
- Helps Link Information-Databases
- Allows Data Analysis
- Data is tied to a geographic location
- A map is worth 1000 words
- Develop models
As a Village, we opted to join the GIS Consortium. The idea behind joining a consortium basically comes down to staffing and expertise, power in numbers, and doing less with more. In the Consortium, we are joined by other communities and we share staffing and expenses based on our geographic size. It is difficult to have GIS programmers on staff, and the costs soar through the roof. With the Consortium approach, staffing comes from Municipal GIS Partners and they bring the expertise of managers, programmers, and analysts to the table. We also get the benefits and interaction with the other member communities.
Many people get this confused with GPS; in fact, the two work somewhat hand in hand. GPS (Global Positioning System) provides the coordinates or the latitude and longitude that are inputted into a GIS system.
We encourage you to look at our map office and if you have questions, concerns, or ideas, please contact us.