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IN THE NEWS: THURSDAY, JULY 31, 2003

Village Purchases New Servers To Update Website

By Richard Pokora

Journal Correspondent

The Village of Arlington Hts. recently updated their web site leaving parts of the "Graphical Information Systems (GIS)" page "Under Construction," primarily because of the village's computer limitations.

The GIS web page is a portal to village maps used for many purposes including zoning and street maps. Monday night, Village Manager Bill Dixon requested and received approval to purchase two new Dell PowerEdge servers to power-up the GIS pages on the village's site. The cost of the two computers is $18,950. The new computers will greatly enhance the ability for users to remotely look up information quickly from their own computers, rather than having to go to the village to request information and paper maps related to the village system of streets, properties, parks, zoning and other data.

The GIS page is easily assessable to everyone that has Internet access from the main page of the village's web site which is located at www.vah.com. Users can choose to view various layers of information including the locations of some utilities around a specific property, sidewalks, parkway trees, school district boundaries, park locations and train station, information about zoning and much more. Much of the information is public and helpful to residents, village departments and developers. GIS is easy to use. Each of the maps is a layer that users can select based on their needs. For example, one layer could represent the roads in an area, while another could focus on the parkways in that same area.

Janusz Kwiatkowski, GIS manager, said that the system should be up and running in about a month. "GIS will be ready to go as soon as we receive the servers and adjust the settings and security. The Arlington GIS is the first and only system in the state that has an interactive zoning map" he went on to say. Kwiatkowski would like to make all mapping information that is currently public available on the site. Eventually, underground utility maps that track water, gas, electric, fiber optic and cable television could be available to qualified users, like gas and electric utility professionals, who have permission and can log on using a secure password.

"Underground utilities like water mains are sensitive for security reasons, which is why we need to restrict and track assess to that information" said Kwiatkowski. He agrees that GIS could eventually assist JULIE locators equipped with wireless notebooks using the technology as an information source. This could lessen the likelihood of a contractor cutting through a gas or water main, creating hazardous conditions and interrupting services like heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer.

The power of GIS is the ability to quickly select the needed information according to desired goals. For example, firefighters could quickly locate gas lines and valves in emergency situations, saving precious seconds - and lives. Kwiatkowski and the village think it's important for the technology to be available to assist in the remotest of areas - like actual job sites.

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