Orland Park Plow Tracker App


Graphic showing the GIS Orland Park Plow Tracker App

Winter in Orland Park presents a unique set of challenges that both residents and local authorities must navigate. Among these, snow removal stands out as a particularly demanding task that requires detailed planning and execution. Recognizing the need for a more efficient and transparent approach to managing winter conditions, the village began exploring the idea of real-time snowplow tracking. It was at this point that Orland Park reached out to Gewalt Hamilton Associates (GHA) for a solution. Our vision aligned perfectly with the village’s: to create a system that not only streamlines the snow removal process but also keeps the community informed and engaged. While an internal system for Public Works staff was already in place, there was a clear opportunity to extend its benefits to the residents. The goal was to push data externally, enhancing transparency and ultimately delivering a higher level of service to the community.

The Birth of the Real-time Snowplow Tracking Application

Orland Park expressed interest in leveraging GIS technology to improve its snow removal operations. GHA took this initial idea and developed a real-time tracking system for snowplows. “By leveraging real-time GIS mapping technology, we’ve established a user-friendly mapping application to share the current locations of Village plows, as well as track the areas they have already covered,” says Greg Newton, GISP, Director of Geospatial Services at GHA.

Features and Benefits of the App

The Real-time Snowplow Tracking Application, often referred to as the Plow Tracker, offers several features that benefit both the village and its residents. One of the most significant is real-time progress tracking. Residents can now see the exact location and activity of snowplows, providing a new level of transparency.

By using GIS to incorporate a tracking history feature, the app allows users to view up to eight hours of previous activities, complete with timestamps. Utilizing a fading mechanism, the app distinctly highlights the most recent snowplow movements, while previously recorded data is slowly faded out, providing a clear and immediate visual representation of the plows’ most current paths. This ensures residents can easily identify recently serviced routes, enhancing their navigation and planning during snowy conditions.

Clarifying Road Ownership: A Game Changer

A frequent point of confusion in many municipalities revolves around the question of road ownership: Who is responsible for maintaining which road? The Plow Tracker app addresses this issue by clearly delineating village-maintained roads. This feature has led to a reduction in resident inquiries, streamlining village operations and improving resident satisfaction.

Village of Orland Park snow plow clears a residential road.

The Future of GIS in Municipal Services

The Real-time Snowplow Tracking Application has revolutionized operations in Orland Park. Village of Orland Park Public Works Director Joel Van Essen highlights the system’s transparency, noting, “You can see how many times they’ve been through the route and where they’re working in the route right now.” This level of detail is crucial, especially for snow plow veterans like Blake Harvey, Maintenance Worker III at the Village of Orland Park, who acknowledges, ‘I lose track. I really do, especially with a storm that just keeps hammering us with snow.” The application elevates resident service by streamlining operations, ensuring that even during intense snowfalls, the community’s needs are addressed thoroughly and efficiently.

However, this is just the beginning. The potential of GIS technology to revolutionize other areas of municipal service is significant. At GHA, we are committed to pushing the boundaries of GIS solutions to better serve communities. Our focus remains on developing innovative solutions that address both current needs and future challenges.

By integrating advanced GIS technology into everyday municipal services, we are taking a significant step toward creating smarter, more efficient communities. As we look to the future, our commitment to delivering exceptional solutions remains as strong as ever.