Maintaining a record of building permit applications is important for local governments as both a historical reference for work that was authorized for a given project and as a reference in case the work that was completed is ever disputed. To make access to these applications easier for all departments, the Village of Winnetka, IL Community Development Department requested that the paper building permits they have on file be scanned into an electronic format. To assist with providing access to the scanned permit files, the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department linked the permit documents to the spatial location they applied to and made those links available as part of the village’s internet-browser based mapping application.
Distributing the connection to each scanned document through a spatial platform provides an intuitive interface for village staff to query and locate the exact permit application they’re looking for. Within the mapping application, a user can search for the address the permit was issued for, turn on the spatial layer developed by the GIS department that contains the document link, and click on that link to open the scanned file for viewing. By making the permits accessible through an intuitive application that’s already used by all departments, the village increases its overall efficiency by opening up access to the permits, as well as saves time and money by not having to coordinate a network location to store the files or invest in document management software to distribute the information.