During the cleanup from damage caused by emergency events, such as severe storms or flooding, there are often numerous issues that a local government needs to deal with in order to successfully recover. After a recent storm that occurred on July 23rd, 2011, the Village of Winnetka, IL was hit hard by residential flooding and other water related problems. This forced the village’s Water and Electric Department to take an inventory of all properties in the village with electric meters installed in basements to help identify areas where restoring power service might be difficult in the future if that same property floods.
Using an existing database containing all the basement electric meter addresses, and a list of flooded properties collected during the July 23rd storm event, the village GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Department was able to map out the locations of each meter and spatially compare that to the flooded property locations. Doing this helped to identify where homes with both basement electric meters and potential flooding issues were located, allow the Water and Electric Department to assess the potential risk for these meters being inaccessible during a similar storm event.
Without GIS, analysis would have been very time consuming and would have required significant man-hours to complete. Comparing the flooding and electric meter locations spatially allowed for a quick and efficient analysis of the data, which provided the Water and Electric Department with an easy-to-use tool for assessing future risk.