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Health & Human Services Winter 2013/2014

for Health & Human Services Winter 2013/2014
Esri News
Esri Tools Help Human Services Agencies
Keep Clients Safe
Human services agencies create GIS
maps and use them to locate clients in
need of assistance in the face of natural
or man-made disasters. This means
huge time savings, allowing personnel
to focus on important agency work.
Fifty-four California counties partner
with the nonprofit National Council on
Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) for child
welfare data monitoring and analysis
through a service called SafeMeasures.
This NCCD program uses near real-time
data to assist child welfare agencies in
California and elsewhere to improve
outcomes for clients by helping agency
 Family Looks at Ammo Fire at the Entrance of Camp Pendleton, October 23, 2007. (Photo by
Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images. Courtesy of the San Diego Wildfires Education Project, San
Diego State University.)
together on a single map created a consolidated source of impact information
that made it possible for NCCD’s client
child welfare agencies to discard the
manual process they previously had used.
Such consolidated information is
crucial because a given California county
may be responsible for the thousands of
children and adults in homes and facilities spread over a large geographic area,
said Peter Quigley, managing director
of Information Systems at NCCD. When
emergencies or natural disasters strike,
these agencies must quickly communicate with their facilities to keep their
clients safe, Quigley said.
“In California, where wildfires and earthquakes are unfortunately common, this
can occur several times a year,” he said.
Mapping opened a new door for
human services agencies to serve their
clients. But NCCD wanted to provide
the best possible service to clients and
quickly searched for ways to improve
SafeMeasures’s mapping capabilities. In
2013, the council moved to Esri products.
Tim Connell, director of application development at NCCD, recalled, “The mapping
tools we had were not flexible, and they
did not integrate well with our software.”
Connell decided to adopt Esri tools
after thoughtful research. “I looked at
a lot of different options, both open
source and not,” he said. “I thought that
the combination of all the things that
Esri products offer made the most sense
continued on page 4
staff prioritize work and identify potential gaps in services before they lead to
negative outcomes.
In 2006, NCCD added mapping to
SafeMeasures by geocoding the addresses of all clients and foster homes in
the process. NCCD identified sources of
GIS data—such as the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration, the
United States Geological Survey, and
California Department of Forestry and
Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)—that could
provide up-to-date information about the
location and extent of wildfires, earthquakes, and other disaster situations.
Layering client and event information
Winter 2013/2014
Esri News for Health & Human Services is a
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1 Esri Tools Help Human Services Agencies
Keep Clients Safe
Health Atlas Close-up
6 Helping Hearts
Case Study
8 New Mexico Community Data Collaborative Leverages
Esri ArcGIS Online
12 Using Esri ArcGIS to Maintain Water Well and Septic
System Permits in Kendall County, Illinois
Book Review
14 Enabling Comprehensive Situational Awareness
Esri News
15 Esri Annual Awards
15 Special Thanks to Our Sponsors
15 Esri on the Road
15 Save the Date
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For geocoding, Connell chose Esri’s
StreetMap Premium because of its accuracy and coverage. Both qualities are
critical to ensuring that a human services
agency reaches all clients potentially
affected by a disaster. The highly confidential nature of NCCD’s data meant that
the agency needed to develop a custom
solution rather than use an external
service. Esri technology, in conjunction
with StreetMap data, allowed NCCD
to develop its own geocoder. Because
NCCD geocodes 50,000 to 60,000 addresses a day, Esri technology provides a
high-speed, low-cost solution.
“StreetMap had the most accurate and
consistent data of the geocoding platforms we looked at,” explained Connell.
“Plus, the integration with ArcObjects
meant that we could do everything inhouse. That was important to us.”
Esri’s ArcGIS API for JavaScript provides the clean, easy-to-understand user
interface that Connell wanted for NCCD’s
clients. Standout features included better
basemap imagery than NCCD’s prior
tools—less cluttered at higher scales and
more consistent in displaying landmarks.
“Now we can see exactly
where the kids are, and
the map shows where
the disasters are, so it’s
simplified quite a bit . . .
We go to that map, see
where the fire is, and see
the dots of placements
near it. We can use that
map to contact those
foster homes.”
Luis Fernandez, Data Supervisor,
San Diego County
 Fire fighter Dwarfed by Flames along East Grade Road on Palomar Mountain during the
Poomacha Fire, October 24, 2007. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times. Courtesy of the San
Diego Wilfires Education Project, San Diego State University.)
NCCD uses custom and open-source
code to access, organize, and render
data for display, using standards like Web
Map Service (WMS) to integrate this data
into the map.
“The Esri API made it easy for us to
create different tools, such as one that
allows users to draw a circle on the map
and generate a list of all the client addresses in that circle,” Connell said.
New Agile, Streamlined Process
With the improved SafeMeasures maps,
California child welfare agencies have an
agile, streamlined process with which to
keep clients safe in the face of an unfolding emergency. Connell listed some of
the many instances in which mapping
has been integral: “We’ve dealt with
earthquakes, house fires, and satellitedetected fires, to name a few examples.”
Esri tools allow SafeMeasures mapping
to provide consistently high-speed service: “We run through every 15 minutes
and compare the locations of all the
foster home or care facility addresses
with our known current events,” said
Connell. “Our users can register for
alerts, and anytime there is an emergency
event—such as a wildfire—they will get
an e-mail saying that one or more of their
cases is within a particular distance of the
event and give them a link to the map.”
Luis Fernandez, a data supervisor in
San Diego County, appreciates how
SafeMeasures has streamlined things.
“Now we can see exactly where the kids
are, and the map shows where the disasters are, so it’s simplified quite a bit.”
Fernandez observed that in the event of
a fire, “We go to that map, see where the
fire is, and see the dots of placements
near it. We can use that map to contact
those foster homes.”
See, for example, figure 1, a map of
the Sylmar Fire, also known as the Sayre
Fire, in November 2008, which resulted
in the loss of 489 homes in Los Angeles,
California. This map, and figure 2, the
from a mapping point of view. Esri tools
were the most flexible in our software
architecture, and they were extendable in
ways that other platforms were not. Plus,
the Esri tools create very useful and userfriendly maps.”
4 Esri News for Health & Human Services Winter 2013/2014
Esri Tools Help Human Services Agencies Keep Clients Safe continued from cover
Rim Fire in 2013, were created by an
automated system NCCD developed.
These maps are available within the
SafeMeasures system and are assembled
automatically on request using regularly
updated data elements.
Tony Muga, a San Bernardino County
child welfare data analyst, related an instance where SafeMeasures mapping has
helped his agency quickly reach clients
 Figure 1. Sayre Fire, 2008. The map displays the location of foster homes relative to the fire’s
perimeter. In addition to active fires, the map displays recently burned areas to help identify
homes in need of follow-up assistance.
 Figure 2. Rim Fire, 2013. Clicking a marker opens a panel containing details for that location,
including contact information, number of clients, age ranges, and other important elements.
in need. One time, dangerous water
contamination in the desert threatened
foster homes in the area that hadn’t
yet been called by any other agencies.
“SafeMeasures mapping gave us the
ability to get right on that—we were the
first agency to alert the community to the
problem,” Muga said.
Fernandez also recounted how
SafeMeasures mapping helped ensure
safety for clients in a perilous situation.
“There was a home in San Diego where
the residents were making homemade
bombs,” Fernandez recalled. “The house
had to be torn down, so to do that the
entire area had to be evacuated. There
was a lot of dangerous material in the
house, including chemicals. We used
the map to figure out which of our kids
were in that area to make sure they were
moved to a safe place.”
In a stringent fiscal climate, the mapping approach reaps multiple benefits.
Fernandez noted that, in the past, data
requests and regular reports were put
aside when agency personnel had to find
clients affected by an emergency. “Now,
it takes only 15 percent of the time it took
before because we don’t have to cast as
wide a net,” he said.
Muga also has used mapping to help
the agency address other mandates, like
minimizing negative effects of placement
on foster children.
“The mapping feature provides a view
of where a child has been placed before.
It shows placement #1, placement #2, et
cetera, and draws lines between them
so we know in what general areas a child
has been placed,” he said. “The child
may have friends in the area; it’s a familiar
place. If it’s safe for the child to be in that
area, we [want to keep him or her there]
to have as little impact on the child’s life
as possible.”
For more information,
contact Tim Connell,
PhD, NCCD’s director of
application development,
at 800-306-6223 or
[email protected], or
visit www.nccdglobal.org.
Winter 2013/2014 esri.com/health 5
Helping Hearts
Interactive Atlas Deciphers Where Heart Attacks and Strokes Occur and Who Is at Risk
By Rachel Ankersen, GISi, and Karen Richardson, Esri Writer
Does whether you have a heart attack
or stroke have more to do with your ZIP
code than your genetic code?
The Interactive Atlas of Heart Disease
and Stroke application built for the
Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) could help answer this
question and others.
Cardiovascular disease, including heart
attacks and strokes, is the leading cause
of death in the United States for both
men and women. According to a recent
report from the CDC, more than 800,000
people die from cardiovascular disease
each year, or one in every three deaths.
Many deaths, especially those of people
under age 75, could be prevented.
The report says that cardiovascular
disease deaths among those younger
than age 75 vary by geography. Rates of
preventable death from cardiovascular
disease were the highest in the South.
To view and analyze this data more
closely, CDC and Esri Platinum partner
Geographic Information Services, Inc.
(GISi), headquartered in Birmingham,
Alabama, built the Interactive Atlas application using the Esri ArcGIS platform.
Information about cardiovascular health
can be viewed and queried on a map.
CDC developed the atlas to give US
residents and public health officials at the
and range general manager for GISi.
“Not only are we helping make this data
widely available and understandable by
using the mapping medium, we have
simplified the back-end administration
so that the CDC scientists can manage
the site themselves by adding new data,
changing map content and display, and
adding user tips and tricks.”
Flexing Health Data
Built using Esri ArcGIS for Server and
ArcGIS API for Flex, the atlas provides a
map-based view of where cardiovascular
disease is occurring. The data comes
from the United States Census Bureau,
the National Center for Health Statistics,
the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services, and other sources and is stored
in Microsoft SQL Server. Geospatial data
includes state and county boundaries,
roads and streets, health care centers
and hospitals, and retail outlets such as
grocery and convenience stores and fastfood restaurants.
To start using the atlas, select a geographic area to view, either at the state
or county level. Next, choose a health
indicator from a list of different types of
heart and coronary diseases and strokes
or preventable/avoidable death. Then
select an outcome from the indicator:
state, county, and local levels the tools
they need to investigate where high rates
of heart disease and stroke exist and
who is mainly at risk. This is particularly
important because the CDC report found
that as many as 200,000 deaths that were
attributed to cardiovascular disease
could have been prevented.
“Too many lives are being cut short
due to heart disease and stroke,” said
Linda Schieb, an epidemiologist at CDC
and lead author of the report. “Many
of these deaths could be prevented by
improving health care systems, creating
healthy places to live and play, and supporting healthy lifestyle choices.”
The hope is that by providing this data
in an easy-to-use format—via a map that
can be explored—it will be easier to see
where cardiovascular disease is more
prevalent and which population groups
are at high risk for problems such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, acute
heart attack, heart failure, and ischemic
or hemorrhagic stroke. The overarching
goal? To help doctors, health administrators, and public health officials, as well as
the general public, better focus preventive
education and programs in these areas.
“We are quite proud of the work we
have done with the CDC team,” said Dan
Levine, chief technology officer (CTO)
 According to this map, heart disease rates
are higher in some southern states, such as
Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, and in
New York State.
 You can view a wide range of mapped data
using the online Atlas of Heart Disease and
Stroke application, including percentages of
people living in poverty in the United States.
 You can compare, side by side, the stroke
death rates by county.
6 Esri News for Health & Human Services Winter 2013/2014
mortality, hospitalizations, or hospital
discharge status.
Apply sociodemographic filters
including race or ethnicity such as all
race, white (non-Hispanic), black (nonHispanic), Hispanic, American Indian
and Alaskan Native, or Asian and Pacific
Islander; gender; age; and a time
period such as 2005–2007, 2006–2008,
2007–2009, and 2008–2010. Age ranges
to select from include all, 35 and older,
65 and older, and premature. Premature
deaths are defined as deaths of people
aged 75 years or younger.
Other selectable options to visualize
on a map include determinants of health
and health services and aspects of the
community that may affect health such
as poverty, education, or the percent of
the population aged 65 or older. Health
services include the number and location of hospitals with services related to
cardiovascular disease and the number of
pharmacies in a county.
Mapping the State of
Heart Health
Here’s an example of how the application
works: perhaps you want to find out the
death rate for all heart disease by state in
the United States. You can view a national
map and select the death rate for all
heart disease for both men and women
of all races, 35 years of age. The map
shows that the death rate is highest in the
Southern states of Arkansas, Oklahoma,
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama,
Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia.
Give Your Neighborhood a
Health Check
After selecting health information, that
information can be overlaid with major
highways, large cities, congressional districts, hospital referral regions, and state
boundaries. This map can be viewed
again at a later time, including setting the
national map to a predefined location for
easier viewing.
Clicking the Maps Over Time button
provides an animated time series for the
map so users can view the change in data
over time for three-year periods from
2005 to 2010. The change in data can be
viewed for a quick, holistic understanding of how disease and disease factors
have changed in certain areas. And when
you are finished, you can print a report
directly from the map.
Global Access and Recognition
People in all 50 states and more than
100 countries have used the Interactive
Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke application since January 2013. With this innovative application, CDC garnered Esri’s 2013
Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award
at the Esri International User Conference
in San Diego, California, last July.
For more information,
contact Rachel Ankersen,
marketing coordinator, GISi,
at 205-941-0442, ext. 120.
But check out states like New York, too,
where the death rate also is high.
Now look more closely at the same
data but focus on counties in the state
of Oregon. Yamhill, Washington, and
Clackamas Counties—all located near
the major metropolitan area of Portland,
Oregon, in the northwest corner of the
state—have low death rates from heart
disease. On the other hand, Harney and
Malheur Counties—located in the opposite corner of the state from Portland, in
southeastern Oregon—have some of the
highest death rates in the state. Is there a
reason for these variations in death rates
from heart disease? The atlas can display
different variables so that users can
explore these types of questions.
One way to compare data between
two different locations is to split the
screen into two maps. With a push of a
button, you can view different factors,
such as heart disease mortality and a
determinant of health such as a social
environment, race/ethnicity, or physical
environmental factors. For example, a
map of Oregon counties and death rates
from heart disease can be viewed next
to a map of Oregon counties and the
percentage of people living in poverty for
all ages. It appears that the counties that
have the lowest percentage of deaths
from heart disease also have the lowest
percentage of people living in poverty.
Is there a correlation? The atlas helps
people to find out if there is a possible relationship between health indicators and
other characteristics in the community.
 Death rates from heart disease are high
in southwestern and southeastern Oregon,
according to this map in the atlas.
 These two maps compare heart disease
death rates for white men over the age of 35
(left) and for black, non-Hispanic men over the
age of 35 (right) in Mississippi.
 You can compare data such as the heart
disease death rate in Kentucky and the
median household income by county.
Winter 2013/2014 esri.com/health 7
Health Atlas Close-up
Supplying community data and health statistics is the stock-intrade of the New Mexico Community Data Collaborative (NMCDC).
But this statewide data repository doesn’t only provide information to anyone on demand: The NMCDC’s Office of Community
Assessment, Planning and Evaluation adheres to fine-tuned procedures and principles in supplying data for health assessment and
in collaborating with—and training—users of its data warehouse,
according to epidemiologist Thomas N. Scharmen.
“NMCDC functions under a new paradigm for public data
services,” said Scharmen, MA, MPH, who works in the New
Mexico Department of Health’s (NMDOH) Albuquerque Metro
& NW Regions, Public Health Division. “As our guiding principles explain, a collaborative model implies sharing. Esri’s
ArcGIS Online services provide the ideal medium for sharing.”
Using the freely accessible cloud server where NMCDC
keeps its data collection, no one is obliged to pay for any of the
products or services that are offered.
The new paradigm of sharing means that traditional modes of
exchange are altered. Ownership gives way to health promotion concepts such as community participation and empowerment. As in the old saying, “Teach a man to fish . . .,” requests
to NMCDC for data are countered with offers to teach users
how to explore and interpret their community indicators using
ArcGIS Online organizational resources.
ArcGIS Online: Creative Laboratory
The many collaborators of NMCDC enjoy access to the agency’s
ArcGIS Online cloud server, which allows the creation of special
groups, applications, and galleries, with varying access, functionality, and purpose. Simple maps can be embedded in a
website in a matter of minutes. See, for example, figure 1, a map
created for the New Mexico Chronic Disease Prevention Council.
A more versatile option for a personalized site is a Public
Maps Gallery, such as figure 2, linked at the Bernalillo County
Community Health Council website (www.bchealthcouncil.org),
or figure 3, the New Mexico KIDS COUNT Map Gallery created
for New Mexico Voices for Children (www.nmvoices.org).
Christine Hollis, director of the KIDS COUNT program of New
Mexico’s Voices for Children, described how her organization
has been using these tools: “[email protected] Online is a backbone resource in the Connecting Data to Action project we are
implementing in the state. We have carried out 10 workshops
in 10 different counties/locations in the state, reaching approximately 200 local-level proponents of improved early childhood
care and education policies.”
Hollis said participants in these workshops have learned what
data the [email protected] Online site offers and how they can best
use it to address their local information needs. In particular, they
have done “data walks,” analyzing locally relevant early childhood
New Mexico Community Data Collaborative
Leverages Esri ArcGIS Online
Data Repository Shares Services, Resources, and Operational Methods
 Figure 1. The Chronic Disease Prevention Council (CDPC) compiled basic chronic disease
maps so its members and community clients can explore issues at a neighborhood level.
care, education services, and numbers of children enrolled—as shown in print maps drawn
from the website—to determine both resources
and needs in their community, she said.
“All have expressed interest in the site and
the data demonstrated,” said Hollis.
Special applications available for users of
the NMCDC online organization include map
viewers of varying complexity for different
audiences; map comparison tools (for example, a swipe map); and apps for social media,
mobile devices, and storytelling.
Apps and groups can be created and
controlled by the individual subscriber or
mapmaker. All these features, including the
cost of hosting and storing the links, as well
as Esri technical support, are part of the
ArcGIS Online for Organizations subscription.
Features are easy to use, learn, and afford.
8 Esri News for Health & Human Services Winter 2013/2014
Need for Efficient Community Assessment
Based in Scharmen’s Albuquerque office, the project grew out
of the search for efficient methods and tools to serve the community assessment needs of health councils and health promotion advocates. In 2006, it became an integral part of the Place
Matters movement and its local affiliate in Bernalillo County,
and expanded its focus toward geographic, income, and racial/
ethnic disparities. In recent years, the collaborative has grown
to better serve all New Mexico communities, with an emphasis
on areas such as early childhood health and education, food
security, obesity, public services, and the built environment.
Nonetheless, the warehouse has much room for growth,
Scharmen said, particularly in the areas of serving a more diverse constituent base and ensuring that the growing collection
of datasets all get updated regularly.
Multifaceted Warehouse Contents
Though there are now abundant examples of websites with
county-level data, there is no other single agency or office in New
Mexico that manages a comparable quantity of subcounty data.
The NMCDC online data warehouse currently houses over
200 neighborhood-level datasets with more than 1,200 variables. Sets of 5 to 20 variables are displayed on nearly
100 thematic maps, 32 of which are featured via the NMCDC
main web page.
Any visitor may explore the maps with the ability to turn
variable layers on or off, zoom to different neighborhoods,
click on an area to see statistics, and view tables of variables.
Subscribers to the site (collaborating analysts) can upload and
store data, make maps and applications, use files shared by
others, and copy and modify maps. NMCDC offers workshops,
consultation with GIS experts, and personal assistance to users
with no obligation to pay.
Collaborating People Network
Less visible but more important, NMCDC is a network of
people, said Scharmen. There are 42 collaborating analysts
(mapmakers, subscribers), including analysts from agencies,
universities, and nonprofit advocacy groups. The group is coordinated by Scharmen with the assistance of two experienced
contractors, who administer the website, develop datasets for
sharing, and train and mentor users. Staff also coordinates the
technical and human elements of the collaborative: the quality
of datasets and tools, communication among members, events
planning, and the sharing of workloads.
Since November 2011, 44 workshops have been attended by
over 500 people, representing a public service work force from
both governmental and nonprofit sectors. These new users
have introduced the website to their constituents by facilitating participatory decision making for public benefit to write
grant proposals, plan interventions, target limited resources, or
change policy. Based on automated counts provided by ArcGIS
Online, the collaborative’s maps are opened by users over
50 times a day.
 Figure 2. A gallery of maps on a variety of issues such as nativity,
demographics, chronic disease, and obesity prevention. NMCDC
provides communities and decision makers with data and evidence to
build health into state and local policies and practices.
 Figure 3. A “Customized” Gallery for Early Childhood Advocacy
Organizations, with a Focus on Maps of Issues with Which They Are
Currently Concerned Such as Teen Birth, Child Nutrition, Poverty, and
Early Development
continued on page 10
Examples of Public Map Galleries
Winter 2013/2014 esri.com/health 9
Case Study
Data Requests and Sharing
The ready-made data tools and ArcGIS Online exploration tools
allow for rapid responses to a high volume of data requests.
“But they also imply that NMCDC assist and train frequent
users to manipulate the tools efficiently so that eventually
they may be able to fill at least some of their own requests,”
Scharmen said.
When the request is for data already included in the collaborative’s extensive ArcGIS Online collection, the requester may
be referred to the appropriate map—or the analyst can quickly
modify an existing map.
“ArcGIS Online tools greatly simplify the tasks of editing or
updating shapefiles without having to rebuild the maps that run
off them,” Scharmen said. Master files, Excel spreadsheets with
dictionary and metadata, are also stored online. Requests for
new data are weighed against the frequency of similar requests
and the availability of a geocoded dataset versus the necessity
of acquiring and geocoding a new dataset. Very often the data
is already “in the pipeline” and the new request helps raise its
priority level.
NMCDC trains users at two levels, said Scharmen:
1. The Map Facilitator finds and explains (or extracts) data on
the website and facilitates participatory decision making and
report or grant writing.
2. The Map Maker (subscriber with logon) builds custom maps
from existing features and downloads master datasets for profile development or in-depth analysis.
In addition, NMCDC staff train database developers in geospatial and other analytic techniques.
State Agency Support
Key support from the New Mexico Departments of Health
and Children, Youth and Families, builds trust with multiple
state and local government agencies. Thus, even confidential
data can be geocoded and aggregated under departmental
protections. Only then, said Scharmen, can the data be shared
for community assessment. New Mexico’s Health Information
System Act specifically empowers the Department of Health
to “serve as a health information clearinghouse” and stipulates
that “Any person may obtain any aggregate data.”
The consolidation of GIS services within the NMDOH
Community Health Assessment Program, which includes the
Indicator-Based Information System (NM-IBIS) and NMCDC, has
spurred the standardization of quality and methods and the processing of more databases into aggregated geospatial formats.
“These business arrangements enable NMCDC’s data warehouse to grow and for state agencies to be more responsive to
community data needs,” Scharmen said.
For further information on the NMCDC,
e-mail Thomas N. Scharmen at
[email protected] or visit
Guiding Principles of NMCDC
Social Ecology—Social determinants of health imply
the community as “patient,” which in turn implies placeoriented analytics.
Neighborhood Data—The community is the unit of
analysis. Data is aggregated at the neighborhood level.
Comprehensive Data—Data encompasses social
ecologies of health, social factors, economics, education,
crime, environment, services, etc.
Statewide Data—All databases include every
neighborhood in the state; statewide tools are reusable
and provide economy of scale.
Requested Data—Data work originates with requests
from viable organizations that use it and are best informed
about its value.
Shared Aggregate Data—All datasets are shared with any
organization or person who requests them, without charge.
Shared Collaboration—Work and resources are shared
across multiple organizations. Taxpayers should not pay
twice for the same work.
Shared Knowledge—Sharing skills, along with data, with
anyone who has the initiative to learn builds sustainability
and empowerment.
 Figure 4. A recent workshop for members of the New Mexico
Delegation for FoodCorps, a national service that aims to reverse
childhood obesity and create the next generation of food system leaders.
New Mexico Community Data Collaborative Leverages Esri ArcGIS Online continued from page 9
10 Esri News for Health & Human Services Winter 2013/2014

Kendall County Health Department Environmental Health
Services in Yorkville, Illinois, currently uses ArcGIS 10 for
Desktop to manage—and ArcGIS 10 for Server to store—all
county well and septic-related records dating back to 1972.
Prior to 2001, the Kendall County Health Department (KCHD)
stored all well and septic permit data in large binders. In those
days, it would take hours to locate a record as staff manually
flipped pages searching for a matching address or the original
homeowner name.
department began thinking of other data that could be incorporated into GIS. After some discussion, managers set their sights
on a huge target—incorporating all the scanned well and septic
permit records into ArcGIS Desktop. Their goal was to click on a
parcel and bring up any permit records associated with that parcel.
Over the next three years, EHS worked with the county GIS
coordinator to develop the system and add data. EHS secured
an additional software license for ArcGIS Desktop and began
working more with the program. In 2011, EHS set a goal to
incorporate all well and septic system records before the end of
2012. The department reached that goal and that same year set
another goal to incorporate all well and septic records before
the start of 2013. The agency reached that goal six months
early. In early 2013, it left the old spreadsheet system behind
and started entering all new well and septic permit data into the
newly released ArcGIS for Desktop.
Fully Integrated GIS at Little Cost
Currently, EHS is managing all new permit-related data in
ArcGIS for Desktop. Staff is also scanning permits into the
system on its own, once the permits have been closed. This GIS
integration process involved a lot of training and the development of several how-to documents for the EHS unit. The training has been conducted in-house by the GIS coordinator and
EHS staff to limit costs.
The data has always been the backbone of Kendall County’s
environmental health programs, and now EHS can access this
data quickly and efficiently. At the present time, the department
is able to click on a parcel/lot and pull up all well and septic
permit information and share the permit record via e-mail in a
matter of seconds. Staff no longer needs to open large binders, multiple databases, or programs to view, edit, and manage
the data. It has reached its goals for viewing and managing the
data. Now, the department is setting new goals for the future.
It has taken some time from concept to inception, but the
slow progress worked well for the Kendall County Health
Department Environmental Health Services unit. The well and
septic records are the largest and most complicated dataset the
unit maintains. The group is confident that it can incorporate
other programs into ArcGIS for Desktop if/when it chooses
to do so. Its advice to other local government agencies: it is
possible to fully integrate into GIS for a very small monetary
investment if you’re willing to invest some time and you have
the support from your departmental administration, county
mapping, and GIS and/or IT departments.
Using Esri ArcGIS to Maintain Water Well and
Septic System Permits in Kendall County, Illinois
By Todd Drefcinski, LEHP, Assistant Director, Environmental Health Services, Kendall County Health Department, Yorkville, Illinois
Over the next five years, the technology continued to
improve as the Environmental Health Services (EHS) unit grew
along with residential development. A spreadsheet on a single
PC to log in 10,000 permit records eventually gave way to scanning records into an electronic format, then using a handheld
GPS to collect the locations of private water wells—the department’s first use of GIS-based handheld technology. By 2007
and 2008, the unit added another component—compiling fact
sheets on groundwater and private water wells, placing them in
packets for residents, delivered during door-to-door site visits.
Today, Kendall County’s EHS unit employs state-of-the-art
Esri ArcGIS to maintain its water well and septic system permits.
The county EHS began working with ArcGIS Desktop in 2008
as part of the new Private Well Education and Mapping Project.
One ArcGIS Desktop license was provided for the EHS unit (all
staff now have a PC at their workstations). Initially, staff used
the program to add/move well points. This basic use of ArcGIS
Desktop opened EHS staff’s eyes to the power of the program.
The Private Well Education and Mapping Project continues to
take place as time permits during summer and fall.
Within a few months of obtaining the ArcMap license, EHS
was asking for different layers for the table of contents. The
 Example of an old Permit Record Book. These were in use until 2001.
12 Esri News for Health & Human Services Winter 2013/2014
For further information on Kendall County’s use of ArcGIS 10 for
Desktop, contact GIS coordinator Don Clayton at dclayton@
co.kendall.il.us or Todd Drefcinski, assistant director,
Environmental Health Services, at [email protected].
Visit Kendall County Health Department’s Environmental Health
Programs at http://health.co.kendall.il.us/Environmental/index.html#.
 The round points visible in this image are private water well locations. The darker points are private water wells located within a 250’ buffer of
the Fox River. KCHD worked closely with the county GIS coordinator after a recent flood event to develop ways to identify wells that are at or near
the known flood elevation.
 The round points
visible in this aerial
image are private water
well locations. The
drawing is the as-built,
which is completed by
EHS sanitarians after
the well and septic
installation inspection.
All permit attributes
previously stored in
Excel have been pulled
over as attributes for use
in ArcGIS.
Winter 2013/2014 esri.com/health 13
Case Study
When news of a pandemic is released,
people expect public health officials
to provide guidance for their protection. When a fire occurs, citizens rely
historically on a local fire department to
respond. When a crime occurs, the public
expects a local law enforcement agency
to handle it. Yet experience shows that
when emergency responders focus on
only what they know about an incident,
it’s often what they don’t know that hinders its resolution or compounds it with
added dangers and risks.
The realities of today require all
organizations with emergency obligations to provide their skills and knowledge within a larger coordinated effort
to protect more (community health, the
environment, and infrastructure) and to
mitigate the impact of an occurrence
faster. Whether tracking the transport
of hazardous materials, isolating the
incidence of a localized disease, or analyzing the release of biochemical agents,
the methods affecting the assembly of
an evolving global response effort have
been piecemeal and their development
largely localized.
Finally, all emergency organizations
have a new guide that will help them
improve their delivery of response
through cooperation and coordination
with others. Enabling Comprehensive
Situational Awareness by Susan Lindell
Radke, Russ Johnson, and Jeff Baranyi
from Esri Press provides an organized,
guided approach to preparing for
Esri Press 2013
The Authors
Susan L. Radke—Founder and president of Berkeley Geo-Research Group
Russ Johnson—Public safety and homeland security director for Esri
Jeff Baranyi—Esri’s technical lead for the public safety market
Jim Smalley is a Massachusetts-based, nationally respected fire safety and
emergency management specialist who conducted a developmental review of
this book when it was first proposed to Esri Press.
Enabling Comprehensive Situational Awareness
ISBN: 9781589483064, Part Number:
124362, June 2013, US$18.95, 168 pages
on situational awareness is the central
focus. The reader is convinced that this
is critically important; fortunately, the
authors provide expert guidance on what
to do.
For this reader, the last chapter,
“Implementation Guide,” provides the
compelling reason for all members
and leaders of response organizations,
regardless of their focus, to follow the
guidance and advice of the authors. This
is how you get it done!
Throughout the book, the authors
support their information and guidance
with multiple common sense examples
from local, regional, and national organizations, as well as maps, illustrations,
screen shots, lists, and tables, to assist
readers in getting started on a local,
manageable basis. This remarkable book
embodies what many response organization leaders and GIS practitioners have
been encouraging in concept for years—
now with specific recommendations for
development and implementation.
For more information, visit
emergency incidents of any nature and
scope. The valuable message here is
that it’s time to redirect organizational
energies to become a critical member
of a more effective emergency response
team rather than a single, standalone agency with specific skills and
Beginning with the basics of identifying, assembling, and managing data
in shareable and scalable forms for all
organizations, the book provides the
rationale and foundation for a comprehensive approach to incident engagement and management, regardless of the
incident’s nature. All response organizations share in the development of the
data—planning, response, mitigation,
and recovery.
Information on planning and analysis of
geographic, demographic, infrastructure,
and other data is accurately presented
in scope to cover the array of essential
information—and with the right amount
of detail—so as not to overwhelm the
reader. Discussions of using and sharing data in field operations include how
the data supports operations and how
agencies can best use what they know to
protect responders and those in danger.
Too many times, health and safety
issues are compromised because
responders don’t see the big picture of
the incident and focus only on the specifics, drawing conclusions based on, for
example, regional outbreaks of flu rather
than larger global patterns. The chapter
14 Esri News for Health & Human Services Winter 2013/2014
Book Review
The winners of the Esri Annual Awards were announced in
October at the 2013 Esri Health GIS Conference in Cambridge,
Vision—An organization that has a clear, distinct, and specific view
of the future using GIS
Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
Accepted by Kathy Kliebert, Secretary of DHH, and Ryan
Bilbo, GIS Manager
Service—An organization that uses GIS in a very public way to
accomplish better outcomes for people
The Greater Boston Food Bank
Accepted by Daniel Taitelbaum
Communication—A map that demonstrates the art of communicating geographic information
“Where You Live and Who You Are Matter: Prescription
Opioid Treatment Admissions”
Accepted by Ting-Ying Huang, Doctoral Candidate University
of Maryland School of Pharmacy Healthy People in Healthy Communities
When: March 3–5, 2014
Host: Loma Linda University (LLU) School of
Public Health
Cohost: Esri
Presenting LLU Children’s Hospital
Where: Drayson Center—Loma Linda University
25040 Stewart Street, Loma Linda, CA
Web: www.llu.edu/public-health/cpe
The first combined conference for two unique LLU
School of Public Health events spotlighting children’s
health in the community:
Healthy People—The premier conference on
lifestyle medicine
Healthy Communities by Design—An innovative
forum on the built environment and GIS
Main Keynote Speaker
Jeff Speck, City Planner and Architectural Designer,
Speck & Associates, LLC
Key topics include
• Epigenetics and Prenatal Health
• Child Nutrition and Nutrition Environment
• Air Quality and Children
• Community Design
• Media and Children’s Health
• Family Impact on Health
909-558-3500; [email protected]
Save the Date
Esri Annual Awards
Winners Announced at 2013 Esri Health GIS
Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Special thanks go to our sponsors for bringing together health and
human services attendees at the Esri Health GIS Conference held
October 14–16, 2013, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Special Thanks to
Our Sponsors
Cajun CodeFest 3.0
April 23–25, 2014
Lafayette, Louisiana
Public Health Informatics Conference
April 29–May 1, 2014
Atlanta, Georgia
National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
April 30–May 2, 2014
New Orleans, Louisiana
2014 Esri Health GIS Conference
November 3–5, 2014
The Broadmoor
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Esri on the Road
Esri News
Winter 2013/2014 esri.com/health 15
US Postage
380 New York Street
Redlands, California 92373-8100 usa
30-day free trial: esri.com/agol
Creating your own map from maps published by other users is just one of many ways to take
advantage of the rich collection of data and resources ArcGISSM Online makes available to you.
Welcome to the new frontier in geographic information systems.
ArcGIS Online
Maps made better.
(Some assembly required.)
Copyright © 2013 Esri. All rights reserved.
139694 QUAD32.3M2/14tk

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