Office of Will County Executive
Lawrence M. Walsh
Friday, January 5, 2018
For more information, contact:
Phone: 815-530-2372; Fax: 815-774-3671

Will County GIS holds the key to information

     Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is an often heard term but not everyone fully understands the value of the data it collects, analyzes, and interprets. The Will County GIS Division is charged with gathering, analyzing and storing data related to a multitude of county operations.  

      The county’s GIS staff has recently teamed with the Will County MAPP (Mobilizing Action through Planning and Partnerships) collaborative. MAPP is comprised of leaders from healthcare providers in order to promote the community health concerns within the county. Through this collaboration, GIS created several interactive maps that reveal significant information relating to health concerns, health services and food accessibility within Will County.

      “The Will County MAPP Collaborative is excited about partnering with GIS to map public health data across the county, said Jennifer Gorszczyk, program manager for the county health department. “The GIS software is able to take data and map it in an easy, visually-appealing way that is easier to understand. We can’t wait to share the final maps with our partners to see how food insecurity, pantry locations, and behavioral health access and services enhances their initiatives in the county.”

      Each of these topics have a substantial impact on many of the residents in Will County. The study about food deserts, or access to quality, healthy foods, revealed the effect the closing of large grocery store chains, such as Certified Warehouse, Dominick’s, and Ultra Foods, have had on parts of the county. Data regarding how many residents lack access to stores that provide healthy foods, in close proximity to where they live, were examined.

      “What our research revealed was that many residents in these areas are reliant on gas stations and convenience stores for food purchases,” said Howard Kim, GIS Specialist and lead on these projects. “And the availability of fresh food was limited and sold at higher prices.”

      Interactive maps that were created from the collected data show the size of the stores and specific items they sell. These maps also show stores that accept SNAP or WIC and lists the cost of popular items. At the end of the day, this information allows us to determine where the gaps and needs exist.

      For the opioid crisis, GIS helped identify where heroin overdose incidents have occurred, how many people were saved by Narcan, and locations to drop off unused prescription drugs. The Behavioral Health Asset Mapping Project, which is still in progress, will identify how health care resources are allocated across the area. This information has been critical as the county implements programs to address the opioid drug epidemic which is affecting counties across the nation. 

      “The GIS Division is somewhat of a best kept secret in the county,” said Becky Colwell-Ongenae, GIS Supervisor. “We are here and enjoy working with other departments and agencies to better serve the citizens of our county.”

      “I am very proud of Becky and all our GIS staff,” said Will County Executive Larry Walsh. “They do an excellent job collecting important data about Will County and making this information available to the public.”

      To access the GIS information, visit the website: www.willcogis.org.

Documents to download

Press Contacts

Anastasia Tuskey
Communications Director
Ph: 815-740-8376

Tammy Reiher
Public Information Officer
Ph: 815-774-7485

«May 2019»

Annual Student Government Day

The Will County Regional Office of Education hosted its annual Student Government Day on April 30.
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Governor Pritzker to speak at 2019 Hero Helps Community Summit on May 3

During this year’s Hero Helps Community Summit on Friday, May 3, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker will be present to discuss his plans to address the opioid epidemic including strategies to leverage federal funding opportunities to fight this epidemic locally.
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Annual book recycling event to be held May 31-June 2

Will County’s annual three-day book recycling event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 31-June 2 at Joliet Park District’s Pilcher Park Nature Center, 2501 Highland Park Drive.

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100th birthday acting Chief Judge David Carlson Alison.com Alzheimer's walk America Recycles Day American Legion Post 1080 American Recycles Day Animal Control Arsenal Road BBQ luncheon Becky Haldorson book recycling book recycling and reuse event book reuse and recycling Brayden Caraynoff-Haber Bruce Gould Caroline Portlock Charlotte Mather closings Clothes 4 Work cooling centers County Executive Larry Walsh County Office Building Curt Paddock Danette Krieger David Dubois Deirdre Manigo Diane Brozman digital safety Director Curt Paddock document destruction Dr. L.P. Schild Earth Flag Awards Eastside Green House electronic recycling electronics recycling extreme heat Friends of Sunny Hill gardening Gertrude Hoover Green Team groundbreaking Health Department heroin legislation forum hero helps addiction trea Historic Preservation Commission holiday bazaar holiday string lights Household Hazardous Waste Illinois Extension Service Janine Farrell Jason Holicky Jeff Hubrich JJC City Center Campus Joan O'Keefe job fair Joliet Park District Joyce Parker Judge David Carlson Karen Sorbero Kathy Pecora Land Use Department Larry Walsh Lewis University Madison Curran Marta Keane Melissa Hemzacek Memorial Day Midwest Classics on 66 Museum Mike Bell Mobile Workforce Center Monee Township Music and memory neuter/spay Nick Palmer Organix paper shredding Penny Curran permits Pilcher Park Pilcher Park Nature Center Plainfield United Methodist pumpkin composting Pumpkin Pitch Recyclepalooza recycling Resource Recovery and Energy Resource Recovery and Energy Division Resume Gallery rural historic structures Savers Savers. WJOL school garden Scott Slocum Seeds of Change Grant Program Sharefest sign language Spirit of Community Caring Award St. Vincent DePaul Sunny Hill Nursing Home Sunny Hill Nursing Home of Will County Susan Flessner Susan Olenek swimming pools textile collection The Friends of Sunny Hill Inc. Three Rivers Association of Realtors Tim Anderson University of St. Francis USAgain veterans Veterans Day vision and hearing screening vow renewal warming centers Warren-Sharpe Community Center Washington Township Wayne Breitbarth weather related closings West Nile Virus Will County Will County Center for Community Concerns Will County Executive Larry Walsh Will County Farm Bureau Will County Health Department Will County Historic Preservation Commission Will County Land Use Department Will County Office Building Will County TB clinic Will County Veterans Affairs Commission Will County Workforce Center Will County Workforce Services Division William E. Young School WJOL Workforce Center of Will County Workforce Investment Board Workforce Services Division Workforce Services Division of Will County Workforce Services Division releases November work workshops Youth Provider Workshop