Office of Will County Executive
Lawrence M. Walsh
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 22, 2019
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Will County Overdose Map recognized by international firm
Esri is global market leader in GIS software
Officials from Will County announced today that the Heroin/Fentanyl Overdose Deaths Dashboard on the county’s website has been recognized by Esri, a global company dedicated to building the world’s most powerful mapping and spatial analytics software.
“Esri is a leader in the GIS (Geographic Information Systems) world,” said Becky Colwell-Ongenae, GIS Manager. “Being acknowledged on their website, is a big honor.”
The county’s GIS Division is part of the ICT Department. With a staff of four people from diverse backgrounds, including geography, city planning, and crime analysis, the team is dedicated to using GIS technology to solve real world problems.
“This is an evolutionary operation that must constantly be updated,” Colwell-Ongenae said. “We work consistently to maintain the most up to date information. This ensures preparedness for events or needs that may arise at any time.”
In addition to map making, the GIS Division has also worked to create web maps and online analysis tools that show important locations of resources such as food pantries and warming/cooling shelters throughout the county. The Heroin/Fentanyl Overdose Deaths Dashboard for Will County is a newer web tool – created by Howard Kim, a GIS Specialist within the division – as a result of the opioid crisis that is impacting Will County and other communities across the United States.
“Howard’s work makes it easy to understand the data and identify hot spots where more overdoses are occurring and ensuring proper resources are allocated to areas of need,” said Dr. Kathleen Burke, Director of Substance Use Initiatives for Will County.
“Our coroner, Pat O’Neil, has done a great job in listing the opioid overdose deaths on his website,” she said. “But we wanted to take it a step further and these maps help us visualize what is happening in our county in order to better focus our efforts. The maps give us a snap shot of the big picture of the county as a whole.”
Will County Executive Larry Walsh, who oversees these departments, said he is proud of the cooperative effort in creating these maps. He said Will County has been a leader in the efforts to reduce opioid overdose deaths and this critical information will help continue these efforts.
“I am proud of the expertise and knowledge of all the individuals involved with this project,” Walsh said. “The opioid crisis has impacted our county and we are fortunate we have these resources to help us be more effective in our work.”
To access the Overdose Map on the county website, visit www.willcountyillinois.com/County-Offices/Administration/GIS-Division/Applications. For more information about the Substance Use Initiatives Office, visit the website: www.willcountyillinois.com/County-Offices/Special-Services/Substance-Use-Initiatives/Initiatives.