I’m goin’ home
And when I wanna go home
I’m goin’ mobile
Well, I’m gonna find a home
And we’ll see how it feels
Keep me movin’
— Goin’ Mobile, The Who
Kane County’s GIS Department has gone mobile, and it’s a great, probably underused service that you should check out.
Late last year, the GIS Department made an aggressive move to make sure the interactive maps they provide could be accessed by mobile phones and tablets.
“There’s so many ways of looking at all of this,” said Tom Nicoski, Kane County’s chief of GIS-Technology. “It’s really kind of incredible.”
It is. You can zoom in, zoom out, get aerial views or parcel views or hybrids. You can find your pin or search for any piece of property that interests you.
“First thing anyone’s going to check is their property,” Nicoski said. “It could be tied to assessment or board of review prospects. It could be just natural curiosity. It will allow you to see the neighborhood as a whole.”
For the KaneGIS Interactive Mapping Website, a Flash plugin is required.
Navigating to the pages is pretty easy, too. I started by just doing a Google search on my iPhone for “GIS Kane County,” then tapped the second entry: “Maps – Kane County, IL.”
You can also click on “Maps” in the black bar at the top of virtually any Kane County website page. You’ll be taken to a page with a menu of map options. Click on the second option, labelled “b.) Mobile Parcel Viewers” to look from your mobile device.
If you want some help or further information, there are all kinds of “help” options on the website itself — some screen shots are included in the photo gallery on this page. You also can call or set up a time for a training session by calling 630-208-8655.
The variety of maps is impressive. In the interactive map alone, you can search by address, parcel, fire districts, forest preserves, library districts, municipalities, park districts, polling places, precincts, school districts, townships, watersheds and farmland use. You literally click on any of those and the boundaries pop up on the map you’re looking at.
In addition to the mobile maps and the interactive maps options, there are separate pages for transportation maps, sheriff crime statistics, a zoning atlas, Kane County 2040 Land Use Plan, a Kane County landmark map, flood plain maps and resources, the Kane County Health File and Kane County facilities map.
The aerial photographs are super sharp — Nicoski said it has something to do with 3-inch pixels instead of 6-inch pixels — which means you can see a manhole cover on a street or a vehicle parked in a driveway pretty clearly. And the county GIS offerings give you more information than you might find on Google Earth or any of the usual search-engine suspects.
“Unlike Google and Bing maps, we go down to the parcel level,” Nicoski said.