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Peoria County GIS: Frequently Asked Questions

FrontDesk GIS Application

How do I access Other map layers?
How do I change the basemap to aerial photos?
How do I find an address?
How do I print or export my map to an image or PDF?
How do I view parcel information?



How do I access other Map Layers?

The foreground map layers menu bar is located just below the search box, near the top of the window. By default, it is labeled "Maps," which distinguishes it from the nearby transparency slider bar and the basemap menu. Clicking once on the "Maps" button reveals a drop-down list of all available map layer categories. This is simply a list of the layer categories. Each of the sub-headings displayed on the menu (such as "Parcels" or "Streets") contains a list of the groups of layers that may be activated by a user. When a category on the left side of the menu is clicked, such as "Community Layers," the box to the right shows all the available layer groups hidden within that category. These layer groups may be displayed or hidden at any time by checking or un-checking the boxes. To check or un-check a box, click on the checkbox. Making the decision to turn off a layer group (i.e. un-checking the box next to that group) will necessarily hide all the individual layers in that group. Conversely, turning on a layer group does not necessarily draw all of the individual layers in the group. Thus, many users will want to view ALL of the layers within a group (e.g. all the layers of "Land Records") to adjust the layers that are drawn on the map. To see all the individual layers and adjust their visibility, click once on the little arrow that is located to the immediate left of the layer checkboxes. In the example below, the "Land Records" group has been activated, revealing multiple individual layers. Checking a box will display a layer on the map and unchecking a box will hide the layer. In the screenshot below, only the "Townships" layer is displayed on the map while other layers, such as "Soils" have been turned off.


How do I change the basemap to aerial photos?

The background layer, also known as the basemap, is the layer upon which the map features are drawn. Depending on how you plan to use the Assessment FrontDesk map, you may want to use a layer of recent aerial photography or a model of the terrain as your background layer. The background layer menu bar is located just below the search bar, near the top of the screen. It is situated to the immediate right of the transparency slider bar.


This menu bar appears as a drop down menu button. By default, the background layer menu button has the heading "Default Basemap." Click once on the background layer button ("Default Basemap") to display the drop-down menu options. When the background layer is changed, the menu heading changes to reflect the selected layer. In the example below, the map background was changed to "2008 Photos," and the background layer became an aerial view rather than a map using symbols. Notice in the example how the drop down menu has changed accordingly. The background layer can be changed at any time by clicking again on the background layer menu button and selecting a different option. In the above example, we could return to the default basemap by clicking on "2008 Photos" and selecting instead the "Default Basemap" option. Again, the menu heading and background layer will change to reflect the selected option.



How do I find an address?

NOTE: To access parcel information for an address, please see the topic: "How do I view parcel information?" To locate an address, go to the tools menu bar located near the top right of the window (the screenshot below identifies the exact location of this menu bar).


Click once on the "Tools" menu button to display a drop-down menu of options. As displayed in the screenshot below, "Find Address" is one of the options in the tools drop-down menu. Click once on the "Find Address" text. Clicking on the Find Address option will bring up a new window on the left side of the screen. In the new window, you will specify either an address or intersection for FrontDesk to search. Most users of the Find Address feature will want to locate a specific address. To do this, simply type the address into the "Address or Street" text box, and click "Search." (Alternatively, you could hit the enter key on your keyboard rather than clicking "Search"). Peoria County FrontDesk will then locate the address, center the map around the address, label it with a flag and zoom to a close view of the vicinity around that address. In the example below, the address "403 Fairholm" was searched. Notice in the screenshot example below that the map has zoomed in and the address was labeled with a flag.


If instead a user wanted to locate and zoom to an intersection, the intersecting streets could be searched by typing one street into the "Address or Street" prompt and the other street into the "Intersecting Street (Optional)" box. In the example screenshot below, the user wanted to locate the intersection of Adams and Fairholm in Peoria. "Adams" was typed as the street and "Fairholm" was typed as the cross street. Notice again that the map found the location and automatically zoomed to the appropriate level.


How do I print or export my map to an image or PDF?

Assessment FrontDesk allows a user to print or export a customized map of the data. Once you have established the area of interest and relevant map layers for a customized map, simply click on the "Print" button near the top right of the screen. This button is located immediately above the identify tool. The screenshot below details the location of the "Print" button.


The Print button is used for either printing OR saving a map (via export). Once the Print button has been clicked, the Print Preview window opens to show a user what a map will look like when printed (or saved to a computer hard drive). Additionally, the Print Preview window contains numerous map options that can be changed by the user, including paper size, orientation and map scale. Furthermore, a text box is provided above the mapped area so that a title or notes may be included. By default, the text box says "Map Title or Notes." A user can click on that text and enter manually any desired text. In addition to general map options, the Print Preview window is also a place to make final adjustments to the mapped area. Inside the rectangle that contains the map, tools are provided to zoom, pan or change the map orientation (direction). The slider on the far left is the zoom tool. You can zoom in by dragging the bar toward the plus symbol (+), and you can zoom out by dragging the bar toward the minus sign (-). The circle with directional arrows is used to pan and rotate. Each of these arrows represents a direction, although north is the only one labeled. Clicking on one of the cardinal direction arrows will pan the map in that direction. Clicking and holding down the mouse button on of the black bars in between the arrows will activate the rotate feature. While continuing to hold down the mouse button, dragging the mouse left or right will rotate the map left or right, changing the orientation of the map. In the example below, a zoning map has been rotated so that southwest is at the top of the map, rather than north, which is the default map orientation. Once the map has been customized, the last step is to print or export the map. Clicking the "Print" button will prompt the user to print out the map from a local printer. Clicking on the "Export" button will prompt the user to save the map to a computer hard drive or disk. The screenshot below details the location of the Print and Export buttons. Note: The Print Preview zoom and rotate tools will not appear in the printed or exported map.



How do I view parcel information?

The fastest way to access information for a specific parcel is to use the search bar located at the top left. By default, when you open the FrontDesk application, the text box for this search bar is active, and so you can type in your parcel search right away. If you have clicked anywhere on the map, you will have to navigate to the search bar and click in the text box to begin your active search. The search bar is located at the top of the window, near the left side, immediately to the right of "Peoria County FrontDesk" Type your search (usually an address) into the text box on the Search bar. The Search Bar is an active search: It will offer suggestions as you type, based upon what you are typing, in order to facilitate the search process. You must either press enter or click the magnifying glass icon next to the text box when you have finished typing the address. The parcel ID and owner information are displayed in a new window on the left side of the screen. Data and links to data about the parcel are included, such as its tax code information, pictures, owner history and sales history. Furthermore, the map layers change from their defaults to reflect parcel information instead. In the example screenshot below, the user searched for "606 Sciota," which returned the information and map for 606 E. Sciota Avenue in Peoria Heights, the closest match in the system. (Conversely, if a search had multiple close matches, the search would prompt the user to select the exact address from a list). Notice in the example that, in addition to the data specific to that parcel (owner name was redacted for this example), the parcel information layers also have been "switched on" for the map following the search. Thus, a user can view parcel data as well as map information. You can further specify your basic search criteria by using the drop-down menu located on the right side of the search bar. By default, your search will consider all fields. In order to search parcels based on a more specific criterion, such as "owner name," click once on the "All Fields" default and change your search parameters.



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