Major programs within Chicago

Geographic information system: The city adopted ArcGIS from ESRI of Redlands, Calif., as the standard for its 10-year-old GIS. The GIS lets the city track the location of all city vehicles'including snowplows'via an automated vehicle locator system.

Citywide inspection tracking system: Inspectors use software from Hansen Information Technologies of Rancho Cordova, Calif., on handheld computers to record their findings as they inspect hazardous-waste sites, buildings and restaurants and ensure the sites are in compliance with city codes.

Computer-aided dispatch: Chicago is working with Northrop Grumman Information Technology of Herndon, Va., to integrate and automate its police, fire and EMS dispatch systems. The system will interface with the local 911 system, which runs on six Compaq ES-40 servers over Unix and Oracle platforms and processes more than 6 million calls each year.

E-permitting portal: The city portal at lets Chicagoans apply online for building, sewer and taxi permits.

Spam filter: As much as 40 percent of the city's incoming e-mail is spam. Since November, the city has used a spam blocker from IntelliReach Corp. of Dedham, Mass. The third-party tool quarantines the spam and lets the user decide whether to white list or delete it.

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