Innovative Land-Use Planning App Wins at AngelHack Toronto

Environmaps Uses Esri Technology to Generate Maps at One Click, Increasing the Speed of Development Permit Applications   

TORONTO – December 12, 2012 – Esri Canada congratulates business startup Environmaps for receiving an honourable mention at the recent AngelHack Toronto, the world’s largest Web developer competition. Environmaps created environmaps.com, a one-click land-use planning app that supports non-residential property development. The app leverages ArcGIS, Esri’s geographic information system (GIS) solution, integrated with open-source software and consumer-oriented maps. Through the app, property developers can easily search for a property by address, view data on land use and environmental features, as well as generate maps and PDF reports to support development permit applications. 

“A simple GIS-based property analysis could cost up to $5,000 in consultant fees and take weeks,” says Devin Tu, founder, Environmaps. “With Environmaps, property developers and government planners can conduct this analysis and create reports within minutes at a significantly lower cost. This is enabled by the powerful geoprocessing capabilities in ArcGIS. The solution offers broad functionality virtually out of the box and easily integrates with other technology, which allowed us to quickly develop a prototype of the app during the competition.” 

The 67 teams who competed at AngelHack Toronto were given 24 hours to develop a Web app representing their business startup idea. Tu, who works as a land-use planner, conceived the idea for Environmaps and co-developed it with four Web developer friends. They used an open-source map server to display polygons on consumer-oriented maps, and ArcGIS for Server and Desktop to perform complex geoprocessing and mapping customization. 

The team leveraged ModelBuilder, a visual programming tool in ArcGIS, to create and run reusable geoprocessing workflows and models. They then converted the models to Python scripts to create Environmaps’ automated PDF export and map customization functionalities.  For the competition, they pulled provincial open datasets and displayed various information including properties, lakes, wetlands and land-use designations for the Halton and Hamilton areas. 

“ArcGIS is an ideal platform for Web developers because it’s an open system for rapidly building Web, desktop and mobile apps,” says George Kouroupis, director, technology and solutions, Esri Canada. “With most open data already available in geospatial format, developers can easily manipulate this data using ArcGIS and Esri’s broad array of developer tools to create rich, interactive Web mapping apps.” 

The ArcGIS platform integrates desktop, mobile, server and online components, allowing developers to build apps accessible across multiple platforms and devices. Developers can take advantage of the free Esri Web advanced programming interfaces (APIs) for JavaScript, Adobe Flex and Microsoft Silverlight to create high-quality mapping apps that they can embed in Web pages or launch as stand-alone apps. These APIs come with configurable viewers for developing professional-looking mapping Web sites without the need for programming. Mobile developers can use the free ArcGIS Runtime Software Development Kits (SDKs) to create custom business apps for Apple iOS, Android and Windows Phone. 

Explore Environmaps at: environmaps.com. Learn more about Esri’s ArcGIS solution and Developer Tools.

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About Esri Canada
Founded in 1984, Esri Canada provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower businesses, governments and educational institutions to make timely, informed and mission-critical decisions by leveraging the power of geography.  The company distributes the world’s leading GIS software from Esri, along with a comprehensive portfolio of complementary GIS products and services. Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada and has been named as one of the Top 250 Canadian IT Companies and Top 25 IT Professional Services Providers in Canada by the Branham Group, as well as one of Computer Dealer News’ Top 100 IT Solution Providers in Canada.  Information about Esri Canada can be found at esri.ca.

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