The Gazette Wins Award for Using Esri Web Maps to Deliver News Stories

Easy-to-build interactive online maps allows the publication to tell data-driven stories and effectively connect with readers   

Montréal, Esri Canada User Conference – October 9, 2013 News organizations are increasingly turning to maps to deliver powerful visualization and interactive data journalism. The Gazette, one of North America’s oldest newspapers, uses online maps on their Web site to bring news stories to life. They recently used Esri’s geographic information system (GIS) technology to analyze and map Canadian national household survey data, revealing a wealth of information about Montrealers’ origins and habits. As well, they used cloud GIS to map red-light cameras in the city and develop several stories about local traffic trends. For their outstanding work, Esri Canada today presented The Gazette with an Award of Excellence in GIS. 

“ArcGIS has more features than other Web mapping systems we’ve used,” says Roberto Rocha, interactive editor, The Gazette. “The platform offers a wider breadth of functionality and provides a smoother workflow to create maps and get them online. There are also many things you can do with the software just by point and click, without writing code. This allows us to quickly build maps that people enjoy, connect with, and want to share. This award tells us that we’re effectively using new tools and technologies to do our job, which is to inform.” 

“We admire The Gazette’s focus on delivering high-quality multimedia content,” remarks Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada. “Their use of GIS allows them to investigate and dig deeper into data to find compelling stories. As well, their story maps allow readers to develop a better understanding of their communities. Their use of our technology is producing some outstanding journalism.” 

The Gazette used Esri’s ArcGIS for Desktop solution to map multiple national household survey datasets from Statistics Canada. They also used the ArcGIS API for JavaScript to build the app interface and hosted it on their server. The map shows readers some interesting facts about Montreal including which area of the city has the most homes in need of repair, where home prices are lowest and which non-official languages are most popular with residents. Readers are encouraged to find other trends on the map and submit their comments online. The app has become one of the most shared resources on their Web site, as well as on social media sites such as Reddit, Facebook and Twitter. 

They also mapped locations of photo radars and red-light cameras across the city, along with data on traffic fines. Through GIS analysis, they discovered and reported on several traffic trends including a drop in red-light running cases, as well as a decrease in the number of speeding drivers. To complement the stories, they created a Web app using a template in ArcGIS Online, Esri’s cloud platform.  The cloud-hosted app takes readers on a tour of where the most traffic fines are collected across the city.  

“ArcGIS Online enabled me to collaborate with our transportation editor on building the photo radar app on the cloud. It offers a good selection of app templates to help you best present your story. We were able to build the map in minutes,” notes Rocha. 

ArcGIS Online includes free story map templates that use distinct storytelling techniques. For example, you can choose to show before and after images of a disaster using a swipe map, compare current and previous years’ election results using side-by-side maps, or create a map tour to display points of interest where a significant event occurred. 

To learn more about storytelling with maps, visit: esri.ca/storymaps. 

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About The Gazette

Founded in 1778, The Gazette is one of the oldest newspapers in North America. It is published by Postmedia Network, the largest publisher by circulation of paid English-language newspapers in Canada. The Gazette’s print and online editions are read throughout the week by 555,000 Montrealers, representing 57% of Montreal’s English population. The publication’s Web site is viewed by 901,000 unique visitors per month. Learn more at montrealgazette.com 

Sources: NADbank® 2012; comScore mediaMetrix, Total Canada (2+), all locations, April to June, 2013 (average)  

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, Schneider Electric, Cityworks – Azteca Systems, Inc. and other technology partners.  Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada.   Esri Canada has joined the elite rank of Canada’s Best Managed companies and has been named to the Branham300.  Information about the company can be found at esri.ca .  

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