City of Kingston Recognized for Leveraging GIS to Improve Access to Critical Community Information

New applications support improved analysis, decision-making and citizen engagement

Ottawa, Esri Canada User Conference – October 15, 2014 The Corporation of the City of Kingston (City of Kingston) was recognized today with an Award of Excellence from Esri Canada for adopting an enterprise geographic information system (GIS) which provides staff and the public access to critical community information.  The City’s growing collection of Web maps and applications support key services and resources including emergency response, land development, property management and cultural programs.

“When we first introduced the idea of an enterprise GIS, our initial challenge was to standardize information and encourage City departments who had traditionally worked in functional silos to embrace our vision of a single repository to promote collaboration,” said Phil Healey, manager, Enterprise GIS Services, City of Kingston. “Once we were familiar with the Esri platform and were able to demonstrate the value of sharing datasets between departments and with the public, we saw this new capability leading to the transformation in operational approaches and improvements in communication internally and with the public.”

The City of Kingston initially focused on two use cases.  To begin, more than 30 contributors including 5 departments began by uploading and converting their data using a common methodology onto the enterprise ArcGIS platform.  Two applications were developed, tested and rolled out.  The resulting Utilities Kingston (UK) Dashboard and the Office of Emergency Management’s Common Operational Picture (COP), had clear and measurable benefits.

Since the City’s enterprise GIS already contained a significant amount of contributed content from various departments, they were able to quickly leverage the data to create new maps and applications to address additional requirements from the community.  Being able to use datasets from a variety of work groups has made the ability to develop internal and public facing maps and applications easy and cost-effective. 

In the past year, the City of Kingston’s Explore Maps Web site has provided access to more than 150 different maps which impact and influence the City’s activities including Extreme Weather, Planning and Development, Historical, Election Information, Culture and Parks. The site also hosts a catalogue of more than 25 datasets including addresses and boundaries, recent and historical imagery, and zoning.

Two of the latest applications demonstrate how internal developments are now being shared beyond the organization.  Snapshot Kingston was originally developed to give staff faster access to large volumes of imagery data from the City’s archived photo collection.  It allows users to explore 150 years of Kingston’s historic maps which have been digitized and geo-referenced to compare areas against current aerial photography.  The application features a slider bar that allows users to focus on a specific area and then slide through imagery to see how that area has changed over time.  Planning Viewer was created to help municipal planners conduct spatial analysis for more informed decision-making.  

“The City of Kingston’s forward-thinking approach in developing an enterprise GIS has delivered tremendous benefits,” said Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada.  “By putting GIS in the hands of their staff and citizens, they’ve given key stakeholders the ability to analyze and visualize data in meaningful ways.”

About The Corporation of the City of Kingston
Equi-distan from Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario and the Rideau Canal (a UNESCO World Heritage site) – Kingston is a stunning, historic city that consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in Canada.

Kingston's 123,363 community-minded citizens enjoy an outstanding quality-of-life enhanced by superb intellectual, recreational and creative opportunities and supported by excellent health care facilities and municipal services, programs and facilities.  The City also boasts an AA Standard & Poor's financial rating and engaged City employees committed to embracing sustainable practices and encouraging their adoption by the entire community and has been named one of the top seven most intelligent communities in the world by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) based out of New York City. 

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. Follow Esri Canada on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn

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