Orion's OnPoint™ at the Core of Award-Winning Local Government Portal

Richmond Hill, October 22, 2004 ~ The Municipality of Chatham-Kent's GIS-enabled web portal continues to reel in the accolades. Already the recipient of a gold medal at last year's ESRI International User Conference and two more first-place finishes in the 2003 URISA-sponsored "Be Spatial" competition, Chatham-Kent's web portal has now been honoured with an Award of Excellence at the Showcase Ontario conference, the largest public sector training and education event in Canada. The web portal is powered by Orion Technology's OnPoint™ product and provides a wide range of intuitive map-based services to Chatham-Kent's residents.

Of 99 nominations across all categories, Chatham-Kent's portal was one of four finalists in the "Serving Ontario's Citizens Better" category of the competition and one of only two municipal government entries out of the 28 overall finalists. The theme of this year's conference was "The Power of Possibility", celebrating the power of using technology to enrich the lives of Ontarians. Chatham-Kent's winning entry was nominated by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT), which provided funding for the project through the Connect Ontario grant program.

In line with the emphasis of this year's conference, "possibility" is perhaps the strongest quality of Chatham-Kent's OnPoint-powered solution. When residents access the municipality's website, they are offered a large variety of geographic options. By choosing different mapping tools and zooming in to areas of interest on clickable maps, they can tailor their GIS experience to their needs and interests. For example, they can view recreational program information, locate addresses and key facilities, and learn about community events. There are over 3,000 points from within the portal that users can initiate the interactive mapping features.

Joann McDonald, Project Manager for IT Services at Chatham-Kent, explains that the portal offers "a one-window access point to all Chatham-Kent information." With the help of the Connect Ontario funding and partnerships with Orion and Concept Interactive Inc., she notes that Chatham-Kent has expanded community access to services and information in a more efficient and accurate manner, thereby improving the efficiency of local government services. And not only residents have benefited from the portal; due to the tremendous flexibility of mapping features offered through OnPoint™, businesses can evaluate zoning and expansion opportunities in Chatham-Kent, which has allowed Chatham-Kent to compete globally and increase its economic development.

McDonald says, "The success of the Community of Chatham-Kent Portal can be attributed directly to the strong partnerships developed both within the community and with our private vendors, Orion Technology and Concept Interactive. Planning and working together to build upon each other's core strengths, assets, and infrastructures to provide greater service to the community have been the key to our success."

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent now has one more award in a growing collection to prove the success of its implementation. In the coming months, Chatham-Kent will integrate into the portal a patient appointment request service for Chatham-Kent Health Alliance and the ability for lawyers, real estate firms and financial institutions to obtain electronic property tax certificates. Who knows how many more awards lie in the future?

About Orion Technology Inc.
Orion Technology Inc. is a technology consulting and technology services integration company, focused on helping organizations integrate spatial technology into all facets of their business. Since its inception in 1998, Orion has been dedicated to creating leading edge IT and GIS solutions. A relative newcomer to the market, Orion have achieved phenomenal success in securing and delivering projects for reputable clients worldwide - from small organizations to entire countries. To find out more about Orion and its products, visit www.orion-gis.com. To explore the Municipality of Chatham-Kent's prize-winning web portal, visit www.chatham-kent.ca.

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