British Columbia’s Emergency Event Map Viewer Receives ESRI Canada’s Award of Excellence in GIS

BCeMap Provides Multi-Agency Situational Awareness across the Province to Better Prepare for and Reduce the Impact of Emergency Events

Victoria, BC – April 15, 2010 – ESRI Canada today presented an Award of Excellence to Emergency Management BC (EMBC) and GeoBC for leveraging ESRI’s geographic information systems (GIS) to develop the British Columbia Emergency Event Map Viewer (BCeMap) application. Funded partly through the GeoConnections program, BCeMap is a pilot application enabling the sharing of geographic information by multiple agencies to provide a unified view of emergency events across the province. It allows emergency management agencies to better prepare for, mitigate, respond to and recover from the impact of significant emergencies. The award, which recognizes organizations and individuals for their outstanding achievements in the application of GIS, was presented at the 2010 ESRI Canada User Conference in Victoria.

“Governments need solutions that can help them share information to increase collaboration and maximize the value they deliver to citizens,” said Alex Miller, President, ESRI Canada. “BCeMap is an excellent example of how GIS can help promote partnership among government agencies to enable better coordination and more effective delivery of services.”

EMBC’s mandate is to enhance integration among federal, provincial and local governments, municipal police and fire departments, provincial ambulance service and community-based search and rescue organizations to improve emergency management and public safety in BC. Currently, emergency planning and response agencies in BC spend considerable time obtaining, consolidating, validating and distributing data related to an emergency event. EMBC worked with GeoBC, which provides spatial information services to the province, to leverage provincial geographic infrastructure and ESRI’s ArcGIS technology to develop the BCeMap application. BCeMap enables access and real-time dissemination and sharing of maps and other geospatial data among a wide variety of public safety partner agencies across the province.

“BCeMap can enable us to see all data relevant to a particular event in a single, comprehensive view,” said Becky Denlinger, Fire and Emergency Management Commissioner and head of EMBC. “It provides real-time situational awareness based on integration of dynamic information feeds and mapping data that can help our agencies coordinate efforts and effectively monitor and act upon emergency events. We are proud of the progress we have made in developing this pilot application and expect it to significantly enhance emergency and public safety operations to benefit our citizens.”

BCeMap is hosted on GeoBC’s spatial data infrastructure and accesses more than 80 datasets stored in the BC Geographic Warehouse, including provincial base mapping, transportation routes, basic infrastructure, land and resources, threats and hazards, and orthophoto imagery. The data sets are part of the 2010 data atlas that were collected from municipal, federal, provincial and private sector organizations to support emergency management and public safety stakeholders during the 2010 Winter Olympics. BCeMap is also linked with a number of systems that provide real-time information e.g., road status (Drive BC), weather alerts (Environment Canada), earthquakes (Natural Resources Canada) and emergency incidents (Provincial Emergency Operations Centres).

“BCeMap is the result of the strong partnerships forged among various organizations in B.C. to achieve common goals,” said Dr. Mark Zacharias, Assistant Deputy Minister, GeoBC. “ESRI’s GIS solutions have allowed us to support these partnerships. This award validates our strength in applying GIS to increase efficiencies and improve public services across the province.”

EMBC and GeoBC will work together to enhance the application by connecting additional databases into BCeMap. Contributing partners currently include BC Hydro, B.C. Ministry of Environment, B.C. Ministry of Health Services, Ministry of Forests and Range, Wildfire Management Branch, the Capital Regional District, Fraser Valley Regional District, City of Vancouver, NC4 and the Department of National Defence.

For more information on ArcGIS, visit: www.esricanada.com/products/arcgis.

About GeoConnections
The BCeMAP application was developed with financial support from GeoConnections, a national program initiative led by Natural Resources Canada. GeoConnections and its program participants are working to enhance the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure, an on-line resource that enables decision-makers to access, combine and apply geographic information to gain new insights into social, environmental and economic issues. For more information, visit www.geoconnections.org.

About Emergency Management British Columbia
Emergency Management British Columbia (EMBC) is mandated to enhance all levels of government and first responder agencies’ ability to assist British Columbians during man-made and natural disasters through better integration. EMBC is comprised of the Provincial Emergency Program, Office of the Fire Commissioner, and the Coroners Service of B.C. It coordinates all consultation, policy development, planning, resource deployment and on-the-ground rescue efforts across agencies to ensure an increased state of readiness, and better and more timely response capabilities, as well as efficiencies. For more information, visit http://www.gov.bc.ca/pssg.

About GeoBC
GeoBC is a public sector service that allows the BC government, partner agencies, and citizens to create, access, and use provincial geographic information. GeoBC offers experience and technical expertise to guide the BC Public Service towards new, spatially enabled opportunities that serve all citizens of British Columbia. To learn more, visit http://www.geobc.gov.bc.ca/.

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, Telvent Miner & Miner, Azteca Systems, and other technology partners. Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada. Information about ESRI Canada can be found at www.esricanada.com.

Media contact:
Joy Chan
PR Specialist
ESRI Canada
+1 (416) 386-6488
Email Contact
http://www.esricanada.com/



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