Canadian Municipalities Unlock Their Data with Esri’s ArcGIS Open Data

Cloud-based geographic application enables efficient and effective sharing of data with the public

TORONTO—April 25, 2016—Esri Canada today announced that more than 20 Canadian municipalities have adopted ArcGIS Open Data.  Esri’s cloud-based geographic information system (GIS) application allows communities to release their data and promote transparency, innovation and economic development. The application enables organizations to create interactive open data catalogues or portals within minutes, providing an efficient and effective system for sharing data with the public.  

“A true open government thinks beyond simple data downloads and provides the public with tools to easily understand, use and interact with the data,” said Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada.  “ArcGIS Open Data presents data as dynamic maps and applications, and allows users to analyze the data, run their own reports as well as subscribe to data updates. Essentially, ArcGIS Open Data helps governments turn openness into engagement.”

Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia
Halifax relaunched their open data catalogue in the fall of 2014 using ArcGIS Open Data to improve public data accessibility and increase transparency and citizen engagement. Through the catalogue, the public can search municipal data by topic or location, view data on an interactive map or in a table, and download datasets in multiple formats. To encourage the public to use their open data, the city hosted an application development contest as part of their initial pilot project. The contest produced 38 applications addressing various community issues. Since its launch in November 2014, the catalogue has processed more than 33,000 download requests.

“ArcGIS Open Data was a relatively low-cost solution to springboard us into an open data platform,” said Greg Da Ros, Manager of Business Intelligence and Data Services, Halifax. “Not only did the application offer superior APIs that functioned for spatial data, it also had more open standard options for programming that developers prefer.”

City of Waterloo, Ontario
The City of Waterloo switched to ArcGIS Open Data from another application and launched their open data catalogue in 2015. Through the catalogue, the public can search numerous datasets including administrative boundaries, transportation, land use and facilities. In October 2015, the city hosted its first hackathon where more than 80 participants gave the catalogue positive reviews for usability. 

“We’ve found ArcGIS Open Data easy to use for data publishing,” noted Chris Jacob, GIS supervisor, City of Waterloo. “It integrates seamlessly with our other GIS software and workflows, and has an attractive interface that’s simple to navigate for users. This combination of simple publishing plus visual appeal makes ArcGIS Open Data the ideal solution for sharing open data.”

Ville de Shawinigan, Québec
Through their open data portal, Ville de Shawinigan has significantly reduced the number of calls and emails for data requests they receive from residents, consultants, educational institutions and businesses. The self-service portal provides access to various municipal datasets including transit schedules, road networks, parks, bicycle routes and heritage sites.

“ArcGIS Open Data supports our goal of becoming a smart city,” noted Sandrine Emonin, geomatics technician, Ville de Shawinigan. “It allows us to easily share the city’s open data with everyone. It’s a great asset that helps the city to promote innovation through the development of new applications.”

Prince George, BC
The City of Prince George used to run nightly batch processes to extract data from internal systems and copy it to a central location to be served up on their public Web site. This used up tremendous disk space, especially large raster files or orthophotography. Since moving to ArcGIS Open Data, they have eliminated this process and now publish data from their geodatabase directly to their Web site. The city launched Open Data Prince George in February 2016, which includes datasets on city staff compensation, awarded supplier contracts, active business licenses, building permits and development permits.

“The City’s vision is to provide citizen-centred services,” remarked Bill McCloskey, IT manager, City of Prince George. “Through ArcGIS Open Data, we provide the public with direct access to the City’s datasets, and in a wider variety of formats too, such as Web mapping services, GeoServices and GeoJSON services. They can subscribe to these services to ensure that they receive the most up-to-date information for their applications.” 

ArcGIS Open Data is a configurable Web application available to organizations that use ArcGIS Online. It includes built-in mapping and analysis tools for quickly creating maps, applications and other information products. Learn more about ArcGIS Open Data and read this open data blog series. Attend the lightning talk “Thinking Beyond the Download” by Karen Stewart, Esri Canada’s municipal solutions industry manager, at the 2016 Canadian Open Data Summit in Saint John, N.B. on Thursday, April 28 at 11:15 am.

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 joined the elite rank of Canada’s Best Managed companies in 2012 and became a Gold Standard winner in 2015. The company has also been named to the Branham300. More information can be found at Follow Esri Canada on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn


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