NSCC Centre of Geographic Sciences Students Win the Esri Canada GIS Centres of Excellence App Challenge

SolarSaver helps the public visualize the benefits of installing rooftop solar panels on their homes and connect with local suppliers

Toronto, Canada, May 10, 2016 – Esri Canada congratulates Stephane Bowen, Joel Jeyarajah and Sean Thibert (Team ‘Mapster’) from the NSCC Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) for winning the Esri Canada GIS Centres of Excellence in Higher Education App Challenge. The week-long coding competition encouraged students within the network to build innovative Web apps that use open data and Esri’s geographic information system (GIS) technology to address this year’s theme—renewable energy. Out of 21 app submissions, Mapster was selected for SolarSaver, an app that allows the public to search for their home on a Web map, calculate potential savings from installing rooftop solar panels and find local suppliers.

“SolarSaver is simple, practical and easy to use,” said Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada. “It takes into account important factors such as annual irradiation, average daily shade and roof angle. This increases the accuracy of annual savings calculations. This app can be used to educate the public on the benefits of solar technology, promote local businesses and help communities advance their sustainability initiatives.”

The app takes users from discovery to purchase through different tabs. First, users can enter their address on a Web map to see an estimate of annual cost savings from installing rooftop solar panels. A second tab provides more information on the benefits of the technology and related incentives and programs provided by the city. Finally, the app lists local suppliers inviting users to contact them for installation quotes.

Mapster used Esri’s ArcGIS Online system to integrate and geoprocess various open datasets including Digital Surface Models and buildings data from the Halifax Open Data portal, and solar irradiation data from Natural Resources Canada. They used Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS to design SolarSaver’s intuitive layout and also used the ArcGIS API for JavaScript to build the app’s solar calculator widget.

“We went into the competition with very little programming experience,” noted Stephane Bowen. “The fact that we were able to create such a complete, functional and user-friendly Web mapping app in only a week describes how easy it is to use the ArcGIS system.”

As part of their prize, Team Mapster will go on an all-expenses paid trip to the Esri International User Conference in San Diego this June.

To view all the App Challenge entries, visit GitHub.

About the Esri Canada GIS Centres of Excellence in Higher Education
Launched in 2014, the initiative is aimed at encouraging innovation in GIS research and promoting teaching excellence in spatial data management and analysis in higher education across Canada. The Centres will also increase the opportunity for inter-institutional collaboration across the country and help expand spatial thinking and GIS software use beyond the traditional field of geography. To learn more about the initiative and participating institutions, visit ecce.esri.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, 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 esri.ca. Follow Esri Canada on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn

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