Manitoba Health Recognized for GIS-Based Emergency Management System

Dynamic Web Map Provides Comprehensive, Real-Time View of Emergencies, Speeding Decision Making from Two Hours to Less than 10 Minutes

WINNIPEG – ESRI Canada User Conference – May 31, 2011 – ESRI Canada today presented Manitoba Health's Office of Disaster Management (ODM) with an Award of Excellence for enhancing emergency management using ESRI's geographic information system (GIS) technology.  The ODM ensures continuity of health and emergency services for residents during crises, such as the Red River floods.  In 2009, they implemented a Common Operational Picture (COP) application, a dynamic Web map viewer that displays real-time emergency information from numerous sources.  The system has enhanced their ability to monitor and manage crises across the province, as well as develop and communicate strategic plans to stakeholders to mitigate risk and avert future disasters.

“Emergency managers need to decide and act quickly during a crisis,” said Alex Miller, president, ESRI Canada.  “GIS helps them make decisions confidently by allowing them to easily view all emergency incidents in their territory on a map and putting critical information at their fingertips.  Manitoba Health's COP application has revolutionized emergency management in the province, helping them save lives, protect infrastructure and reduce the impact of crises to Manitobans.  They've developed a blueprint for success that other public safety organizations can follow.”

The COP application leverages ESRI's ArcGIS technology to fuse valuable data from various systems and provide a single display of information shared by many levels of command.  It pulls information automatically from over 100 data sources, including satellite imagery, topographic basemaps, demographic data and dynamic feeds of weather, road conditions and flood activity.  It displays numerous data layers representing hospitals, helicopter landing zones, broken bridges and others, helping users to quickly identify problem areas for effective analysis, planning and response. 

“Fast decisions result in quicker action and service delivery,” said Gerry Delorme, director, ODM.  “GIS provides the visualization we need to make raw data more relevant and easily accessible to key decision makers.  It has automated information gathering and dissemination across our organization and helped us increase the speed of decision making from two hours to less than 10 minutes.  Our COP application has become the focal point of our day-to-day operations.  It allows us to take a proactive approach in dealing with crises.” 

With the system, the ODM has significantly improved how it completes and monitors projections for crisis management.  It has become an essential tool for briefing senior officials within the ministry and government on the status of various emergencies facing the province.  It also helps them provide accurate updates on key information such as flood projections, road closures, evacuation centre locations and capacity.

To enhance their application, the ODM will connect a public alert communication system to the COP.  They also plan to use the system for monitoring ambulances and hospital bed availability across the province.

For more information about ESRI's ArcGIS technology, visit esricanada.com/products/arcgis.

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About Manitoba Health's Office of Disaster Management (ODM)
The ODM's primary mission of is to make sure the health sector is capable of providing a coordinated and effective response to the health needs of Manitobans during a disaster.  It facilitates the coordination of the health sector's activities with other levels of government, departments, agencies and organizations involved in the response.  The ODM and regional health authorities also work with local and provincial agencies to increase preparedness.  This helps the community become more resilient so everyone can respond better and recover faster when disasters occur.  More information is available at www.gov.mb.ca/health/odm.

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, Cityworks and other technology partners.  Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada and has been named as one of the top 250 Canadian IT companies and top 25 IT professional services providers in Canada by the Branham Group.  Information about ESRI Canada can be found at esricanada.com.

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