December's App of the Month: Squamish Development Showcase

November 30, 2018 Mingsze Ho

For the last App of the Month for 2018, let’s take a look at the Development Showcase application by the District of Squamish in BC. See how the District is making land development application available for the general public to view new and active application and ways they have allow the public to weigh in on development plans in the District.

December is considered the most festive month of the year. It’s when family members enjoy holiday feasts together and the spirit of generosity is in the air. The prequel to the holidays, however, is usually a mad rush to buy presents for loved ones, pick out a recipe to impress friends at the Christmas potluck, or in my case, put a food order with a nice restaurant to pick up in time for the party. Adding to this already-packed timetable are work projects that need to be completed before year end. Ensuring that all these tasks get done requires an efficient process. Our December App of the Month does just that. Let’s take a look at how the District of Squamish’s Development Showcase application increases efficiency for the District’s staff members, land developers and the public.

Squamish is no novice to GIS. They won the Award of Excellence in GIS at the 2015 Esri Canada User Conference in Vancouver for using the technology to bridge the gap between community and government and meet the demand of their rapidly growing municipality. A great example of how they use GIS is the Development Showcase application, which displays active development permit applications in the district. The app leverages the District’s property development management system and uses a combination of ArcGIS and Geocortex Essentials technology.

For those who are not familiar with Geocortex, it is developed by Esri Canada partner Latitude Geographics. Their software maximizes the possibilities of Esri’s ArcGIS platform.

The Development Showcase app allows users to view all land development permit applications in the District on a web map or a table as seen below. Each polygon on the map provides information on the development application, associated project files such as a PDF of the site plan, and the option to print the project’s details.

One of the impressive functionalities of the Development Showcase app is it allows the public to submit a public information meeting request or comment on the development application via an online form.

The app uses ArcGIS Server to store, map and serve up information on development applications, while Geocortex Essentials is used to display the information.

Geocortex Essentials provides the ability to link automated workflows. For example, processes such as querying, geocoding, form inputs and adding attachments (which are just a few of the 200 pre-built functions in Geocortex) are all streamlined into a workflow.

Dan Griffin, GIS supervisor for the District of Squamish, says: “Using the Geocortex workflow has proven to be helpful to District staff, many of whom may not have a GIS background. It makes it easy for them to add and update property development applications through the web map. The workflow also allows for efficient collaboration and real-time updates among departments in our District.”

Aside from streamlining their workflow, the Development Showcase app is also more cost-effective than their previous process, which involved creating and manually updating a separate web page for each new development. The app is updated in real time, so the public can see new development applications as they are added or updated.

Property developers and the public find the app very useful as it provides easy access to up-to-date information. The app and the GIS team has been praised by the District’s Chief Administrative Officer and Council for their innovation and vision, but it doesn’t end there. Dan’s team is looking to integrate Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS into the app to provide tables and graph views of the data and property development statistics for parties involved, as the District focuses on further improving efficiency and data accessibility.

If you’re looking to get started with Geocortex Essentials, now is a good time. Until December 31, 2018, you can get 25% off on Geocortex Essentials Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS Edition.

Have a festive month and take it easy this holiday season! Stay tuned for our Apps of the Month for 2019.

About the Author

Mingsze Ho

Mingsze Ho is a GIS Analyst for Esri Canada. Fascinated with displaying data in a spatial way, she focuses on generating story maps and other applications using Esri technology. She discovered her passion for maps when she started colouring and drawing maps in elementary school, and she was determined to become a cartographer. Mingsze loves how a map can illustrate the ways that certain features or phenomena affect human lives. While obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, she realized the world had moved on to digital maps. She was heartbroken initially, until she discovered the power of GIS and how it can be used to leverage both art and data to create beautiful, interactive maps. In her free time, Mingsze continues to draw maps. She just really likes maps.

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