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City of Ottawa wins 2023 Esri Special Achievement in GIS Award

Canada’s capital city recognized for building a GIS-based, interactive 3D digital twin that reimagines urban planning

SAN DIEGO, Calif., Esri User Conference—July 13, 2023—Esri Canada congratulates the City of Ottawa for receiving the 2023 Esri Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award. The City was selected from thousands of Esri customer organizations worldwide for their exceptional use of geographic information system (GIS) technology to visualize and plan urban development in new ways.

The City was recognized for its development of a digital twin, powered by ArcGIS Urban software, to transform its traditional 2D mapping into a robust and interactive 3D visual environment that creates innovative decision-making experiences throughout city planning processes and builds long-term viability.

“The City of Ottawa has accomplished a lot in terms of building a 3D model of the city and integrating it into their planning and development process,” said Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada. “Their digital twin is transforming the City’s urban planning and will benefit residents for years to come.”

As Canada’s capital city moves forward with its Official Plan, which will guide its development over the next three decades, the City leveraged ArcGIS Urban to build out a digital twin that connects with partner data. This enables collaboration between planners and developers as the high-resolution dynamic model integrates critical information about zoning and zoning height, bylaws, elevation profile, transit, roads and surface infrastructure. The City’s team can now look at development proposals and come to a decision with the support of a full suite of data and spatial analytics.

“On behalf of the City of Ottawa, I am extremely thankful to receive the 2023 Esri Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award,” said Randal Rodger, program manager, Geospatial Analytics, Technology and Solutions. “This award recognizes the hard work our team has put into the Digital Twin project, and also reaffirms the value of leveraging the City’s existing investment in Esri’s ArcGIS to build out this incredibly dynamic 3D visualization and analytical environment. Our Digital Twin is setting the stage for a new ecosystem of practical applications in collaboration with Esri.”

The City also created a web-based ArcGIS editing tool called Zone Builder, which allows users to review projects against the backdrop of zoning bylaws. This demonstrates geospatial solutions as a vital part of the City’s planning systems. By providing a realistic sense of the look, feel and function of an environment, both at present and planned stages, the City can proactively engage partners and facilitate improved public consultation. This visual tapestry of GIS data allows the City to illustrate its goals more clearly and support its transformation into the future.

Read more about the City of Ottawa’s digital twin project

View the full list of SAG winners at
Learn more about ArcGIS Urban at


About City of Ottawa
Ottawa is the nation’s capital and the fourth largest urban region in Canada. The National Capital Region includes more than 1.4 million people, 66% of whom live in Ottawa and the rest in neighbouring municipalities, including Gatineau (located across the Ottawa River in Quebec). A special feature of the region is that both English and French are widely spoken and reflected in the City’s culture and commerce. As a winner of the Best Diversity Employer for eleven consecutive years, the City of Ottawa is committed to reconciliation, equity, and cultural transformation. The City of Ottawa values a diversity of minds, perspectives, and lived experiences to shape and lead the City’s workforce and respond to needs in our community. 

For more information on City programs and services, visit, call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401) or 613-580-2400 to contact the City using Canada Video Relay Service. You can also connect with us through FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

About Esri Canada 
Founded in 1984, Esri Canada provides geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower people in business, government and education to make informed and timely decisions by leveraging the power of mapping and spatial analytics. These solutions enable organizations to better manage their resources, plan their future and collaborate within and beyond their organization. Esri Canada’s products and services help advance successful digital transformation. The company serves 12,000 organizations from 15 offices across Canada and is based in Toronto. In 2019, Esri Canada achieved Platinum Club status with the Canada's Best Managed Companies program by retaining its Best Managed designation for seven consecutive years or more. More information can be found at Follow Esri Canada on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.

For media inquiries, please contact:

City of Ottawa
Phone: 613-580-2450

Esri Canada


Two 3D scenes side by side. A high-rise building in blue is shown on the left, and a blue arrow at the centre points to a low-rise building in yellow, purple and red on the right. The low-rise building spans more of the lot area than the high-rise building.

An ArcGIS Urban 3D model showing a proposed 26-storey condo complex (left) and an amended proposal (right)


Two men standing together. Man on the right is holding a glass award plaque.

Esri Canada president Alex Miller with Randal Rodger, Program Manager, Geospatial Analytics, Technology and Solutions, City of Ottawa


A group of six men and one woman smiling. One of the men is holding a glass award plaque.

From left: Neil Spooner & Sam Seymour (Esri Canada), Jean-Francois Dionne (City of Ottawa), Jack Dangermond (Esri), Randal Rodger & Esther Perron (City of Ottawa), Alex Miller (Esri Canada)