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by George Kouroupis Cloud mapping brings government services down to earth Nova Scotia improves health services delivery and engages citizens in conservation efforts through web maps technology "Cloud computing" has been one of the hottest tech buzz words since early 2000. It refers to hosted services delivered over the internet. Many services are now avail- able in the cloud: you can send email, store data, collaborate with groups on the same document, or augment your physical serv- ers with additional processing power from cloud computing services. Web mapping technology has similarly evolved. From paper maps to digital maps on desktops and servers, maps have moved to the cloud – making it easier to create intelligent web maps, analyze and share information with more users, and increase collaboration. Nova Scotia, the most populous province in Atlantic Canada with nearly one million residents, has adopted cloud mapping with remarkable results. They incorporated a cloud mapping application with their collaboration software to create a secure portal that consolidates information from provincial health organizations. This allows them to view and share this data through an intelligent web map, enabling them to effectively coordinate health ser- vices across the province. As well, they've increased citizen engagement in conserva- tion efforts by communicating information via a public, interactive online map. Mapping the Way to a Healthier Province Nova Scotia boasts of an exemplary healthcare system focused on innova- tion and sustainability. Their emergency health services system is internationally GEORGE KOUROUPIS is the Technology and Solutions Di- rector for Esri Canada, which provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solu- tions. He has over 30 years of ex- perience in GIS, software devel- opment, and consulting. He can be reached at . recognized as a leader in the provision of pre-hospital care. The province's use of collaborative emergency centres to provide round-the-clock emergency care in rural ar- eas is also gaining wide-ranging attention. The Department of Health and Well- ness coordinates health services across the province. Using a cloud-based mapping service, they mapped all healthcare facili- ties across the province; everything from hospitals to nursing homes and paramedic bases, which are all represented as points on the map. The points are not just simple pins, but intelligent features that contain attributes stored in the cloud, which can be analyzed using geo-analytics. This enables the department to pan and zoom around the map and easily identify gaps in services and programs, both across the entire prov- ince or within specific areas. "The mapping function included with this tool allows us to visualize coverage and get regular, province-wide status up- dates," said Oleg Mikaelov, Senior Project Manager, EHealth Solutions, Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness. All groups that offer services included on the map have access to the portal and can update their information when it changes. This includes the IWK, a regional maternity and children's hospital, along with nine district health authorities, 811 telehealth, and the emergency paramedic service. "It allows us to not only share data eas- ily, but also, understand patterns and rela- tionships that are difficult to detect in charts and spreadsheets," said Mikaelov. "Maps make it possible to communicate simple or complex concepts based on a common operating view." Preparing for the Unexpected In August 2013, a natural gas line rup- ture prompted an evacuation in downtown Halifax, and mapping technology was leveraged to coordinate response. "The mapping database allowed us to assess the evacuation zone for impacted health facili- ties early on," said Andy Boutilier, Man- ager of Operational Readiness, Department of Health and Wellness. The department can also use the inte- grated software to shift services between facilities when needed. For example, the Nova Scotia Hospital in Dartmouth pro- vides a laundry service for other facilities in the province. If it were to lose power, planners could use a map view to identify the facilities that may be impacted. When a service is cancelled or reduced, this information can be updated quickly and reflected on the map. All users, including emergency planners, can subscribe to alerts January 2014 Municipal World 43

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