December App of the Month: Yellowknife’s CityExplorer

December 1, 2017 Jasmine Sohal

We conclude this year’s App of the Month series with December’s featured app: CityExplorer. The City of Yellowknife recognizes the power of providing the public with spatial information in an intuitive way using mapping. Residents can explore their city and find municipal information in the palm of their hand with this interactive app. Learn more about CityExplorer, December’s App of the Month, in this blog post.

December is here, which means our App of the Month series is concluding for this year. We’ve featured a lot of great apps that have not only improved various organizations’ business workflows, but more importantly, provided users with access to important information using mapping technology. Our App of the Month, the City of Yellowknife’s CityExplorer, is another great example of how important it is to provide the public with access to information through geographic information systems (GIS).  

Establishing a centralized place where the public can view spatial information not only encourages spatial thinking; it also gives them the ability to discover new things about their city. CityExplorer allows Yellowknife residents to do just that and more. The app allows them to locate civic addresses around the city; find locations of city facilities, programs and services for residents, businesses and tourists; and make custom maps that they can print out and use for their own purposes. The system requirements for the app are minimal too – you just need your web browser. The app works on the latest version of Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox and Chrome. CityExplorer is also responsive, so you can use it on any device and access it anywhere at any time. 

CityExplorer receives an average of 2,000 visits per month. Yellowknife has received positive feedback from residents and staff: they enjoy the ease of use and wealth of information available on the app.

The City has always strived to maintain the most up-to-date and complete database of spatial information and recognized that providing access to this information to the public and business community would have significant benefits. To develop the app, Yellowknife’s geomatics team worked with various departments within the City to identify department-specific spatial information that would be valuable to citizens and staff.

Providing a wealth of information to citizens through CityExplorer has increased efficiencies within the City. Prior to the app, the geomatics team received numerous mapping requests from the public. Now that everyone can access the app and create their own map with all the information they want on it, the number of mapping requests the team receives has become negligible.

You can easily customize the maps based on your area of interest. For example, you can select the map layout, along with the output file format (PDF, JPP, PNG), resolution and map scales. In case you don’t want to print the map, you can easily send a link to it instead. The best part is, you’re not tied to creating maps with only the data provided through the app, you can easily upload your own spatial data to be incorporated into the map as well.  And without knowing it, you’re harnessing and learning the power of GIS.

While exploring the app, you may realize it looks a little different than the other apps featured this year that were developed with familiar products, including Esri Story Maps and Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS. That’s because CityExplorer was developed using Latitude Geographics’ Geocortex Essentials. Essentials is a framework for designing, developing and maintaining web apps and works exclusively with the ArcGIS platform. This product supports ArcGIS Server Services, public and private content from ArcGIS Online, web maps created using Portal for ArcGIS and the ArcGIS Online World Geocoding Service.

Did you know that as of November 1, 2017, Esri Canada now provides support for Geocortex? This makes it convenient as local customers can now have one point of contact for technical support for both Geocortex and ArcGIS products.

One of my favourite features on CityExplorer is the Snow Plowing Priority layer. This is timely as winter approaches and we expect a lot of snowfall this year. (I can only imagine how much snow Yellowknife gets!) Seeing what roads get priority for snow plowing could help residents better plan their routes after heavy snowfall or a winter storm. If you know your street won’t be plowed for a while, you may have to consider other modes of transportation or move your car from the street to make way for snow plows.

Just when you thought this great app couldn’t get any better, it does! Yellowknife plans to further develop the app to include additional spatial information, such as 3D building layers, trail and panoramic videos, and enhanced imagery from the City’s UAV program.

Check out CityExplorer and stay tuned for our App of the Month winners for 2018! To ensure you don’t miss what app is featured every month and stay up to date on all things Esri Canada, subscribe to our blog. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, folks!

About the Author

Jasmine Sohal

Jasmine Sohal is a GIS Analyst for Esri Canada, holding an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from McMaster University and a post-graduate GIS Applications Specialist certificate from Sir Sandford Fleming College. As a kid, Jasmine refrained from going to new places until she drew a map of how she would get from Point A to Point B. After taking her first Introduction to GIS course at McMaster University, Jasmine knew right away where her passion lay. Now, as a self-proclaimed Geogeek, she is always inspired to visualize situations spatially and applies GIS anywhere she can. In her spare time, Jasmine is a discoverer; for good hiking trails and restaurants, that is. She is always going out to discover beautiful landscapes during her hiking adventures around the province. Off the trails, you can find her discovering new restaurants to dine at. With her open mind and willingness to adapt and learn, Jasmine is excited to see what her future in GIS holds for her.

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