GIS-based systems developed by Saint John and Richmond honoured by URISA

August 25, 2014 Adam Buchholz

There’s a growing trend for local Canadian governments to use GIS technology to streamline the way information requests from citizens are handled. The City of Saint John and the City of Richmond have both developed systems that do just that and their innovative work has been recognized by URISA’s 2014 Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIG) Awards.

Each year, URISA—a non-profit association comprised of 2,000 global members that advances the adoption of GIS and IT for governments—recognizes achievements in the use of geospatial information technology through the 2014 Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIG) Awards. Since 1980, the awards have been honouring systems that improve the delivery and quality of government services. This year’s winners included the City of Saint John and the City of Richmond, both of whom received a Distinguished Systems Award in the Single Process System category. According to URISA's Web site, systems that receive this award are “outstanding and working examples of applying information system technology to automate a specific single process or operation involving one department or sub-unit of an agency.” Simply put, these systems help government become more efficient, saving them time and money.

The City of Saint John developed the ZoneSJ Map Viewer to improve the City’s response to the high volume of zoning inquiries from planners. The Web-based application was also created to inform and engage citizens about a newly enacted zoning law. Integrating a suite of ArcGIS products—including ArcGIS for Server, ArcMap and ArcGIS Viewer for Flex—the ZoneSJ Map Viewer allows city planners and citizens to quickly locate and view zoning information through a publicly accessible, map-based application.

The City of Saint John’s ZoneSJ Map Viewer gives citizens and city planners easing access to zoning information on a user-friendly Web application.

The City of Richmond’s Data Extraction Tool automated the process of extracting data from the City’s GIS databases. A map-based interface using ArcMap (above) helped make the system more user-friendly.

The City of Richmond’s Data Extraction Tool replaced a time-intensive extraction process that GIS staff previously performed manually. Thanks to the new automated system that integrates several components, including ArcObjects and ArcMap, the time needed for GIS staff to process data requests has been reduced by approximately 90%. The City plans to expand the tool to include a Web-based, self-serve system to allow the public to search and download data without City staff assistance.

The City of Richmond’s Data Extraction Tool automated the process of extracting data from the City’s GIS databasesA map-based interface using ArcMap (above) helped make the system more user-friendly.

Congratulations to the City of Saint and the City of Richmond for receiving this esteemed award. Your efforts to make public data more readily accessible and easier to locate reflect the positive direction many other governments in Canada are increasingly moving towards.

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