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Public Safety Canada Lauded for Effective GIS Use in Disasters

Massive effort to coordinate and share real-time information makes life safer for all Canadians

OTTAWA, Esri Canada User Conference–October 17, 2018–Esri Canada presented the Public Safety Canada Government Operations Centre (GOC) with an Award of Excellence today for its use of geographic information system (GIS) technology to share situational awareness of incidents such as natural disasters (flooding, earthquakes and fires), man-made disasters such as chemical spills and large public events like Canada Day celebrations. Previously, all communication among Government of Canada agencies had been primarily through email and phone.

Now, continually updated, integrated data is analyzed into understandable and actionable information. Incident management information is tracked and shared to multiple devices in federal organizations for a better coordinated relief effort during emergencies. Using GIS capabilities to search for addresses or locations, the Operations Centre Interconnectivity Portal (OCIP) captures geospatial data as incidents are continuously added into the system.

“The breadth of use of the OCIP solution is staggering. Hundreds of people in 32 federal departments are using it; many are in Emergency Operations Centres. This solution directly answers one of the central missions of the federal government: to keep Canadians as safe as possible. It took patience and fortitude to bring it to fruition and we are the beneficiaries,” said Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada.

To more tightly integrate incident data with external data sources, OCIP leverages GIS web services of (among others) Public Works and Government Services Canada, Environment Canada, as well as feeds from social media, emergency management agencies and others via ArcGIS Online and the Federal Geospatial Platform.

The OCIP solution has sped up communications and enabled accurate exchange of data so that those trying to understand fluid, often uncontrollable, events can make the most informed decisions based on the best information available, not just on what is being said by their department or in their corner of the action. The system has improved situational awareness by allowing federal government departments to securely share information before, during and after incidents, all of which affect the public. This makes life safer and smoother during events and provides timely information to brief senior leadership in the public service.

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About Public Safety Canada 
Public Safety Canada’s mandate is to keep Canadians safe from a range of risks such as natural disasters, crime and terrorism. Public Safety Canada ensures coordination across all federal departments and agencies responsible for national security and the safety of Canadians. For more information, visit

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 16 offices across Canada and is based in Toronto. In 2015, Esri Canada became a Gold Standard winner of Canada’s Best Managed Companies and in 2016 was named one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures. More information can be found at Follow Esri Canada on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.


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