The Town of Banff has launched a new mapping site (banffmaps.ca) that provides free public access to the Town’s maps and geospatial applications. Banff has been using Esri’s server geographic information system (GIS) technology since 2005 to share maps and geographic data across municipal departments. To cost-effectively open up this data to the public, the Town leveraged ArcGIS Online, Esri’s cloud-based GIS solution. The solution allows them to efficiently serve up more than 20 Web maps and applications related to property, engineering, planning, operations, recreation and community services through the new Web site, making it easier for residents and visitors to find information they need to make decisions.
“This new mapping site helps to increase government transparency,” says Steve Nelson, GIS coordinator, Town of Banff. “Through easy-to-use Web maps, citizens can locate government services, learn about capital projects, check the condition of public infrastructure or explore land-use areas in the Town. It also allows them contribute to the Town’s efficient operations by providing a tool to report issues such as street light outages, as well as submit suggestions for improving transportation and other services.”
Tourism is the main economic driver for the Town, which is located inside the Banff National Park. More than 3 million visitors come to Banff each year. To enhance visitor experience, the Town developed the interactive Heritage Walking Tour application. Instead of providing general walking directions using main streets, the application displays routes that include scenic trails and pedestrian walkthroughs, allowing visitors to explore Banff like a local. The site also has applications that map recreation grounds and bike rack locations throughout the Town.
Banff leveraged their participation in Esri Canada’s Community Maps Program to access free basemaps for their applications. They also used Esri templates to easily create the maps and applications, and present them in a community-oriented Web gallery. “With basemaps already available in ArcGIS Online, all we needed to do was publish the datasets for each themed application. Instead of publishing 20 separate data layers to create our own basemap, we simply pull the community basemap from Esri’s site and add two or three key layers. This has significantly simplified application development and maintenance, and also reduced demands on our internal servers,” notes Nelson.
The Town will soon deploy iPhone devices to a number of staff, who will be able to access and update GIS data through their smartphones. The site will also feature a new snow management application that tracks snow plow locations. Field staff will be able to update the Web map with their planned snow removal routes for the day using their iPhones. This will allow residents to see exactly where snow plows are, where they have been in the past 6 hours and where they will be next, helping them determine when their streets will be serviced. The public is also invited to submit their own maps and applications that use the Town’s data through the site to be included in the Web gallery.
About the Town of Banff
The Town of Banff was incorporated as a municipality in 1990 and was the first municipality in Canada to be incorporated inside a national park. It is located inside Banff National Park, Canada’s first and the world’s third national park. The Town covers 3.93 square kilometers and has more than 8,200 residents. Visitors to Banff can experience the spectacular Rocky Mountains and glacier-fed lakes up close, abundant wildlife and small-town charm. For more information, visit banff.ca.
About Esri Canada
Founded in 1984, Esri Canada provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower businesses, governments and educational institutions to make timely, informed and mission-critical decisions by leveraging the power of geography. The company distributes the world’s leading GIS software from Esri, Telvent, Cityworks – Azteca Systems and other technology partners. Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada and has been named as one of the Top 250 Canadian IT Companies and Top 25 IT Professional Services Providers in Canada by the Branham Group, as well as one of Computer Dealer News’ Top 100 IT Solution Providers in Canada. Information about Esri Canada can be found at esri.ca.