EDMONTON, Esri Canada User Conference – The Capital Region Board (CRB) of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region has won an Award of Excellence from Esri Canada for demonstrating how geographic information system (GIS) technology can help disparate government officials work in concert to make decisions. That collaboration will save the Region millions of dollars and help develop sustainable ways to manage the Region’s growth and prosperity over the next 30 years.

“The CRB faced making planning decisions with far-reaching effects across a large region,” noted Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada. “By hiring one GIS professional and using ArcGIS Online for better long term growth planning and analysis, the CRB estimates the Region will save about $5 billion in public money on infrastructure through more effective land use.”

“Our member municipalities had their land use information on paper, but it was very hard to see what it meant,” says Brandt Denham, GIS coordinator, CRB. “When I showed the CRB members a map of the soil in one area and how current development had built over the best soil, and that their planned development was going to do the same, they began to think again about how to grow more responsibly.”

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is the second-fastest growing metropolitan region in Canada and is estimated to double in population to 2.2 million people with 1.2 million jobs in 30 years. CRB recognized it needed a reliable decision support system to successfully plan for that growth. It chose ArcGIS Online, Esri’s cloud-based mapping and analytics platform, to help see more clearly digitally the information that can be gleaned from tables and spreadsheets.

When the Capital Region Geographic Information Services (CRGIS) project started in 2014, Denham was hired as GIS coordinator, reducing the cost of the CRGIS project to his salary, versus the original cost estimate of $11million. He coordinated the project and developed relationships with the GIS staff in the Region’s municipalities and adopted ArcGIS Online.

After 18 months, he presented the public website he had developed to 24 mayors of the CRB. It became immediately clear that the website would help the municipal leaders think regionally as well as locally, particularly as indicated in a regional constraints map, which revealed the challenging realities of growth.

The CRB has found multiple benefits from using ArcGIS Online beyond improved planning. Easy-to-understand data has increased collaboration, enabling a quicker consensus about decisions. The new digital map stitches together land use and assets of the 24-member municipalities into a single regional view, making it a regional mapping repository for future use.

Explore CRGIS data and maps at crgis.capitalregionboard.ab.ca.

About the Capital Region Board (CRB)

Mandated by the Government of Alberta, the CRB plans for and manages the growth of the region in a strategic, coordinated and integrated way that preserves the unique characteristics of each municipality while ensuring the long-term sustainability and prosperity of the region. More information can be found at capitalregionboard.ab.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, Schneider Electric, Cityworks–Azteca Systems, LLC and other technology partners. Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada. Esri Canada joined the elite rank of Canada’s Best Managed companies in 2012 and became a Gold Standard winner in 2015. The company has also been named to the Branham300 and Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures. More information can be found at esri.ca. Follow Esri Canada on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.