Canada’s York Region Expands Usage of Voyager Search Beyond GIS To Make Process of Using Its Applications Simpler and More Productive

by | Apr 6, 2017

REDLANDS, CA and NEWMARKET, ON – Voyager Search, a global leader in geospatial enterprise search that finds and delivers more than 1,800 different content types, has done a deep dive on URISA award-winning, longtime customer the Regional Municipality of York, also known as ” York Region.” As a user of Voyager’s software for more than four years, York Region has been one of Voyager’s most creative customers. No longer does it limit its usage of Voyager Search to GIS-related tasks. Instead, the government entity has consistently demonstrated an ability to find new and innovative ways to leverage Voyager for the benefit of a variety of audiences – the general public, internal staff, and consultants that rely on York Region data to do their jobs. The Region has taken advantage of the software’s extensible and flexible nature, evolving the commercial off the shelf (COTS) software to a variety of functions beyond enterprise search.

York Region is situated north of the City of Toronto, Canada. It’s home to approximately 1.2 million residents and is made up of nine towns and cities that cover an area of 1,776 square kilometers (or just over 685 miles). It has a two-tier government structure with services provided by York Region and its nine local area municipalities, similar to county and local governments here in the United States. The Region’s Data, Analytics and Visualization Services Branch (commonly known as just “Branch”) is charged with managing and sharing so much data that it is constantly updating and improving its approach, and it shows — York Region is considered a public sector leader in GIS.

“With each improvement Voyager makes to its software, we find new and interesting ways to offer our users more flexibility and autonomy when it comes to accessing our vast amounts of data,” said John Houweling, Director of Data, Analytics and Visualization Services at York Region. “Our ultimate goal is to make it as easy as possible for our staff, partners, residents, and businesses to get the most value out of the data.”

There are four key areas in which the Branch has developed applications and services using Voyager’s advanced COTS software:

1. Data Discovery Portal. York Region began its relationship with Voyager by using it to develop the Data Discovery Portal, which provides a catalog on the web for consultants who are looking for specific types of data. With Voyager’s intuitive, easy-to-use software, York Region created the Data Discovery site with minimal configuration, saving time and the manpower it would have taken to custom develop.

2. Open Data. The Open Data application offers all the features of the Data Discovery Portal, plus the ability for users to download data and for York Region’s system administrators to track those downloads.

3. Self Serve Data Depot. The Self Serve Data Depot, otherwise known as the SSDD, provides York Region consultants with direct online access to more than 400 hosted and maintained data sets 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In 2016, the SSDD was honored with two awards: the MISA Ontario Excellence in Municipal Systems Award and the GTEC Award of Distinction.

One of the coolest benefits offered by the SSDD is the presentation library. With this feature, members can log onto the site, select “presentation library,” and get access to videos, presentation materials, and more. This not only offers access to previous presentation materials, but it also contains helpful items like images that have been purchased and are approved to use.

4. YODA (York’s Online Data Access Catalog). YODA is York Region’s internal catalog, or data registry, which contains all data held within the region — totaling approximately 1,720 records. The Open Data site leverages the YODA indexing, but the path to the data points instead to the spatial database where the files are being stored so that they can be downloaded.

“It’s been quite exciting to watch Branch staff at York Region build on the way they use Voyager year after year,” said Brian Goldin, CEO of Voyager Search. “This highly capable team works hard to understand the needs of its fluctuating group of users so they can respond to those needs in a quick, efficient manner. Without Voyager’s plug-and-play software, the Branch would have been forced to choose between other projects and developing these capabilities internally. We’re looking forward to seeing what comes of its next stage of development.”

To read the full case study on how York Region uses Voyager Search, click here.

About Voyager Search

Voyager Search is a leading global provider of geospatial enterprise search tools that connect different content repositories so that users can search across all of them to find and deliver more than 1,800 different types of content. As the only install-and-go Solr/Lucene search engine, Voyager’s simple user interface, Navigo, offers Fortune 500 businesses, government entities, and multinational organizations easy-to-use search, data management, document delivery, and map visualization tools. With no custom coding required, Voyager is a true off-the-shelf geospatial intelligence and search powerhouse that supports customers in a variety of industries, including defense, oil and gas, federal and state governments, mining, and more. Formed in 2008, the company is headquartered in Redlands, California, with additional staff in Washington State, Washington, DC, Canada, Europe, and Uruguay. For more information, visit or follow the company on Twitter at @VoyagerSearch.


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