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October 24, 2016
Operation INTERSECT Receives Award of Excellence in GIS

OTTAWA,  Esri Canada User Conference – Esri Canada today recognized Operation INTERSECT with an Award of Excellence for its outstanding use of geographic information system (GIS) technology. Operation INTERSECT is a collaboration among 28 agencies in the National Capital Region to enhance emergency management and preparedness in the region. It is co-chaired by the Ottawa Police Service, the RCMP and Ville de Gatineau’s Office of Emergency Management. In March, the organization launched the INTERSECT Situational Awareness Network (ISAN) app, a real-time incident mapping tool funded by the Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science that enables their members to instantly view and share critical information about planned events (e.g. Canada Day celebrations, protests) and emergencies (e.g. accidents, infrastructure failure). The app delivers enhanced situational awareness and allows the agencies to better coordinate emergency response.

“Keeping public safety agencies on the same page can be a huge challenge, especially during a crisis,” said Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada. “Operation INTERSECT’s app efficiently addresses this challenge by providing its members with a dynamic map to view up-to-date information. This has helped increase the efficiency of emergency management agencies in the region, thus enhancing public safety.”

The ISAN app is only a few months old, but it has already dramatically changed data sharing at Operation INTERSECT, which is composed of police services, fire departments, paramedic services, school boards, utility companies, municipalities, provinces and federal government departments.

“Before, we had to rely on phone calls and emails to exchange situational awareness information among our 28 member organizations,” said Ottawa Police Service Deputy Chief Jill Skinner, one of the program’s co-chairs. Now, staff across our partner agencies have the means to send spatial and non-spatial incident information to a central database, from both the office and the field. With all the incident locations clearly laid out on a map, it’s much easier to keep track of what’s going on across the city and coordinate our efforts. It’s definitely a big step forward.”

Developed using Esri’s ArcGIS technology, the ISAN app allows field workers to submit incident information via their smartphones, tablets and laptops. The app relays the data to ArcGIS Server, which in turn stores it in a Microsoft SharePoint database hosted by Public Safety Canada. The app is built on an existing Operations Centre Interconnectivity Portal (OCIP) framework, so it leverages established program governance, security, identity management, rollout, maintenance and support.

Meanwhile, Esri Maps for SharePoint makes it possible for users across agencies to visualize and query the information on a variety of dynamic maps enhanced with multiple layers of GIS data. Office staff can work directly from the SharePoint interface, while ArcGIS Server gives field staff access to the same map-based situational awareness information via the ISAN mobile app.

The app’s usage is expected to steadily rise as more first responders, emergency managers, commanders and other staff across the 28 subscribing agencies receive training on how to use it. ISAN is the first system of its kind in Canada, and Operation INTERSECT plans to eventually share the program model with other jurisdictions across the country.

To learn more about ArcGIS, visit

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. More information can be found at Follow Esri Canada on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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