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Alberta Environment recognized for leadership and vision implementing new mapping technology

Calgary, AB – The Alberta government’s increasing ability to communicate accurate and timely ‘state of the environment’ information to the public through an enterprise geographical information system (GIS) is being recognized by the GIS industry.

The Alberta Environment Information Unit based out of Lethbridge, Alberta received an Award of Excellence at ESRI Canada’s 2008 Regional Users Conference in Calgary today. John Kitchen, Vice President and General Manager, ESRI Canada, presented the Award in recognition of their leadership in enabling their complete enterprise with a centralized and fully-leveraged GIS platform.

“The Alberta Environment Information Unit’s vision and hard work has greatly enhanced the Ministry’s ability to quickly access and respond to internal and external needs and requests,” said Mr. Kitchen. “This is an excellent example of how GIS technology can empower users throughout an organization by providing increased access to spatial information.”

Alberta Environment assures the effective stewardship of Alberta’s environmental systems to sustain a high quality of life. The Ministry has staff in more than 120 communities throughout Alberta.

With emerging technologies and a single minded purpose, the Alberta Environment Information Unit sought to improve provincial access to spatial data, and other ministry data not previously available in a spatial format. In doing so they planned to reduce data silos, eliminate data redundancy, and provide offices across the province with equal access to the wealth of information the Ministry had collected over the years. The end result of their efforts provided the right information to staff, stakeholders and the public.

“Providing relevant information from a map base along with tools to perform analysis of this information enhances our ability to make open, transparent and consistent decisions,” said Lana Robinson, Manager of the Alberta Environment’s Information Unit. “Enterprise GIS will go a long way to assuring Albertans that government is being the best possible steward of our province’s environment.”

To accomplish this mission they became one of the earliest users to adopt ArcGIS Server Enterprise 9.2 technology in Canada, switching from ArcIMS and ArcSDE in November 2006 to begin using the beta version of ArcGIS Server Enterprise 9.2.

As a nod to the project’s success and in recognition of the value in anchoring environmental events and data through spatial relationships using GIS technology, the Ministry is currently in the process of changing the status of the GIS enterprise project to that of a dedicated program. This change will help to ensure a continued commitment towards advancing GIS technology within the organization.

Future plans include continuing to build and manage the Ministry’s data, providing enhanced desktop tools, as well as developing spatial web mapping applications for use across the province. These applications will include a water well reporting system and a water quality assessment tool among several others.