ESRI Canada announced that they will be offering a package including a donated copy of ArcView and Certified ESRI Technology training at reduced cost, to communities participating in projects under the Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI) of GeoConnections. GeoConnections is a national partnership initiative led by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to provide Canadians with access to geographic data, applications, and services over the Internet by building the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure. The mandate of the SCI program is to help enable rural, remote, and Aboriginal communities in Canada by providing them with training and access to modern mapping technologies that can be used to make informed decisions for sustainable development. The SCI provides this capacity by helping communities learn, implement, and use GIS.
“We are pleased to help support Canadian communities in their efforts to become sustainable and prosperous,” said Alex Miller, President of ESRI Canada. “By making GIS readily available to these communities and providing training on our software solutions we will bring them closer to realizing the benefits of spatial technology.” Communities come to the SCI for support in solving local problems, and together they design a pilot project around the issue/challenge the community is facing. The projects are diverse and may include the following:
Forestry, agriculture, mining, environmental protection, land and resource management, zoning exercises, alternative economic opportunities, and water resource management. SCI assists communities by providing them with GIS/geomatics tools, technical support, data acquisition, and training.The geomatics training is provided to community members as part of the pilot project. This is the most important aspect of the SCI, investing in people, in the community, for the community. Trainees readily see the training’s usefulness and the benefits for their community.
ESRI Canada’s donation of ArcView and discounted training to participating communities will contribute to the goal of providing Canadian communities with tools to improve efficiency and make informed decisions.
About GeoConnections’ Sustainable Communities Initiative:
The mandate of the SCI program is to assist rural, remote, and Aboriginal communities in Canada by providing them with training and access to modern mapping technologies that can be used to make informed decisions.
A wide range of local social, environmental, and economic benefits have been realized from SCI community projects. Virtually all of the communities with completed projects show improved effectiveness in administration and community-based sustainable development. For example, an improved mapping system for Alberta’s ambulances has saved time in responding to emergencies.
As well, a number of SCI projects are expected to have economic impacts in the range of tens of thousands of dollars over the next five to fifteen years.