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GIS in the works for City of Greater Sudbury

Across Ontario, communities are embracing digital mapping and land information management technologies as fundamental tools for doing business.

Across Ontario, communities are embracing digital mapping and land information management technologies as fundamental tools for doing business.

Recognizing the value of the use of technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the Government of Ontario is proceeding with the delivery of the GeoSmart program.

What is GIS?
Geographic Information Systems are information management systems linked to geographic data. Geographic suggests that the location (geographic coordinates i.e. latitude/longitude) of data is known, or can be calculated. Information infers that the data in a GIS are organized to provide useful knowledge, not only as maps, but also as tables or statistical graphics. The word system implies that a GIS is made up from several interrelated and linked components with different functions. A GIS is a computer-based tool for mapping and analyzing data and events. GIS technology integrates database operations such as query and statistical analysis with the visualization and geographic analysis benefits offered by maps. GIS differs from other information systems in that itÂ?s valuable to a wide range of public and private enterprises for explaining events, predicting outcomes, and planning strategies.

GeoSmart Program
Recognizing the benefits of GIS and land information, the Province of Ontario has established GeoSmart, an initiative led by the Ministry of Natural Resources - the provincial lead for land information. GeoSmart has been re-focused to facilitate the implementation and enhancement of GIS in Ontario municipalities, First Nation communities, and Conservation Authorities. Communities and organizations are often required to process a large amount of information to perform duties and make decisions in a reliable, accountable, and cost-effective manner. To achieve this, communities are incorporating strategies that use information technology to improve access to information and the delivery of services. Across Ontario, communities are embracing land information and GIS as fundamental tools for doing business.

The City of Greater Sudbury is currently implementing the GeoSmart Project, as part of the SmartSudbury Program - an initiative of e-sudbury.com. This project will provide a structured method for Greater Sudbury to implement and enhance a GIS.

The goals of the Project are:
Â? To raise awareness of the functionality and efficiencies of GIS.
Â? To provide the residents and businesses of the City of Greater Sudbury with GIS accessibility to services via the Internet.
Â? To improve internal municipal efficiencies within municipal departments.

Upon completion of the GeoSmart Project, the City will have six new web interfaces with the purpose of making geographic information and tools more readily available to City of Greater Sudbury staff and the public. Even those not so savvy in GIS will be able to call up information by simply clicking on the desired feature or location and the data will be immediately displayed. These applications include:
Â? Sudbury View - An Internet tool that will be made available to municipal staff that require GIS as part of their business needs.
Â? Explore Sudbury - This tool will include basic map viewing functions such as zoom, pan, and feature identification and will be available to the public through the City's Website.
Â? Services Sudbury - An application that focuses on the provision of geographic information pertaining to the City's services and activities such as recreation, municipal service sites, location of active and future capital works projects, etc.
Â? Tourism Sudbury - This application focuses on the provision of geographic information pertaining to the City's tourism features such as local businesses, sites of interest, events, and tourism-related services.
Â? Invest Sudbury Â? This application relates to the provision of geographic information pertaining to local economic development opportunities such as vacant lands and other commercial and industrial development opportunities.
Â? Growth Sudbury - An application that focuses on the provision of geographic information as it relates to the promotion of growth and development of the City including access to information on existing and proposed land use regulations as well as current development activity.

If you would like more information on the GeoSmart Project, visit www.e-sudbury.com

SmartSudbury, an initiative of e-sudbury.com, envisions Greater Sudbury as a City of the future: a community that uses information and communications technologies in new and innovative ways to empower its residents, institutions and the community as a whole. SmartSudbury is funded by the City of Greater Sudbury, the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation, FedNor, as well as the provincial ministries of Natural Resources and Economic Development and Trade.

(This article was supplied by Krista Carré, SmartSudbury GeoSmart G.I.S. Technician. SmartWorx is a recognition program aimed at promoting awareness of technology and encouraging new economic development opportunities.)