Esri Canada marks 30 years of operations this year with a continued commitment to provide innovative enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions based on Esri’s ArcGIS platform. ArcGIS has evolved from a niche technology for mapping professionals into an open, pervasive Web GIS platform that everyone can use. It runs in the cloud, on enterprise servers or both computing environments, enabling users to easily mash up basemaps and data into intelligent Web maps that can be shared within and outside their organization.
“Over the past 30 years, GIS has become far easier to use and can now be deployed in the cloud and accessed on mobile devices,” notes Alex Miller, president and founder, Esri Canada. “The technology has also advanced to incorporate real-time data collection and analysis, providing a common operational picture to entire organizations. These developments make it easier for people to use and share maps, data and analytical tools to make informed, collaborative decisions. While access to the technology has changed, one thing remains the same: GIS continues to enable users to solve problems in new ways.”
Esri Canada Celebrates 30 Years of Geographic Innovation
Alex Miller founded Esri Canada in 1984. From a small office in Toronto with six employees, the company has grown into a multi-million dollar business that employs more than 330 staff in 16 locations across Canada. Its customer base of more than 10,000 organizations has expanded from its initial wins in the forestry and agriculture sectors to all industries including government, business and education. This significant growth is testament to the company’s unique ability in applying mapping and analysis to nearly every concern. In 2010, for advancing the use of GIS technology in numerous industries across Canada, the company received the Ontario Business Achievement Award for Innovation in 2010.
Increasing government efficiency and transparency Esri Canada began its foray into the municipal sector in 1985, when it developed the County of Oxford’s Land Related Information System to support land-use planning. The system integrates and provides access to information such as property and infrastructure data from various government systems. It received the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) Exemplary Systems in Government Award in 1988 and became a model for Canadian municipalities. Today, Esri’s ArcGIS platform is the GIS standard in all levels of government.
To help local governments deploy GIS quickly, Esri Canada provides ArcGIS for Canadian Municipalities. This series of free app templates helps improve transparency, increase citizen engagement and reduce the costs of disseminating information such as election results and government services. In 2010, the company launched the Esri Canada Community Maps Program, which is succeeding in building a detailed, national Web basemap for Canada using authoritative data contributed by government organizations across the country. The basemap is free for governments and the public to use, and speeds up the creation of mapping apps.
The company also developed the Esri Canada Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) solution that enables real-time tracking of fleet vehicles. The hosted solution improves the safety and productivity of municipal field operations including snow removal, tree pruning, roadside mowing and road repairs. As well, Esri Canada recently introduced Assessment Analyst, which allows assessors to incorporate various data and 3D modeling into their analysis to increase the accuracy of property valuations. These pioneering solutions are helping to revolutionize government processes and create new opportunities for increasing efficiencies and revenues for customers.
Improving business productivity
J.D. Irving in New Brunswick was the first forestry company in North America to use Esri technology for the sustainable management of forests back in 1983. They consolidated numerous GIS apps and datasets across 10 regional offices into a single enterprise GIS in 2010. In addition to centrally managing their forestry operations for watercourse buffers, habitat and growing forests, the system now supports their other business areas including transportation, shipbuilding, retail and agriculture.
Today, Esri technology is used by banks, insurers, real estate developers, manufacturers, airports and hospitals to improve productivity, manage risk and effectively deliver products and services. Esri Canada offers the Esri Business Analyst (Canadian Edition), which enables organizations to use location analytics with demographic and business data to gain a deeper understanding of their customers, competition, market and trends. To make it even easier for business users to incorporate GIS into their daily workflows, the company also provides Esri Maps for Location Analytics. These solutions integrate mapping and analytical tools directly into popular systems for business intelligence (IBM Cognos, SAP BusinessObjects and MicroStrategy), customer relationship management (Dynamics CRM and Salesforce), and productivity and collaboration (Microsoft Office and SharePoint).
Advancing geographic education
Since 1997, Esri Canada has offered education programs that provide affordable access to GIS technology to publicly-funded Canadian schools from kindergarten to grade 12, as well as universities and colleges. It recently introduced a GIS in Education Grant Program, which awards software and training grants to five K-12 schools every year to expand the use of GIS in the classroom. The company also develops free teaching resources that help educators incorporate GIS courses into their curriculum and enhance students’ critical thinking skills.
To promote the pursuit of GIS careers, Esri Canada awards more than $2 million in cash, software and training grants annually to students in more than 50 Canadian universities and colleges through its GIS Scholarships Program. The company also provides outstanding undergraduate and graduate GIS students with an opportunity to jumpstart their career through the Associate GIS Professional Program. Students are given a 12-month, full-time paid position at Esri Canada where they gain cross-functional experience in areas including professional services, training and technical support.
Building up the community and the environment
“The innovative culture and entrepreneurial spirit we’ve fostered among our staff, as well as the partnerships we’ve built, have allowed us to grow our company and industry over the past 30 years,” continues Mr. Miller. “Whether it’s enabling open government, identifying the best site for a new facility or improving education through interactive learning, our goal is to continue providing solutions that make a positive impact on society.”
To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the spring issue of ArcNorth News, Esri Canada’s customer magazine, will focus on the company’s three decades of success. Customers and partners are also invited to celebrate with the company at the 2014 Esri Canada User Conferences, which will be held in 16 Canadian cities throughout the year.
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, Inc. and other technology partners. Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada. Esri Canada has joined the elite rank of Canada’s Best Managed companies and has been named to the Branham300. Information about the company can be found at esri.ca.