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Wheelmap – Wheelchair Accessible Maps

Halifax Wheelmap- Wheelchair Accessible Maps

Wheelmap – Wheelchair Accessible Maps

Wheelmap is an online mapping application by a German non-profit association, to help promote wheelchair accessible places (currently more than 550,000 points of interests in eighteen different languages have been added) and allow people to find out if a location is accessible or not. Wheelchair Accessible Maps help provide answers to questions such as:

Can some one in a wheel chair reach a specific restaurant? Does a popular pub have an accessible washroom? 

It is a crowd source driven application so anyone can contribute to the project by tagging public places according to their wheelchair accessibility, and add new locations if they know of ones that have not been added yet. The OpenStreetMap based site provides online tools to help people plan their trips more efficiently. Users can use the mapping application to learn about accessible places and share relevant location based information with others. Users can also download wither the Wheelmap iPhone or Wheelmap Android app to use  with their smart phones to help them while out and about.

The quality of information on the online mapping application varies from place to place and seems to be more popular in European countries but has been gaining use here in Canada.

It is also hoped that with public awareness raised through the use of Wheelmap, that more owners of public buildings will be encouraged to improve their location’s accessibility.

Visit www.wheelmap.org and help promote wheelchair accessible places in Canada.

Northern Policy Institute launches ‘North by Numbers’

NorthByNumbers Exploring Northen Ontarios Communities

Northern Policy Institute, Northern Ontario’s independent research think tank located in Thunder Bay and Sudbury, has launched a new interactive online mapping application called North by Numbers. Their new interactive  data tool can be used to display census data from Northern Ontario for the years 2001 to 2011. 

NorthByNumbers Exploring Northen Ontarios CommunitiesData layers can be customized by selecting various topics using available options provided in several drop-down lists.  First users select a Topic, then a Variable, then a Year, and finally define the Geography of interest.

The results using several data sources from Statistics Canada or the National Household Survey of 2011 will appear in the map window with a small legend  near the top right of the screen. Data layers are displayed using a sequential color scheme quintile approach made up of 5 different colors, except for Aboriginal Identity variables that uses a natural breaks classification method instead.NorthByNumbers - export data layers to Google Earth

Export Data Layers in tabular format or Google Earth

They also provide users the ability to print or export the results. You can download the corresponding tabular data for the entire layer in comma separated values (CSV) file format file to use with MS Excel, Open Office Calc, Notepad, etc. You can also download the actual layer itself to be viewed in Google Earth, where you can add other data layers to further customize your results.

Check out North by Numbers yourself: http://NorthByNumbers.ca

 

 

 


Esri Canada Celebrates 30 Years of Geographic Innovation

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.arcinfo

“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 Alex Miller - Esri CanadaEsri 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 ESRI ArcGIS 10
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
Esri CanadaSince 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.

Esri Canada logo

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.

 

Halifax Regional Municipality Crime Mapping

A combined commitment between the Halifax Regional Police and Halifax District RCMP now provides effective communication to the community through the ‘Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) Crime Mapping’ application pilot project. HRM Crime Mapping is an interactive online crime mapping tool created to provide the public with information about various crimes happening in the HRM. Making the spatial knowledge of existing crimes available can help increase crime prevention by making people more aware of what crimes are happening in their community.

Halifax Regional Municipality Crime Mapping Application

“To ensure privacy, the crimes are plotted on the mid-point of the closest block and are not associated with specific civic addresses so as not to identify a person or an address. HRM Crime Mapping plots only selected crimes and does not represent a complete set of police data.”

HRM Crime Mapping is based on actual police reports that are updated daily and highlights 5 types of common crimes that occur in the HRM including robberies, assaults, break and enters, thefts of vehicles and thefts from vehicles. The application provides users the ability to map any of these 5 crime types on any street or community, in any of three date ranges (yesterday, the past four days or the past week).

basic 'Crime Tips' about the five types of common crime mappedThe mapping application is easy to use, with the mapping window made up of essential 3 main parts: Crime Mapping Tool (to select the crime type and date range), Search / Link bar at the top (search by street, civic address or by community), and the map navigation panel along the left hand side (zoom in and out as well as move the position of your map). The wheels of your mouse can also be used to change your position on your map and zoom in and out.

There are some basic ‘Crime Tips’ about the five types of common crime mapped so that users can learn what to do in-order to help prevent these crimes and related links. A basic user guide has also been created to help users better make use of the mapping application.

Check out HRM’s Crime Mapping application for yourself to discover what crime has been happening in the Halifax Regional Municipality and help promote crime prevention

http://maps.halifax.ca/crimemapping/

Of-course, you could also download Halifax crime data sets from the new Halifax Open Data portal and do some GIS analysis work of your own :)

Avoid the Traffic with ReRouteMe Mapping Application

One of the things that I have been fortunate enough to avoid since moving east back to the Maritimes a few years ago has been the annoying daily commute that so much of us participate in at least twice a day (although I have had my share of it over the years, having lived in many urban areas such as Halifax, Ottawa and Toronto). Statistics Canada reports that the average time that Canadians spend commuting to and from work increased from an average of 54 minutes in 1992 to an average of 63 minutes in 2005. If you tally those minutes up you may be shocked to learn that it works out to almost 32 days a year that an average person spends in traffic commuting.

traffic along the highway“For one in four Canadians, the two-way commute takes more than 90 minutes.And it’s not just the commute. There is nearly as much traffic at lunchtime today as there was at rush hour a generation ago. Not only are there more cars and trucks on the road but we’re using them for more things: driving the kids to sports, where once they would have walked.” (Andrew Coyne – Macleans Magazine – Jan 2011).

So are you tired of the traffic and want to travel faster and smarter?

Then perhaps you should check to see if your city is available on ReRouteMe.

ReRouteMe logo

This online mapping application takes the basic functionality of Google maps (such as the display of the reference map and the address search ability) and combines it with custom functionality and databases that are completely independent from Google to provide a powerful value added product that can help you avoid accidents, traffic cams, construction and any congestion on your everyday commute. The ReRouteMe back-end, powered by Open Source software packages has been further customized to meet the application requirements and public demand. ReRouteMe uses PostgreSQL as the RDBMS for the geographic/tabular data management as well as processing and the routing engine is based on a modified version of pgRouting.

Designed with a Wide Range of Users in Mind

ReRouteMe has been designed for a wide range of users including those that drive their own vehicle, use public transit, take a taxi, cycle and even walking. Currently it provides over 35 different cities (mostly from Ontario), a growing collection that continues to increase since the first time I discovered the application in 2012. It provides users with the basics such as simply going from start to final destination as well as the ability to customize with multiple stops, stop-over times and the ability to set other various dynamic criteria to help influence the provided route. Users can sign up for an account, define and store their routes, and then the application will notify them via e-mail with alternative options when there are last minute events such as accidents, traffic jams or road closures.

ReRouteMe Web Mapping Application

The web site contains plenty of helpful extras that makes it stand out and appealing to a large audience, however I was fortunate enough to get some additional information from Pierre Lermusieaux, the COO of Rhexia Incorporated (creators of ReRouteMe) to share with the CanadianGIS.com audience.

“The ReRouteMe web application was built out of an interest to provide more in-depth and local information about commuting that what is typically available from Google and others. Our focus is the promotion of ‘green’ modes of transportation as well as the presentation of useful information related to public transportation. The ReRouteMe application is free to use by anyone.

The application has been designed to leverage publicly available data that is typically further processed to make it useable and informative. The road network used for the routing is based on OpenStreetMap, the National Road Network (NRN) from NRCan, and the Ontario Road Network (ORN) from LIO. Additional efforts have been invested to add missing information or correct existing one. All of the point of interest have been harvested from public information provided by cities or other organizations.” – (Pierre Lermusieaux – Rhexia Incorporated)

Some of the functionality currently presented in the ReRouteMe application include:

  • Public Transit Routing (based on the Municipal GTFS schedules with advanced options for routing), coverage includes the following municipalities: Ottawa, Toronto, Mississauga, Waterloo, Guelph and Hamilton. They have also deployed GoTransit which links the Greater Toronto Area, thus allowing them to route the user across various municipalities in the GTA using public transit. Soon users will also be able to do ‘simulation’ routing with the future Ottawa Light Rail that includes allowing the user to transfer between Octranspo buses and the soon to be built Ottawa Light Rail.
  • Routing for Bicycles that merges cycle paths with the road network with some advanced options
  • Routing for pedestrians
  • Routing for Personal vehicle, including multiple stops and advanced options for routing
  • Routing for Taxi that provides cost estimate for the trip as well as trip share for multiple riders
  • Ability to change the City of interest that will intern drive the selection of the Transit organizations, weather information, gas prices, traffic news, and taxi fares that are included with the routing and map
  • Routing is influenced by factors representing: rush vs non-rush hour, dynamic and recurring congestion, turn costs, turn prohibitions, constructions, events, and accidents
  • Calculations of the costs associated to using a Car for a specific route: gas usage and costs based on a specific car make and model (selectable) and current average gas prices for the area, CO2 emitted for the route
  • Provision of an estimated travel time for the route and another one taking into account the local current weather conditions
  • Ability to reverse and edit the route addresses and to apply the same route addresses to another mode of transportation
  • Saving routes, one time routes, recurring routes and the ability to send them via e-mail
  • Ability to set your own preferences (needs to be logged in): preferred addresses, home city, car make and model, notification frequency, etc.
  • Once a route is saved and it is recurring, the application will notify you by e-mail of any changes to the itinerary prior to your departure should construction or accidents impact it. A new route is then proposed as part of the notification
  • Ability to show points of interest at a maximum distance along the calculated route
  • Ability to dynamically exclude a segment from a route
  • Find out where the traffic cameras are located to help avoid any tickets
  • Learn where the best place is to buy gas

cars at sunset on the highway in trafficI am sure that by now you can see the from this extensive list of current functionality that the ReRouteMe web mapping application can provide people with robust tools to help them plan their daily commute and learn of any changes that they should anticipate before they head out. So if you have a rather complicated daily commute then I am sure that you can see that a few minutes on ReRouteMe.com before you head out can actually save you time later on.

The team at ReRouteMe that I have been in contact with are very proud of their application and  tell me that they will expand the tool whenever there comes a need or demand for certain services and thus would love any feedback or suggestions for future modifications.

Below are a few more helpful videos on ReRouteMe that show how robust and powerful the tool is; and yet how user friendly and easy to use it is. I recommend that you check it out for yourself (especially if you live in an urban are of Ontario) and let me know what you think, all feedback is welcome. The web site is ReRouteMe.com
as well as being very easy to use with plenty of helpful information including help videos.

Website: ReRouteMe.com

[Sources: emails – rerouteme.com – macleans.ca – rhexia.com]
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Languages of Universities Interactive Map

These days, people are starting to make the Internet their primary source of everyday information and more people are becoming aware of how valuable spatial data and maps can be, as a result there have been more webs sites containing interactive web mapping applications appearing. And as you can see from some of the many great mapping applications covered by CanadianGIS.com in the web mapping section, some of them can be pretty robust applications containing a wide variety of data sets and customization possibilities while others can still be relative simple mapping applications while still providing added value.

Perhaps a good example of a relative simple mapping application that is well done and does a good job of combing spatial and basic information is one I recently came across on the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages web site.

Map - University Language Programs in Canada

Here they use an online interactive map to demonstrate where the various English, French and Bilingual universities across Canada are located while providing basic information about each. The map allows its users to select predefined maps either by clicking on the map directly or by using the pull down selection box that returns either a list of possible schools or an exact school. Of witch when clicked provides a more detailed map and then information about the language skills provided at that institute.

Canadian Maple Leaf - half

Here, we see no extra tool bars, printing functionality or user customization provided, just the basic information about the intended language topics and then a link to the domain of the University where someone can find more detailed information about that particular University featured on the map. And although maybe not that impressive to a cartographer or a geomatics person, sometimes that is all that is needed with a simple mapping application.


Here is the link
to check out the mapping application for your self:

http://www.ocol-clo.gc.ca/twolanguages_deuxlangues/index_e#

CanadianGIS.com has been exploring the web and exposing some of the many great online web mapping applications for the past year covering various regions and topics in Canada, if you know of one that has been missed or not listed on the site yet then let me know. I will take a look at it and then consider adding it the site for CanadianGIS.com viewers to learn more about and share with their networks.

Alberta’s Changing Political Landscape

Alberta's changing political web map

On April 23, 2012 thousands of electors headed to the polls for Alberta’s 28th provincial election. In all 87 candidates were elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, 4 more then 2008 due to an increase in the provinces growing population. The Progressive Conservative party won a majority with 61 of the 87 elected ridings.

More information about Alberta general elections can be found at the Elections Alberta website. Instead I will continue to discuss Alberta’s 28th provincial election but as it relates to mapping, but what does a provincial election have to do with mapping?

Well… ESRI Canada has what they refer to as a Public Map Gallery that is a collection of custom web maps created by their mapping team featuring Canadian community maps, Canadian election results, and various census data. Here they leveraged some of their online spatial tools and features available together with public domain data to create an interactive online mapping application of Alberta’s Changing Political Landscape.

The online interactive political map can help people visualize the results from Alberta’s past three provincial elections all together in one interactive browser window. A similar online mapping application like this one was also created for the last federal election in 2011.

“The Esri Canada Mapping Team who is responsible for the construction of a series of Canadian Community Maps and web applications hosted on ArcGIS.com. The Esri Canada Community Maps Program provides a cost-effective and efficient framework for organizations to share their geographic information with the public.” http://maps.esri.ca/gallery/

Alberta's changing political web map

Using the interactive mapping application of Alberta’s Changing Political Landscape a person can view results from Alberta’s 2004, 2008, 2012 elections and when they zoom into an area of interest in one map window, all the other windows will zoom to the same level automatically making it very easy to compare the results from place to place.

An additional information tool is provided that allows people to click on any electoral riding and the basic information for that one appears below the map, containing information such as the elected party, the MLA, the electoral district name, number of electors, voter turnout etc. To check out the online Alberta map for your self go to http://maps.esri.ca/ElectoralMaps/AB_GeneralElections/


Do you know about any Canadian online web maps that are not covered by CanadianGIS.com? Then let me know and I will look into adding it to our database.

Things to See & Do in British Columbia

Screen Grab - Things to Do and See in (BC) British Columbia

BCParks Online Mapping Application

BCParks has created a simple online mapping application with data from the DataBC program to help people in British Columbia find things see and do in British Columbia by identifying the various locations of the Province’s Parks, Protected Areas, Recreation Areas and Ecological Reserves.

Map - Things to Do and See in BC (British Columbia)

The online interactive mapping tool based on the Google Maps platform offers various searching abilities and provides users with some control over the features and map layers that are displayed in the mapping window.

Points of interest in the map window feature places like Provincial Parks that are also interactive when clicked, providing basic information, photos and links to the respective web pages for that feature that can provide more adequate information.

Although this online map may be relatively pretty basic it still does a good job of providing people with the ability to interactive spatially, appreciate the vast geography of British Columbia and find information about things to see & do that they may have not discovered before.

Click here for more information about the The DataBC program.