1. Calgary, AB
Ranking: 1st | Score: 96.30%
The City of Calgary’s Geospatial Business Solutions (GBS) Division continues to push the limits of what GIS programs can be and how they can support and enhance government services. In 2020, Calgary ranked first in both the implementation and impact sections of the GMI maturity assessment and eighth in the readiness section. The outputs of the GBS division in terms of data analysis, mapping services, dashboard generation, and technical support are astounding. The capacity of the team is so advanced, they can offer services on a fee recovery basis to external organizations. During the pandemic, Geospatial Business Solutions continues to provide robust GIS support to the Calgary Emergency Management Centre (CEMA).
Provided by the City of Calgary — “The City of Calgary is extremely proud to be recognized again in 2020 by PSD as the recipient of the first-place ranking for the Geospatial Maturity Index. This past year has presented tremendous challenges for all of us. Yet it has also provided opportunities to showcase and push the boundaries of our geospatial tools and expertise. It has provided new location-centric insight to decision makers and the public on how best to safely function in a pandemic situation. These were often groups not previously familiar with the power of geospatial data.
Calgary has always realized that location-based data and intelligence is fundamental to enabling the efficient delivery of public services. As a result, we have continued to grow our collaboration with City services, our vendors and partners to a point where GIS is an integrated component of many new technologies, including artificial intelligence, real-time positioning, Internet of Things and connected sensor technologies. It is through this relentless exploration and evaluation of opportunities that we are able to continue to mature in the geospatial field.
This ranking emphasizes that we must not take our foot off the pedal of expanding the use of GIS technology and expertise. The GMI ranking continues to provide valuable insight for continued growth and improvement for The City of Calgary. Our world-class team continues to expand their expertise and have the permission and space to try new things – we strive for an innovative culture at the heart of all that we do.”
— Gord Rasmussen, Acting Manager – Geospatial Business Solutions Division
2. Irvine, CA
Ranking: 2nd | Score: 93.12%
The City of Irvine, located in Orange County California, is the second most advanced GIS program in North America and the first U.S. GMI participant to crack the top three. Scoring second in Readiness, seventh in Implementation, and third in Impact, Irvine demonstrated maturity across all three core components of the GMI assessment. With approximately five full-time equivalent GIS staff, Irvine’s small but nimble GIS team delivers big outcomes. The GIS team is located within Irvine’s IT department, but GIS power users are supported throughout the organization, including Public Works, Finance, Parks & Recreation, Emergency Services, and Planning Services.
With a goal of becoming a centre for geospatial excellence, the City of Irvine adopted its GIS Master Plan and ensured that GIS data and programming are prioritized in the City’s Official Plan, Strategic Plan, Open Government Plan, and IT Master Plan. Irvine uses commercial GIS software and mobile data collection tools synced with a cloud-based inventory. The GIS team recently launched a data hub on the City’s website as a dashboard for interactive park maps, a building permit finder, a child care center map and more. Next, Irvine’s GIS team is looking to build out advanced 3D public facing web applications, and in time, data collection using drones.
Provided by the City of Irvine — “The City of Irvine GIS team strives for excellence and innovation by integrating into every department of the city and utilizing the newest technologies to tackle modern problems. We focus on enabling every city Department to have an easy way to analyze their data. Whether it’s through using live-data feeds for making critical decisions in real-time or being able to communicate with the public in an emergency situation. We continue to push the boundaries of how GIS is used in local government.”
— Alex Holt, Senior GIS Analyst
3. District of North Vancouver
Ranking: 3rd | Score: 92.59%
The District of North Vancouver (DNV) is not new to the GMI’s top performing list. After securing the third place ranking in 2018, DNV dipped slightly to sixth place in 2019. In 2020, DNV reclaimed third place for the GMI, with an even result across all categories of the geospatial assessment, scoring sixth in Readiness, fourth in Implementation, and fifth in Impact. DNV’s GIS program is centralized within the IT department, with between 6 and 10 full-time equivalent staff powering the District’s GIS outcomes.
DNV has a GIS Strategic Plan in place to guide departmental priorities, and geospatial data is leveraged throughout other corporate plans to support both broad and specific goals, such as KPIs related to development, traffic, housing, community health, and the environment. In addition to regular internal training provided to GIS staff, DNV offers periodic workshops with other departments to update staff on new GIS capabilities and to community groups as requested. According to DNV’s GIS team, “staff awareness and appreciation of GIS’ abilities has led to increased demand for GIS applications and service.” The District’s in-demand GIS team plans to look at new application development, enhanced 3D modelling and BIM capabilities, augmented and virtual realities, and hardware upgrades (like drone technology) in the years to come.
Provided by the District of North Vancouver — “As a centralized resource for all departments, the DNV GIS team strives to provide creative solutions and workflows that serve users across the organization. The team has long had the support of the Executive and Senior Management in continuing to improve and challenge processes, through research and innovation.”
— Krista Heinrich, Manager of Business Applications
Top State/Provincial/Federal Agency or Department
USDA Forest Service
The top performing provincial/state/federal agency or department in the 2020 GMI was the United States Forest Service who ranked 30th. The Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, embracing the power of geospatial information to analyze and visualize data pertaining to the country’s 154 national forests.
The United States Forest Service offers a dynamic GIS web viewer for exploring hiking trails, camping sites, and more across national forests and grasslands.
Cassowary Coast Regional Council
Cassowary Coast Regional Council in Queensland, Australia uses their geospatial data and tools to offer interactive maps to the public to view road network and flood mapping data and reports for regions and properties.
Population of region: 30,000
Size of GIS department: 2-5 staff (Spatial and Asset Information Services)
Structure of GIS program: Centralized (within IT department)
Departments using GIS data/systems:
- Asset/Infrastructure Management
- Planning Services
- Public Works & Engineering
- Parks & Recreation
- Customer Service
Next GIS priority: Finalize first GIS Strategic Plan