City's Geographic Information Service Among Top in Canada

In a recent national survey, the City of Kamloops Geographic Information Service (GIS) program scored 16th out 146 Canadian public sector organizations.

"We're among a good crowd", said Adam Chadwick, the City's GIS Manager, referring to the other municipalities in the top 25, including Calgary, Halifax, Quebec City, Waterloo, Langley, and Burnaby. The Toronto Police Service and the Vancouver Police Department also topped the list. 

The survey, a first of its kind in Canada, was conducted by Public Sector Digest (PSD), a public sector research and consulting firm, with support from GIS practitioners across the country.

The survey was designed to assess how advanced an organization's GIS is in terms of efficiency and capacity. Specifically, it asked 77 questions to identify three areas for evaluation: readiness, implementation, and impact. 

In the report's introduction, which includes the top 25 ranking, Tyler Sutton, Editor-in-Chief and Director of Research for PSD, said the results of this national survey provide organizations with a performance benchmark. 

"Our Top 25 organizations ranked in this 2018 report are achieving incredible results in geospatial programming," Sutton noted. 

Chadwick is also very pleased with the review. 

"This is an independent measure of how we are doing," he said. "It means we are doing a good job spending tax dollars in this area. It also provides us with a benchmark against which we can measure future performance as we strive to further improve the program."  

GIS programming involves technology and software related to maps and mapping functions. In a municipal context, that includes everything that would need to be mapped within a city, such as streets, parks, neighbourhoods, properties, underground utilities, zoning, land use, and more. 

"All departments use GIS in some way, shape, or form. We deliberately have our team and system set up as a centralized organizational service, which helps contribute to our efficiency," explained Chadwick, a GIS veteran who has been with the City for 25 years.

He attributes the strength of the program to his entire team and ongoing organizational support.  

"There has been strong commitment to the advancement of the technology, maintaining quality spatial data sets, our professional development, and overall strategic planning," he said. Examples of some of this work can be found at Kamloops.ca/Maps.