City of Ottawa wins 2023 Esri special achievement in GIS award

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By Robin MacLennan

Ottawa Construction News staff writer

The City of Ottawa has been recognized for building a GIS-based, interactive 3D digital twin that reimagines urban planning with the 2023 Esri Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) award.

Selected from thousands of Esri customer organizations worldwide, the award is for “exceptional use of geographic information system (GIS) technology to visualize and plan urban development in new ways”.

The only other Canadian winner was Newfoundland Power for developing a GIS centric street light outage reporting system to improve real time outages reported by customers via the company’s website. The goal was “to provide a device agnostic and intuitive interface to quickly report street light issues so that they can be actioned efficiently”.

Ottawa developed a digital twin, powered by ArcGIS Urban software, to transform its traditional 2D mapping into a robust and interactive 3D visual environment that creates innovative decision-making experiences throughout city planning processes and builds long-term viability.

“The City of Ottawa has accomplished a lot in terms of building a 3D model of the city and integrating it into their planning and development process,” said Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada. “Their digital twin is transforming the city’s urban planning and will benefit residents for years to come.”

While updating the official plan, Ottawa used ArcGIS Urban to build out a digital twin that connects with partner data and enables collaboration between planners and developers with high-resolution dynamic models integrating information about zoning and zoning height, bylaws, elevation profile, transit, roads and surface infrastructure.

“On behalf of the City of Ottawa, I am extremely thankful to receive the 2023 Esri Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award,” said Randal Rodger, program manager, geospatial analytics, technology and solutions. “This award recognizes the hard work our team has put into the digital twin project.”

A web-based ArcGIS editing tool called zone builder was also created, to allow users to review projects against the backdrop of zoning bylaws. By providing a realistic sense of the look, feel and function of an environment, both at present and planned stages, staff can proactively engage partners and facilitate improved public consultation.

Read more about the City of Ottawa’s digital twin project.

The full list of awards is here.

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