Alberta Parks Honored for GIS Technology
ESRI Canada has presented an Award of Excellence to Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation (ATPR) for its innovative online campground reservation service that uses ESRI’s geographic information system (GIS) technology.
Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca provides up-to-date maps and real-time availability of more than 4,000 campsites across 50 provincial campgrounds. The application has automated and centralized campground reservations in Alberta, significantly increasing efficiency in park management, as well as increasing visitor satisfaction, according to an ESRI news release. The ESRI Canada Award of Excellence recognizes organizations and individuals for their outstanding achievements in the application of GIS. The award was presented to the ministry at the 2010 ESRI Canada User Conference in Edmonton, Alberta.
“Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca is an excellent example of how governments can leverage the Internet and GIS to deliver enhanced services to citizens,” said Alex Miller, president of ESRI Canada. “It maximizes the use of the province’s geographic data and provides an interactive and cost-effective system to communicate park information. More importantly, it promotes the sustainable use of provincial parkland and makes recreational opportunities in Alberta more accessible.”
The ministry initiated the development of the website in 2008 as part of Alberta’s Plan for Parks, which guides the management of provincial parks over the long term. At that time, reservations could only be made by phone or in person. To address visitors’ needs for a more efficient reservation system, the ministry selected The Silvacom Group and Sierra Systems to design and develop an online application that would allow users to view, explore and reserve campsites online.
Using ESRI’s ArcGIS Server technology, they created an enterprise GIS that could manage and serve up large amounts of information about the campsites; more than 12 million map, data and image files were compiled to build Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca. The application’s intuitive user interface was developed in Adobe Flex and includes integrated multimedia. Today, users can search campsites by geography, features and amenities and obtain 360-degree panoramic views for an accurate depiction of the campground to help them choose the best site for their needs. The application also allows reservations to be made up to 90 days in advance. The site received 10,000 visitors when it was launched on May 1, 2009, and has processed more than 170,000 reservations in its first two years of operation.
“With this technology, we have significantly improved our campground reservation service, which has resulted in our provincial campgrounds being easier to access,” said Cindy Ady, minister of Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation. “This award inspires us to look for more ways to apply innovation to further improve our operations and promote Alberta as a leading recreational destination.”