Calgary GIS Team Managing Flood Crisis

We send good wishes and thoughts of concern to members of Calgary, Alberta, Canada’s GIS team. They are in the midst of managing flood emergency operations in their city. We had anticipated them attending the UC and sharing their award winning geospatial emergency management (GEM) system, but they are at home putting the system to work.

Image provided by Robin Wickson


The team has been staffing the emergency response operations center 24 hours a day since mid-June. Published on ArcGIS Online, the Calgary Flood map features an Open Street Map basemap, open data, georeferenced social media, 1-mile buffers of rivers, and crowd-sourced data for Calgary.

For the past year, Calgary has been improving its emergency management system by adding GEM applications to build a GIS-based common operating picture. The system was launched on May 28th. At that time, Esri Canada honored the team with an Award of Excellence. A few weeks later, the city succumbed to floods that have threatened lives and caused billions of dollars of damage in the downtown area. The new COP has been working extremely well and is used for all the mayor’s briefings.

The GEM system shares data among 32 partner organizations from the police to the board of education. It also adds citizen data found on social media services such as Twitter and YouTube to the common operating picture.

It has been a most timely project.

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