Putting Victoria on the digital map

City of Victoria's new VicMap has 'tremendous potential' for future applications, say experts

Imagine walking past a construction site in downtown Victoria, pulling out your smartphone or iPad and immediately seeing what that same space looked like last year, a decade or even 100 years ago.

Now imagine panning your smartphone towards the sky and seeing exactly what that building will look like when it’s complete.

Thanks to VicMap, that app and hundreds of others could soon be a reality.

The City of Victoria’s new interactive, multi-layered online map takes massive caches of municipal data and puts them in one place, creating a one-stop shop for information that previously required a trip to City Hall.

From sewage lines to rezoning development applications to parks that allow off-leash dogs, VicMap is intended to simplify data for residents and businesses alike.

“There’s very basic targeted information like property tax (details) or garbage pick-up dates, but what this application does is it allows people to combine information to do some pretty neat things,” said Steve Myhill-Jones, CEO of Latitude Geographics, a Victoria-based IT company that built the program used by the city.

Zoning data can be combined with census and demographic information, for example, to determine the best location for a new grocery store, or the city could easily add the locations of voting stations during the next municipal election, Myhill-Jones said.

CloverPoint CEO Karl Swannie and his team specialize in using geospatial data to create easy-to-use visualized applications (for an impressive example, see Islands Trust’s MapIT application).

Swannie applauded the City of Victoria for getting much of its data online in one place – no small feat in a municipal environment.

“Building the application is almost the easier part, because you’ve got to get years of data together,” said James Fernandes, CloverPoint’s chief technology officer.

“Everything we do is all predicated on good data,” Swannie said. “If we get good data from our clients, then we can build amazing things.”

He holds up his iPad and pans it left and right, displaying a navigable 3-D model of the Victoria International Airport’s newest wing, which hasn’t yet been built.

The interface combines digital architectural drawings to create the feel of being in the space.

“We did a project like Google Street View but on the coast of Alaska, just in case there’s an oil spill, they’re going to know where to land crews,” he said.

Myhill-Jones praised the City of Victoria for developing a version of VicMap that works on smartphones and tablets, something many municipalities are slow to embrace.

“You can actually bring up property and zoning information on the go. It’s the first step, but there’s tremendous potential and I think we’ll see the city develop it,” he said.

To explore VicMap, visit victoria.ca/map.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Convicted drug trafficker asks Victoria courtroom for chance to ‘turn this around’

Horst Schirmer sentenced for convictions on five counts of possession related to trafficking

Pipeline protestors plan march as Trudeau gives Trans Mountain the go-ahead,

20 kilometre march to protest the pipeline starts in Victoria, ends on Saanich Peninsula

Union Club of B.C. votes in its first female president

16-year member Grace Van den Brink previously served as vice president

$11 million overdraw for McKenzie Interchange construction

The project has been delayed multiple times and is now estimating a budget of $96 million

Alzheimer Society calls for helpline volunteers in Greater Victoria

Charity is in ‘urgent need’ as calls on the rise

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Most Read