AlbertaParks recognized for innovative reservation service

ESRI Canada recently presented an Award of Excellence to Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation (ATPR) for its online campground reservation system that uses ESRI’s geographic information system (GIS) technology.

The new innovative reservation service, Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca, provides campers with maps and real-time space availability of more than 4,000 camping sites at 50 provincial campgrounds. Campers now have the capability of viewing, exploring, and reserving campsites online.

In addition to increasing visitor satisfaction, Alberta’s new automated and centralized campground reservation service, has also increasing efficiency in park management.

Image courtesy Alberta Parks

The ESRI Canada Award of Excellence recognizes organizations and individuals for their outstanding achievements in the application of GIS.

“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, 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.”

Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park, one of 50 Alberta parks using the new reservation system, Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The development of Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca was initiated in 2008 as part of Alberta’s Plan for Parks, a planning document that guides the management of provincial parks over the long term.

Previously, reservations could only be made by phone or in person. To address the need for a more efficient system, The Silvacom Group and Sierra Systems was chosen to design and develop an online application.

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.

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.

Since launched on May 1, 2009, the site has received 10,000 visitors; more than 170,000 reservations were processed in its first two days of operation.

Image courtesy Alberta Parks

“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.

Founded in 1984, ESRI Canada provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower businesses, governments, and educational institutions to make timely, informed, and mission-critical decisions by leveraging the power of geography.

Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation supports the development and marketing of the province as a world-class tourism destination; manages a network of provincial parks and protected areas to preserve important ecological areas and provide opportunities to enjoy and learn about Alberta’s natural heritage; and promotes active, healthy lifestyles and athletic excellence by supporting sport, recreation, and training facilities.

Worth Pondering…

Four strong winds that blow

Lowly seven seas that run high

All those things that don’t change

Come what may

But our good times are all gone

And I’m bound for moving on

I’ll look for you if I’m ever back this way

Think I’ll go out to Alberta

Weather’s good there in the fall

Got some friends there I can go to.

—sung by Ian Tyson

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