Award for Making Police Data Public

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 11:37 a.m. July 11, 2019
Updated: 12:57 p.m. July 11, 2019

Toronto Police has won a major award for leading the way in using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to enhance community collaboration and increase efficiency.

Three people holding an award in different photos
Ian Williams, Debbie Verduga and Marva Carter accepted accepted the Esri Special Achievement in GIS Award

The Esri Special Achievement in GIS Award was presented to the Service, which developed the Public Safety Data Portal (data.tps.on.ca), an open data portal that increases transparency, improves the public understanding of policing and enhances confidence in the Service.

The portal provides unprecedented access to location-based police information, allowing residents to see where crimes and traffic collisions have occurred and much more.

“The largest municipal police service in the country, the Toronto Police Service, challenged stereotypes and shared their crime data,” said Esri Canada President Alex Miller. “The response, collaboration and engagement from the public has been amazing, even beyond Toronto.”

Police services across Canada, the United States and Europe along with academic institutions, the media and the public access the portal and often communicate and collaborate with the Service about issues in their communities. The Service benefits from this input and because people can quickly find the answers they need online.

“The Public Safety Data Portal provides meaningful information for stakeholders from Toronto and beyond. It has been a key piece in the Toronto Police Service modernization and increases transparency allowing the public to learn more about the public safety challenges facing all of our communities,” said Ian Williams, Manager of Analytics & Innovation at Toronto Police Service. “This is the first time any police service in Canada has won an award like this, recognizing our advanced use of this technology. For the portal, I think one of the reasons we were recognized is because of our precedent-setting standard of providing a level of transparent data that has not been done before. Even across other industries, we are the leader when it comes to open data visualization and analytics of public information in Toronto.”

Debbie Verduga was the team lead in creating the portal and Marva Carter the project manager for the technical environment and support.

The portal was created using ArcGIS Open Data which is included in Esri’s cloud-based mapping service.

Founded in 1984, Esri Canada provides geographic information system GIS) solutions that empower people in business, government and education to make informed and timely decisions by leveraging the power of mapping and spatial analytics.

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Public Safety Data Portal users can view maps on showing crime as well as resources in their neighbourhoods
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