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GIS Migration Project, Sault Ste. Marie

Sault Ste. Marie GIS Migration Project

2011-2012

Client: City of Sault Ste. Marie and Sault Ste. Marie PUC Inc.

During the 2011 and 2012 calendar years, SSMIC completed a major upgrade of the existing GIS for the City of Sault Ste. Marie and the Sault Ste. Marie Public Utilities Company. Not only did SSMIC upgrade the version of ESRI’s software from ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Desktop 9.3.1 to ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Desktop 10.x but we embarked on an undertaking that would span across databases, hardware, programming languages, delivery and technologies.

SSMIC did an extensive study into the future of GIS, direction of ESRI and listened to what the client needed. The decision to move from an Oracle Based Database platform to Microsoft’s SQL Server platform not only simplified database administration but kept the total cost of ownership (TCO) to a minimum. SSMIC was able to leverage existing certifications and experience from other projects to make this transformation between the two databases quickly and with no data or functionality loss and allowed for backups to occur while the database was still available to clients. SSMIC then proceeded to upgrade all the existing custom code and toolbars from a VB6 language to the new VB .NET language, while also doing an extensive comparison of existing tools and what ArcGIS Desktop 10.x had available to reduce the amount of custom code.

The user interfaces were changed from a rather thick ArcIMS client to a more slimmed down ArcGIS Server front end and delivered the ArcGIS Desktop application through a Citrix environment making upgrades, updates and delivery simplified so the clients IT could focus their IT dollars on other things rather than keeping up with the system requirements for ArcGIS Desktop. This also resulted in a significant decrease in support and install times. Single Sign On (SSO) was also implemented with the new system that allowed the user base to have a single password and username for everything from logging into their desktop to accessing the GIS and Citrix, thus greatly reducing user frustration.

In regard to hardware, SSMIC made the transition from the older power hungry and performance lacking  rack server hardware and Direct Attached Storage (DAS) to the new and powerful Blade technology couples with a dedicated SAN that would allow for quick growth and increased demand on the GIS. By moving to the new hardware, software and programming platforms we were able to greatly increase the availability of the GIS system from 70% to near 95%.

The above described migration was completed in one year ahead of schedule and on budget. SSMIC supported the existing solution in parallel to developing a complete new solution.

Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre