Anchorage Selected for Special Achievement Award in GIS
ANCHORAGE— The Municipality of Anchorage was one of 189 winners chosen from more than 100,000 organizations worldwide to receive the Esri 2018 Special Achievement in GIS Award. Anchorage was selected in the category of “Social Services” for the policy and technology work on homelessness.
The information gathered through the digitization of annual Point in Time count data, as well as observations from the Anchorage Police Department, Anchorage Parks and Recreation, and residents through AncWorks, has improved the City's understanding of its homeless population. Prior to implementing this approach, communication between departments and the public was limited to push pin maps, emails, and written descriptions.
The adoption of the 2015 Anchorage Community Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness necessitated the development of technology to reduce the time from personal contact to housing. Using geospatial applications, the City’s Geographic Data and Information Center enabled departments to easily share maps and data collected at camps via mobile devices, incorporating resident input on camp location through the AncWorks dashboard.
The public has been an invaluable collaborator, with crowd-sourced information serving as the basis for the majority of the reports through the AncWorks system, an online portal that allows residents to report camps and receive updates as they are posted and cleaned. The system will
be instrumental in the implementation of the 2018-2021 Strategic Action Plan to End Homelessness.