County of Oxford Recognized for Continued Leadership in Using Geographic Information Systems

First Canadian municipality to use GIS in the ‘80s pioneers again in adopting new model for managing land parcel data

London, ON – Esri Canada User Conference – April 9, 2013 – In 1985, the County of Oxford became the first municipality in Canada to implement Esri’s enterprise geographic information system (GIS) technology for its Land Related Information System. The system integrated property and infrastructure information from numerous government databases to support efficient municipal processes. In 2012, Oxford County became a GIS pioneer again for being the first municipality in Ontario to adopt the new Esri parcel fabric data model. This significantly improves mapping workflows and allows the County to better manage its cadastral data. For being at the forefront of GIS technology and best practices, the County was presented today with the Esri Canada Award of Excellence.

“Oxford County recognizes the value of having accurate land information and maps to support effective operations, planning and decision-making,” says Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada. “Their discerning approach to adopting new GIS technology and techniques allows them to continuously improve their services and set new standards for managing land data in the municipal sector.”

“Moving to Esri’s new parcel fabric model has streamlined the way we manage and edit parcel data,” notes Matt Cowan, GIS and Web Coordinator, County of Oxford. “It allows our team members to update parcel data simultaneously and make it available in real time to departments across our organization. The new model supports better planning and helps us to complete mapping tasks much faster. For example, it used to take several days to realign a city block on a plan; now, it only takes an hour with the new model.”

The County recently upgraded to Esri’s ArcGIS 10.1 platform, which introduced the parcel fabric, a new method for parcel management. This model manages the spatial and topological relationships inherent in parcel data. It makes land information easier to store, edit and share throughout the organization and with the public. ArcGIS also comes with a Parcel Editor toolbar that contains easy-to-use tools for updating parcel data. After reviewing the new parcel fabric and editing tools in ArcGIS, the County decided to use them out of the box.

A six-month pilot project was undertaken to configure the parcel fabric model, migrate the County’s data into an enterprise geodatabase and train staff on the new editing tools. Two full data conversions were completed and no custom editing tools were developed during the pilot phase. The County went live with the new parcel fabric in December 2012.

The new model allows the County to increase the accuracy of its parcel data using least-squares adjustment, where parcel data is aligned with land survey control data and aerial photography. The parcel fabric also supports 3D planning, which is useful in planning multi-level buildings such as new condominium properties. It allows the County to display a more detailed parcel map. Previously, municipal staff could only view condominium blocks, now they can view individual units. With a more accurate parcel fabric, the County can enhance its processes including land-use planning, taxation, administering of building permits and emergency planning.

Learn more about the new parcel fabric model and editing tools in ArcGIS.

About Oxford County 
Located in the heart of southwestern Ontario, Oxford County is set among rolling hills and farmland and boasts a rapidly expanding business sector. The County offers a thriving local arts, culture and culinary community; scenic trails, conservation parks and natural areas; and a choice location at the crossroads of Highways 401 and 403. Oxford County has a population of approximately 106,000 people across eight municipalities that are “growing stronger together” through a partnership-oriented, two-tier governance structure incorporated as the County of Oxford. The regional seat for the County of Oxford is in Woodstock. Visit or follow Oxford County at

About Esri Canada
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.  The company distributes the world’s leading GIS software from Esri, along with a comprehensive portfolio of complementary GIS products and services. Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada. Esri Canada is a 2012 winner of Canada’s Best Managed Companies program and has also been named to the Branham Group’s Top 250 Canadian IT Companies and Top 25 IT Professional Services Providers in Canada, as well as Computer Dealer News’ Top 100 IT Solution Providers in Canada lists. Information about Esri Canada can be found at