Following a successful preview, The City of Calgary today announced the official launch of the new search-based calgary.ca.
The website, which uses Microsoft SharePoint and Google search technology, was available for public preview from August 8 to 12. During the preview process, Calgarians were able to test the new site by typing in keywords to find relevant information. Public feedback during the preview process was exceptionally favourable with very few problems reported.
“We were incredibly impressed with the amount of feedback we received. Comments on social media indicated this was a move in the right direction for the City of Calgary,” said David Watson, General Manager of Planning, Development and Assessment and Project Sponsor.
“Microsoft is pleased to be part of Calgary’s long term strategic vision to deliver innovation to its employees, citizens and businesses,” said Mike Tremblay, Vice President, Public Sector, Microsoft Canada. “We congratulate The City on the launch of calgary.ca and are delighted that Microsoft SharePoint 2010 was selected as the unified platform to help streamline its government services and foster collaboration between Calgary and its citizens and local businesses.”
Through a competitive bidding process, The City of Calgary hired Infusion Development to complete development work on the website. “The goal from the onset was to ensure that citizens could find information and services quickly and easily.” said, Bill Baldasti, VP Canadian Sales, Infusion. “For this, a custom feed-engine to enable smart searching was developed. On top of this, we built an extensive mapping suite, a completely optimized mobile experience, and online forms that all together will enable revolutionary new ways for the community to interact with their local government.”
The new website marks a movement towards eGovernment and a shift to providing more services and information online. “Our citizens have said this is how they want to interact with their municipal government,” said David. He adds, “The upgrades we’ve made to calgary.ca have built the foundation for The City to support future advances in technology and will allow us to better serve and communicate with Calgarians for years to come.”
Calgary.ca was originally developed in 2002 to meet the growing demand of citizens requesting civic information online. Since its inception, The City has increasingly relied on the internet to deliver information to Calgarians. Even as the population increases, contacting The City in-person or by phone is decreasing. Last year, the website reached over 9 million visitors. The new website now search-base and structured in a way that is easier to find information for both citizens and customers.