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November 15, 2018, 9:16 am

Coquitlam Embraces Virtual Reality for Community Planning

City of Coquitlam
COQUITLAM - Imagine walking along a computer-generated street in Coquitlam City Centre to experience first-hand how proposed new buildings would fit into the neighbourhood and with each other.

As part of its five-year Technology Roadmap, Coquitlam has begun to explore the use of virtual reality (VR) for planning future development. The use of VR – which is leading edge for governments – will allow City staff, Council and the public to take realistic walkthroughs of multiple, concurrent proposed developments and explore the impact of different building locations, interactions, architectural details, times of day, seasons and other variables.

In short, VR will provide more comprehensive information for decision-making, and fewer surprises. The City worked with technology consulting firm Aspyr earlier this year on a pilot VR project involving a City Centre highrise development, and unveiled it at the Welcome to Coquitlam event Oct. 3. The video is posted at www.coquitlam.ca/smart.

The introduction of VR will be the next step beyond the 3D modeling software the City currently uses to engage the public and to visualize the look, feel and impact of proposed developments.

Coquitlam’s Technology Roadmap

Using VR and other technology to improve how the City works and delivers services is at the heart of the 2018 Technology Roadmap, which will guide how the City will choose, acquire and use technology for the next five years. Implemented in February, the plan calls for upgrades to existing systems as well as consideration of new and emerging technologies.

In addition to the VR project, initiatives under way or earmarked for 2018-2019 include:
 
  • A City services mobile app to be piloted in early 2019, with the first phase providing program registration, event and facility information, customized event notifications, and integration with existing City online services and the Recollect waste collection app;
  • Ongoing expansion of public WiFi services in City parks, facilities and public spaces;
  • Interactive touchscreen kiosks, or “Neighbourhood Hubs,” with tourism, City and wayfinding information, starting with a pilot outside the Lafarge Lake-Douglas SkyTrain station later this year;
  • Digital parking signage at Town Centre Park in early December showing real-time parking availability;
  • Responsive public surveys in the community using tablet computers, including two successful pilots in the summer;
  • Improved staff productivity through the rollout of Skype for Business, digital meeting room bookings and new project management software; and
  • A pilot of video analytics software for smart traffic management.

The Technology Roadmap will help the City navigate the rapidly-changing world of technology by providing a method to identify, evaluate, prioritize and implement new solutions as they become available or cost-effective. Projects identified in the plan will be brought forward during the annual business plan and budgeting process.

More information about the plan can be found at www.coquitlam.ca/smart.

Media contact:
Danny Bandiera
Manager Information Communications & Technology
604-927-6301
dbandiera@coquitlam.ca

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