New and Improved iMapBC Benefits Economy

colour-iMapThe Province of B.C. launched a new version of iMapBC. This popular public mapping tool can be freely used to visualize and analyze hundreds of geographic government datasets. Content includes location of municipalities, public and private property, land use tenures, heath regions, roads, rivers, and topography.

 As a reliable source of up-to-date and authoritative data, iMapBC helps inform a broad range of decision makers from oil and gas companies to First Nations. This means they spend less time doing paperwork both inside and outside government, and more time developing projects that generate jobs for British Columbians.

iMapBC can help simplify the regulatory process for the province’s expanding oil and gas industry, a major driver of the provincial economy. For example, before oil and gas companies can start work, their development plans must be approved by the BC Oil and Gas Commission. To obtain approval, their plans must include actions to protect the rights of others in the area, such as landowners or other tenure holders. This could range from guide outfitters to other oil and gas companies.

Continue Reading Article on blog.data.gov.bc.ca …

New and Improved GeoGratis Website

GeoGratis free Canadian geospatial data web portal

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has recently launched a new update to the already innovative GeoGratis website (Note: although it has gone live it is still in beta mode).  GeoGratis is a web portal that provides access to a wide collection of Canadian geospatial data, maps, images, and publications at no cost and without restrictions.

All data accessed via GeoGratis comes with an Unrestricted Use Licence Agreement that grants users a non-exclusive, royalty-free right and licence to exercise all intellectual property rights in the data including the right to use, incorporate, sub-license, modify, further develop, and distribute the data. The various downloadable geospatial data, maps, images, and publications in several different popular formats such as geopdf, geotiff, pdf, shape file and tiff.

GeoGratis Canadian Geospatial Data Portal

Improvements to the new site made go much deeper then just minor cosmetic changes. GeoGratis Website  is now easier to use and allows access to better search tools where one can now view and download all available geospatial data sets consolidated into the same web site.

The new Platform also now better supports developers that want to create unique and innovative mapping applications with Canadian data, images and documents using one of the three available GeoGratis Application Programming Interfaces (API’s). These include the GeoGratis API, the GeoLocation API and also an updated Canada base web map service (WMS) that now also includes Canadian transportation data (Canada Base Map for Transportation – CBM-T).

NRCan feels that the new GeoGratis service is compatible with OpenGIS® Consortium (OGC), innovative and cutting-edge, and will provide a better one stop site for people to obtain Canadian geospatial data, maps, images and publications.

The New GeoGratis Website: An Innovative Geospatial Platform for all Canadians; consolidates several location-based services including The Canadian Geographical Names Database (CGNDB), Atlas Gazetteer, Postal Codes and National Topographic System (NTS) Map search. The CGNDB manages names records for populated places and physical features across Canada. Users can search by geographic location using the map of Canada, name, physical feature, subject, NTS number or product title.

GeoGratis - Search geospatial gis data results

NRCan has been listening to what the geomatics community has been asking for all along. And as a result have taken what was already a pretty good service that offered free data and information and consolidated it together, cleaned it up and then added some more tools as well.

Therefore one should only expect that with all this royalty-free geospatial data and API tools now available that we should start to see more Canadian Cities and Municipalities start to offer web mapping sites and geographic information for their citizens.

Take a look at the new and improved GeoGratis Website for yourself using either the new search interface or simply browse through the extensive directory listing of hundreds of different maps, imagery and geospatial data sets to discover what the Federal Government of Canada has to offer the geomatics community.

Free Georeferenced Topographic Map Sheets

So far this year Natural Resources Canada has released over 350 updated or new topographic map sheets and made them available to the public in what they refer to as the CanTopo series. CanTopo is considered the next generation of topographic map sheets that provides quality spatial information that fully complies with international geomatic standards.

The digital maps are considered multipurpose because they can be utilized for a wide range of uses from many different organizations and individuals. Georeferenced versions can also be used with Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers and other digital geographic data sets with various software packages such as Google Earth, ArcMap or Global Mapper. You can also simply print them and use them the way they are, as regular NTS paper maps, just like most of done for years.

Niagara Falls Online Maps & Data Downloads

Ever since I reviewed the GEONB online mapping application by Service New Brunswick (SNB) and started to investigate various Canadian Open Data Sources, emails have been flooding my inbox with information about other Canadian GIS resources that I should share with all the CanadianGIS.com viewers [Thanks for that! And keep them coming!].

So in an effort to fulfill  those requests, I have been taken some time to review some of the various technology and available data sets from across Canada and continue reviewing them in the GIS data section of the web site throughout the next few months. For one, to learn how well other sites compare (since SNB has set the bar pretty high) and then also to ensure that information about these great GIS resources are shared with others in the Canadian GIS community who can make use of them After all it is one thing to have great GIS information available but it is even better when people know about it.

Niagara Falls Open Data & Online MapsAmong some of the recent responses was an email from the City of Niagara Falls providing me with information about their Interactive Mapping Service  (IMS) known as the Falls Viewer, Niagara Falls Open Data sets and various GIS accomplishments by the Information Systems division. So I took some time, read the provided information, explored the website, tested out the online applications, downloaded some files and this is what I learned:

Niagara Falls, Ontario is located a historical Canadian city located on the Niagara River in the Golden Horseshoe region. It covers a land area of approximately 212 square kilometers including both urban and rural regions; it was incorporated in 1903 and has over 82,500 residents. This historical border city is most known for the world famous set of waterfalls, the American falls and the Horseshoe falls. These bring mass amounts of visitors to the region making it on of the major tourist attractions in the world.Niagara Falls Ontario oblique aerial photo

The City of Niagara Falls state that they are committed to improving services to their citizens, providing transparency and showing accountability with the most innovative and cost effective methods that they can provide. One of their newest initiative is to provide Niagara Falls Open Data (the capacity to provide online access to internal data in a standards compliant Web 2.0 way) on-line. They have designed their website to support the publication and distribution of public information in both viewable IMS,  and also in downloadable SHP & PDF formats. They are small but they hope that their efforts in the open government arena will help make them stand out from other municipalities.

A versatile Information Systems division creates and maintains GIS data for the municipality. They take advantage of the best software resources for their projects including Manifold, Autodesk Map 3D and Symposium plus various in house developed software applications. Windows operating systems are utilized with a SQL Server as the main database platform and most of their applications are running in 64 bit mode.

Buildings in the city of Niagara Falls Ontario CanadaThey no longer run ESRI products because they have found that they were no longer cost effective for their size, however the main data format for data exchange is still the industry standard shape file. The GIS department currently supports over 400 layers of information from various sources – mostly in-house research/information with some outside agency support. Property and addressing layers are maintained internally and unlike many other municipalities do not rely on Teranet / MPAC for anything except Quality Control. All data layers are based on UTM Zone 17 N coordinate system using NAD 83 datum.

Their website provides users with a variety of pre-made maps available in PDF format (such as a base map, zoning maps and a street map), a data catalogue of various downloadable data sets and also an Interactive Web Mapping Service called the Falls Viewer where users can create their own maps in their browser. There is also an Address Finder search tool where users can locate valid street addresses displayed on a location map as well as a Street and Address Master List where you can quickly look up the street address.

Niagara Falls Open Data & Online Maps

Niagara Falls Open Data & Online Maps - Falls Viewer online web map

The Falls Viewer (located on a separate domain – fallsviewer.ca) is a simple to use online mapping application that allows users to create customized maps of Niagara Falls using a wide range of provided data sets. They provide the option of using either a base map background or using a black and white orthophoto.

There are custom tools that allow you to add text and draw features, a select tool for selecting features in existing layers, a buffer tool, measure tool and many more. You have the ability to print your custom map or use the permalink option to generate a custom link to the map you have created, to share with others or to come back to in the future. They also provide plenty of useful help in the form of FAQ and video tutorials.

There were a few things that I didn’t like about the online viewer, I couldn’t figure out how to change any of the color of the layers , there was no option to export data from the viewers or import other data sets. However other then that it contained just about everything that you would come to expect from an IMS, therefor thumbs up to the efforts of the Information Systems division for implementing a great little web mapping application for the City of  Falls.

There are several  downloadable Pre Made Maps of Niagara Falls for those that need a map quickly or are not interested in making their own customized maps. And for us GIS users who have access to GIS software applications, they have also a open data catalogue with a multitude of data sets available in UTM Zone 17N, NAD 83 (see the Open Data FAQ for more details on the terms of use).

So it is pretty obvious that the GIS folks at the City of Niagara Falls have done a great job with their efforts of supporting open government initiatives by providing Canadians with data sets to use in their own GIS software applications and also for providing the Falls Viewer for those that do not have access to GIS software. If you have a need for data in the Niagara Falls region or just want to play around with available data sets then I recommend that  you take some time and check out the data sets and applications provided.

For more information about the Niagara Falls Open Data initiative, refer to their FAQ section, the Terms and Conditions or contact them directly (opendata@niagarafalls.ca) with your questions, concerns or input. They have mentioned that would love to have your input and feedback in order to continue providing great information and services .

[image sources: niagarafalls.ca]

GeoSask Maps and Geospatial Information

logo GeoSaskBuilt and maintained by Information Services Corporation of Saskatchewan, GeoSask is a centralized open data website by the Provincial Government providing free online access to different types of maps and geospatial information related to the province of Saskatchewan. It features free downloadable GIS data (with a few exceptions) available from participating Government of Saskatchewan departments and agencies.

“It enables you to discover, view and access local and remote geospatial information and services made available by participating provincial ministries and agencies. If your organization is a source of such information and services it enables you to make your geospatial information and services discoverable, viewable and accessible by others and to restrict access to data based on security privileges.”

GeoSask can be used to:

GEOSASK online map viewer

•Discover local and remote geospatial information resources.
•View details about resources, including how to download
•Immediately view live online Data and Map resources
•Create, upload and manage metadata that references geospatial data
•Share secured and non-secured data.
•Manage and save maps and download preferences you have created for use during subsequent sessions.

https://www.geosask.ca/arcexplorer/servlet/ISC_ArcExplorerStartup?action=baseMap&origid=&isDefault=true

http://www.geosask.ca/Portal/

GeoNB Map Viewer and free New Brunswick Digital data sets

Check out the remarkable efforts that Service New Brunswick has been able to accomplish ensuring that their residents have access to good geographic information data sets as well as access to amazing free online web mapping tools for those that are not fortunate enough to have GIS related software.

If you are looking at generating maps related to the province of New Brunswick then I recommend that you check out these data sets as they will provide a stable building block to build a decent GIS with. And if you are not interested in doing any GIS work with New Brunswick data sets, then at least check out the GeoNB online web Map Viewer.

British Columbia Court Services Locator Map

British Columbia Court Services Locator

British Columbia Court Services Locator

DataBC and the British Columbia Ministry of Justice have joined forces to provide an online mapping application to help the people of British Columbia be able to spatially locate where the various court facilities in British Columbia are located.

The interactive mapping tool based on the Google Maps platform uses data from uses data from DataBC and Ministry of Justice (Court Services Branch) to provide people with a new way of accessing location information for courts in British Columbia.Thier interactive mapping tool offers various search abilities and provides the locations of British Columbia courts in the map window that when clicked, prodding basic information and links to the respective web pages for that facility with more adequate information.

Although this online map may be relatively pretty basic it still does a good job of providing people with the ability to interactive spatially, appreciate the vast geography of British Columbia and find information about things to see & do that they may have not discovered before.

Click here for more information about the The DataBC program or check out this online map or any of the other online maps that are being generated by the DataBC program.

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Free Data Sets for the City of Toronto

The City of Toronto has recently celebrated two years of online Open Data service and they have full intention on continuing to build on that success, by stating that they intend to add more data layers and will further develop their site.

Data sets are provided in various standard downloadable file formats such as XLS, CSV, DGN & SHP. All data set contains basic meta info associated with them such as who created the data, date, format, projection, attributes, contact info etc. The bottom line here is the City of Toronto has granted the GIS community a royalty free, non exclusive licence to use, modify, and distribute any of their data sets that they continue to make available via their data catalogue.

Free Data Sets for the City of Edmonton & ESRI online mapping tools

City of Edmonton ESRI online mapping tools

The City of Edmonton has been providing an online Open Data service to help make municipal information more accessible since 2009 [http://data.edmonton.ca]. They feel that through collaboration and innovation that they have become a leader in Open Government by using the latest technology to increase access to their information.

Much like the City of Toronto they have various data sets that they do not offer due to privacy or confidentiality issues. In fact you will notice many similarities between the Open Source service offered by the City of Edmonton and the Cities of Toronto, Ottawa,and Vancouver because these cities have come together to share resources and methodologies that they use to provide the service to better provide Canadians with good reliable sources of spatial data sets.

Data sets are provided in various standard downloadable file formats such as XLS, CSV, PDF, DGN & SHP. All data set contains basic meta info associated with them such as who created the data, date, format, projection, attributes, contact info etc. They do not require Developers to get permission to create applications with the data, instead permission is provided for all data sets as long as users abide by the terms of agreement for the service.

One difference that you Edmonton has from the other cities is that they provide the ability to visualize the data sets unsing online ESRI web mapping technology. This way allows users to better unserdtand what the data sets they are downloading consists of. There is also another neat little feature using the same ESRI tools that allows users to embed maps that they generate on their own web site or blog.

Below is a map of the golf courses in the City of Edmonton created on the city web site and then embeded here on this site with the provided code snip-it that they provided.

The City of Edmonton has done an amazing job of providing interesting data sets in one online location where they can grant the GIS community royalty free, non exclusive licence to use, modify, and distribute any of the data sets that they continue to make available via their data catalogue. They have also provided a great looking easy to use web mapping tool based on ESRI software so that users can save time by viewing the data before downloading it into their own GIS software and people can use to embed maps into their personal blogs.

I encourage you to go forth, download some of the data and start generating great GIS products for the citizens of Edmonton and help promote Canadian Open Data Sets .

 

Canadian initiatives for Open Data Resources

Canada open data

Canadian Open Data 

The City of Toronto has recently celebrated two years of online Open Data service and they continue to build on that success, by stating that they intend to add more data layers and further develop their online data portal. So with that in mind I thought I would take a closer look at how Open Data Frameworks are currently doing here in Canada.

The concept behind Open data is that data should be available to anyone to use freely without restrictions or copyright. It is similar to other “Open” movements such as open source software, and open access, and has gained popularity with the launch of open data site by the United States Government [Data.gov] in 2009.

There has been a big movement towards Open Data Frameworks in Canada and the Cities of Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver have come together to share resources and methodologies in order to provide Canadians with good reliable sources of spatial data sets. By offering data sets for general use, these Canadian Cities are demonstrating that they support unfiltered access to information in order to improve access to information and so that more quality mapping related applications / products can be created and shared providing higher potential cartographic products for all Canadians to benefit from.

Unlike the United States or some parts of Europe Canada has no country wide mandate establishing procedures or protocols on how spatial data is delivered online to Canadians. More and more cities and municipalities are getting involved with providing Open Data however GIS users still need to do some searching to find the various sites.

Once again this is one of the reasons why I started a Canadian data section on the site, to help aid fellow GIS users with online data searches. So I encourage you to share these pages and resources with your networks to help spread the word throughout the Canadian GIS community. And if you know of any site(s) that offer downloadable data sets that are not posted on my site then please let me know, so that I can ensure that they get shared with others.

City of Edmonton Data Sets
City of Ottawa Data Sets
City of Toronto Data Sets
City of Vancouver Data Sets
City of Niagara Falls Data Sets

Province of New Brunswick Data

Federal Government Canadian Wide Data

plus we will be listing others as they are discovered on our Canadian open data page

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