Historic Cartography

Historical Maps of Nova ScotiaMaps convey geographic information about places and help us to better understand topography,  environment, culture and more.

Cartography is the art and science of making maps is an old profession that has been practiced since ancient Babylonia times. Back them, most maps were created for navigation purposes and to help depict territorial regions.

Canada is a relative young country (when compared to others) and thus experienced many years of European exploration that resulted in the creation of many maps that tried to show part of the world that had not been mapped before.

The “Historic Cartography” section of our site was created to explore the many great sources of vintage cartography in Canada. From detailed hand drawn maps by early explorers whom created and documented some of the earliest spatial representations of Canada to maps that focus on nature, the north, and our people.


1921 map of Alberta

Large historic map of Alberta taken from Putnam’s Handy Volume Atlas of the World that was published in 1921

Canadian Open Data and Free Geospatial Data

Over the past few years CanadianGIS.com has been highlighting and promoting various cities and provinces in Canada that have done a great job providing data and applications to the public.

We created this page a few years ago to collaborate links of all the open geospatial data info (sites that offer data downloads at no cost and without restrictions), fee based geospatial data, online web mapping applications and other great sources of geospatial information (including National, Provincial and Regional levels).

This comprehensive list of open geospatial data, fee based geospatial data, web mapping applications and cartographic products is a valuable asset to many people (… we get hundreds of emails and requests regarding “Where can I find data for …?”) so we continue to update it with new information and sources of Canadian data sets.