City of Prince George online PGMap Application

The City of Prince George has released an updated version of their PGMap online web mapping Application. PGMap is what they refer to as the “On-line Geographic Information System” for the City of Prince George, British Columbia. PGMap was created and is provided free of charge to the public to use for viewing and searching property boundaries, aerial photography, legal descriptions, parcel information, verify zoning and various other City boundaries.

DataAppeal Provides Highly Effective & Interactive 3D Maps

logo DataAppealRecently a fairly new mapping tool called DataAppeal was brought to my attention. DataAppeal renders art and design with geo-based data into highly effective and interactive 3D maps. Unlike many other GIS analysis tools on the market this one has been designed to be a simplified easy to use tool so, no previous experience or training is required. Simply upload your data and use DataAppeal to transform rows and rows of boring data into fascinating and beautiful 3D images.

“DataAppeal transforms geo-referenced data by allowing users to generate, render, analyze, and share information through highly effective and visually powerful 3D and animated maps, yet is extremely simple to use. It takes the guess work out of generating information by instantly mapping any uploaded data. “

dataappeal Fiery texture with carpet1. Upload Your Data
– sign up to the free service
– download the basic template file
– add your data to the CSV file
– upload the CSV data set
2. Customize Your Map
– click the icon to import the data from your file into the system (if there are problems with the data then the system will alert you here and you will need to check or reformat your file)
– click the icon to load your data into a default map
– customize the look of your data and map with the various available settings and options
3. Share Your Maps
– Use icons provided to share your maps on Twitter, FaceBook, Email or on your own site or blog
– You can also download a Google Earth file

“We just released an updated version of DataAppeal, with new functionality to make it even easier and much faster to use! We added new features to provide new ways to visualize data sets. You now have the option of layering multiple maps so you can quickly compare different data sets. You can also use the new color gradient feature to quickly see common data points- all on the google earth platform.”

dataappeal tree cover Toronto

All these features will continue to be free for a limited time (in beta mode), so you can see how useful they are when analyzing your data.-we also launched a new website, with 3D data-map image samples and demo videos.

“We would love it if your followers would test it and provide us feedback”

The basic features will remain free always with the more advanced features such as color gradients, texture styles, ability to layer maps and the ability to upload larger data sets will be part of the premium service. So now is a good time to sign up with  DataAppeal and create some 3D interactive maps of your own data, and then share your feedback and experiences with other CanadianGIS.com readers.

Here are sme sample data sets that were rendered through the Dataappeal web-based application showcasing some of the various styles and features available.

Toronto Population- http://dataappeal.com/explore/featured-maps/toronto-population.html

Great Lakes Parks – http://dataappeal.com/explore/featured-maps/great-lakes-parks.html

Canadian GIS Software

Geographic Information SystemsGIS software packages come in many different formats and designed to handle many applications. Some are more robust then others offering a wide range of tools and applications while others are much more simple, the software you use should depend a lot on what your needs are.

There are also many other things to consider such as cost, usability, supported data formats just to mention a few. Canada has many software companies that offer GIS software related packages and many others that sell packages made abroad but available here.

Free GIS software

Geographic Resources Analysis Support System (GRASS) – GRASS software is a free GIS package with multiple functionality including image processing, both raster & vector compatibly, 2D/3D vector network analysis and much more functionality. It operates on various system platforms including shell and a graphical user interfaces.

Google Earth – new twist on traditional GIS that allows you to create 3D maps with existing aerial data sets

Licensed GIS software

PCI Geomatica – Geomatica 2012 from well known Canadian based PCI Geomatics is a powerful easy to learn GIS and Remote sensing package with a wide range of traditional remote sensing, photogrammetry, GIS, cartography, and web development tools.

MapInfo GIS desktop mapping application that now includes CAD tools and .NET program-ability.

ESRI – ArcGIS v10 is the most popular and dependable GIS desktop mapping application available, used world wide.

More software …

Other Mapping Tools

Need to quickly convert spatial coordinates from MTM, UTM or LAT/LONG?

 DataAppeal – Online mapping tool that provides Highly Effective & Interactive 3D Maps

Google Map Maker for Canada

GPS Software

Trimble GPS Planner – handy little FREE software package for planning of GPS Missions, allows you to optimize your base destination region with multiple station locations allowing you to determine where it would be best to record observations, determine elevation masks, generate graphs showing satellite coverage, DOP coverage, and create sky plots of GPS satellites.

Alberta’s Changing Political Landscape

Alberta's changing political web map

On April 23, 2012 thousands of electors headed to the polls for Alberta’s 28th provincial election. In all 87 candidates were elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, 4 more then 2008 due to an increase in the provinces growing population. The Progressive Conservative party won a majority with 61 of the 87 elected ridings.

More information about Alberta general elections can be found at the Elections Alberta website. Instead I will continue to discuss Alberta’s 28th provincial election but as it relates to mapping, but what does a provincial election have to do with mapping?

Well… ESRI Canada has what they refer to as a Public Map Gallery that is a collection of custom web maps created by their mapping team featuring Canadian community maps, Canadian election results, and various census data. Here they leveraged some of their online spatial tools and features available together with public domain data to create an interactive online mapping application of Alberta’s Changing Political Landscape.

The online interactive political map can help people visualize the results from Alberta’s past three provincial elections all together in one interactive browser window. A similar online mapping application like this one was also created for the last federal election in 2011.

“The Esri Canada Mapping Team who is responsible for the construction of a series of Canadian Community Maps and web applications hosted on ArcGIS.com. The Esri Canada Community Maps Program provides a cost-effective and efficient framework for organizations to share their geographic information with the public.” http://maps.esri.ca/gallery/

Alberta's changing political web map

Using the interactive mapping application of Alberta’s Changing Political Landscape a person can view results from Alberta’s 2004, 2008, 2012 elections and when they zoom into an area of interest in one map window, all the other windows will zoom to the same level automatically making it very easy to compare the results from place to place.

An additional information tool is provided that allows people to click on any electoral riding and the basic information for that one appears below the map, containing information such as the elected party, the MLA, the electoral district name, number of electors, voter turnout etc. To check out the online Alberta map for your self go to http://maps.esri.ca/ElectoralMaps/AB_GeneralElections/


Do you know about any Canadian online web maps that are not covered by CanadianGIS.com? Then let me know and I will look into adding it to our database.

NOAA Interactive Weather Map

Weather StationThis link to an online web map was emailed to me recently and although it contains mainly American weather stations there are a good number of Canadian ones on there as well so I thought I would share it. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is an an Operating Unit of the U.S. Department of Commerce that provides a National Weather Service.

The Weather Service provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy.

Their operational server maintains a current database of meteorological and hydrological data, historical data, and written information generated by the NWS or other official sources.

In addition, their server accesses in real-time a selection of current weather observations, forecasts, and warnings from U.S. government sources for use by the national and international community.  They also offer many other Weather services on their website such as storm watch, alerts, local and regional information and much more.

NOAA weather map service

Moving the cursor over one of the symbols on the map will reveal data for the weather station of that area and is usually clickable, opening another web page with more information, details and measurements. It would be nice if they could expand a little further north to include all of Canada but in the mean time if you are located in Ontario, the Prairies or the Southern Rockies then maybe you can make use of this interactive weather mapping tool.

NOAA weather map service - Prince Albert SASK

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/

New Brunswick Wind Atlas

New Brunswick Wind Atlas

The province of New Brunswick offers a digital High Resolution Wind Resource that they call the New Brunswick Wind Atlas on their Service New Brunswick (SNB) website. The provinces wind data set is tiled into smaller higher resolution thematic maps of New Brunswick matching their topographic mapping network grid and depicting “Mean Wind Speeds (m/s) at 80 m AGL (above ground level)” Each map describes the average wind resource available at elevations indicated AGL. The maps were generated by the Université de Moncton, based on the Canadian Wind Energy Atlas (www.windatlas.ca).

Like most of the province of New Brunswick’s geographic data, this data set helps their citizens create decisive decisions on whether or not their property has the potential to produce electricity from wind energy.

Other provinces such as Ontario, Nova Scotia and PEI have similar data sets available to the public as well.

https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/erd/energy/content/resource_maps/wind.html


Other Wind Maps & Resources

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.

3D Canadian Buildings & Landmarks to your GIS projects

3D Canadian Buildings & Landmarks to your GIS projects

After 10 years of continuous research and development GTA Geoinformatik GmbH of Germany has established themselves as world leaders in generation & refinement of georeferenced virtual 3D city models. Their highly sophisticated Tridicon software suite has enabled them to produce accurate detailed georeferenced virtual 3D city models.

Old Town Clock, downtown Halifax nova Scotia

Last month GTA released a new update of thier 3D LOD 2 level city models for various parts of North America & Europe. The models provide the spatial community with 3D coverage of over 200 cities consisting of more then 5 million 3D buildings that can be used with a variety of GIS software packages.

Canadian cities available in thier data sets include: Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec, Toronto, & Vancouver.

Pengrowth Saddledome

The LOD2 detail provides photogrammetrically measured 3D objects with roof forms and imagery draped over them providing an impressive realistic touch to the maps. They have over 3500 well known LandMarks availble with sample images, I have included some image sof the Canadian 3D buildings available here, but you can find many more on their website.


http://www.gta-geo.de/lang-en/3d-landmarks/

Hockey Hall of Fame– Canada Museum of Nature
– Canadian Parliament Building
– Halifax City Hall
– Old Town Clock
– CN Tower
– Hockey Hall of Fame
– Maple Leaf Gardens
– Pengrowth Saddledome

Canada Museum of Nature, Ottawa Ontario

[Source: GTA-GEO.de]