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.

ESRI Canada User Conference – Toronto

Event: ESRI Canada User Conference – Toronto
Date: October 6-7, 2010
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Details: ESRI Canada is pleased to invite you to join other GIS professionals for this exclusive opportunity to learn about the latest advances in GIS technology and hear first hand how others in your community are using a geographic approach in their work.

On-line Registration:  on-line registration

See official conference web site for more details on programs and events

GIS Tracking Technology Shines in the Light of Healthcare History

GIS Tracking Technology Shines in the Light of Healthcare History

It’s universally known that technology has changed the medical field forever. Even a trip to a rural doctor’s office reveals equipment the patient could see in any major city. This awareness has helped the general public to finally become aware of the skill levels possessed by care providers. For generations, most people not in the field assumed that a neighbor with an associate degree in nursing simply changed bedpans and took temperatures. Today, however, both nurses and doctors are directly involved in using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to protect the public from some potentially lethal threats. Nearly a century ago, this wasn’t the case.

The Stakes
GIS Tracking Technology Shines in the Light of Healthcare History - medical symbolIn 1918, several soldiers at what is now Fort Riley, Kansas reported sick with what at first appeared to be routine flu symptoms. No one knew at the time, but these soldiers were the first of tens of millions worldwide who would contract a newly evolved strain of influenza. Over the next fifteen months, at least 50 million humans perished as a result of the fast spreading, quick killing pathogen. The name of the pandemic itself, the Spanish Influenza, illustrates today how the lack of accurate geographic tracking was a major factor in the worldwide death toll.

Scholars have since pinned down the initial outbreak as having begun at Fort Riley and then spread rapidly by soldiers moving from training camps to what would soon become occupation duty in Europe. From ships, train stations, military bases and ports across the globe, the virus spread, mutated and spread again, being recognized as a pandemic only after it has established itself in Spain, by no means the location of patient zero.

Desperate health officials in the United States Army led the American effort to track and contain the epidemic. Despite truly heroic efforts, the influenza mutated once again, only then becoming misleadingly dormant for decades. In 2009, another potentially catastrophic flu pandemic was identified. By then, however, GIS was a part of the World Health Organization’s arsenal to prevent the carnage of 1918-1920.

A Step Ahead of a Killer
Officially known as the H1N1 flu, though colloquially called Swine Flu, the virus spread virtually worldwide during its roughly year and a half emergence. Unlike its deadly counterpart of the early 20th Century, medical personnel were able to track outbreaks worldwide, buying time enough to employ defenses such as school and other closings to mitigate the spread of the virus and the implementation of mass vaccinations. Nurses and doctors were, from the very start of the flu breakout, a computer click away from up-to-date information from the World Health Organization and national health departments on where the spreading was occurring, if the virus had mutated and how best to respond.

GIS Tracking Technology Shines in the Light of Healthcare History - Global influenzapositive Flu Transmission Zones

Armed with first-rate information provided and by GIS tracking technology, nurses went into communities and educated officials and ordinary citizens about the facts about the virus. The relatively low death rate – over 25,000, including 428 Canadian citizens [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_flu_pandemic_in_Canada] – led to calls of “overkill” on the part of the health community, a conclusion that may well have been a luxury provided by technology at the front lines of a war contained.

Dichotomy of Success
That such an impression of overblown responses seems to defy the knowledge of what havoc an unchecked pandemic can wreak may be, in part, due to the high degree of success provided by GIS and the medical community. But as more and more GIS devices are used to save lives on smaller scales, the value of such technology may be best seen by less than global standards. With future generations of nursing and medical doctors sure to learn how to use GIS technology with the same degree of skill as they use their stethoscope, recognition of its importance is assured. Among the teams of professionals called upon to thwart the lethality of the next major health threat, nurses and doctors will be joined by those in the geomatics field as they fight real killers.


About the author: Lindsey Paco is a freelance author who writes about career search strategies and social media. She lives in the Indianapolis area where she enjoys cycling. [http://www.coloradotech.edu/Degree-Programs/Associate-Degree-In-Nursing]

NBCC – GIS Advanced Diploma

logo New Brunswick Community College

New Brunswick Community College

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick
Program(s): GIS Advanced Diploma
Prerequisites: University degree or College Diploma

Info:

The GIS Advanced Diploma is designed to add technical hands on GIS skills, while building upon students already established unique background in various related disciplines. Team projects incorporate GIS analysis, computer mapping and applied programming.

Team projects provide opportunities for you to apply and demonstrate the technology tools in a real project setting. The projects are structured around current industry initiatives in three key disciplines – GIS analysis, computer mapping and applied programming. The projects help you to further develop problem-solving techniques and work flow strategies required by a wide range of GIS industries.

 

 

NOTE:   NBCC announced that they will be discontinuing their GIS Advanced Diploma program next year, any students currently enrolled in the program will be supported through the next academic year to program completion in June 2013. More Details …

[source: nbcc.ca]


If you are a student, facility or someone who has any more knowledge, feedback or comments to share about the GIS program at Niagara College then I encourage you to share it . You can either use the contribute more info form or the comment functionality below.

Submit Geomatics News or Press Releases

Have some Geomatics News or a Press Release that you want to share with the Canadian geospatial community? Use this form to submit your info to us and we will get it out to the Canadian geospatial community.