Category: Geospatial Resources

Bring Spatial Skills to Canadian Children: Become a GIS Ambassador

Esri Canada’s GIS Ambassador program was designed to inspire geospatial minded people to work together with educators and youth organizations to help them better encourage young people to understand, use and do more with geographic information.

As of April 2016, more than 930 schools have registered into the GIS Ambassador program and more than 125 volunteers have signed up to become GIS Ambassadors, see the map that shows the spatial extent of GIS Ambassadors in Canada.

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Geomatics Acronyms and Abbreviations

[List updated May 2016] Geomatics has become a pretty common term in Canada lately and includes many different disciplines such as  geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, cartography, land surveying, global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), photogrammetry, geography and other related forms of spatial mapping.

Using acronyms and abbreviations is commonly practiced in the Geomatics industry and most of the time people just assume that everybody else knows what every acronyms and abbreviation stands for. Well that is obviously not the case most of the time and over the years I have created myself a little digital cheat-sheet of geomatics acronyms and abbreviations that I use with my work in my writing.

Here is a large collection of common acronyms and abbreviations that you may when working in the Canadian Geomatics industry.

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Magnetic declination calculator

Magnetic declination varies depending on where you are located on the Earth’s surface, and varies over time. Here is a handy free online magnetic declination calculator that can be used to calculate magnetic declination for any location and date based on the International Geomagnetic Reference Field model.

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Converting between UTM, MTM and LAT/LONG

Geographic coordinate systems enable us to spatially locate features on the Earth using specified set of two dimensional numbers. The coordinates of each feature represent the horizontal position (and sometimes vertical position when elevation is available) of it and one of the most commonly used coordinates is Geographic with values of latitude, longitude. However many different coordinate systems can be used to map the same area depending on various factors such as map extent, scale, end user etc. Therefore we often find in Geomatics that we can have data from different coordinate systems that we need to use together spatially in one reference system.

I am sure that most of us have run into times when we have features that have defined coordinates of one system that we need to use with a different one. (E.g. your map is in UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) but you have been given GPS points in Lat/Long).

If you ever find yourself in need of quickly getting values converted from Geographic to UTM / MTM (Modified Traverse Mercator) or UTM / MTM to Geographic then here is a a free online converter tool that I often use provided by Canadian Spatial Reference System.

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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.

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