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GeoNB – the ‘All Things Geographic’ place for New Brunswick data

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GeoNB – ‘All Things Geographic’ for New Brunswick data

Last year I featured GeoNB, New Brunswick’s approach to publicly available geographic information for the entire province of New Brunswick [see the previous article here if you missed it]. This valuable resource by Service New Brunswick provides a robust web mapping application, value-added products, various applications and extensive collection of open source data sets. Not to mention an outstanding web GIS application that stands out from others and one that earned them an Esri Canada Award of Excellence award last fall at the Esri User Conference in Fredericton.

GeoNB currently includes a wide variety of data sets for the entire province including digital topographic layers, orthophotos, property maps and much more. On top of having one of the best online mapping applications available they also provide access to download any of these digital data sets in a variety of formats for people to use in their own GIS software packages.

“Created by Service New Brunswick, GeoNB is a spatial data infrastructure (SDI) that uses geographic information system (GIS) technology to provide an efficient, collaborative and open data-sharing environment with key partners and users across the province.” [source: esri.ca]

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Over the past 4 years public usage of New Brunswick spatial data has increased significantly, with the average traffic to the site increasing from 5 thousand to over 13 thousand visitors every week. To meet the growing demand, they recently upgraded their geographic information gateway, building upon existing GeoNB initiatives and ensuring that residents of New Brunswick have easy access to geospatial information, pre-built maps and free online applications .

Basically the new site becomes the “All Things Geographic” place for New Brunswick’s geographic content consolidated and organized into one easy to use location. An initiative that helps encourage the creation of new geospatial products and solutions from geographic data that has been collected, maintained, and distributed using open data accepted standards. The new geographic portal is visually pleasing, well laid out making it easy to navigate and appeals to a wide audience. Everyone can take advantage of this free service from home owners that would like to know more about their property, developers seeking better sites for development, and those more advanced GIS users that want to use their own GIS software.

“Service New Brunswick has done exceptionally well in promoting the use of geographic knowledge for various applications through the province’s SDI,’ says Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada.” In a time when governments face greater financial constraints, they have created a cost-effective system for opening up valuable data and applications to benefit everyone. GeoNB serves as a model of intelligent government service delivery for others to follow.”
“GeoNB has quickly become a popular tool with the public because it’s easy to use and saves users valuable time and money,” notes Bernie Connors, SDI manager at Service New Brunswick. “It also eliminates duplicate efforts and additional costs for our partners through shared data and infrastructure.” [source: esri.ca]

There are some new geospatial applications that were designed to support various ongoing government programs including wetland conservation, flood damage reduction, protected areas management, as well as a coordinate transformation service that converts coordinates between datums and map projections. geonb_applications_smThere are 4 key sections that include the Data Catalogue, Applications, Map Products and the new GIS Developer’s Corner. Each section will continue to grow and develop with new datasets and tools as inferred by the GeoNB Action Plan.

The Data Catalogue contains over 35 different geographic datasets in a wide range of formats that are available to download free. Here they simplified things pretty well making data very easy to find. Using a table format they provide the name of the dataset, link to more info about it, thumb nails for quick view, date the data was created, formats available and links to download data. This will be the section that most GIS people looking for data where go to.

The Applications section provides access to over 10 custom designed applications that combine datasets and value-added functionality. These tools have a broad range of uses but have mainly been tailored to different intended users and include everything from the popular web map viewer (read more details about the map viewer here) and Coordinate Transformation Service to more specialised viewers aimed at those in Oil and Gas or Wetlands Mapping. Certainly worth a look if you are just curious about learning more about New Brunswick.

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The Map Products section contains more pre-made value-added off the shelf mapping products such as static maps that have been generated to convey certain information. Again here they offer a broad range of products tailored to different intended users; but unlike most of the other products on the site, these are more traditional finished map products. This section will appeal more to those that need maps but do not have the ability to create their own.

The GIS Developer’s Corner is a place where people can leverage more geomatics technology and intelligence making use of some applications that allow them to go beyond the basic functionality such as using the open data sources as a live map service instead of downloading (this is one of the features that I like and now use when generating maps for area in New Brunswick). GeoNB utilizes ESRI ArcGIS Server and has made data available as ArcGIS Server map services to those that have the ability to take advantage of it.

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So I am sure by now you get the idea. Once again the team at Service New Brunswick have done a great job promoting and increasing the use of geographic data and maps in New Brunswick. From a new easy to use new geographic portal (in both French and English) that provides people with plenty of data and a wide range of robust applications GeoNB continues to stand out among the rest. But again don’t just take my word about it, go over to the new portal your self, make use of some of the data and tools and let the folks at Service New Brunswick know they are doing a great job.

[Sources: http://www.esri.ca/en/content/new-brunswick-data-usage-increases-significantly-through-geonb – http://www.snb.ca/geonb1/e/index-E.asp – http://canadiangis.com/geonb-map-viewer-free-new-brunswick-digital-data-sets.php – and Service New Brunswick staff]


Town of Banff Online Maps and Apps

As many of you already know or perhaps may have recently discovered, CanadianGIS.com has been high-lighting places in Canada that have an online web mapping site or application in order to help better provide information to their residents.

Town of Banff

Now this month the Town of Banff is featured as they too have now joined the spatial ranks of several other Cities and Municipalities in Canada with the launch of their own online mapping site (Simply check out the Web Maps category link or the site search tools along the right side to find many other great Canadian Online Map sites featured).

Their new Maps and Apps website created by the Town of Banff GIS and IT departments now provides free public access to maps and geospatial applications that help the Town of Banff provide better services and connect with it’s own citizens in a new way.

Through pre-made web served maps created from a collection of over 200 different layers of geographic information, people can find local services, learn more about projects, explore regions of Banff or create their own maps. The various geospatial applications also provide a new way to allow citizens to get more involved by providing them with interactive tools, such as better ways to report street light outages or problems with transportation.

Using Esri Canada’s Community Maps Program and ArcGIS Online, Esri’s cloud-based GIS solution, the Town of Banff has been able to serve detailed accurate base maps, provide several pre-made maps and value added applications. This mapping solution has allowed them to efficiently produce more than 25 free maps and applications (online, mobile & PDF) such as the Bike Banff mobile app or the interactive Heritage Walking Tour application. The pre-made free maps and applications make it easier for residents and visitors to quickly find the information they need to help make better decisions.

 

Town of Banff Online Maps

 

 The maps and apps are organized around city services and the information you need to do business with the Town of Banff on a daily basis. You’ll find maps and apps provided by the Town’s departments of Corporate Services, Engineering, Operations, Planning, and Community Services.The site will also highlight innovators and innovations that demonstrate a more collaborative and open government.

The various maps and apps available on BanffMaps.ca are supported by the following browsers: Firefox 3.5+, Chrome 4+, Internet Explorer 7+, and Apple Safari 3+.

If you have an application that is not listed in the Maps and Apps gallery or can think of a great idea of one using Town of Banff data, then they have a section on the site where you can submit your map or application.

Town of Banff are also further exploring their mapping capabilities by planning to deploy several staff with iPhone smartphone devices, providing them with the ability to access and update GIS data from outside the office. This could provide value added management where staff can track snow-plow locations, report accidents and traffic congestion as well as many other time sensitive tasks.

Now while this site may not be as robust or great as some other online map applications that I have covered, it still is a pretty easy to use mapping site with plenty of  free maps and applications making it easier for residents and visitors to quickly find the information they need to help make better decisions. So keep an eye on this site as it will no doubt grow much larger as more people discover it and get involved.

If you know of an online web mapping site that should be included in the CanadianGIS.com collection of Canadian Online Map Sites then I encourage you to contact me.