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Trans Canada Trail – interactive web map

Trans Canada Trail Map

The Trans Canada Trail is the worlds longest networked multi-use recreational trail system that consists of more than 16500 kilometers of the fully operational trails across Canada. It is currently about seventy three percent of the overall proposed routes and when fully completed should span over 22500 kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean to the Arctic Ocean, across every province and territory, connecting thousands of communities and all Canadians. “The Trans Canada Trail inspires Canadians of all ages to get active and keep fit and helps educate individuals of all ages about Canada’s history and cultural and natural heritage”.

 

Every day Canadians and international visitors use these trails to walk, bike, ski, canoe and snowmobile along. Several information Pavilions have been established across the system to provide information about sections of the trail helping people to experience Canada’s unique landscapes. The Trans Canada Trail Organization does not actually own or operate any of the trails but provides a non profit organization to helps run and manage the community based project with the different sections owned and maintained by various local organizations, provincial and national agencies and a multitude of municipalities.

The Trans Canada Trail Map web site offers an interactive Trans Canada Trail map based on ESRI technology that provides users with a new way to explore and learn more about the Trans Canada Trail System. The interactive site encourages public input providing functionality allowing Canadians to place points or lines on the map marking different parts of the trail that they may have explored or places that they wish to explore as well as opportunities to upload photos and stories to help share their experiences with other Canadians. The online web map offers users the ability to explore the trail system for areas that may be more suitable for different activities such as biking, canoeing and cross-country skiing as well as search tools to help find parts of the trail network near you.

There is a disclaimer on the site recommending that the map works best in Fire fox, Safari or Google Chrome, but I did notice that the map browser can sometimes still be some what problematic in these browsers. Either way I am sure you will quickly notice that this online web map is a great little way to way to explore and learn more about the Trans Canada Trail System. – Trans Canada Trail map


[Article originally published on June 23, 2013]

Elections Nova Scotia Interactive Web Map

Yesterday Nova Scotia went to the polls for their 39th Provincial Election and at the end of the day elected a new Government. This time around Elections Nova Scotia, the organization responsible for the establishment and maintenance of the Province’s election related data and governing election activities provided an online interactive web mapping application tool.

Elections Nova Scotia Interactive Web Map - Nova Scotia 2013 Election Results Map - red for Liberals, blue for PC and orange for NDP

Elections Nova Scotia Interactive Web Map

The Elections Nova Scotia interactive web map on their website spatially highlighted the 2013 election results for each riding as votes were being tallied by coloring the polygon for each electoral district with the official political party colors (e.g. red for Liberals, blue for PC and orange for NDP). The map was simple to use, did not contain too many tools or options and automatically refreshed every 20 seconds with updated information.  There were some graphs along the side that highlighted results and users could zoom into any area of interest as well as click on any electoral district to get more information.

Overall it was a great visual tool for showing election results and seemed to work much better than a similar mapping application that CBC news had on their website. I had the application running on my laptop for several hours after the polls had officially closed and did not run into any technical issues and was able to quickly and easily determine who was leading / winning  the election.

Elections Nova Scotia Interactive Web Map -

Prior to Election Day, the same online map also provided Nova Scotians with valuable information such as a new method to help determine what electoral district they belonged to and who were the candidates that were running in each district with some history on the riding.  Users could type their address into the search box above the default map and the corresponding electoral district would be displayed with any pertinent information. A very useful tool as there was several newly defined districts in the 2013 Nova Scotia election.

I think that Elections Nova Scotia did a great job utilizing their online interactive web mapping application that was simple to use and quickly got the message out in a timely fashion. Check out the Elections Nova Scotia online map for yourself – http://electionsnovascotia.ca and perhaps other Provinces will follow suit and provide their citizens with online interactive mapping tools like this for when it is time for them to go to the polls.


City of Prince George online PGMap Application

The City of Prince George has released an updated version of their PGMap online 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. Users can also create and print customized reports and high quality maps with PGMap. It is a very robust easy to use, user friendly interactive mapping application. PGMap provides a variety of different tools and functionality that appeal to a wide range of users from those that just need to view basic default maps to those that want to include their own GIS data and create custom maps of their own.The City of Prince George PGMap online Application

The mapping application uses Geocortex Essentials technology by Latitude Geographics built upon Esri’s ArcGIS Server and requires the Microsoft Silverlight Plug-in which is normally automatically installed by most modern web browsers (and available free), so if there are problems loading maps or data then one should first try upgrading their web browser or trying another. It was tested and worked well here in the following three web browsers: Internet Explorer, FireFox and Chrome.

The interactive map window is made up of two main regions; the map window panel and the information panel. The map window is like most other web mapping applications with a number of key cartographic features such as scale bar, overview map, spatial location in coordinates, and zoom controls. The information panel is located along the left hand side and allows users to perform various tasks to customize the look of the map such as selecting different map layers, viewing a legend, using search functionality. The information panel can also be hidden from the map if you are not interested in showing the various layers of your map and want to emphasize your mapping window instead.

The navigation is very user friendly, easy to use, and the data in the map window provides more detail at higher resolutions when you zoom into an area. To navigate around the mapping window with the mouse by clicking and dragging it around, the mouse wheel allows quick zooms in or out to full extent. PGMap also provides a shortcut menu that you can expose by right clicking in the map window and there are also the ability to use the keyboard to navigate around as well.

Aerial Photo - The City of Prince George PGMap online ApplicationAerial Photo - The City of Prince George PGMap online Application

A number of base maps are provided to choose from allowing the ability for further customization. It starts off with a default road layer base but there are also aerial photography, thematic layers, and topographic backgrounds available such as hillshades and a lidar intensity layer (ground only surface model). The orthos sets are from different years (1993 up to 2010), allowing users to compare aerial photos over time for an area while incorporating other vector data sets such as property parcel or topographic information on top.LIDAR - The City of Prince George PGMap online Application

The toolbar section is yet another part of the mapping application that is hidden by default but can be exposed by clicking on the little toolbox icon (like the one in ArcGIS) and is one of the features of the application that make this better then most others. The toolbar contains a number of tabs that hold all the tools that a user needs to interact with and customize their map. The various tabs group similar functions together making it easier to use and find tools to customize the map. The “I want to …” drop down menu contains several tools that allow you to search for data as well as provide quick access to common tasks to help customize your maps.

There are tools in the toolbar that allow users to draw points, polygons and other features onto the map, incorporate their own data (shape files, CSV data) and use basic analysis functionality such as measure and plot coordinates. There are a few buttons that allow you to compare same location with other online maps such as google or bing if you want to compare what you have made with others. And when you are all done you can save the map your working on for someone else or later, or export it to use later. open your project later on and also open other people’s maps

PGMap online Application toolbar

The PGMap online mapping application for the City of Prince George is a well done online cartographic tool that can be appreciated and utilized by a wide range of users.

I recommend that you try it out for your self and hope that other cities will take a look at it and consider doing the same with their GIS data sets for the public to use. Feel free to share you feedback and experience’s using the PGMap or any other Canadian online web mapping applications.

 http://princegeorge.ca/cityservices/online/pgmap/Pages/Default.aspx

The City of Prince George have also contributed their city data sets to the Esri Canada Community Maps program so you people also use the data on the popular ArcGIS.com online mapping system for free if they decide that they do not want to use the PGMap application but generate maps for the City of Prince George . And like most other larger Canadian cities they have also made much of their data sets available through The City of Prince George Open Data Catalogue, so people can download data and use it with their own GIS software if they prefer.

They also offer a digital street centreline base map in PDF format if all you need is to print off a street map of the area.

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

Things to See & Do in British Columbia

Screen Grab - Things to Do and See in (BC) British Columbia

BCParks Online Mapping Application

BCParks has created a simple online mapping application with data from the DataBC program to help people in British Columbia find things see and do in British Columbia by identifying the various locations of the Province’s Parks, Protected Areas, Recreation Areas and Ecological Reserves.

Map - Things to Do and See in BC (British Columbia)

The online interactive mapping tool based on the Google Maps platform offers various searching abilities and provides users with some control over the features and map layers that are displayed in the mapping window.

Points of interest in the map window feature places like Provincial Parks that are also interactive when clicked, providing basic information, photos and links to the respective web pages for that feature that can provide more adequate information.

Although this online map may be relatively pretty basic it still does a good job of providing people with the ability to interactive spatially, appreciate the vast geography of British Columbia and find information about things to see & do that they may have not discovered before.

Click here for more information about the The DataBC program.