Posts

Historical Maps of Nova Scotia

The Province of Nova Scotia provides online access to a variety of maps and survey plans from historic map collections, find out how you can download some of these historic maps of Nova Scotia …

Open Data Contest

The Province of Nova Scotia is teaming with the School of Information Management and the Rowe School of Business (Dalhousie Faculty of Management) to host its third annual Open Data Contest on March 2 – 3, 2019 in conjunction with International Open Data Day.

Invitation to Conference call on the Canada Forum on Geospatial Standards

You are invited to remotely attend and participate in the first full meeting of the Canada Forum for 2019. This meeting is open to all Canadian organisations.

Nova Scotia GIS jobs

Looking for GIS jobs in Nova Scotia? Try checking out some of the various employment opportunities listed here (this is a dynamic page so is updated often) or use the job search tools in our geomatics employment section …

Nova Scotia Open Data Portal

Recently Nova Scotia joined the growing number of Canadian Provinces and Municipalities that offer open data, when it officially launched the Nova Scotia open data portal providing public access to more than 135 different data sets

Open Data is about drawing on the collective knowledge and innovation of Nova Scotians to help grow our economy and improve the lives of those around us

Nova Scotia Online Civic Map Viewer

The Nova Scotia Civic Viewer is the online mapping application used to view civic map information, with a free public viewer version and another version containing more information for certain parties that need more detailed information and the ability to update the information of the database.

Jeff McKenna receives International Open Source Software Award

Jeff McKenna of Gateway Geomatics in Nova Scotia was recently awarded with the 2016 Sol Katz Award for Geospatial Free and Open Source Software during the FOSS4G 2016 conference in Bonn, Germany. The award for is awarded annually by OSGeo at the annual FOSS4G conference to individuals who have demonstrated leadership in the GFOSS community.

Aerial Drone Footage of Acadia University

Acadia University Aerial ViewAcadia University Aerial View with a UAV

Master of Science in Applied Geomatics at Acadia University is  a unique joint program that is combined with COGS. The joint collaboration between the two education institutes allows students to further build upon their solid undergraduate foundation that they got from their University degree, adding skills in research, analysis, interpretation and presentations.

Acadia University, located in Wolfville, Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s oldest and most respected universities. The video above features some aerial drone footage captured in 2015 of the campus highlighting some the various architecture found at Acadia University.

Check out other aerial drone / UAV footage featuring various geography from all across Canada …

[Video Source: François Foulem ]

East Hants Open Data

East Hants, Nova Scotia, Canada is a vibrant municipality between Metro Halifax and the Bay of Fundy. East Hants uses GIS technology in all their departments, from sewer, water, and road projects, to regional planning, taxation, and municipal elections. Recently they developed an online portal (Interactive East Hants) to help Nova Scotian’s explore their growing Municipality’s geospatial data sets.

Online Digital Atlas: A Shared Vision

Online Digital Atlas: A Shared Vision

Online Digital Atlas - the ArcGIS book

Every year, a small team of Esri staff travels to COGS to recruit new talent. As part of the interview process, they provide a demonstration of the lattest ArcGIS functionality. Arriving returning home from Haida Gwaii in February, I was interested to check out some of the new developments, especially since I had been far removed from the detailed GIS functionality for several years.

This helped led to a re-connection with Clint Brown from Esri (Redlands), and a copy of Esri’s new book, ‘the ArcGIS Book. What struck me from the ArcGIS demonstration was that the new software tools seem to allow for closer collaboration between community groups, government agencies, educational institutions and industry. These tools include the ability to manage different layers, with different access rights, stored either on the server or in the cloud.

Geography is Key for Integrating Communities

While reading the ArcGIS Book, I noticed that the last of the ten ‘Big Ideas’ was that ‘GIS is social. GIS is collaborative’ and that ‘Geography is key for integrating work across communities’. Therefore, it seems that the time is right to test the ‘collaborative‘ hypothesis. Coincidentally, the Nova Scotia Provincial Government was announcing their new open data policy and created a new online open data site providing the geospatial community with free access to base maps and data sets featuring Nova Scotia. Also by chance the Geomatics Association of Nova Scotia (GANS) has been recently working on a concept for an online digital atlas (Digital Atlas of Nova Scotia – DANS).

An online digital atlas would allow the geospatial community to have the tools to develop web and mobile apps that accesses a combination of their own databases combined with maps and spatial data from other agencies and organizations. Each data layer (or map) from the digital online atlas would have various terms and conditions for sharing information.  Some layers would be read only while other layers would be able to be updated by the geospatial community under certain conditions.

The significant role proposed by GANS to obtain the technology resources to support apps and associated maps will help them remain sustainable into the future. However, this is only one pillar of the shared vision.

What is the next step in the process, as we move forward?

Online Digital Atlas - map of Haida Gwaii

Community groups must have the resources to develop their applications. We need the next generation of application developers. Through training, mentoring and curriculum changes in our educational institutions, we can address this shortcoming. 

On Haida Gwaii, John Broadhead at the Gowgaia Institute has talked about the need for an online atlas of the natural and cultural resources. 

GANS is promoting a similar concept here in Nova Scotia. At the community level, groups appreciate the need for application development to meet the needs of citizens, visitors, as well as the municipal government. This follows five years after the work by Paul Beach in Sault Ste Marie. He championed the concept of a ‘community information utility’, today, the tools are readily available, in a more collaborative world.

We can imagine a nested set of geographies. The Annapolis Valley lies within the region of Southwest Nova, within the province of Nova Scotia. Each region recognizes its geographic context. The same approach can be applied to Cape Breton, the South shore. Indeed, it could be part of the standard infrastructure for existing Regional Enterprise Network (REN) and could be linked to existing products e.g. i-valley.ca

What are the steps to turn this ‘Idea‘  into ‘Action‘ ?

  1. determine the extent of the geography
  2. Online Digital Atlasobtain digital base maps at the appropriate scale
  3. decide on the community mapping need:
    – historic properties
    – trails
    – land use
    – tourism facilities
  4. design the ‘look and feel’ of the user interface
  5. determine whether web/mobile app. or both
  6. hire application developer
  7. prototype application
  8. testing
  9. marketing and sales
  10. product release

Why now?

The technology has matured so that a properly monitored portal can serve up the different data sets, and yet meet the security needs of the data providers. There is recognition that to successfully apply these technologies we need more collaboration.

The need to visualize the geography of rural Nova Scotia is important to economic development. The skills and products developed through this process are transferable to other geographies, applications and markets

Access to a digital atlas is a prerequisite for groups to develop apps. that meet the local needs of citizens. Whether the underlying technology is Esri, Google, Open Source or a combination, we are seeing a shared vision of digital geography.

References

About the author

Bob Maher is a Geographer, living in Paradise, Nova Scotia. In the 1980’s he designed, developed and delivered a number of intensive computer programming programs at COGS. In 2000, he returned as Senior Research Scientist at the Applied Geomatics Research Group until his retirement in 2011. He has worked closely with the Geomatics industry for over thirty years.