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New and Improved GeoGratis Website

GeoGratis free Canadian geospatial data web portal

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has recently launched a new update to the already innovative GeoGratis website (Note: although it has gone live it is still in beta mode).  GeoGratis is a web portal that provides access to a wide collection of Canadian geospatial data, maps, images, and publications at no cost and without restrictions.

All data accessed via GeoGratis comes with an Unrestricted Use Licence Agreement that grants users a non-exclusive, royalty-free right and licence to exercise all intellectual property rights in the data including the right to use, incorporate, sub-license, modify, further develop, and distribute the data. The various downloadable geospatial data, maps, images, and publications in several different popular formats such as geopdf, geotiff, pdf, shape file and tiff.

GeoGratis Canadian Geospatial Data Portal

Improvements to the new site made go much deeper then just minor cosmetic changes. GeoGratis Website  is now easier to use and allows access to better search tools where one can now view and download all available geospatial data sets consolidated into the same web site.

The new Platform also now better supports developers that want to create unique and innovative mapping applications with Canadian data, images and documents using one of the three available GeoGratis Application Programming Interfaces (API’s). These include the GeoGratis API, the GeoLocation API and also an updated Canada base web map service (WMS) that now also includes Canadian transportation data (Canada Base Map for Transportation – CBM-T).

NRCan feels that the new GeoGratis service is compatible with OpenGIS® Consortium (OGC), innovative and cutting-edge, and will provide a better one stop site for people to obtain Canadian geospatial data, maps, images and publications.

The New GeoGratis Website: An Innovative Geospatial Platform for all Canadians; consolidates several location-based services including The Canadian Geographical Names Database (CGNDB), Atlas Gazetteer, Postal Codes and National Topographic System (NTS) Map search. The CGNDB manages names records for populated places and physical features across Canada. Users can search by geographic location using the map of Canada, name, physical feature, subject, NTS number or product title.

GeoGratis - Search geospatial gis data results

NRCan has been listening to what the geomatics community has been asking for all along. And as a result have taken what was already a pretty good service that offered free data and information and consolidated it together, cleaned it up and then added some more tools as well.

Therefore one should only expect that with all this royalty-free geospatial data and API tools now available that we should start to see more Canadian Cities and Municipalities start to offer web mapping sites and geographic information for their citizens.

Take a look at the new and improved GeoGratis Website for yourself using either the new search interface or simply browse through the extensive directory listing of hundreds of different maps, imagery and geospatial data sets to discover what the Federal Government of Canada has to offer the geomatics community.

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.