World Shaded Relief KMZ file [free download]

This handy color shaded relief map of the world including oceans was created from the NOAA ETOPO1 data set and was intended to be used with handheld Garmin GPS units, but can also make a nice colorful back ground image to use in Google Earth. Find out how to download this free resource …

Newfoundland and Labrador OpenData

Looking for data sets featuring Newfoundland and Labrador? Then you should check out the Newfoundland and Labrador OpenData. They are providing data in various accessible formats numerical tabular styled files as well as common text formats.

How to Get Ontario Topographic Data

Looking for Ontario Topographic Data?

Recently, someone contacted me looking for information on where they could find Ontario topographic data for the Thunder Bay area, so I assumed that they must have already checked the Canadian data page and suggested that they check out the Ontario Basic Mapping website (OBM).

The Ontario Basic Mapping (OBM) site by the Geography Network is a great online resource with simplistic interactive interface that provides users tools to create customized map views and the ability to download various topographic base mapping data for the entire Province of Ontario. The site contains GIS layers created from 1:10,000 base maps from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources that people can download including layers for transportation, water, municipal, elevation, parks and conservation areas. The portal created with ArcIMS makes it pretty easy to use and a convenient way to obtain mapping data in a variety of formats for virtually any area of interest in Ontario.

Ontario Topographic Data - Ontario Base Mapping Download Site

However, that person replied back to me a few days latter telling me that the site was only an online web map viewer and they needed actual data to use in a GIS, and wanted to know if I had any other sources of mapping information for Northern Ontario.

Now, I thought that the e-mail was a little strange since I have used data from the Ontario Basic Mapping web site before while planning various aerial surveys in Northern Ontario, so I decided to go check out the web site to see if the downloading data feature that I had used had been removed. Turns out the site is still the same, it can be used as an online web map viewer to customize and print maps but the downloading option still exists providing the ability to download the map layers in the viewer to use with your own GIS software packages like ArcMap or MapInfo.

It seems like a pretty simple mapping application to me but maybe it is not as obvious as some people need it to be, so I decided to share some of the notes on downloading topographic base data from the OBM site that I provided to them, in case others have trouble figuring how to download the data as well (And summarized in the video at the bottom).

The OBM site is an ArcIMS site with a simplistic look and an interactive interface that provides users with tools to create customized map views and the ability to download the various topographic base mapping data in the map window. If you are not interested in downloading GIS layers but still want to make some maps then like most typical map viewers, they also provide printing options where you can create either paper or digital PDF maps.

Ontario Topographic Data - Ontario Base Mapping - Thunder BayWhen you first open the viewer you are zoomed out to the full extent of the province with mapping tools represented by icons on your left and accessible data layers on the right hand side. Using the AOI icon, you first need to define an area of interest that will zoom the map window into your specific area, populating the map window with more detailed GIS layers and features.

From the list on the right hand side, you then select the visible layers that you wish to download. Next using the FME icon from the tools on the left hand side, a window will open up prompting you to log-in, create a free user name and password (or enter your existing log-in) and then a download options window will appear.

You then need to click a check box to agree with the license terms and click the Download Data button to continue. Finally another window with instructions for acquiring the data in a variety of formats (e.g. SHP, DWG, DXF etc.) and in either Latitude / Longitude or Lambert Conformal Conic coordinate system. Then there will be one final window with a message telling to check your e-mail for a message.

You will then get a machine-generated e-mail from the Geography Network with a custom download link with the Ontario topographic data layers that you specified for your area of interest that you defined. And that is all there is to it, so if you are looking for Ontario topographic GIS data layers to download or  just want want to create online maps then the Ontario Basic Mapping (OBM) site could help you out.

If you know of other Ontario data sources that I have not yet added to the Canadian data  collections then let me know about it and I will add it to the site.

Prince Edward Island Aerial Photograph Interactive Map Tool

The province of Prince Edward Island has always been pretty good and open about making their PEI aerial photography available. They have an in house library in Charlottetown where prints and copies can be ordered as well as an online interactive web map service allowing users to search and download lower resolution versions of their aerial photography.

PEI Aerial Photograph Interactive Map Tool - PEI online map for aerial photosThe online initiative began shortly after the 2000/02 Corporate Land Use Inventory Project had completed. This extensive project involved creating orthophoto maps from over 16 thousand 1:17.5k false color infrared images.  The orthophotos were then tiled to match the provinces topographic map series and all land use of the island was updated using air photo interpretation and heads up digitizing.

The project was a large success and stirred fond interest from other government departments and the public leading to the scanning of historic photos from the provinces air photo library. An online map interface was then developed to help make it easier for users to search photos and the ability to download images was included for easier access. Electronic versions of the images on CD-ROM are available from the PEI Resource Inventory and Modeling section in Charlottetown (e.g. 34 CDs provide full coverage of the Province in the 2000 series).

PEI Aerial Photograph Interactive Map Tool - PEI online map for aerial photosSelecting a different air photo series of the left will change the points on the map to represent the flight lines of aerial surveys for that particular year. This tool is great for projects that involve historic work in the same area.

PEI Aerial Photograph Interactive Map Tool

The PEI online map application displays the collection of aerial photos that are available from a set as points on the interactive map. Then users can view a thumb-nail of any photo simply by double clicking on one of the map points. Larger version of the file can then be downloaded, images are in JPEG format (reduced in size by 25% from the in house scans), with download file sizes ranging from 2 to up to 10 mb.

Aerial photographs of Prince Edward Island are available for download from surveys of 1935, 1958, 1974 and 1990, 2000 & 2010. The type of imagery available depends on the aerial photo survey of that particular year, thus you will find that there are colour images, false colour infrared and black and white images.

The department has also gone ahead and generated some quick-search pages allowing users to browse Aerial Photographs by community if they do not wish to use the interactive map tool. So users can pick a community from the provided preset short-cut list to see a list of photographs available in that area.
PEI Aerial Photograph Interactive Map Tool - PEI online map for aerial photos - oblique air photo
For example you can click on Charlottetown and it will open up a page containing thumb nails with relevant photos for the Charlottetown area with links to download the corresponding image or open it up larger into your browser.

There is also a set of images on their interactive map tool of oblique aerial images of select places across the island that can be viewed similar to the way the traditional air photos are with the map tool.

The province of Prince Edward Island continues to do a great job at making their aerial photography available to the public and this interactive map tool is your key to finding aerial photography for anywhere in Prince Edward island that you can then use with ArcMap, MapInfo, Google Earth or any other GIS based software as well as other non GIS uses.

Prince Edward Island Interactive Map Tool can be found by following this link:

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.

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 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.

Canadian Open Data and Free Geospatial Data

Over the past few years 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.