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.

4 replies
  1. André says:

    Hello Bernie – To put it simply, Geogratis offers NRCan datasets. It is the prime NRCan outlet for geographic data.

    Geobase is the result of the collaboration between the Federal government (via NRcan) and the provinces (usually the provincial mapping agencies). Governance for Geobase is done by the Canadian Council on Geomatics, the major federal-provincial-territorial consultative body for geographic information management. . So the data on Geobase is actually sourced from all the partners, based on the principles of “best available data”. So the data can be originally from a province OR a federal agency.

  2. Jean Pinard says:

    Dear Mr. Connors,
    I am writing in response to your question about the difference between GeoBase and GeoGratis portal. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


    Jean Pinard

    Services à la clientèle | Customer Support group
    Ressources naturelles Canada | Natural Resources Canada
    Centre d’information topographique de Sherbrooke | Centre for Topographic Information – Sherbrooke
    2144, King Ouest, bureau 010, Sherbrooke (QC), J1J 2E8, Canada
    Téléphone | Telephone : 1 800 661 2638
    Télécopieur | Facsimile : 819-564-5698 | |
    Gouvernement du Canada | Government of Canada

    GeoBase is a federal, provincial and territorial government initiative that is overseen by the Canadian Council on Geomatics (CCOG). NRCan is a major player as it ensures the portal operation, maintenance and support. NRCan is currently the major data provider. However the site include geospatial data coming from multisource such as: Federal and Provincial agencies and from Private sectors. The GeoBase initiative has been undertaken to ensure the provision of, and access to, a common, up-to-date and maintained base of quality geospatial data for all of Canada.

    GeoGratis is a portal provided by the Earth Sciences Sector (ESS) of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) which provides geospatial data from NRCAN at no cost and without restrictions via your Web browser. The data will be useful whether you are a novice who needs a geographic map for a presentation, or an expert who wants to overlay a vector layer of digital data on a classified multiband image, with a digital elevation model as a backdrop.

  3. Bernie Connors says:

    I don’t think the consumers of the data care if NRCan produced the data or if they aggregated the data from the provinces or other partners. Having two websites with similar names managed by the same department creates confusion and causes data consumers to search two different websites to find data.

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