ARCHIVED - Earth Sciences Sector Basic Infrastructure Evaluation

Information Archived on the Web

Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats. Please "contact us" to request a format other than those available.


Table of Contents


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Purpose

This is an evaluation of Natural Resources Canada 's (NRCan) Earth Sciences Sector (ESS) Basic Infrastructure Sub-Activity. It is centered on the development and use of national geographic databases to support science, exploration, economic development and policy making. The Sub-Activity is composed of two Sub-sub Activities dealing with Sovereignty and Canada's Geographic Foundation with 15 distinct Components. The evaluation covers expenditures of approximately $274.5 million over the period 2004-05 to 2008-09.

Objectives

The objective of the Basic Infrastructure Sub-Activity is to provide essential geographic information to support the basic functions of governing Canada.

Evaluation Issues and Methodology

This evaluation examined three issues: (1) relevance and rationale; (2) results and success; and (3) cost-effectiveness and alternatives. The evaluation is based on evidence from a document and file review, seven case studies and 95 interviews with key internal and external stakeholders. The Continental Shelf and GeoConnections Components are subject to their own stand alone reports, which can be accessed here Continental Shelf and GeoConnections.

Key Findings:

Weaving together a single performance story for the overall Sub-Activity is difficult, as at this point in time there is not one coherent story for ESS Basic Infrastructure. The Sub-Activity itself did not come into existence until 2008-09, and during the evaluation period most of the Components were focused on different strategic outcomes, while others were only formed in 2007-08.

Relevance/Rationale

The Sub-Activity is consistent with government and departmental goals, providing data and related services in support of ESS Programs, federal government departments, agencies, international conventions and to the public in accordance with the Department of Natural Resources Act (1994) and the Resources and Technical Surveys Act (1985). It provides reliable information, services and expertise on geomatics and geoscience to Canadians.

ESS is the foundation of Canada's earth sciences innovation system, recognized as a world leader in the provision of public-good earth sciences data and information. It provides a fundamental base of geospatial data and complete coverage of Canada's topography, while administering geographic naming, developing codes and standards for geodetic surveys, providing assistance to Canadian companies to gain access to foreign markets, and managing the use of remote sensing. The components of Basic Infrastructure are in a period of transformation owing to dramatic changes in the technological environment, from the building and proliferation of satellites to the use of new web enabled technology and the lowered costs of providing the data, to the dramatically increasing cost intensity of certain high end functions.  Basic Canadian geo-infrastructure, and ESS Basic Infrastructure itself, has to evolve and establish a new framework for this new environment.

The Continental Shelf Program is relevant to the Government of Canada and contributes to the priorities of the three departments involved, including NRCan.

Stakeholders expressed a continuing need for GeoConnections, largely because the Program supports standards setting (e.g., for data quality, accuracy and consistency) across jurisdictions by allowing all parties to interact using a common language. This is a function that the private sector cannot provide. GeoConnections also continues to serve the public interest by supporting federal and provincial government decision-making in public good priority areas.

Results and Success

The Basic Infrastructure activities can be combined to reflect certain themes which are the basic functions required governing a country like Canada. Overall results and success for the Basic Infrastructure Sub-Activity are detailed in seven subsections dealing with the following groupings: Legal Boundary Components; Mapping Components; Remote Sensing Components; Atlas of Canada Program; International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program; Delineating Canada's Continental Shelf under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea; and GeoConnections.

Legal Boundary Components ($88.3 million, 32.1%)

The Legal Boundary Components have partially achieved intended outcomes and performance targets, with some issues regarding the International Boundary Commission and Geomatics for Property Rights:

  • The additional costs of the revised International Boundary Commission maintenance plans were not funded by the United States over the course of the evaluation period, hampering the work required to maintain an effective boundary. The frequency with which the more densely populated areas are scheduled for boundary maintenance operations appears to be inadequate.
  • Canada Lands Survey System has been successful in providing the basic infrastructure needed to ensure that boundaries of Canada Lands are clearly demarcated. Clients are satisfied with the accessibility, availability and timeliness of boundary information.
  • For Geomatics for Property Rights, it is difficult to assess the level of success in meeting outcomes and performance targets as there is a lack of information.  Client satisfaction surveys have identified areas for improvement, and also provided indirect evidence that the improvements were in response to identified needs.  The program took steps to improve performance measures for 2009-10, with additional measures to be put in place for 2010-11.

Mapping Components ($50.4 million, 18.4%)

The Mapping Components have achieved the majority of intended outcomes and performance targets. GeoBase has improved Canadian geographic information through the provision of a basic geospatial infrastructure for all of Canada, and the development of the GeoBase portal to provide access to framework data through a single access point. Use of the portal and the number of registered users increased each year over the course of the evaluation period. Topographic Mapping Initiatives has had challenges in achieving intended outcomes and performance targets, projecting production of only 900 new/updated maps by 2011. While there has been considerable success in transferring digital outputs through databases and portals, the mixture of legacy and new data has made it difficult to integrate data into a uniform national database. The Names Board Secretariat has made good progress towards the achievement of intended outcomes and performance targets. Despite this there is only indirect evidence of user needs being satisfied.

The Mapping Components could be positioned to come together to articulate a new role and federal activities in the area of creating and providing geospatial information. This would accelerate the completion of current activities, and help to articulate a new geo-strategy for the sector. This would lead to opportunities for the components to articulate a new policy relevance and role.

Remote Sensing Components ($62.3 million, 22.7%)

The Remote Sensing Components have either achieved, or are making good progress towards intended outcomes and performance targets. The Components have maintained or improved data quality and have improved the availability of products, including new datasets for Earth Observation Data Services and Understanding Canada from Space. For the Canadian Spatial Reference System, expected results have largely been achieved. Geodetic Survey Division is making good progress towards the goal of modernizing the Canadian Height Reference System, however the integration of accurate gravity data was held up when the launch of a European satellite was delayed by two years. Earth Observation data reception is handled on a daily basis in response to user requirements, and maintains an archive of 38-plus years of Earth Observation data. It makes Earth Observation data available for other parties to integrate into a uniform national database. The Understanding Canada from Space Program is making good progress towards achieving its intended outcomes. The Program's activities are based on priorities determined in consultation with Earth Observation data users.

Atlas of Canada Program ($5.2 million, 1.9%)

The Atlas of Canada Program has largely achieved its intended outcomes and performance targets. The Program has improved both the quality and availability of thematic information and frameworks, while employing a number of approaches to make Atlas more responsive to the needs of its various stakeholders. These approaches include periodic user surveys and focus groups, followed by user-centric design studies. The Program has been successful in transferring outputs to its partners and stakeholders, and uptake has been considerable.

International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program ($14.7 million, 5.4%)

The International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program has been successful in developing national georeferenced databases suited to the needs of the developing countries. The activities of the International Division support the Canadian private sector by identifying direct contacts, as well as exposing them to new markets in developing countries. Information on performance metrics related to Program activities, outputs and outcomes was not readily available, so progress towards meeting these objectives and targets could not be ascertained.

The Continental Shelf Program ($36.1 million, 13.1%)

The first phase of the Continental Shelf Program, "preparation" is completed and provided the foundation for the implementation of the Program. The second phase, "data collection" is proceeding according to the plan and is within budget, although significant data collection remains to take place. As well, financial and human resources for the next phases are now being put in place, but more efforts are necessary to deliver on the Program's plan, specifically to ensure sufficiency and continuity of resources beyond 2012. Overall, the Program is on track to achieve its objectives. Note: Full report and recommendations are available at http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/ae-ve/evaluations/08-09/6b060-eng.htm.

GeoConnections Phase II ($17.5 million, 6.4%)

GeoConnections has made progress towards the goal of increasing the use of geospatial data by policy decision-makers and has been successful in providing mechanisms to address inter-jurisdictional decision-making issues in four priority areas (Public Safety; Public Health; Environmental and Sustainable Development; and Matters of Interest to Aboriginal Peoples). The partnership approach has been used to build provincial and local support and to engage academia, non-governmental organizations, public and private stakeholders.  Increased capacity and interest was also reported. Note: Full report and recommendations are available at http://www.nrcan-rncan.gc.ca/evaluation/reprap/
2010/e20100107-eng.php

Cost-Effectiveness/Alternatives

Basic Infrastructure was delivered in a cost-effective manner by a total of 1,469 full-time equivalent staff over the five-year period. Expenditures totaled $274.5 million from 2004-05 to 2008-09. The Legal Boundary Components were $88.3 million (32.1%), Remote Sensing Components $62.3 million (22.7%), and Mapping Components were $50.4 million (18.4%). These three areas represented over 70% of the total expenditures. The achievement of outputs was a result of coordination with other government departments, provincial and territorial governments, and industry in order to share costs, data and provide in-kind support.

The primary factors affecting delivery of Basic Infrastructure has been human resource issues, technological issues, and the complexity of managing partnerships. There has been difficulty in hiring experienced staff and a lack of funding to hire them permanently, which has created problems due to increasing demand for surveys and related services.

The Sub-Activity is a core government activity related directly to national sovereignty, and could not be transferred to the private sector. NRCan provides the most logical home for the Components because the department possesses staff with knowledge and experience in related technical specialties, in addition to the mandate given to the Department to provide critical information for the development of public policy, land-use planning, sovereignty, public safety and security and economic competitiveness. Basic Infrastructure also plays a necessary role in supporting the entry of Canadian companies to foreign marketplaces, which given the specialty of the work could not be transferred elsewhere.

Recommendations and Management Responses

  1. As a result of information gained during the evaluation (suggesting a gap in coverage and a growing need), NRCan should continue to explore, with key stakeholders, the feasibility of setting up a marine cadastre system for the offshore.

Management Response:  Accepted. NRCan (ESS) along with DFO is currently reviewing the policy around the roles and responsibilities regarding marine spatial planning.  As of January 2010, a joint DFO/NRCan task force has been established to perform a feasibility study along with stakeholder consultations.  This groundwork is not expected to be completed before 2011-12. (ADM ESS March 2012.)

  1. NRCan (ESS) should continue to enhance its performance measurement frameworks for the Basic Infrastructure components.

Management Response:  Accepted. The four Director General chaired Program Activity Boards are currently reviewing the make-up of the current ESS PAA (2010/2011) including the review and development of new performance measurement frameworks for all of ESS sub-activities and corresponding programs in order to improve their performance indicators, targets and data collection methodologies. (ADM ESS June 2010.)

  1. NRCan (ESS - Geodetic Survey Division) should continue to update their fundamental positioning capabilities and standards, and implement a modernized height reference system compatible with GPS and space systems.

Management Response:  Accepted. NRCan (ESS - Geodetic Survey Division) will move out from the distribution of real time GPS corrections intended for end-users applications (mapping and resources management) promoting Licensing to private sector distributors.  The Provinces and Territories (through the Canadian Geodetic Reference System Committee) and the United States National Geodetic Survey will be consulted on the pertinence of launching the Modernized Height Reference System as early as 2012 or in unison with the United States system planned for 2018. NRCan (ESS - Geodetic Survey Division) will also strive to further exploit geodetic information in support of geoscience for water management, natural hazards and climate change. (ADM ESS April 2011 (GPS correction); April 2012 (Height Modernization).)

  1. NRCan (ESS - Canada Centre for Remote Sensing) should review its Business Model to improve the efficiency to acquire, archive and access Earth Observation Data.

Management Response:  Accepted. NRCan (ESS - Canada Centre for Remote Sensing) continues to further develop the strategic evolution of Canada's ground infrastructure, especially in Canada's North, with the implementation of a Private Public Partnership for an operational ground station facility in Inuvik in 2010, the development of another facility in the North in collaboration with other federal Departments for 2013, while addressing the major risk of failure at the Gatineau and Prince Albert ground stations by 2012; NRCan (ESS - Canada Centre for Remote Sensing) will also further provide access and sharing across the Federal Departments and Agencies to Commercial Satellite Imagery by the implementation of a suite of National Master Standing Offers starting in 2010, and develop the Archive and Access component of the Earth Observation Data Services, to provide users with easy access, free whenever possible, to the Canadian data archives in partnership with the Canadian Space Agency. Interdepartmental Memoranda of Understanding with the Canadian Space Agency and other Departments will be signed by April 2011 for the evolution of the ground infrastructure and to operationalize access to Earth Observation Data and the Development of an Archive. (ADM ESS April 2011 – MOU; April 2012 (Risk analysis GSS and PASS); April 2013 (Business Plan for 2nd Northern Ground station).)

  1. NRCan (ESS - Canada Centre for Remote Sensing) should better position the Remote Sensing Science (RSS) Program as a government-wide, horizontal, enabling program for leveraging value from space- and ground-based Earth Observation (EO) infrastructures.

Management Response:  Accepted. NRCan (ESS - Canada Centre for Remote Sensing) will strengthen partnerships to increase the impact of the integrated, multi-sensor "research-to-results" continuum Remote Sensing Science is developing, to leverage Earth Observation's potential in direct support of government priorities, operations and decision-making. Collaboration will further Remote Sensing Science's goals: new Remote Sensing methods and applications; more value-added product generation and release; and a more integrated and operational approach to product and solutions dissemination. New Interdepartmental Memoranda of Understanding will be signed with the Canadian Space Agency and other key departments in 2010 and 2011.  Strategic academic and industrial liaisons will be explored and implemented where considered strategically valuable for Canadians to deliver Remote Sensing Results. (ADM ESS April 2011 restructured Remote Sensing Geoscience logic model.)

  1. NRCan should more clearly articulate the role of the federal Mapping Components (i.e., ESS Contributions to Geobase; Topographical Mapping Initiatives; Geographical Names Board; and the Atlas of Canada) in creating and providing basic geospatial information on Canada.

Accepted. NRCan, Mapping Information Branch is currently re-defining its mapping programs to more clearly articulate the federal role in providing integrated geospatial policy and knowledge to Canadians. As of March 2010, a comprehensive renewal strategy has been established to better integrate key mapping programs such as the Topographic Mapping Initiatives, Geographic Names Board Secretariat, Atlas of Canada, and the GeoConnections Program. Work plans are currently being developed and are expected to be completed by (ADM ESS March 2011.)

GeoConnections

  1. NRCan (ESS) should examine mechanisms to ensure the local expertise currently being developed by GeoConnections can be sustained and transferred to a broader federal and/or provincial level.

Management Response: Accepted. Since April 1, 2008 GeoConnections has focused its project funding on projects that develop nodes or systems to promote knowledge transfer and greater sustainability of funded projects by integrating the local expertise that was developed into broader regional, provincial and/or national systems.  The program has accelerated its documentation of success stories to ensure valuable project information is exposed to a broad community. With the approval in Budget 2010 of GeoConnections III, the focus of the program, inline with our core federal role, will involve a partnership and coordination focus for FPT organizations that support the transfer of knowledge. In addition, awareness strategies will be executed to adapt and promote the best practises developed at the local level. (ADM ESS March 31, 2011.)

  1. NRCan (ESS) should examine mechanisms to improve the usability of the CGDI portal through pilot testing with current contribution funding recipients.

Management Response: Accepted. The GeoConnections Discovery Portal, the key directory service for the CGDI is being revamped with new technology and an updated approach that will enhance the system's robustness. (ADM ESS March 31, 2011.)

  1. NRCan (ESS) should consider developing a broad sustainability strategy, including a communications strategy to ensure that the "Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI) brand" is clearly understood by all stakeholders in addition to identifying and maintaining components of the geospatial infrastructure currently being developed through GeoConnections program.

Management Response: Accepted. ESS will communicate the value, objectives and potential of the CGDI in order to address key social, economic and environmental challenges.  Business cases and return of investment will be developed and communicated to stakeholders. By 2011, the program will update the vision and mission for the CGDI as well as define a performance measurement framework built on five pillars; leadership, policy, framework data, technology and standards. In 2012, progress will be measured to ensure remaining development is completed for 2015. The sustainability strategy will be built on key outputs of the GeoConnections III program including a National Mapping Strategy 2010, revitalized FPT Geomatics Accord 2012 and a National Geomatics Policy Framework 2015.  Within ESS, detailed review and examination of current business models will be undertaken to ensure NRCan is able to provide ongoing federal leadership and coordination beyond the final phase of the GeoConnections program. (ADM ESS March 31, 2011.)

Continental Shelf Program

  1. It is recommended that the Management Board prepare an annual performance report and present it to the Federal Advisory Committee for review and the Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee for approval.

Management Response:  Accepted.  The Management Board will prepare an annual performance report for each calendar year of the program. The report will be reviewed by the Federal Advisory Committee and approved by the Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee by no later than March 31 of the following year. (ADM ESS March 2010.)

  1. It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee, with input from the Management Board, continue a proactive approach to financial and human resources to ensure sufficiency and continuity of resources.

Management Response:  Accepted.  The Management Board will firm up estimates for resources required post-2012 and develop any necessary documentation (e.g., Memoranda to Cabinet, Treasury Board Submission). (ADM ESS November 2010 for estimates and May 2011 for documentation.)

1.0 Introduction

This is an evaluation of the Basic Infrastructure Sub-Activity of the Earth Sciences Sector (ESS) of Natural Resources Canada's (NRCan) from 2003-04 to 2007-08.1 This Sub-Activity consists of two Sub-sub Activities dealing with Sovereignty and Canada's Geographic Foundation2 with 15 distinct Components.  The Sub-Activity is centered on the development and use of national geographic databases to support science, exploration, economic development and policy making. The evaluation covers expenditures of approximately $274.5 million over the period 2004-05 to 2008-09.

The 15 Components have many interrelationships and for the purpose of this evaluation have been grouped under seven areas as follows:

  1. Legal Boundary Components
    • Canada-United States International Boundary Maintenance and 1925 Treaty Implementation maintains a well-defined international boundary line and vista.
    • Canada Lands Survey System provides the foundation to establish property rights on Canada Lands,3 by defining, describing and documenting boundaries for all land interests.
    • The Cadastral Management Transformation that develops the Canada Lands Survey System into an integrated cadastral management program; integrates its records with the Indian Lands Registry; and benchmarks it with other survey systems.
    • Geomatics for Property Rights on Aboriginal and Heritage Lands Program. This Program addresses the obligations of the Government of Canada related to defining property boundaries on Aboriginal Lands, including land claims.
  2. Mapping Components
    • ESS Contributions to GeoBase Program. This Program works with federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments to ensure access to common up-to-date geospatial information covering the Canadian landmass.
    • Topographic Mapping Initiatives Program. This Program makes geospatial information available on Web and produces new topographic datasets to cover gaps in Northern Canada.
    • Geographical Names Board of Canada Secretariat delivers services to the Board, a national coordinating body that develops principles, procedures and guidelines for geographical naming in Canada, and promotion of the use of official names.
  3. Remote Sensing Components
    • Canadian Spatial Reference System provides fundamental reference values for latitude, longitude, height and gravity, including their rates of change over time.
    • Height Reference System Modernization that is developing the use of satellites to determine height using Global Positioning System and similar technology in a gravity-based system.
    • Earth Observation Data Services provides access to data to Programs in ESS, the Canadian Space Agency and other government departments, as well as the private sector and other users.
    • Understanding Canada from Space Program increases the usefulness of EO data (better data quality, information extraction methods, EO applications development) to government departments assessing land use and land cover characteristics and changes in Canada, as relates to forestry, agriculture, environmental sustainability, northern development, topography, water, etc.
  4. Atlas of Canada Program
    • This Program provides authoritative, current and accessible geographic information on Canada in a Web-based environment, and contributes to a better understanding of the country by providing a geographical window on Canada.
  5. International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program
    • This Program provides less-developed countries with better information on their geography, environment and natural resources; and helps Canadian geoscience and geomatics companies and universities gain access to foreign markets and potential new business opportunities.
  6. Delineating Canada's Continental Shelf under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Continental Shelf Program)
    • This ESS-led delineation initiative conducts seabed surveying and mapping in support of the development of Canada's submission for a juridical continental shelf under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  A formative interdepartmental evaluation was led by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and completed in 2009. A summary of the evaluation is included in this evaluation report.
  7. GeoConnections Phase II
    • GeoConnections is a grants and contributions program that has a mandate to evolve and expand the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure4, which provides Canadians with on-demand access to geographic information, such as maps and satellite images, and related services and applications in support of sound decision-making. GeoConnections was the subject of a separate evaluation. A summary of the evaluation is included in this evaluation report.

The Basic Infrastructure Sub-Activity is managed by NRCan's Earth Sciences Sector. Responsibility for the 15 Components is spread across six Branches of the Sector: Atlantic and Western Canada; Canada Centre for Remote Sensing; Mapping Information; Programs; Policy and Coordination; and the Surveyor General.

Presenting information on 15 Components, across three evaluation reports, and up to 12 separate questions, is a challenge. The Executive Summary provides an overview of this information. The Continental Shelf and GeoConnections Components are subject to their own stand alone reports, which can be accessed here http://www.nrcan-rncan.gc.ca/ evaluation/reprap/2010/e20100107-eng.php. Summary information on Relevance and Rationale can be found on page 28, while summary information on Cost Effectiveness can be found on page 59. A summary table on Success can be found on page 30.


1 Sub-Activity 3.2.4 of the 2008-09 Program Activity Architecture (PAA) - Basic Infrastructure is provided to support the governing of Canada.

2 Sub-sub Activities 3.2.4.1 Sovereignty and 3.2.4.2 Canada's Geographic Foundation.

3 Canada Lands include First Nations Lands, national parks, Canada's ocean space and the North.

4 The Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure is comprised of the technology, standards, access systems and protocols necessary to harmonize all of Canada's geospatial databases, and make them available on the Internet.

2.0 Background

2.1 Overview of the Earth Sciences Sector's Basic Infrastructure to Support the Governing of Canada Sub-Activity

The Earth Sciences Sector (ESS) is the country's principal earth sciences agency. It provides timely, reliable information, services and expertise on geomatics and geoscience to Canadians. ESS is at the centre of Canada's earth sciences innovation system, recognized as a world leader in the provision of public-good earth sciences data and information. In 2006-07, ESS's annual budget was approximately $200 million.5 ESS has headquarters in Ottawa with offices in seven provinces and three territories.

The Earth Sciences Sector of NRCan is made up of two major organizations: The Geological Survey of Canada and Geomatics. The Geological Survey of Canada, founded in 1842, provides geological information and technologies to support the sustainable development of Canada's resources. Geomatics Canada provides maps of, and geographic information on, Canada's landmass and offshore resources.  The Sector also manages other national initiatives such as GeoConnections, Climate Change Impacts and Adaption and the Polar Continental Shelf Project.

In 2002-03, ESS implemented a matrix management structure. Budgets were assigned to Programs, while staff was still the responsibility of the Division Directors. Individual staff members were requested by Program Managers, and were assigned to Programs through a process of negotiation between Program Managers and Division Directors.

In 2005-06, a Programs Branch was established and all Program Managers began reporting to the Programs Branch Director General. This emphasized the matrix management structure, since budgets were assigned through the Director General Programs Branch.

The Basic Infrastructure Sub-Activity to support the Governing of Canada was created in 2008-09 with the 15 distinct Components. Some of the Components were formed within the evaluation period, sometimes out of parts of other programs.

The Sector's response to departmental priorities, as defined in the Earth Sciences Business Plan 2006-09 are delivered through four vehicles in the Basic Infrastructure Sub-Activity as follows:

  • Programs: science and technology activities receiving three-year funding to produce public goods that achieve outcomes designed to contribute to current public policy objectives (Geomatics for Property Rights on Aboriginal and Heritage Lands; Understanding Canada from Space; ESS Contributions to GeoBase; Topographic Mapping Initiatives; International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment; and Atlas of Canada).
  • Services to Government: delivery of public goods under an obligation to provide services to Canadians while contributing to public policy objectives (Canada-US International Boundary Maintenance and 1925 Treaty Implementation; Canadian Spatial Reference System; Canada Lands Survey System; and Earth Observation Data Services).
  • Transformative Projects: one-time projects to increase the value or decrease the costs of a Service to Government (Height Reference System Modernization and Cadastral Management Transformation).
  • National Initiatives: programs managed by ESS on behalf of the government (Delineating Canada's Continental Shelf under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and GeoConnections).

5 Earth Sciences Sector Business Plan 2006-2009, p. 8.

2.2 Program Descriptions

A summary of the 15 Components by the seven areas is included in Table 1, while a breakdown of the various projects is included in Table 2. These Components contributed to NRCan Strategic Outcome 3: "Safety, Security and Governance" and Program Activity 3.2: "Natural Resources and Landmass Knowledge for Canadians." The two Transformative Projects are placed with the particular Service to Government (i.e., Height Reference System Modernization and Cadastral Management Transformation).

Table 1:  Summary of the Basic Infrastructure Sub-Activity, 2003-04 to 2007-08
Areas/Components Description Management/Branch Currently Responsible Approximate
Expenditures ($M)
Legal Boundary Components 88.3
Canada-US International Boundary Maintenance and 1925 Treaty Implementation
  • Maintains the demarcation and cartographic representation of the boundary between Canada and the United States.
  • Delivered in partnership with the United States, under the auspices of the International Boundary Commission.
Surveyor General 8.6
Canada Lands Survey System (includes Cadastral Management Transformation)
  • Provides the foundation to establish property rights on Canada Lands, by defining, describing and documenting the extent of all land interests.
Surveyor General 28.0
Geomatics for Property Rights on Aboriginal and Heritage Lands Program
  • Addresses the obligations of the Government of Canada related to defining property boundaries on Aboriginal Lands, including land claims, using effective and culturally-aligned administration systems.
Surveyor General 51.7
Mapping Components 50.4
Earth Sciences Sector Contribution to GeoBase Program
  • Works with federal, provincial, territorial and municipal government data stakeholders to ensure the provision of, and access to, a common, up-to-date base of quality geospatial information covering the entire Canadian landmass.
Director General
Programs (Mapping Information is the Performing Branch).
28.6
Topographic Mapping Initiatives Program
  • Ensures that quality geospatial information is available to serve the needs of Canadians in a Wed-based environment; and will produce new topographic datasets to cover the portion of Northern Canada where 1:50,000 scale mapping does not yet exist.
Director General
Programs(Mapping Information is the Performing Branch).
20.4
Geographical Names Board of Canada Secretariat
  • Delivers all routine functions of the Geographic names Board of Canada, which is a national coordinating body that develops principles, procedures and guidelines for geographical naming in Canada, and promotion of the use of official names.
Director General
Mapping Information
1.4
Remote Sensing Components 62.3
Canadian Spatial Reference System (includes Height Reference System Modernization)
  • Provides fundamental reference values for latitude, longitude, height and gravity, including their rate of change over time (i.e. the foundation for Canada's positioning and navigation activities).
Director General
Canada Centre for Remote Sensing
21.9
Earth Observation Data Services
  • Provides access to Earth Observation data (through operating and maintaining, receiving stations and archives) to Programs in ESS, the Canadian Space Agency and other government departments, as well as the private sector and other users.
Director General
Canada Centre for Remote Sensing
37.6
Understanding Canada from Space
  • helps government departments assess land use and land cover characteristics and changes in Canada, as relates to forestry, agriculture, environmental sustainability, northern development, topography, water, etc.
Director General
Canada Centre for Remote Sensing(Programs Branch was responsible in 2007-08)
2.8
Atlas of Canada Program
  • Provides authoritative, current and accessible geographic information products at a national level, in a Web-based environment, and contributes to a better understanding of the country by providing a geographical window on Canada.
Director General
Mapping Information (Programs Branch was responsible in 2007-08, and Canada Centre for Remote Sensing in 2008-09).
5.2
International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program
  • Provides less-developed countries with better information on their geography, environment and natural resources; and helps Canadian geoscience and geomatics companies and universities to gain access to foreign markets and potential new business opportunities.
Director General
Policy and Coordination
14.7
Delineating Canada's Continental Shelf under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
  • Conducts seabed surveying and mapping in support of the development of Canada's submission for a juridical continental shelf under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
International Boundary Commissioner – Canadian Section
Atlantic and Western Canada (Programs Branch was responsible in 2007-08).
36.1
GeoConnections Phase II
  • Expands the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure that provides Canadians with on-demand access to geographic information such as maps and satellite images, and related to services and applications in support of sound decision-making.
Director General
Mapping Information
17.5
Total $274.5

Source: Approximate annual expenditures provided by ESS Basic Infrastructure Program Management, August 20, 2009 and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, October 7, 2009.

Table 2: Number of Projects for Basic Infrastructure Components from 2004-05 to 2008-09
Component No. of Projects Projects by Fiscal Year
Canada-US International Boundary Maintenance and 1925 Treaty Implementation 1 2004-05 to 2008-09
Canadian Spatial Reference System 1 2004-05 to 2008-09
Height Reference System Modernization (Canadian Spatial Reference System) 1 2005-06 to 2007-08
Canada Lands Survey System 1 2004-05 to 2008-09
Cadastral Management Transformation (Canada Lands Survey System) 1 2005-06 to 2007-08
Geomatics for Property Rights on Aboriginal and Heritage Lands 25 14 (2004-05 to 2005-06); 1 (2005-06);
10 (2006-07 to 2008-09)
Earth Observation Data Services 1 2004-05 to 2008-09
ESS Contribution to GeoBase 18 2 (2004-05);
9 (2004-05 to 2005-06);
1 (2005-06);
5 (2006-07 to 2008-09);
1 (2008-09)
Topographic Mapping Initiatives 10 2 (2004-05);
4 (2004-05 to 2005-06);
2 (2006-07 to 2008-09);
1 (2006-07 to 2007-08);
1 (2008-09)
International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment 13 2 (2004-05);
4 (2004-05 to 2005-06);
2 (2005-06);
1 (2006-07);
1 (2006-07 to 2007-08);
3 (2006-07-2008-09)
Atlas of Canada 1 2004-05 to 2008-09
Geographical Names Board Secretariat 1 2004-05 to 2008-09
Understanding Canada from Space 5 2007-08 to 2008-09
Total 79

Source: ESS Program Management – September 15, 2009. Projects for Continental Shelf Program and GeoConnections are not included.

Figure 1 shows the evolution of the Basic Infrastructure Components during the 2003-04 to 2008-09 period.

Figure 1: Evolution of the Basic Infrastructure Sub-Activity, 2003-04 to 2008-09

Figure 1: Evolution of the Basic Infrastructure Sub-Activity, 2003-04 to 2008-09

Detailed descriptions for the 15 Components are found below:

Legal Boundaries Components

1. Canada-United States International Boundary Maintenance and 1925 Treaty Implementation

The International Boundary Commission is a bi-national treaty organization permanently established by the 1925 Treaty of Washington. As envisaged in the Treaty, all maintenance and regulatory activities are planned and delivered in partnership with the U.S. with equal sharing of all expenditures. In Canada, effect is given to the Treaty by the International Boundary Commission Act, 1960.

The International Boundary Commission mission as stated in the 1925 Treaty of Washington is:

"The Commissioners appointed under the provisions of the Treaty of April 11, 1908, are hereby jointly empowered and directed: to inspect the various sections of the boundary line between the Dominion of Canada and the United States and between the Dominion of Canada and Alaska at such times as they shall deem necessary; to repair all damaged monuments and buoys; to relocate and rebuild monuments which have been destroyed; to keep the boundary vistas open; to move boundary monuments to new sites and establish such additional monuments and buoys as they shall deem desirable; to maintain at all times an effective boundary line between the Dominion of Canada and the United States and between the Dominion of Canada and Alaska." 6

The International Boundary Commission's mandate is to maintain an effective boundary, and to regulate any construction work within three metres (10 ft.) of the boundary. "Effective" has been defined to mean a boundary line that is accurately located on the surface of the earth; marked with stable monuments readily identifiable as to the purpose; with line-of-sight from monument to adjacent monument; and, depicted upon modern accurate maps/charts of the day.

The International Boundary Commission is composed of two commissioners: The U.S. Commissioner is appointed by the President and reports to the Secretary of State. The Canadian Commissioner is appointed by Order-in-Council, and reports to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. For administrative purposes, the Canadian Section of the Boundary Commission is located within NRCan as a section of the Surveyor General Branch.

Annual reports are submitted by the International Boundary Commission to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Canada and to the Secretary of State in the U.S. The other principal clients of the International Boundary Commission are the law enforcement, customs and immigration and security agencies of the two countries.

2. Canada Lands Survey System (includes Cadastral Management Transformation)

The Canada Lands Surveys System provides survey plans and related information on all Canada Lands. It applies to about 7.4 million square kilometers of Canada's land and offshore territory or slightly more than 50% of the country. Canada Lands include approximately 3,000 Indian reserves, the National Parks, historic sites, wildlife sanctuaries, historical canals, the offshore and the three Territories.

A property rights infrastructure for Canada Lands must unambiguously define and record the rights, responsibilities and restrictions affecting land and fixed improvements; and it must define, record and provide notice of the physical extent of those interests on the land. The property rights infrastructure is comprised of two main elements: a survey system and a registry system.

By providing clearly defined boundaries, the land survey section of the property rights infrastructure contributes to economic growth, social and cultural preservation, and sustainable development. No economic decisions can be implemented without some party assuming the property rights to develop and to benefit from that development. The only way to protect the environment is to assert the property rights of the community or public over the property rights of others who might conduct activities that harm the environment. Without the products and services provided by the Surveyor General Branch, sustainable development on Canada Lands would not occur.

The activities of the Canada Land Survey System, headed by the Surveyor General, are managed by three Deputy Surveyor Generals who manage operations in four regions, with an Assistant Surveyor General in the National Capital Region, managing the fourth region:

  • Western Canada- Edmonton;
  • Yukon – Whitehorse;
  • Northwest Territories - Yellowknife; and
  • Eastern Canada-Ottawa.

The Assistant Surveyor General in Ottawa also has responsibility for the corporate files; liaises with other government departments and other sectors of NRCan; and takes care of business plan development and other duties.

The main clients for these services are:

  • First Nations and Inuit;
  • Federal Government Departments and Agencies including Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Parks Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada, Offshore Petroleum Boards, Indian Oil and Gas, Department of the Environment, Department of Justice;
  • Canada Lands Surveyors; and
  • Members of the public with rights on Canada Lands.

3. Geomatics for Property Rights on Aboriginal and Heritage Lands Program

The Geomatics for Property Rights on Aboriginal and Heritage Lands is directed at ensuring that property boundaries are well defined to eliminate property rights uncertainties and encourage sustainable economic and social development on Canada Lands. Economic development is not possible without clear title to the land. There are several Acts and Regulations that govern the property rights infrastructure on Canada Lands.

Under the Canada Lands Surveys Act, the Minister of NRCan shall cause surveys to be made of Canada Lands on the request of a Minister of any department of the Government of Canada or a Commissioner administering the Lands and may do so in any other case in which he deems it to be expedient. The Indian Act requires Indian and Northern Affairs Canada to maintain a land register for Indian lands to record property titles, which includes leases, allotments, designations, orders in council, etc., relating to interest in Indian lands. Section 35 of the Constitution Act 1982 recognizes and affirms Aboriginal and treaty rights that now exist or that may be acquired by way of land claim agreements.7

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is the main client for land and boundary surveys as it is responsible for the management of reserve lands. Other clients include government departments and agencies that administer property titles, such as Parks Canada.

The first Surveyor General of federal lands was appointed in 1871 to set up an effective land survey system to support the increased pace of settlement in the West. In 1872, the Dominion Lands Act was proclaimed, defining land management policies, the terms and conditions for the acquisition of lands, how land titles were to be registered, a system for subdividing land, and how federal lands were to be surveyed; all of which are part of a property rights system.

This Component is delivered regionally and jointly with the Canada Lands Surveys System using local service delivery units, co-located with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's regional offices. Geomatics for Property Rights offices are located across the country:

  • Atlantic Client Liaison Unit, Amherst, Nova Scotia;
  • Québec Client Liaison Unit, Québec City, Québec;
  • National Capital Regional Office, Ottawa, Ontario;
  • Ontario Client Liaison Unit, Toronto, Ontario;
  • Manitoba Client Liaison Unit, Winnipeg, Manitoba;
  • Saskatchewan Client Liaison Unit, Regina, Saskatchewan;
  • Canada Centre for Cadastral Management Natural Resources Canada, Edmonton, Alberta;
  • Western Regional Operations Centre / Alberta Client Liaison Unit, Edmonton, Alberta;
  • Yukon Regional Operations Centre, Whitehorse, YT, and
  • Northwest Territories Regional Operations Centre, Yellowknife, NT; and
  • Nunavut Client Liaison Unit, Iqaluit, Nunavut.

Mapping Components

4. Earth Sciences Sector Contributions to GeoBase Programs

The creation of GeoBase began in 2001 following the release of a report8 which identified that basic geographic information in Canada was in danger of becoming irrelevant unless significant investment was made at all levels of government. GeoBase was formed as a joint initiative within the framework of the Geomatics Accord9 with the intent of having federal, provincial and territorial governments work together cooperatively to ensure the provision of, and access to common up-to-date and well-maintained base of quality geospatial information covering the entire Canadian landmass. The principles that guide the development of GeoBase are:

  • Data should be collected only once, closest to the source and in the most efficient way possible;
  • Data should be integrated both horizontally and vertically across jurisdictions, to reduce duplication of effort and to promote the concept of "collect data once – use many times"; and
  • Data should be available to users at no cost and without restriction.

The Canadian Council on Geomatics is the governing body for GeoBase.  It is comprised of representatives from federal and provincial agencies. The federal and provincial/territorial roles and responsibilities within GeoBase and the Geomatics Accord are discussed in a document entitled, GeoBase, Principles, Policies and Procedures; Version 1.5, July 2008. The Assistant Deputy Minister, ESS is the Chair of the Canadian Council on Geomatics, and the GeoBase Steering Committee is chaired by the Director General Mapping Information Branch.

Within NRCan management responsibilities are as follows:

  • Accountability for ESS's Contribution to GeoBase: Director-General, Programs Branch;
  • Management and delivery of ESS Contribution to GeoBase is through the Program Manager, reporting to the Portfolio Director within the Programs Branch; and
  • Resources for program delivery are supplied by Mapping Information Branch, Centre for Topographic Information - Sherbrooke.

5. Topographical Mapping Initiatives Program

Topographic Mapping Initiatives is a new program formed in 2007-08, by merging two programs: Paper to Digital Mapping; and (as of October 2007) the former Geomatics for Northern Development, which ended in 2006-07. Topographic Mapping Initiatives Program also includes a new "targeted revision" project. Topographic Mapping Initiatives Program links the paper map production that has traditionally been in the Centre for Topographic Information in Ottawa, to the digital geospatial database that has been built over the past two decades at the Centre for Topographic Information in Sherbrooke (the two sites of the Centre for Topographic Information).

Paper to Digital Mapping was a transformative project for the National Topographic Series Maps. Since 1968, ESS has pursued the goal of national map coverage for Canada with the paper-based National Topographic Series10 of maps and the subsequent National Topographic Data Base.11 However, the data needed to be updated and reformatted before they could be incorporated into a geographic information system. This project had the objective to provide a common vision to ensure that quality geospatial information would be available to serve the needs of Canadians in a Web-based environment.

Geomatics for Northern Development supported new investment and sustainable development in the North by providing reliable and consistent geospatial information and services ranging from digital topographic data to global positioning system on-line correction services. The Program also provided technical expertise in geomatics, including the organization of geomatics workshops with stakeholders that helped to ensure that Northerners develop increased capacity to use geospatial infrastructure. The final goal of the Program was to provide a broadly adapted suite of geospatial information that would be recognized as a critical tool for decision-making.

The Topographical Mapping Initiatives Program contributes to enhancing economic opportunities by making freely available the foundation geographic data on which location-based, value-added businesses are built; and providing, at no cost, the Canadian element of the global spatial reference frame, the essential geographic element that underpins secure land tenure as a basis for any development investment. It supports public safety and security by providing information needed by citizens and front-line responders in civil emergencies to meet the Sector's emergency preparedness obligations.

The Director General, Programs Branch is accountable for delivery of all Topographical Mapping Initiatives programs and oversight on its operations. The Director General, Mapping Information Branch provides leadership on future trends and orientations of mapping programs and services. The Portfolio Manager is accountable for all programs related to Environment, Safety and Geographic Foundations. Management and delivery of the program mandate (topographic mapping) is through the Program Manager. Resources for program delivery are supplied by Mapping Services Branch through the Centres for Topographic Information in Ottawa and Sherbrooke.

6. Geographic Names Board of Canada

The Geographic Board of Canada was set up in 1897 to regulate the country's geographical names and to standardize feature identification. In March 2000, by an Order in Council, it became the Geographical Names Board of Canada.  Its main task is to establish rules, guidelines and principles for naming geographical features. Its technical role is to record, approve and disseminate toponymic (i.e. place name) information.

The Geographic Names Board of Canada is the national coordinating body that develops principles, procedures and guidelines for geographical naming in Canada and the promotion of the use of official names. It encourages the development of international standards in cooperation with the United Nations and other national authorities responsible for naming policies and practices. Naming of geographical features in Canada rests with different agencies in the provinces and territories, also with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Parks Canada in consultation with the provinces. All naming authorities send names to the Names Board. At the national level, Geographic Names Board of Canada places a strong emphasis on Aboriginal names, particularly in the North. NRCan hosts the geographical names database, a unified depository of official geographic names in Canada.

NRCan provides the Secretariat for the Names Board. The Secretariat handles all routine toponymic matters relating to Canada, in partnership with the Names Board Chairs and the representatives of the various federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions. The Secretariat coordinates the information to be included in the automated and graphic name records for national use, arranges the meetings of the Names Board and its various committees, organizes workshops and seminars, and undertakes the production of the Names Board publications.

The Canadian Committee on Geomatics is the national body coordinating all matters affecting geographical nomenclature in Canada. It is comprised of representatives from federal and provincial agencies. The Names Board is comprised of 27 members. The Chair is appointed by the Minister of NRCan, and reports annually to the Minister. Each of the provinces and territories is represented, as well as various federal departments concerned with mapping, archives, defence, translation, Indian reserves, national parks and statistics. The Executive Secretary is responsible to the Chairperson for the functional activity of the Secretariat.

Within NRCan the management structure consists of the following:

  • The Director General, Mapping Information Branch is accountable for the Names Board Secretariat;
  • Management and delivery is through the Director, Centre for Topographic Information - Ottawa;
  • The Manager Secretariat is accountable to the Chair of the Names Board for all activities related to the daily work, including organizing the annual meeting and following up on the actions arising from it; and
  • The Manager Secretariat is accountable to the Director, Centre for Topographic Information - Ottawa as the next line of authority for all financial and human resources-related functions associated with staff and budget.

Remote Sensing Components

7. Canadian Spatial Reference System (includes Height Reference System Modernization)

The Canadian Spatial Reference System provides fundamental reference values for latitude, longitude, height and gravity, including their rate of change over time, as the foundation for the nation's evolving positioning and navigation activities for all Earth Sciences needs. The resulting reference frames, propagated through provincial and municipal reference networks and other government services, serve as standards that ensure the compatibility of Canadian georeferenced information on Earth and in space regardless of their source or date.

The Canadian Spatial Reference System is delivered by the Geodetic Survey Division of the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing. The Geodetic Survey Division's mandate has been the same since its creation, by Order in Council, in 1909. The Canadian Spatial Reference System includes maintenance of standards, techniques, observatories, control networks, calibration facilities, and related data acquisition, management and distribution. A major activity in the past has been the maintenance of networks of monuments that provide reference points.

The North American Datum12 1983 is the adopted reference coordinate system in both Canada and the United States. It replaced the outdated North American Datum 1927. The North American Datum 1983 was created to meet the requirements for better accuracy and more precision, at a time when satellite and remote sensing technology had both improved, and had been made available for civilian applications.

The modern technology to give user access to the North American Datum 1983 is the Global Positioning System of which there are sophisticated systems for professional users. As part of the Canadian Spatial Reference System service, the Geodetic Survey Division generates Global Positioning System correction data from 47 satellite tracking stations, enabling users to enhance their positioning accuracy down to 1 cm with post-processing or less than 1 meter in real-time. The Geodetic Survey Division has also developed a series of software tools enabling georeferencing consistent with the national and international reference frames and conversion of positioning coordinates in one reference frame to another.

The Canadian Geodetic Vertical Datum 1928 was based on a national network of vertical control points (or "benchmarks") that had been created by leveling along major roads and railways in Canada. Geodetic Survey Division's Height Reference System Modernization project will facilitate the transition from the Canadian Geodetic Vertical Datum 1928 to a modernized, gravity-based system. This modernized system will enable punctual determination of the mean sea level heights anywhere in Canada using modern space positioning geodetic techniques, such as Global Positioning System and the emerging Global Navigation Satellite System. This change will improve operational efficiencies for the users and reduce the cost of maintaining a national network of physical markers.

8. Earth Observation Data Services

Earth Observation Data Services is a national service that provides access to Earth Observation data to Programs in ESS, the Canadian Space Agency and other government departments, as well as to the private sector and other users. Data reception, dissemination and archive access services are provided through two satellite stations at Prince Albert and Gatineau.

The ground segment infrastructure of Earth Observation Data Services is capable of receiving data for North America. The ground stations receive Earth Observation data from several satellite sensors, maintain and provide archives dating back to 1972. Data are made available to support near-real time applications such as forest fire monitoring and mapping, natural hazards and ice monitoring; and non-real-time applications such as sustainable development, including land-use management and climate change. The two ground stations are operated by a Contractor, with the support of the Data Acquisition Division's expertise for Earth Observation satellite data reception and archiving.

The Satellite Acquisition Services group at the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing in Ottawa provides the client interface for services (order desk facility) to Government of Canada programs and to external clients. Satellite Acquisition Services provide a single interface for Canada Centre for Remote Sensing clients and Satellite Operating Agencies, for the acquisition planning, reception, archiving, and/or processing services. Currently, Satellite Acquisition Services liaise with four Satellite Operating Agencies to acquire satellite data (e.g., Landsat, NOAA, ERS and Envisat) and provide reception planning and scheduling of data reception from multiple satellite programs (e.g., Radarsat) to the two Canada Centre for Remote Sensing satellite reception stations (Prince Albert, Gatineau). Satellite Acquisition Services also plan the scheduling of NOAA data reception at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans station at Mont-Joli, Québec.

The Earth Observation Data Services also takes a leadership role in the determination of new business models for remote sensing ground infrastructure for the Government of Canada, most particularly in Canada's North, including the establishment of new remote sensing facilities. The Earth Observation Data Services has also taken a role in developing an Archive Service for Earth Observation data for the Government of Canada.

9. Understanding Canada from Space Program

The Understanding Canada from Space Program (formed in 2007-08) ensures that emerging remote sensing technologies and geo-corrected Earth Observation products are developed and integrated with other data sources, for use within the federal government and remote sensing community. It provides the remote sensing knowledge needed to support and develop Earth Observation methods, tools and applications, for implementation by federal government to assist them to fulfill their mandates. The activities of the Program are based on priorities determined in consultation with the user community.

Given the short amount of time the program has existed, activities during the evaluation period focused primarily on launching projects and commencing project operations. A short summary of a select number of these projects is presented below.

The National Earth Observation Data Framework Project is a cornerstone of the Understanding Canada from Space Program. The National Earth Observation Data Framework already delivers processed RADARSAT-2 data to Government of Canada users and will ultimately enable users to share and reuse easily accessible, calibrated and validated data. The related undertaking to create the first National Master Standing Offers for Commercial Satellite Imagery is driving EO data policy, enabling government-wide sharing of satellite data, and factoring in a "public good" clause to enable public release for non-commercial uses. Greater availability of image and product archives will support the development of tools and products, leading to a better monitoring capacity and knowledge of Canada's natural resources and landmass attributes.

The Pre-Processing Methods and Standards Project is developing advanced methods and tools to translate remote sensing data into information and systems to support governance and understanding of Canada's landmass and natural resources. This supports provision of quality Earth Observation products and information to the remote sensing user community, and specifically to many ESS Programs that use Earth Observation data.

The Information Extraction Procedures for Landmass Monitoring Project is developing and transferring new and improved techniques for transforming Earth Observation data into needed and reliable information products. The project's collaborative activities with international partners will ensure that Canada remains at the forefront of information extraction technology development. Such international exposure can increase demand for Canadian remote sensing products, such as Radarsat data, and leverage access to data from foreign satellites.

The Land Surface Characterization Project is developing novel, multi-scale techniques to process EO data and depict land surface state and conditions using Earth Observation sensors suitable for natural resources and environmental monitoring. Project outputs will provide consistent, comparable data to support landscape related applications across government departments. The project has an international element involving close collaboration with the United States Geological Survey and Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Estadistica, Geografia e Informática. This will facilitate generation of the first consistent continent-wide Land Cover information for North America.

The Emergency Management Project embodies the role and commitment of the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing in support of the NRCan Civil Emergency Plan #10, which in turn supports the Government of Canada Emergency Management Act. The Canada Centre for Remote Sensing plays a key role in the development of both an Emergency Mapping Critical Function, and provision of methodologies and satellite-derived data products to facilitate Emergency Response (e.g. flooding).

10. Atlas of Canada Program

The Atlas of Canada Program contributes to a better understanding of the country by providing a geographical story of Canada by means of its Internet-based Atlas of Canada product. Atlas gathers and conveys information from government scientists and subject matter experts in various departments. It integrates and presents this information from a single window. Within Canada, the Atlas provides a unique perspective on topics of current interest in a geographical context; a factual, objective and credible government perspective that is not offered anywhere else on the Internet.

The expected outcome is a better understanding of the social, economic and environmental dimensions of Canada, so that Canadians will become more knowledgeable about their country. General categories of map products on the Atlas of Canada include environment, people and society, economy, history, climate change, fresh water, health, reference maps, map archives and topographic maps.

The Atlas provides authoritative, current and accessible geographic information products at a national level. Working with partners, the Atlas facilitates the integration and analysis of diverse data in order to increase overall knowledge about Canada for Canadians and the world.

The First Edition Atlas was published in 1906, followed by four additional printed volumes, the last in 1993. The Sixth Edition was launched on the Internet in 1994, one of the first electronic on-line atlases in the world. A re-launch in November 2002 featured a redesigned Atlas website that made it easier to use.

From 2003-04 until the end of 2005-06, the Atlas of Canada was a Component of the Geomatics for Connecting Canadians Program, initially under the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing and then transferred to the Programs Branch. The Atlas of Canada Program was initiated in 2006-07, under the Programs Branch. Responsibility was transferred to Canada Centre for Remote Sensing at the beginning of 2008-09, and it has subsequently been moved to the Mapping Information Branch.

Frameworks at 1:1M and 1:10M scales have been developed in collaboration with partners that include Statistics Canada, Environment Canada, the National Atlas of the United States (part of the US Geological Survey) and the Mexican Atlas. Thematic content for the Atlas of Canada has been developed in collaboration with additional partners that include some other ESS Programs, other sectors of NRCan, other government departments and the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (set-up under North American Free Trade Agreement).

11. International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program

The International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program was created as the Global Opportunities Program in 2002. Its goal was to support the achievement of Canada's foreign and economic policy objectives by bringing the benefits of research and development in the ESS, to bear on challenges faced by developing countries, while promoting the Canadian Earth sciences industry in areas where Canada has a comparative advantage. The Global Opportunities Program emphasized a knowledge-based approach to spread the benefits of global collaboration and to reach international markets.

In 2005, the Global Opportunities Program was reformulated as the International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program, and in 2008 the name was changed to the International Opportunities Service program. There was no significant change in program objectives over this period.

The International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program is administered by the International Division which is responsible for coordinating efforts and monitoring issues related to trade and investment, enhancing the use of Canadian Earth sciences knowledge and technology in supporting sustainable development of developing countries through private sector involvement, and providing guidance to the Earth Sciences Sector in business practices. The Division works with all ESS programs to ensure that their international activities, carried out in support of their domestic programs, fully support the government's international and domestic priorities.

Broadly speaking, the long-term outcomes of this Program focus on two related aspects: (1) increasing the capacity of developing countries; and (2) providing opportunities for Canadian industry to provide the geoscience/geomatics services required by developing countries.

12. Delineating Canada's Continental Shelf under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was adopted in 1982 and came into force in 1994. UNCLOS provides that a state has ten years from the date from which the Convention entered into force for it to make a submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to delineate the outer edge of its extended continental shelf.  The Convention has broad membership, with 158 states parties as of May 4, 2009.  As of June 1, 2009, 51 submissions and 43 communications of preliminary information had been lodged with the Commission.  As of the same date, the Commission had made recommendations on eight submissions.

Canada signed the Convention in 1982 and ratified it on November 7, 2003.  The Convention entered into force for Canada one month after ratification. Canada's deadline for submission is thus December 6, 2013.  Completion of this Program is required to achieve international recognition of the limits of Canada's continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles.

The Convention sets out the legal framework for all oceans' activities and is a treaty on which other treaties are built.  At its core is the establishment of maritime zones and the rights and obligations of states within them.  The zones identified by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea are: the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone, the continental shelf, the high seas and the "Area" (seabed, ocean floor and subsoil outside national jurisdiction).

Pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a coastal state exercises sovereign rights over the continental shelf for the purpose of exploring it and exploiting its natural resources.  By virtue of the Convention, all states are entitled to exercise these rights over a continental shelf of 200 nautical miles (nm) from baselines.  Where the natural prolongation of a state's land territory extends beyond 200 nm, coastal states are also entitled to exercise sovereign rights over this "extended" continental shelf.  There are estimated to be 55 states with extended continental shelves.

Article 76 of the Convention sets out a procedure by which a state makes a submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to delineate the outer edge of its extended continental shelf.  On receiving the information provided by the coastal state, the Commission is to make recommendations on the outer limits of its continental shelf. The coastal state shall then establish the limits of its shelf.  Note that the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf does not resolve disputes between opposite or adjacent states; these must be dealt with by the states concerned in accordance with international law.

The Canadian Hydrographic Service of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans' Science Sector and the Geological Survey of Canada of NRCan ESS are responsible for collecting the data required to assess and substantiate the extent of Canada's continental shelf.  Maps, scientific reports, charts and diagrams must be constructed for inclusion in the submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf and a database maintained to support the submission.  A variety of descriptive texts must also be written.

In 1994, the Geological Survey of Canada and the Canadian Hydrographic Service performed a desk-top study of Canada's offshore areas in the context of Article 76.  For this study, all available bathymetric and geological data were compiled and analyzed to establish the provisional outer limits of the continental shelf.  The study found that the size of the area beyond 200 nm could be as large as 1.75 million square kilometres, an area equivalent to the size of the three Prairie Provinces.

However, the amount and quality of the data used in this preliminary analysis was deemed insufficient to substantiate a submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf because the majority of the data pertains to inside 200 nm.  The application of Article 76 requires data outside 200 nm and this is where Canada was lacking the information required for a submission.  Consequently, the 2004 Budget provided $69 million over ten years to collect data in the Atlantic and Arctic and to prepare the submission. The 2008 Budget provided an additional $40 million over four years.

13. GeoConnections Phase II

GeoConnections is a national program housed within ESS. Phase I of GeoConnections was launched in 1999 as a $60 million five-year national program to build and operate the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure, a mechanism for sharing location-based information over the Internet. Phase I had seven program elements focused on developing essential Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure components, such as Internet access windows, standards, technologies and policies needed to access, manage and use geospatial and framework data.

The results of GeoConnections Phase I included the establishment of the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure, implementation of international standards by key partners, a network of data supply partnerships, technologies harnessing the Internet and supportive policies for data sharing. The partnership approach also increased the expertise of industry while delivering on the social, economic and environmental priorities of federal, provincial and territorial governments.

Framework data is the heart of the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure. The framework data provide context and reference information for the country. Framework data include three layers of information: alignment layers to position geospatial information; land feature/form layers such as waterways and roads; and conceptual layers such as municipal boundaries.

By providing technical solutions for accessing and sharing location-based information, the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure enabled the integration of data required for decision-making on many inter-jurisdictional matters. Many partners from industry, government agencies and municipalities view the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure as a solution to improve service delivery efficiencies and information flows among governments. Stakeholder feedback at that time was described as having consistently demonstrated the critical need for continued collaboration and investment.13

The objectives of GeoConnections Phase II are, "…to maintain, operate, and expand the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure and, in particular, to support its use in decision making on public safety and security, public health, environment and sustainable development, and matters of importance to Aboriginal peoples."14

These priority areas were chosen in consultation among program stakeholders based on their clear alignment with governments' responsibilities and the ongoing need to develop and maintain geospatial data in these areas.

Phase II is intended to shift emphasis from building user capacity to supporting a demand-driven infrastructure to meet user needs.  GeoConnections Phase II's expected results are the following:

  • Decision-makers increase their use of location-based information to address issues in the four priority areas (Public Safety; Public Health; Environmental and Sustainable Development; and matters of interest to Aboriginal Peoples)
  • Priority users secure access to user-defined and timely location-based data required for their business processes
  • Through a model partnership approach, federal and provincial/territorial governments, private sector, academia and non-governmental organizations operate and evolve technical standards and the infrastructure
  • The Federal and provincial/territorial community and other stakeholders avoid duplication and increase benefits by transforming business processes, implement policies that increase information sharing.15

Phase II is expected to broaden GeoConnections' partnerships with agencies of all levels of government and with industry to engage communities in using the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure to improve on-line access to Canada's location-based information.16

GeoConnections II has three project funding mechanisms:

  • contributions agreements17 for projects to use the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure to support decision- making or link content to the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure;
  • letters of agreement with government agencies; and
  • contracts to develop specific pieces of the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure, to procure innovations required by end-user communities, or to integrate large-scale framework data sets (such as satellite imagery).18

6 International Boundary Commission, Annual Joint Report 2007, Page 4.
http://www.internationalboundarycommission.org/docs/IBC-2007-Report-eng.pdf

7 Framework Accord between Lands and Environment Branch, Lands and Trust Services, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Earth Sciences Sector, Department of Natural Resources Canada. 2003.

8 The Case to Upgrade the National Geospatial Information Base, Hickling, Arthurs Low, 2001.

9 The Accord creates a framework for federal, provincial and territorial collaboration in the collection, maintenance and distribution of geomatics data. The NRCan Minister was the first to sign the Accord in October 2001.

10 The National Topographic System (NTS) provides general-purpose topographic map coverage of Canada. These maps depict in detail ground relief (landforms and terrain), drainage (lakes and rivers), forest cover, administrative areas, populated areas, transportation routes and facilities (including roads and railways), and other man-made features.

11 The National Topographic Data Base (NTDB) comprises digital vector data sets that cover the entire Canadian landmass and includes features such as watercourses, urban areas, railways, roads, vegetation, and relief.

12 A Datum is a geodetic reference system that specifies the size and shape of the earth and the base point from which the latitude and longitude of all other points on the earth's surface are referenced.

13 http://cgdi.gc.ca/publications/reports/ar/05-06_AR_E.pdf.

14 GeoConnections, GeoConnections Annual Report 2005-06, (undated), page 6.

15 GeoConnections: Enhancing Canada's GeoAdvantage – Program Logic Model. RMAF, April 14, 2005, page 12.

16 Ibid.

17 Eligible recipients included individuals; Canadian profit and non-profit organizations; international profit and non-profit organizations; International governments; corporations; industry and their associations; research associations; academic institutions; provincial, territorial, regional, municipal and rural government departments, agencies and Crown Corporations.

18 http://geoconnections.nrcan.gc.ca and http://www.geoconnections.org/en/opportunities/fundingTypes

2.3 Resources

As shown in Table 3 and Figure 2, the Basic Infrastructure expenditures totaled approximately $274.5 million from 2004-05 to 2008-09.19 The Legal Boundary Components were $88.3 million (32.1% of the total), Remote Sensing Components $62.3 million (22.7%), and Mapping Components were $50.4 million (18.4%). These three areas represented over 70% of the total expenditures.

The Continental Shelf Program expenditures were $36.1 million (13.1%), GeoConnections $17.5 million (6.4%), International Building Capacity/Trade Investment $14.7 million (5.4%), and the Atlas of Canada $5.2 million (1.9%).

Table 4 shows a total of 1,469 full-time equivalent staff over the five-year period excluding the Continental Shelf and GeoConnections Phase II.

Table 3: Approximate Basic Infrastructure Expenditures by Area, 2004-05 to 2008-09 ($M)
Areas 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 Total %
- Canada-U.S. International Boundary 0.6 1.8 2.0 2.1 2.1 8.6 3.1
- Canada Lands Survey System 4.1 6.2 5.8 6.0 5.9 28.0 10.2
- Geomatics for Property Rights 10.1 8.7 11.9 9.8 11.2 51.7 18.8
Legal Boundary Components 14.8 16.7 19.7 17.9 19.2 88.3 32.1
- ESS Contributions to GeoBase 6.3 5.8 4.4 5.9 6.2 28.6 10.5
- Topographic Mapping Initiatives 3.7 4.6 3.4 3.1 5.6 20.4 7.4
- Geographical Names Board 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.3 1.4 0.5
Mapping Components 10.3 10.7 8.1 9.2 12.1 50.4 18.4
- Canadian Spatial Reference System 4.4 4.7 4.8 4.2 3.8 21.9 8.0
- Earth Observation Data Services 8.2 7.2 7.4 7.2 7.6 37.6 13.7
- Understanding Canada from Space - - - 0.4 2.4 2.8 1.0
Remote Sensing Components 12.6 11.9 12.2 11.8 13.8 62.3 22.7
Atlas of Canada Program 1.4 .9 1.0 .9 1.0 5.2 1.9
International Capacity Building /Trade Investment Program 4.0 5.1 2.5 2.4 0.7 14.7 5.4
Continental Shelf Program 0.2 0.4 5.5 12.0 18.0 36.1 13.1
GeoConnections - 2.3 4.3 10.9 - 17.5 6.4
Total 43.3 48.0 53.3 65.1 64.8 274.5 100.0%

Source: ESS Basic Infrastructure Program Management, August 20, 2009 and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, October 7, 2009. Expenditures include about $21.6 million in annual salaries or $108.3 million over the five-year period. Employee Benefits, representing 20% of salaries, are not included. Expenditures also include about $45.0 million in funding received from other government departments over the five-year period.

Figure 2:  Approximate Basic Infrastructure Expenditures by Area, 2004-05 to 2008-09 ($M)

Figure 2: Approximate Basic Infrastructure Expenditures by Area, 2004-05 to 2008-09 ($M);Atlas of Canada, $5.2M, 1.9%; Continental Shelf Program $36.1M, 13.1%; GeoConnections, $17.5M, 6.4%; Internationa Capacity Building $14.7M, 5.4%; Remote Sensing Components, $62.3M, 22.7%; Mapping Components, $50.4M, 18.4%; Legal Boundary Components, $88.3M, 32.1%

Source: Basic Infrastructure Program Management, August 2009

Table 4: Number of Basic Infrastructure Full-Time Equivalents (FTE) by Area, 2004-05 to 2008-09

Areas

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Total

%

- Canada-U.S. International Boundary 7 10 10 10 9 47 3.2
- Canada Lands Survey System 43 67 65 65 65 305 20.8
- Geomatics for Property Rights 67 43 45 45 45 245 16.7
Legal Boundary Components20 117 120 120 120 120 597 40.6
- ESS Contributions to GeoBase 48 51 36 48 50 233 16.4
- Topographic Mapping Initiatives 34 47 41 29 47 198 14.0
- Geographical Names Board 5 5 5 3 3 21 1.5
Mapping Components 87 103 82 80 100 452 31.9
- Canadian Spatial Reference System 41 42 42 38 34 197 13.9
- Earth Observation Data Services 21 19 17 19 17 93 6.6
- Understanding Canada from Space - - - - 19 19 1.3
Remote Sensing Components 62 61 59 57 70 309 21.8
Atlas of Canada Program 16 11 11 11 11 60 4.2
International Capacity Building /Trade Investment Program 15 14 15 5 2 51 3.6
Continental Shelf Program N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
GeoConnections N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total 297 309 287 273 303 1,469 100.0%

Source: ESS Basic Infrastructure Program Management, August 20, 2009. FTE numbers for the Continental Shelf and GeoConnections are not available.


19 Expenditures for The Continental Shelf Program are based on the original planned budgets for NRCan, provided by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, October 7, 2009. Expenditures for all other areas include A-Base, B-Base, C-Base, funding received from other government departments, specific purpose accounts and continuous authorization by Parliament to make payments to sustain operations.

20 These numbers include FTEs from all funding sources; A, B and C Base and OGD.

3.0 Evaluation Scope and Methodologies

This evaluation examined the Basic Infrastructure Sub-Activity's Relevance/Rationale, Results and Success, and Cost-Effectiveness/Alternatives. The evaluation included a document and file review, seven case studies and 95 interviews with key internal and external stakeholders.

Interviewees were selected in consultation with the manager for each Basic Infrastructure Component. The 95 interviews with key internal and external stakeholders included:

  • 6 ESS Senior Managers;
  • 13 Component Managers;
  • 8 Component Partners;
  • 11 Government users and clients;
  • 10 Non-government users and clients;
  • 19 (Continental Shelf); and
  • 28 (GeoConnections).

Summary information on the case studies can be found in Annex 1. Seven case studies were conducted. Each case study was based on a review of documents, a detailed interview with the Project Leader, and interviews with approximately three other individuals, mostly external to NRCan. These case studies were designed to gain insight on performance dimensions such as achievement of intended outcomes and targets; improvement in quality and availability of geographic information, frameworks and systems; level of uptake or transfer of outputs and outcomes, and their use by government agencies and industry; factors influencing achievement of outcomes; and cost effectiveness in producing outputs and generating impacts.

Limitations

The Basic Infrastructure Sub-Activity did not come into existence until 2008-09, (i.e., after the end of the evaluation period). During the evaluation period, most of the Basic Infrastructure Components were focused on different Strategic Outcomes. There have been changes to many of the Components over the evaluation period, and this provided a challenge for the evaluation. These changes included:

  • Some Programs (Understanding Canada from Space and Topographic Mapping Initiatives, formed in 2007-08) were started towards the end of the evaluation period;
  • Some Programs combined elements of previous Programs, or absorbed parts of previous Programs that had different mandates as shown in Figure 1;
  • There were changes in governance (e.g. the Earth Sciences Sector Branch responsible), sometimes more than once, over the evaluation period; and
  • Some Programs evolved during the evaluation period, resulting in changes in desired outcomes, outputs and activities.

Given the large number of Components (15), their size and diversity, and the resources available for the evaluation, parts of this study are less detailed than others. For example, with the exception of the Continental Shelf and GeoConnections the remaining 13 Components benefited from four interviews each. Case studies were not conducted for each Component. The Components were never managed as a unit with one management structure. As a result, there was no ability to shift resources to other priorities. Opportunities to balance the views expressed were therefore limited.

4.0 Evaluation Findings

The evaluation issues of relevance/rationale, results and success, and cost-effectiveness/alternatives for the Sub-Activity are addressed in the following subsections. The Results and Success subsection is divided among the seven areas.

4.1 Relevance/Rationale – Basic Infrastructure Sub-Activity

Summary

The Sub-Activity is consistent with government and departmental goals, providing data and related services in support of ESS Programs, federal government departments, agencies, international conventions and to the public in accordance with the Department of Natural Resources Act (1994) and the Resources and Technical Surveys Act (1985). It provides a fundamental base of geospatial data and complete coverage of Canada's topography, while administering geographic naming, developing codes and standards for geodetic surveys, providing assistance to Canadian companies to gain access to foreign markets, and managing the use of remote sensing.

Over time, the needs addressed by the Sub-Activity have become more diverse and the demand for data has increased. New needs have arisen as a result of amplified economic development; population growth; increased levels of authorized and unauthorized border crossings; and sovereignty and security issues. It is likely that the importance of the Sub-Activity will continue to grow into the future as boundary issues and data requirements increase.

Is the Sub-Activity's mission, mandates, objectives, and activities still consistent with departmental and government priorities, legislation and strategic goals?

Yes. The Sub-Activity contributes to the departmental priority to provide natural resource and landmass knowledge for Canadians, and is consistent with the mandate given to NRCan in the 1994 Department of Natural Resources Act, the 1985 Resources and Technical Surveys Act and the 1925 Treaty of Washington.21 The outputs of Basic Infrastructure provide critical information for the development of public policy, land-use planning, sovereignty, public safety and security and economic competitiveness. By providing the fundamental referencing for the coordinates, latitude, longitude and height in Canada, it contributes to the strategic objectives of the Sub-Activity to provide natural resource knowledge, land mass knowledge and management systems that strengthen the safety and security of Canadians and the stewardship of Canada's natural resources and lands.

Basic Infrastructure provides the geospatial reference and context for a broad variety of data for government, business and personal applications, both within Canada and internationally by ensuring access to a common, up-to-date, fundamental base of geospatial data for all of Canada. It also provides current and complete coverage of Canada's topography by updating older maps and compiling new maps.

The Sub-Activity is also consistent with several pieces of government legislation that require NRCan to provide legal surveys for Canada Lands and define property boundaries on Aboriginal Lands. Well‑defined land boundaries help to eliminate property rights uncertainties and encourage sustainable economic and social development on Canada Lands.

What needs was the Sub-Activity designed to address and how have these needs changed over time? To what extent does the Sub-Activity continue to address these needs?

Basic Infrastructure is designed to provide fundamental Canadian geographical data, update and compile topographic maps, and manage Canada's geographical affairs. It makes use of satellite data and of global positioning system signals to provide fundamental referencing for coordinates, latitude, longitude and height. All of this is used to maintain and survey legal boundaries, both internationally between Canada and the United States of America, and internally through property rights on Canada Lands. The Sub-Activity continues to address these ongoing and important needs.

The Sub-Activity also provides the geospatial reference and context for a broad variety of thematic data for government, business and personal applications. This information provides Earth Observation products and services to Government of Canada users from satellites. The GeoBase portal provides access to national coverage of quality framework data through a single access point. Information from government scientists and subject matter experts in various departments throughout the Government is also integrated and presented on the Atlas of Canada website.

Geographic data and services produced by Basic Infrastructure are also used to provide less-developed countries with better information on their geography, environment and natural resources. This is used to help these countries make policies and decisions on economic and social development, and to offer assistance to Canadian companies initiating relationships with developing countries, as these countries prefer the security that comes with dealing on a government-to-government basis. These needs have not changed and there is an increasing demand for ESS assistance by developing countries as they are becoming more sophisticated in their demands for geoscience and geomatics services.

Basic Infrastructure provides ease of access and manages the land surveying and mapping requirements for all property transactions on Canada Lands, in addition to direct products such as legal survey products, professional opinions, advice and consultation. This includes regulating the country's geographical names and standardizing feature identification, and creating products used by private stakeholders and other government departments. Increased economic activity has also increased the need for the Sub-Activity to deal withonshore and offshore property rights. There has been a significant increase in offshore activity, but there is no comprehensive property rights system (marine cadastre22) in place to manage the property rights in the offshore.23

All of this contributes to a better understanding of the economic, environmental and social dimensions of Canada by the general public, with information that is both highly accurate and consistent with international standards. In all, Basic Infrastructure supports standards-setting for data across jurisdictions by allowing all parties to interact using a common language.

The components of Basic Infrastructure are in a period of transformation owing to dramatic changes in the technological environment, from the building and proliferation of satellites to the use of new web enabled technology and the lowered costs of providing the data, to the dramatically increasing cost intensity of certain high end functions.  Basic Canadian geo-infrastructure, and ESS Basic Infrastructure itself, has to evolve and establish a new framework for this new environment.

Based on this, current federal roles of leadership are essential and cannot be designated to other parties. Public and private agencies dealing with critical issues, such as sustainable resource development, public security, health and safety and environmental protection, all make use of this data in planning and executing projects. Canadians require quality map data needed for responsible decision-making to defend Canadian sovereignty, support search and rescue, assess changes in landscape resulting from global environmental change, ensure economic competitiveness, monitor and manage resources.


21 This piece of legislation forms the basis of the federal government's responsibility in maintaining an effective border between Canada and the United States of America, tying ESS Basic Infrastructure directly to the key issues of Canadian sovereignty and security.

22 A marine cadastre is a property rights system that records the rights and responsibilities of those in the marine jurisdiction. It maps what interests and rights exist over a particular area of ocean, and takes account of overlapping rights and interests such as fisheries, oil and gas exploration, defence and marine conservation.

23 Offshore activity includes aquaculture, undersea cables, pipelines, power turbines and others.

4.2 Results and Success - Basic Infrastructure Sub-Activity

Overall results and success for the Basic Infrastructure Sub-Activity are detailed in seven subsections dealing with the following areas: Legal Boundary Components, Mapping Components, Remote Sensing Components, Atlas of Canada Program, International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program, Delineating Canada's Continental Shelf under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and GeoConnections. Highlights of success by area are included in Table 5.

Table 5:  Summary of Success by Area
Areas/Components Comments
1. Legal Boundary Components
  • Canada-US International Boundary Maintenance and 1925 Treaty
  • Canada Lands Survey System
  • Cadastral Management Transformation
  • Geomatics for Property Rights on Aboriginal and Heritage Lands
Legal Boundary Components are partially meeting intended outcomes and performance targets.
  • The additional costs of the revised International Boundary Commission maintenance plans were not funded by the United States over the course of the evaluation period and hampered the work required to maintain an effective boundary, and the 15-year planning cycle is too long and does not meet the needs of the security agencies.
  • The Canada Lands Survey System continues to provide the basic infrastructure of standards, records systems, Internet access, regulation and other aspects to ensure that boundaries of Canada Lands are clearly demarcated.
  • Cadastral management and data model was developed to accommodate both land and offshore property rights, to facilitate inter-operability with other cadastral systems in Canada and internationally.
  • Data on the increase in the number of survey plans and other workload indicators to support increases in staff levels for Geomatics for Property Rights are not readily available.

2. Mapping Components

  • ESS Contributions to GeoBase
  • Topographic Mapping Initiatives
  • Geographical Names Board of Canada Secretariat
Mapping Components have achieved many intended outcomes and performance targets.
  • GeoBase has improved Canadian geographic information through the provision of a basic geospatial infrastructure for all of Canada that is required for good governance, and the development of the GeoBase portal, which provides access to national coverage of quality framework data through a single access point.
  • For Topographic Mapping Initiatives, shifting priorities and the size of the task at hand has made the achievement of intended outcomes and performance targets more challenging.
  • Support for the Names Board is of consistently high quality and fully meets the expectations of Board members. Inquiries into the Canadian Geographic Names Database have increased to over 1,500 in 2007-08.

3. Remote Sensing Components

  • Canadian Spatial Reference System
  • Height Reference System Modernization
  • Earth Observation Data Services
  • Understanding Canada from Space
Remote Sensing Components have either achieved or are making good progress towards intended outcomes and performance targets.
  • The Geodetic Survey Division is making good progress towards the goal of modernizing the Canadian Height Reference System, however a key step in the development process to integrate accurate gravity data was held up when the launch of a European satellite was delayed by two years from 2007-09.
  • The Geodetic Survey Division has not determined a preferred date for the introduction of a new height reference system, originally scheduled for 2010. The main issue is consistency across the Canada-United States boarder, with a similar system in the U.S. that will not be introduced until 2018 or later.
  • The Earth Observation Data Services have lead the development of a new business model for the establishment of the first Canadian ground station in Canada's Arctic.
  • The Earth Observation Data Services have also made progress on a more cost-effective management of parts of its service delivery.
  • Understanding Canada from Space has made good progress in developing access to Earth Observation image products archives; all Government of Canada RADARSAT-2 ordered image data have been stored, safeguarded and catalogued, and re-use of these archived data is estimated at 15-20%.

4. Atlas of Canada Program

Geospatial frameworks at scale 1:1M meet many national and international reporting requirements. The current version of the Atlas, conceived 10 years ago is recognized as being out-of-date and a new strategy is being developed.

5. International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program

The Program has been successful by helping a number of countries to develop capacity, within the state and the civil society, to mitigate the effects of catastrophic natural events. Performance information related to program activities, outputs and outcomes is not readily available (e.g., number of contracts awarded and pilot projects completed; number of spinoff contracts to Canadian firms; number of strategic partnerships established, etc.).

6. Delineating Canada's Continental Shelf under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

Progress has been made in delivering the planned activities. The Continental Shelf Program is on track to complete the data collection on time: at the end of December 2008, 45% of the time allocated for data acquisition had elapsed, approximately 43% of the work had been completed and 38% of the funds had been expended.
7. GeoConnections Phase II GeoConnections Phase II has made progress towards the goal of increasing the use of geospatial data by policy decision-makers and has been successful in providing mechanisms to address inter-jurisdictional decision-making issues in the priority areas.

4.2.1 Results and Success – Legal Boundary Components

Summary

The Legal Boundary Components have achieved most of the intended outcomes and performance targets.

The International Boundary Maintenance was not achieving expected results prior to 2004. In 2004, the Canadian section of the International Boundary Commission augmented the budget from $830,000 to $2.4 million a year and following this increase in funding, the International Boundary Commission started to catch up to expected results.  However International Boundary Commission 2007 and 2008 Annual Reports note that the additional costs of the maintenance plans were not funded by the United States over the course of the evaluation period. This hampered the work required to maintain an effective boundary.24 In addition, the long-term operational plan targets of the 15-year plan are not being met. The frequency with which the more densely populated areas are scheduled for boundary maintenance operations appears to be inadequate.

International Boundary Maintenance is currently implementing a Geographic Information System to help improve the quality and availability of boundary-related geographic information. There is communication with security forces on both sides of the border, to understand their needs, but there is no formal mechanism to ascertain user satisfaction of the two governments and the security agencies with the improvements implemented by the International Boundary Commission. International boundaries between Canada and the United States have been placed in GeoBase, which is a consistent national database.

The Canada Lands Survey System has achieved the following:

  • This System has been successful in providing the basic infrastructure of standards, records systems, Internet access, regulation and other aspects, to ensure that boundaries of Canada Lands are clearly demarcated. The Cadastral Management Transformation project to integrate the Indian Land Registry with the Canada Lands Survey Records On-Line is still to be completed. The Modernization/automation project has achieved the majority of its objectives for the review period, although not all business processes have been integrated as planned.
  • The System has improved the availability of high quality boundary information for Canada Lands by centralizing all cadastral mapping information and providing access to this information via the Internet. Studies have been initiated to map out future directions of service needs. Client satisfaction has consistently increased since 2000, as evidenced by the regular tracking surveys. Clients are satisfied with the accessibility, availability and timeliness of boundary information. However, there are concerns about proceeding too rapidly with the implementation of a full digital system without adequate communications and training for practicing land surveyors.
  • The System has also made sustained progress towards making national cadastral data available in georeferenced format for use by all clients. Users no longer find it necessary to store older legal survey plans in their offices, due to the ease with which these can be accessed and downloaded from the Canada Lands Survey System website. Georeferenced data are well integrated into a consistent national database.
  • For the Canada Lands Survey System, transfer and uptake of outputs is 100% as surveys are always commissioned at the request of a client. Territorial governments and First Nations are adopting the Canada Land Survey System On-Line database to support property rights systems. Industries such as telephone companies, pipelines and other utilities are using this information, for example, to plan the layout of telephone lines and pipelines. Client satisfaction surveys have identified areas for improvement, for example to the Canada Land Survey System On-Line portal to facilitate ease of access and to improve functionality. These surveys also provide indirect evidence that the improvements were in response to identified needs, as the average level of client satisfaction has increased significantly from 2002 to 2006.

For Geomatics for Property Rights, it is difficult to assess the level of success in meeting outcomes and performance targets, because there is a lack of information in the documents reviewed for the study. However, evidence from interviews suggests that the Geomatics for Property Rights Program has been successful in producing good quality surveys by adherence to the instructions and standards published by the Surveyor General. The Surveyor General Branch has put some improvements in place already, with additional measures planned to be implemented in 2010-11.

To what extent have intended outcomes and performance targets been achieved as a result of the Legal Boundary Components?

Legal Boundary Components are partially meeting intended outcomes and performance targets.

The International Boundary stretches over 8,891 km or 5,525 miles from Passamaquoddy Bay on the east coast, across mid-North America to the Straits of Juan de Fuca on the west coast, thence up through Portland Canada and Southeast Alaska and from there north up the 141st Meridian to the Arctic Coast. Of the total boundary, 5,061 km is on land of which 2,173 km is forested and 3,830 km is on water. There are 5,528 monuments marking the boundary. On waterways, the boundary is fixed by a series of precisely located "turning points," marked by reference monuments in the shore. There are 5,723 turning points on water routes. All boundary monuments are located by survey networks of both the United States and Canada through 1,000 survey control stations established for this purpose.25

Prior to 2004, the International Boundary Commission was not achieving expected results, according to interviews with program management. International Boundary Maintenance received an increase in funding from $830,000 to $2.4 million in 2004 from the Canadian section, and this increase came into effect in 2005-06. The Commission continues to achieve expected results through the use of new technology such as imagery from law enforcement agencies.

Maintaining the boundary monuments and clearing the vegetation and trees are the principal means employed to ensure a physically well-defined and visible international boundary. It is estimated that boundary clearance operations of 150 km per year would ensure that the forested portion is cleared every 15 years, thus leading to the 15-year maintenance plan.  According to the International Boundary Commission Annual Reports, achievements against the key performance target (i.e., annual clearance of 150 km of boundary) were: 221.6 km (2004-05); 266.4 km (2005-06); and 268 km (2007-08).

Despite this, the International Boundary Commission's Annual Report for 2007 indicates several problems in achieving targets beyond the annual clearance. Of the 17 unique maintenance items (brush clearing, monument maintenance and surveying) on the list from 2005-07: 11 have been completed (64%), 3 are ongoing (18%), and 3 have yet to be started (18%).  Although significant progress has been made, adjustments will be required such that the 15-year plan can be realized. Strategies being employed to close the gap on the 15-year plan include utilizing new technology, reviewing vista clearing requirements and developing partnerships with key users of the boundary. It is anticipated that these strategies, in conjunction with sufficient funding, will ensure that the long range plan is realized.

In densely populated areas with many border crossings, the frequency with which the vista is cleared is not sufficient, and needs to be reviewed and revised, according to interviews. Specifically, more attention is required because the ease with which the border can be crossed at these locations without challenge is public knowledge.  The Surveyor General Branch has begun to put into place boundary enhancement plans to improve demarcation in densely populated areas.

The Canada Lands Survey System has been successful in providing the basic infrastructure of standards, records systems, Internet access, regulation and other aspects, to ensure that boundaries of Canada Lands are clearly demarcated.

According to interviews, the Canada Lands Survey System has achieved secure land tenure on Canada Lands onshore but not offshore, due to a lack of marine cadastre26. Instances of boundary uncertainty were pointed out in areas in the offshore, when provincial and federal jurisdictions have not been properly defined. Interviewees suggested that implementation of a marine cadastre will require Parliament to pass legislation.

The property rights system for Canada Lands is split amongst many federal/provincial departments and agencies. Interviewees indicated that a lack of an integrated property rights system for all property rights on Canada Lands is considered a hindrance, as the ownership of the resources on a parcel is recorded in many registries and an interested person has to make enquiries of all these registries.

The case study showed that the Cadastral Management Transformation project to integrate the Indian Land Registry, maintained by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, with the Canada Lands Survey Records, maintained by Canada Lands Survey System, has not proceeded quite as originally planned and each department has developed its own databases, which are partially linked, leaving room for potential errors. Interviewees indicated that some sections for the associated Canada Land Survey System On-Line27 are still to be completed.

It is difficult to assess the level of success for Geomatics for Property Rights in meeting outcomes and performance targets due to a lack of documentation. However, evidence from interviews suggests that products and services have been provided as planned. The Surveyor General Branch has improved performance indicators over the last year, with additional indicators planned to be put in place for the coming year.

According to program management, Geomatics for Property Rights has been able to manage the workload. There have been no major complaints regarding incomplete surveys done for other government departments. However, surveys in the North have become much more expensive, primarily due to the cost of fuel, and the Program has had to go back to Treasury Board for more funding for some projects.

To what extent have Legal Boundary Component activities led to improved quality and availability of geographic information, frameworks or systems, in support of the basic functions of governing Canada? To what extent have these improvements responded to, and demonstrably satisfied, user requirements?

Legal Boundary Components have improved quality and availability of geographic information and systems. There is indirect evidence that users are satisfied with improvements.

Work is underway to improve the quality and availability of boundary-related geographic information with the help of the Geographic Information System28 currently being implemented. Interviewees indicated that the 250 official international boundary maps produced in the 1920s are outdated and new maps base on satellite imagery and fieldwork are being produced to replace them. It will most likely take 15 years to produce a full set of maps.

The International Boundary Commission is communicating with the security forces on both sides of the border to understand their needs. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police would like updated maps for use with modern Global Positioning System coordinates, and these are being developed. This current level of communication is largely of an ad-hoc nature however, and there is no formal mechanism to ascertain user satisfaction of the two governments and their security agencies with the improvements that have been implemented.

Centralizing all cadastral mapping information and providing access to this information via the Internet, 24 hours a day seven days a week, have improved the availability of high quality boundary information for Canada Lands. Interviewees are of the opinion that the quality of information provided by the Surveyor General offices has always been high.

The impetus for improvements that have been made originates both within the Canada Lands Survey System and from the users of its products and services. Canada Lands Survey System has initiated studies by experts in the field to map out future directions of service needs of clients. It has also worked with its main client, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, to develop integrated databases to improve efficiency and reduce errors.

In general, the interviewees were satisfied that improvements have been made in response to their expressed needs. However, interviews conducted for the Cadastral Management Transformation case study revealed a concern with proceeding too rapidly with the implementation of a full digital system without adequate communications to, and training for, practicing land surveyors. A joint Surveyor General Branch/Industry task force has been established to address implementation issues over the last year.

Canada Lands Survey System has conducted six client satisfaction surveys since the year 2000. These surveys show that satisfaction with its products and services is at a fairly high level and continues to improve gradually. The use of hardcopy survey plans is rapidly giving way to digital images as clients adopt Internet based methods for interacting with the Survey System.

The Geomatics for Property Rights Program has been successful in producing approximately 5,000 surveys over the last five years. Quality is assured by adherence to the instructions and standards published by the Surveyor General and available through the Canada Land Survey System On-Line website. Interviewees stated that completed and confirmed surveys are available from the national database for all Canada Lands, which facilitates easy access to all land and boundary surveys carried out on Canada Lands.  The new performance measures being developed focus on linear kilometers and surface area surveyed and the number of parcels surveyed that can support land transactions.

The three client satisfaction surveys conducted since 2000 (completed every two years) have identified areas that need improvement and provide indirect evidence that the improvements were in response to identified needs, as the average level of client satisfaction increased significantly from 2002 to 2006. An informal system for process improvement is in place. In general, Geomatics for Property Rights clients are pleased with staff responsiveness, knowledge, community consultations, timeliness, feedback on work, the contracting process, and other factors.

Geomatic for Property Rights users are generally very satisfied with the improvements to products and services. The Aboriginal group for the Tlicho Land Claim Agreement Implementation case study indicated satisfaction with the Regional Office and the regular communication maintained with them. The Canada Lands Surveyors and other government departments have also indicated satisfaction with the Program.

To what extent have Legal Boundary Components contributed, to date, to the management, availability and use of georeferenced data integrated into consistent national databases?

Legal Boundary Components have made substantial contributions towards the management, availability and use of georeferenced survey data, which are well integrated into consistent national databases.

The document review indicates that international boundaries between Canada and the United States as well as Aboriginal Lands (2007) have been placed on GeoBase, which is a consistent national database.

The document review points to sustained progress in making national cadastral data available in georeferenced format for use by all clients. The ease of access and improved data availability has led to more efficient business processes for the private sector.

The interviewees were unanimous in agreeing that georeferenced data availability is quite good, and in fact users no longer find it necessary to store older legal survey plans in their offices, due to the ease with which these can be accessed and downloaded from the Canada Lands Survey System website. Interviewees indicated that georeferenced data are well integrated into a consistent national database as there is only one website for all of Canada.

Geomatics for Property Rights data from land and boundary surveys are added to the national databases maintained by NRCan and form the framework for departmental Geographic Information Systems. The property layer in the Geographic Information System is based on monuments in the ground installed during boundary surveys. The georeferenced data are integrated into a consistent national database.

How successful have the Legal Boundary Components been in transferring outputs and outcomes to their partners and stakeholders? What has been the uptake of these outputs and outcomes to date? How have government agencies used these outputs and outcomes (e.g., in policy development)? How has industry used this information to create value-added products and services?

The Annual Report of the International Boundary Commission is submitted to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in Canada and to the Secretary of State for the United States for their review.

There is strong uptake from Royal Canadian Mounted Police Border Control and Border Enforcement Teams, according to program management. The security agencies of both Canada and United States of America utilize the boundary information in their operations.

As the interviewees pointed out, the Geomatics for Property Rights Program is a service provider whose role is to understand the needs of clients (First Nations, municipalities, territorial governments, industry), and to ensure that the appropriate survey is carried out at the least cost. The clients pay for all legal surveys. The uptake of outputs is 100% as surveys are always commissioned at the request of a client.

Government agencies have used these outputs and outcomes in a variety of ways. For example, the Canada Lands Survey System On-Line provides assistance on reserves for informed decision-making. Documents show that territorial governments and some First Nations are adopting the Canada Lands Survey System On-Line database to support property rights systems.

The nature of the work of Geomatics for Property Rights assures that all of its outputs are transferred to partners and stakeholders. The partners and stakeholders use the outputs to enable a wide variety of land transactions, including: resolving conflicts and disputes; surveys needed for completion of capital projects; land splits; settling boundary issues; leases on reserves; and for other purposes. Clients such as Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (Land and Trust Services), Parks Canada and others have negotiated Interdepartmental Letters of Agreement with Geomatics for Property Rights for provision of survey services, with some of these agreements dating back to 1955. The uptake of the outputs is 100% as they are only provided upon request.

Documents show that government clients from the Department of Justice, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and Parks Canada use land boundary descriptions for a variety of applications: subdivisions of reserve lands; crown lands in territorial communities; survey of rights of way; national park boundaries; new reserve boundaries; settlement lands; and mineral claims. Two specific policy purposes are setting up marine protected areas and legislation to protect reindeer herds.

Interviewees provided several examples of the use that industry has made to create value-added products and services. These include land use planning, building plans, drawing up land transactions and other uses.


24 Subsequent to the evaluation research, the United States has increased its funding for maintenance of the Boundary.

25 International Boundary Commission, United States/Canada, Joint Annual Report 2006.

26 A marine cadastre is a property rights system that would record the rights and responsibilities of those in the marine jurisdiction. It would map what interests and rights exist over a particular area of ocean, and would take account of overlapping rights and interests such as fisheries, oil and gas exploration, defence and marine conservation.

27 CLSS On-Line will provide access to users of cadastral information via the Internet 24 hours a day seven days a week. CLSS On-Line will now show web-links to the Indian Lands Registry, which will provide title information.

28 A Geographic Information System captures, stores, analyzes, manages, and presents data that is linked to geographic location. The term describes any information system that integrates, stores, edits, analyzes, shares, and displays geographic information.

4.2.2 Results and Success - Mapping Components

Summary

The Mapping Components have achieved the majority of intended outcomes and performance targets, by improving the availability and quality of geographic information.  The mapping components could be positioned to come together to articulate a new role and federal activities in the area of creating and providing geospatial information. This would accelerate the completion of current activities, and help to articulate a new geo-strategy for the sector. This would lead to opportunities for the components to articulate a new policy relevance and role.

GeoBase has achieved many of its intended outcomes and performance targets. The Program has improved Canadian geographic information through the provision of a basic geospatial infrastructure for all of Canada; and the development of the GeoBase portal, which provides access to national coverage of quality framework data through a single access point.

GeoBase has increased the availability and quality of geographic information. The Program has a high approval rating from stakeholders, users and partners. The program regularly completes satisfaction surveys and requests user comments received at conferences. The most recent survey (February 2008) found that 94% of users (113 out of 120) were very satisfied with the quality of all products and 98% (117 out of 120) were very satisfied with the quality of the GeoBase Site. GeoBase's consultative approach to determining priorities and identifying improvements, its partnership management and its delivery of a framework for the data are the key successes of the Program.

The Program has increased the availability and use of georeferenced data by providing the framework for the data, establishing partnerships with all government data providers at the federal, provincial and territorial levels, and by managing the process. The greatest challenge facing GeoBase is the development of its database into a fully integrated portal. The achievement of a real time portal that accesses databases across the country requires ensuring increased bandwidth and developing standard data access and exchange services. Currently, the portal supports file-based downloads but without the ability to specify and download regions of interest. Direct access to the portal from an application is not supported sufficiently by current technologies.

GeoBase outputs are delivered by making geospatial data available through the GeoBase Portal. Use of the portal and the number of registered users increased each year over the course of the evaluation period, with 25,000 registered users and more than 1,700,000 files downloaded in 2007-08. Government agencies, industry and the general public use GeoBase extensively to manage their geospatial information, to develop software, for mapping, and for data mining. This improves analysis and decision-making in areas as diverse as transportation, telecommunications, environment, resource development and tourism.

For Topographic Mapping Initiatives, shifting priorities and the size of the task at hand have made the achievement of intended outcomes and performance targets more challenging. Building on the achievements of its predecessor programs, the Topographic Mapping Initiatives Program, which started in 2007-08, is projecting production of 900 new maps by 2011, following completion of the development of new map-making technology, which is now 70% complete. Given the size of Canada's land area, 12,000 maps at 1:50 000 scale are required to cover the country. Yet the majority of Canadians live in less than 10 percent of this area, which accounts for most of the demand for maps. Accordingly, the Topographic Mapping Initiatives Program is focused on producing these 900 new maps of these most requested areas over the next two years.

Topographic Mapping Initiatives has had considerable success in transferring digital outputs and outcomes through databases and portals. Uptake has been increasing as the quality of the data has improved and modern geospatial technology has increased its usability. Governments use the data to make more accurate and detailed analyses of current issues and to make informed decisions on fundamental issues related to natural resource management and exploitation, the environment, and security and sovereignty. Industry uses topographic data to prepare land-use planning strategies and products, customized maps, Global Positioning System data, environmental analyses, and also to create value added products for use by hikers and tourists.

The Names Board Secretariat provides the Canadian Geographical Names Database and the Canadian Geographical Names Service to Geographical Names Board of Canada members, partners and stakeholders and to the public free of charge at all times. The Names Board has members from all provincial and territorial governments and from several federal departments interested in the field of toponymy. Statistics Canada, Parks Canada, Elections Canada and the Department of National Defence are among federal departments that are represented on the Names Board and are using the official names in the Canadian Geographical Names Database for their products and applications. Companies use toponymic data to create a variety of geospatial products and services. There is however only indirect evidence of the degree to which user needs are being satisfied.

To what extent have intended outcomes and performance targets been achieved as a result of the Mapping Components?

The Mapping Components have achieved many intended outcomes and performance targets. Shifting priorities have made this more challenging for the Topographic Mapping Initiatives Program.

The document review indicates that GeoBase has contributed to the implementation and maintenance of the seven approved GeoBase data layers and standards as the fundamental national core of geospatial information. GeoBase has contributed to the two additional data layers defined by the Canadian Council on Geomatics.29 The Program has assessed requirements for a critical infrastructure layer, and has prepared a preliminary implementation plan.

GeoBase has made progress in providing a geospatial data environment for efficient management of the information in a distributed/partnership context; and in providing the data through the GeoBase portal, which provides access to national coverage of quality framework data through a single access point. The greatest challenge facing GeoBase is the development of its database into a fully integrated portal. The achievement of a real time portal that accesses databases across the country requires increased bandwidth and developing standard data access and exchange services. Currently, the portal supports file-based downloads but without the ability to specify and download regions of interest. Direct access to the portal from an application is not supported sufficiently by current technologies.

Shifting priorities and underestimating the scope of the task has made the achievement of Topographic Mapping Initiative's intended outcomes and performance targets more challenging, according to program management. Building on its predecessor programs, the Topographic Mapping Initiatives Program, which started in 2007-08, is focused on improving map quality by updating topographic maps in the Canadian South and publishing missing topographic maps in the Canadian North. Documents indicate that the Program is still projecting production of 900 new/updated maps by 2011, focusing on the area of the country most populated and requested by external users. The Program is developing the Map Generator30 technology, which will improve efficiency in preparing new digital maps, and documents indicate that this development is now 70% complete.

The Geographical Names Board of Canada Secretariat has made good progress towards the achievement of intended outcomes and performance targets. Inquires into the Canadian Geographical Names Database31 increased to slightly over 1,500 in 2007-08; and the database is recognized as the authoritative source for Canadian geographic names by all levels of government and internationally by the United Nations. The Canadian Geographical Names Database is used extensively.

To what extent have Mapping Component activities led to improved quality and availability of geographic information, frameworks or systems, in support of the basic functions of governing Canada? To what extent have these improvements responded to, and demonstrably satisfied, user requirements?

The Mapping Components have significantly improved the availability and quality of geographic information. The Component has been proactive in their consultations with users, and a user feedback has had significant impact in some cases.

The document review for GeoBase indicates that the availability and quality of geographic information have increased significantly through the creation of a national framework/system for accessing geospatial information which adheres to recognized international standards. The number of registered users of the portal has increased from approximately 500 to slightly fewer than 1,600 between 2005 and 2008.

GeoBase determines user requirements through partnership negotiations, user surveys, and comments received at various workshops, conferences and other forums; these are used to determine priorities for enhancements. GeoBase has a high approval rating from stakeholders, users and partners. The most recent survey (February 2008) found that 94% of respondents (113 out of 120) were very satisfied with the quality of all products and 98% (117 out of 120) were very satisfied with the quality of the GeoBase Site.

The Topographic Mapping Initiatives Program and its predecessor programs have contributed geospatial data to the National Topographic Data Base and to GeoBase.  Topographic Mapping Initiatives continued work on building the datasets that form the building blocks of geographic information, frameworks or systems. It has supported new investment and sustainable development in the North by providing reliable and consistent geospatial information and services ranging from digital topographic 1:50,000 scale maps to Global Positioning System online correction services. It also provided technical expertise in geomatics and organized training sessions and geomatics workshops with stakeholders to ensure increased capacity in the use of geospatial infrastructure. Topographic Mapping Initiatives also focused on digitizing data (specifically topographic maps, air photos and toponyms) and data modeling activities to support geographic information, frameworks or systems.

The Topographic Mapping Initiatives Program uses extensive consultations with clients and stakeholders to determine priorities for improvement in quality, coverage, and usability of geographic information and frameworks. Program management has indicated that extensive user consultation on the proposed closure of the Canada Map Office changed the whole focus of the Program from air photos to maps, in response to user requirements.

The result of these consultations with clients and stakeholders has been high expectations for new and updated topographic information. However, given that there is no formalized measure to collect user feedback, it is difficult to fully assess satisfaction with changes to the Program.

A priority for the Names Board Secretariat is to ensure that the Canadian Geographical Names Database is consistent and meets national and international standards. Geographic names can be accessed free of charge for a variety of purposes ranging from travel plans to detailed topographic maps.

The Names Board Secretariat is continually improving its products and services in response to user requirements, according to program management. No user satisfaction surveys have been conducted, so there is only indirect evidence of user needs being satisfied.

To what extent have the Mapping Components contributed, to date, to the management, availability and use of georeferenced data integrated into consistent national databases?

The Mapping Components have made significant contributions to the management, availability and use of georeferenced data, but to date the different parts of the Component are at different stages in moving towards fully integrated national databases.

GeoBase has increased the availability and use of georeferenced data by providing the framework for the data, establishing partnerships with all government data providers at the federal, provincial and territorial levels, and by managing the process. The greatest challenge is the development of a fully integrated database, and this is a work in progress.

Topographic information and products are widely available as print products or datasets through map vendors and distributors, web-based databases and portals, and this is continuing through Targeted Mapping Initiatives. A map update program within the Targeted Mapping Initiatives Program has contributed to the availability of data, according to both internal and external interviewees.

The mixture of legacy data and new data makes it difficult to integrate data into a consistent national database. Topographic Mapping Initiatives continues to revise and acquire new data, and to provide its data through various databases/web services, each of which consists of topographic data sources covering the entire Canadian landmass.

One of the Geographical Names Board of Canada Secretariat's primary functions is to manage the Canadian Geographical Names Database and ensure its availability through the Geographical Names Board of Canada Website. It also makes the database available through other portals such as GeoGratis32 and GeoBase, and through various provincial/territorial jurisdictions. The Canadian Geographical Names Database is the national system for Canadian toponyms.

How successful have the Mapping Components been in transferring outputs and outcomes to their partners and stakeholders? What has been the uptake of these outputs and outcomes to date? How have government agencies used these outputs and outcomes (e.g., in policy development)? How has industry used this information to create value-added products and services?

The Mapping Components have had considerable success in transferring digital outputs and outcomes through databases and portals, and uptake is increasing.

Documents show that the GeoBase outputs are delivered by making geospatial data available through the GeoBase Portal. This portal is heavily used and the number of registered users continues to increase. The use of GeoBase has grown over the past five years, according to program management and documents: there are more than 25,000 registered users, and more than 1.7 million files were downloaded in 2007-08.

Government agencies, both federally and in all provinces and territories, use GeoBase extensively to manage their geospatial information, to improve analysis and decision-making in areas as diverse as transportation, telecommunications, environment and resource development, according to external interviewees and the document review. Industry has benefited greatly from the use of GeoBase. Companies and government agencies33 have used it to develop software, to make decisions relating to transportation (Canadian Coast Guard, all provincial surveying offices), resource development and tourism (Land Information Ontario, Manitoba Water Stewardship), for mapping, and for data mining (Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Service Nova Scotia).

The Topographic Mapping Initiatives Program has had considerable success in transferring digital outputs and outcomes through databases and portals. Partnerships have also provided an important venue for this transfer. Printed maps are distributed through Regional Distribution Centres and over 900 map dealers across Canada, the United States and overseas. With data available to produce maps in Regional Distribution Centres products are delivered to end users faster.

As the quality of the data has improved and as the application of modern geospatial technology has increased its usability, there has been greater uptake of outputs. Documents show that organizations using Topographic Mapping Initiatives data include federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, associations and societies, industry, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions.

Results from the case studies show that departments and agencies at different levels of government use geospatial data to make more accurate and detailed analyses of current issues.  With accurate, current and shared knowledge of the territory, informed decisions can be made on fundamental issues related to natural resource management and exploitation, the environment, security and sovereignty. Topographic data are used by industry to prepare land-use planning strategies and products, customized maps, Global Positioning System data, and environmental analyses. The tourism industry uses topographic information to create products for use by hikers and tourists.

The Names Board Secretariat provides the Canadian Geographical Names Database and the Canadian Geographical Names Service to Geographical Names Board of Canada members, partners and stakeholders and to the public. The document review indicates that efforts are ongoing to make the web sites user-friendly and responsive to client needs.

Statistics Canada, Parks Canada, Elections Canada and the Department of National Defence are among federal departments that are using the official names in the Canadian Geographical Names Database for their products and applications. For example, at Statistics Canada, all census data analysis is based on place names, and analysts often submit name changes or add features. Companies use toponymic data to create a variety of geospatial products and services, including road maps, geological maps, Global Positioning Systems and Geographic Information Systems.


29 The Canadian Council on Geomatics is the governing body for GeoBase. It is comprised of representatives from federal and provincial agencies.

30 Map Generator is a tool (web service) that allows the production of printed maps using digital data from multiple sources.

31 The Canadian Geographical Names Database is the national system for Canadian toponyms, built in partnership with all jurisdictions responsible for geographic naming, based on open standards and used by many other databases.

32 GeoGratis is a portal, provided by the Earth Sciences Sector, which provides geospatial data at no cost and without restrictions via a user's Web browser.

33 A full list of GeoBase partnering organizations can be found at http://www.geobase.ca/

4.2.3 Results and Success – Remote Sensing Components
Summary

The Remote Sensing Components have either achieved, or are making good progress towards, intended outcomes and performance targets. The Components have maintained or improved data quality, and have improved the availability of products, including new datasets for Earth Observation Data Services and Understanding Canada from Space.

For the Canadian Spatial Reference System, expected results have largely been achieved. These relate to the provision of reference frames and their application to understanding Earth processes such as geohazards. Geodetic Survey Division is making good progress towards the goal of modernizing the Canadian Height Reference System; however a key step in the development process, to integrate accurate gravity data, was held up when the launch of a European satellite was delayed by two years from 2007 to 2009.

Improvements in Canadian Spatial Reference System products have led to greater accuracy and accessibility. User surveys indicate that the Geodetic Survey Division has maintained or improved its client satisfaction ratings for accessibility and data quality. The main issue is consistency across the Canada-United States border, with a similar system in the United States that will not be introduced until 2018 or later.

The Geodetic Survey Division has been very successful in transferring Canadian Spatial Reference System outputs to its partners and stakeholders. User surveys conducted between 2005-07 showed levels of satisfaction by users at 80% or higher, while the number of users of the Precise Point Positioning Service increased by 57% (792 new users) in 2007-08. Government uses Canadian Space Reference System products for environmental, sovereignty, legal, safety and security applications. Industrial applications include surveying, navigation, mapping and civil engineering construction projects. For the land surveyor community, private companies are now providing a rapid service that links back to the Precise Point Positioning Service to validate coordinates.

Earth Observation data reception is handled on a daily basis in response to user requirements. Environment Canada's Canadian Ice Service is a major client. Contributions to CSA's Radarsat Program have included operational and engineering support for Radarsat-1 ground segment operations, development of the Radarsat-2 ground segment, and the reception and archiving of Radarsat‑1 and Radarsat-2 data.

Earth Observation Data Services maintains an archive of 38-plus years of Earth Observation data. It makes Earth Observation data available to integrate into a consistent national database.

Earth Observation Data Services transfers its data products to more than 20 federal departments and agencies, and to all of the Provinces and Territories. Government agencies use these data products for a wide range of applications that include assisting with global environmental disasters, ice forecasting, environmental studies such as for climate change, Northern development, agricultural crop monitoring and statistics, groundwater studies, coastal and arctic surveillance and monitoring, and surface deformation in the Alberta oil sands.

The Earth Observation Data Services have made progress in the development of new business model for the establishment of the first Canadian ground station in Canada's Arctic. The Program is also making progress in improving the delivery of services by developing an archive architecture that will improve the access to its archive of satellite data.

The Understanding Canada from Space Program is making good progress towards achieving its intended outcomes. Progress is being made on the development of methods, tools and applications to render EO data useful to clients. Commercial software developers have licensed algorithms for geometric correction of Earth Observation imagery, and outputs are being used within other government departments. For example, the Department of National Defence is using the Program's geospatial data products for several operational requirements. Land characterization initiatives will lead to up-to-date land cover imagery for the entire Canadian North, and to a monitoring program of North American land cover, in collaboration with United States and Mexican partners.

Understanding Canada from Space is delivering Radarsat-2 products for Government of Canada users via the National Earth Observation Data Framework, and near-real time geospatial data products for emergency response. Progress has been made in developing the NEODF Earth Observation image archives; all Government of Canada ordered data have been stored, safeguarded and catalogued, and re-use of archived data is estimated at 15-20%. Products have been delivered in support of emergency response (e.g. within 4 to 6 hours) after satellite image acquisition in many instances.  There are 156 registered Government of Canada users of the NEODF, but no evidence of their usage statistics.

Understanding Canada from Space provides support and leadership to nine horizontal programs of ESS, and has 12 formal agreements with different partners (primarily the Canadian Space Agency, but also Parks Canada and the United States Geological Survey).

To what extent have intended outcomes and performance targets been achieved as a result of the Remote Sensing Components?

The Remote Sensing Components have either achieved, or are making good progress towards, intended outcomes and performance targets.

The Expected Result, "Enabling Canadian georeferenced information from different sources or dates to be used together and integrated coherently through a common, globally consistent, national coordinate reference system", has been achieved. Canadian Spatial Reference System reference frames are recognized as de facto or official standards by all agencies of the Canadian Council on Geomatics. Canadian Spatial Reference System reference frames are specified for all framework data layers of GeoBase.

The Expected Result, "Improved understanding of Earth processes such as global changes and geohazards from the knowledge of variations in the Earth's geometry and gravity field over time," has largely been met. Successes include the application of precise Global Positioning System techniques to measure and monitor the relative motion of tectonic plates near Vancouver; application of Canadian Spatial Reference System gravity data to help understand the geological structure of the Canadian landmass; and observation of post-glacial rebound using Global Positioning System receivers, in particular in Hudson Bay.

Geodetic Survey Division is making good progress towards the goal of modernizing the Canadian height reference system, moving to a system based on a gravitational model. A key step in the development process is integration of accurate gravity data from the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer34 satellite; however the launch of the satellite was delayed by two years (finally launched on March 17, 2009).

Earth Observation data reception is handled on a daily basis in response to user requirements. Major clients are the Canadian Space Agency and Environment Canada's Canadian Ice Service. Earth Observation Data Services has a number of Memoranda of Understanding and service agreements against which it delivers.

The contribution of Earth Observation Data Services (or more widely, the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing) has been essential for the Canadian Space Agency to achieve its Radarsat program goals, according to internal and external interviewees. Contributions include operational and engineering support for Radarsat-1 ground segment operations, development of the Radarsat-2 ground segment, the reception and archiving of Radarsat-1 and Radarsat-2 raw data, and R&D influencing sensor design and showcasing possible applications of Radarsat data, in particular its advanced capabilities such as full polarimetry.

A strategy is being developed for the Government of Canada Earth Observation ground segment, a key element of which is access to private sector capital, and an Interdepartmental Working Group on Ground Infrastructure has been formed, in which Canada Centre for Remote Sensing is participating with the Canadian Space Agency, Environment Canada, Department of National Defence and Department of Fisheries and Oceans, to move this strategy forward. The new Earth Observation Data Services emphasis will be on data access to meet user requirements, through the operation of an Earth Observation data archive that is sustainable and expandable.

This new strategy of Archive and Access takes advantage of the opportunity presented by the expansion of the space industry, with perhaps 300 new satellites expected to be launched by many countries within the next 5-10 years. The fact that these Earth Observation satellites will be in polar orbits, carrying a whole variety of sensors, presents a unique opportunity for Canada to provide download services for these satellites, in exchange for Earth Observation imagery over Canada.

The Understanding Canada from Space (UCS) Program's core R&D activities can not yet be assessed against foreseen outcomes. UCS has made progress in developing the National Earth Observation Data Framework (NEODF), an Earth Observation image archive. Radarsat-2 product archives have been created and all Government of Canada order data have been stored, safeguarded and catalogued. Radarsat-2 products have been available to Government of Canada users since July 2008 and the NEODF project has archived 7,400 products. Re-use of archived data is estimated at 15-20%.

UCS' Emergency Management Project has provided spatially accurate products ready for a Geographic Information System on several occasions, in response to emergencies. In many instances, these products have been delivered in near-real time (4 to 6 hours) after satellite image acquisition.

To what extent have Remote Sensing Component activities led to improved quality and availability of geographic information, frameworks or systems, in support of the basic functions of governing Canada? To what extent have these improvements responded to, and demonstrably satisfied, user requirements?

The three Remote Sensing Components have maintained or improved data quality, and have improved the availability of products, including new datasets for Earth Observation Data Services and Understanding Canada from Space. All programs in the Component consult with their users and appear to satisfy user requirements.

Improvements in Canadian Spatial Reference System products have led to greater accuracy and accessibility. System priorities/objectives include completing the transition to space-based techniques. All external interviewees expressed satisfaction with both the quality and availability of Canadian Spatial Reference System services.

According to management, the Geodetic Survey Division has not determined the preferred date for the introduction of the new height reference system, originally scheduled for 2010 and now pushed back to 2011 as a result of delays in the launch of the Gravity field and steady-state Circulation Explorer satellite. The key issue is consistency across the Canada-United States border, with a similar system in the United States that will not be introduced until 2018 or later. One strategy is to delay introduction of the Canadian system and base it on a North American geoid35 model. Consultations with the Americans and with the Provinces and Territories are needed.

When the new height system becomes available it will provide height information throughout Canada, whether in an area where a benchmark exists or not. The Global Positioning System-based height reference system will provide accurate heights in a lot of areas that currently have no direct access to a vertical reference system.

User surveys in 2004, 2005 and 2006 have explored user requirements and have consistently shown that the Geodetic Survey Division is meeting the needs of its clients. Geodetic Survey Division had an 80% or higher rating in all areas client satisfaction. Following the 2006 survey, a team was created to develop a "Continuous Improvement Project" plan for Canadian Spatial Reference System products and services. Survey results indicate that Geodetic Survey Division has maintained or improved its client satisfaction ratings for accessibility and data quality. Results of another client survey in 2007 after these changes indicated that clients were "satisfied to very satisfied" with the accessibility 92.6% of the time; "satisfied to very satisfied " with data quality at the 97.2% level; and "satisfied to very satisfied" with support at the 87.9% level. The Earth Observation Data Services have made progress on improving efficiency in the delivery of the Satellite acquisition Services, at the same time as an increase in volume of data reception at the stations occurred with the addition of RADARSAT-2 operations. 86% of worldwide RSAT-2 data are received at the Earth Observation Data Services receiving stations.

Understanding Canada from Space made progress in achieving the objective of making the federal satellite image archives accessible to all Canadians, and reusing these datasets across government. It has delivered near-real time geospatial data products for emergency response to the Department of National Defence and Public Safety Canada.  Progress is also evident in various methodology and applications development projects touching on land cover and land use change, the cryosphere, water, forests and other areas.

To what extent have the Remote Sensing Components contributed, to date, to the management, availability and use of georeferenced data integrated into consistent national databases?

The Remote Sensing Components are meeting or exceeding quantitative targets for service delivery. The Canadian Spatial Reference System and Understanding Canada from Space provide national databases or frameworks, while Earth Observation Data Services provide access to different sources of Earth observation data.

Earth Observation data layers are included in GeoBase and Atlas of Canada. The Understanding Canada from Space Program also adds value to data received and archived by Earth Observation Data Services.  Canadian Spatial Reference System is a national coordinate reference system, which enables georeferenced information from different sources or dates to be used together and integrated coherently through a common, globally consistent system.

How successful have the Remote Sensing Components been in transferring outputs and outcomes to their partners and stakeholders? What has been the uptake of these outputs and outcomes to date? How have government agencies used these outputs and outcomes (e.g., in policy development)? How has industry used this information to create value-added products and services?

The Remote Sensing Components have had considerable success in transferring outputs to partners and stakeholders, with strong uptake. Government agencies have made substantial use of these outputs and outcomes for a variety of purposes, while industry creates value-added products and services.

Earth Observation Data Services transfers its data products to more than 20 federal departments and agencies, and to all of the provinces and territories. Furthermore, the Canadian Spatial Reference System has made possible to the adoption of a common, globally consistent, national coordinate reference system (i.e., NAD83).  Various groups have recognized the advantage of the NAD83 and have adopted or regulated its use. The first ones have been the provincial geomatics/geodetic agencies, and NAD83 (Canadian Spatial Reference System) is now the official or de facto standard adopted in all provinces. Official adoption is done by law such as in New Brunswick, where the Surveys Act was amended in April 1999 to specify NAD83 as the official reference for coordinates in the province.

Other national examples of promotion or adoption of NAD83 include:

  • Canadian Council on Geomatics endorsement of a National Standards for Integrated Surveys, which encourages provincial implementation of a standard where "All new surveys must be tied to NAD83 through the best available means";
  • GeoBase recognition of NAD83 as a standard, and prescription of NAD83 in its Specifications for most of its datasets;
  • The Manual of Instructions for the Survey of Canada Lands has recently been amended to specify references to NAD83;
  • The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers approved, a couple of years ago, conversion from NAD27 to NAD83 as the reference datum for all data interchange for the oil industry by Quarter 2, 2008; and
  • The Yukon Oil and Gas Act (which is under federal jurisdiction) has also been amended to include references to NAD83.

The Canadian Spatial Reference System provides a significant contribution to the following federal government departments (in addition to Provincial geomatics agencies):

  • Department of National Defence (mapping/surveys of national military infrastructure).
  • Environment Canada (water surveys and meteorology);
  • Fisheries and Oceans (tidal datums and hydrographic surveys, Canadian Coast Guard, Differential Global Positioning System);
  • Public Safety Canada (border mapping and high-resolution imagery);
  • Public Works and Government Services Canada (Real Property Services Branch Directorates);
  • Transport Canada (regulatory advisory services);
  • National Research Council (times standard); and
  • NavCanada (airport and navigation infrastructure surveys).

Government agencies have used Earth Observation Data Services data for a range of applications that include assisting with global environmental disasters, ice forecasting, environmental studies such as for climate change, Northern development, agricultural crop monitoring and statistics, groundwater studies, coastal and arctic surveillance and monitoring, and surface deformation in the Alberta tar sands. The Canadian Ice Service uses Earth Observation Data Services data in support of near-real time monitoring of ice conditions and marine pollution in Canadian coastal waters.

Uptake of Understanding Canada from Space outputs by government departments and agencies has been significant. Earth Observation data products have been used very extensively for emergency management activities. Monthly composite data for land cover are transferred to Understanding Canada from Space's North American partners.

There has been significant uptake of Understanding Canada from Space outputs in the operations of agencies such as Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Environment Canada, Statistics Canada, Parks Canada, Department of National Defence, Public Safety Canada and the Canadian Space Agency. Uptake has also occurred with certain provincial agencies, humanitarian organizations, and the International Disaster Charter.36

Industrial applications include surveying, navigation, mapping and civil engineering construction projects. For the land surveyor community, private providers are now producing a Global Positioning System – Real Time Kinematic service, with corrections made available to end users over cellphones. These service providers use Geodetic Survey Division's PPP Service to validate their coordinates.


34 The objective of the GOCE (Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer) mission is to measure the geoid with accuracy at the centimetre level for wavelengths as short as approximately 100 km. The original launch date was Spring 2007; this was delayed twice and the satellite was finally launched on March 17, 2009.

35 The geoid is a level surface where gravity is perpendicular (plumb line) at all points on the surface and water stays at rest. The geoid, by definition, corresponds to the surface that best approximates mean sea level. The geoid surface is determined by analysis of gravity measurements taken on the ground, at sea, from the air and from space.

36 Declared formally operational on November 1, 2000, the International Disaster Charter aims at providing a unified system of space data acquisition and delivery to those affected by natural or man-made disasters through Authorized Users. Each member agency (including the Canadian, United States, Chinese, European, French, Indian, Argentine and Japanese space associations) has committed resources to support the provisions of the Charter.

4.2.4 Results and Success – Atlas of Canada Program
Summary

The Atlas of Canada Program has largely achieved its intended outcomes and performance targets. Geospatial frameworks and scale 1:1M meet many national and international reporting requirements; a cartographic framework was developed for North America a scale 1:10M; and a number of thematic maps have been produced.

The Atlas of Canada Program has improved both the quality and availability of thematic information and frameworks. The Program has employed a number of approaches to make Atlas more responsive to the needs of its various stakeholders. These include periodic user surveys and focus groups, followed by user-centric design studies. The 1:1M frameworks satisfy the needs of users for national reporting.

The Atlas of Canada Program contributes to the management, availability and use of georeferenced data through the on-line Atlas of Canada, which is integrated into a consistent national database. For example, at scale 1:7.5M, Atlas of Canada has 400-500 layers of information integrated.

The Atlas of Canada Program has been successful in transferring outputs and outcomes to its partners and stakeholders, and uptake has been considerable. Three federal government departments (Statistics Canada, Environment Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) are using the 1:1M Atlas of Canada Watersheds framework for their own reporting purposes. Industry has used the map of Canada and other information for applications in the publishing industry, movies and TV commercials.

To what extent have intended outcomes and performance targets been achieved as a result of the Atlas?

The Atlas of Canada Program has largely achieved its intended outcomes and performance targets. Geospatial frameworks at scale 1:1M meet many national and international reporting requirements; a cartographic framework was developed for North America at scale 1:10M; and a number of thematic maps have been produced.

Documents show that geospatial frameworks at scale 1:1M were completed early in the evaluation period, and several frameworks were released that meet many national and international reporting requirements. The 1:1M Canadian Watersheds framework was developed in collaboration with Statistics Canada and Environment Canada, and this framework is currently used by Statistics Canada, Environment Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for their own reporting requirements, according to interviewees. Statistics Canada has now finalized the certification of this framework as its "standard geography" for reporting on water-related information.

According to the document review and interviewees, a cartographic framework was developed for North America at scale 1:10M, in collaboration with the National Atlas organizations of the United States and Mexico. This base map of North America was released as a paper map. It was then expanded to include additional types of information. A harmonized framework of North American watersheds was compiled and published as a wall map. The Commission for Environmental Cooperation is developing a North American Environmental Atlas in a collaborative project. One of the base layers is North American watersheds. A US interviewee views this project as a success, and a tremendous benefit to the community of environmental scientists.

The document review indicates that thematic maps were produced in 2006-07 to provide the public with an up-to-date view of their national/international environment. These included a Canadian Watersheds map, a revised Canadian Protected Areas map and a new North American Watersheds wall map. Highlights for the period 2007-08 included natural hazards mapping, a circumpolar map and Toporama (which provides on-line topographic maps and data). Interactive thematic maps on climate norms, mining locations and forest fires have been completed. Program management has noted that a National Water Atlas is planned.

To what extent have Atlas activities led to improved quality and availability of geographic information, frameworks or systems, in support of the basic functions of governing Canada? To what extent have these improvements responded to, and demonstrably satisfied, user requirements?

The Atlas of Canada Program has improved both the quality and availability of thematic information and frameworks. The Program has employed a number of approaches to make Atlas more responsive to the needs of its various stakeholders. These include periodic user surveys and focus groups, followed by user-centric design studies. The 1:1M frameworks satisfy the needs of users for national reporting.

In the view on an external interviewee, integrating demographic data with other data sources improves the quality of the data. As an example, Atlas shows maps of landslides and forest fires; however, this becomes much more interesting when combined with a map layer that shows populated areas.

In other examples, the Atlas of Canada Program has improved both the quality and the availability of the Canadian Watersheds framework. Atlas of Canada maps based on census data provide another audience for demographic information, in the view of an external interviewee. A new North American Watersheds map provides an international perspective of the interdependencies of the watersheds.

In the opinion of program management, Atlas of Canada has always worked to high quality standards. They maintain these high standards by working through government experts, while maintaining editorial control over thematic content.

The Atlas has conducted periodic user surveys and focus groups, and followed these with user-centric design studies. From the Year-End Review in 2007-08, satisfaction for Toparama (introduced in 2006) was high (75%) and satisfaction for thematic maps was 63%. An on-line survey in February 2008 indicated a desire for additional content topics and more detail. User satisfaction with data quality of thematic maps is currently 62% (satisfied or very satisfied with the overall quality of maps and information). User expectations are increasing. In the view of Program management, there is more work to do in defining how the provision of government information fits the needs of users.

A national frameworks user focus group was held in 2003. Responses showed that 1:1M frameworks were not the only type of framework that users needed, but they filled the role for national reporting.

To what extent has the Atlas contributed, to date, to the management, availability and use of georeferenced data integrated into consistent national databases?

The Atlas of Canada Program contributes to the management, availability and use of georeferenced data through the on-line Atlas of Canada, which is integrated into a consistent national database. For example, at scale 1:7.5M, the Atlas of Canada has 400-500 layers of information integrated. At scale 1:1M, the Atlas has protected areas, census divisions and watersheds.

Program management has indicated that the Atlas of Canada manages its own framework data, and follows the principle of "closest to source" for thematic data supplied by its partners. Concerning availability, the Atlas of Canada still has 5-6 million user sessions per year (down from a peak of 9 million visits in 2006-07), making government information widely available. Half of the users are finding maps for geographical information or personal interest, with smaller groups for student needs and non-educational work-related purposes. Program management has recognized this drop in users and at the time of this report they are finalizing a new strategy for the Atlas. The results of this new strategy, as technology continues to change how the public accesses geographic information, will determine the future of the Atlas.

Atlas frameworks, delivered through the GeoGratis portal, are used primarily for non-educational work-related purposes, according to Program management. There are 50,000-60,000 downloads of these frameworks per year.

How successful has the Atlas been in transferring outputs and outcomes to their partners and stakeholders? What has been the uptake of these outputs and outcomes to date? How have government agencies used these outputs and outcomes (e.g., in policy development)? How has industry used this information to create value-added products and services?

The Atlas has been successful in transferring outputs and outcomes to its partners and stakeholders, based on the document review and interviews. The Canadian Watersheds framework has been transferred to Atlas partners for their own mapping purposes. In 2006-07, 46 permissions to (re-) publish Atlas of Canada content were processed. Atlas reaches the public through international Canada Pavilions, educational stakeholders through the Canadian Council for Geographic Education, and links to partner websites.

Uptake of the Atlas outputs and outcomes has been considerable. For example, the Canadian Wildlife Federation distributed 35,000 copies of the Atlas Watersheds poster map to schools in each Canadian province and territory, as part of Oceans Day in June 2006. Environment Canada distributed 5,000 copies of this map at various public events to publicize their national RésEau program. This map won the gold medal for cartography at the 2007 GeoTec Conference. The Royal Canadian Geographical Society's thematic maps of natural hazards and the boreal forests of Canada use an Atlas of Canada base map as their foundation.

Three federal government departments are using the 1:1M Atlas of Canada Watersheds framework for their own reporting purposes, according to interviewees: Statistics Canada, for its Human Activity in the Environment maps; Environment Canada, for its Know-Your-Watershed application; and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, for its reporting as part of the National Agri-Environmental Health Analysis and Reporting Program. Environment Canada has used the Atlas Protected Areas map to provide a national overview for its National Protected Areas Status Report. The North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation uses the Atlas 1:10M North American frameworks for continental environmental reporting.

Industry has used the Atlas Program's map of Canada and other information for applications in the publishing industry, movies and TV commercials, according to program management. For example, the Atlas Circumpolar Map and the hydrology base map at scale 1:1M have each been used by Canadian Geographic and the Globe and Mail, resulting in wide circulation.

4.2.5 Results and Success – International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program

Summary

The International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program has achieved intended outcomes and performance targets to some extent by helping a number of countries to develop capacity, within the state and the civil society, to mitigate the effects of catastrophic natural events. Capacity building is predominantly a government-to-government exercise, while the private sector participates in the provision of technology to implement solutions. The activities of the International Division support the Canadian private sector by identifying direct contacts, as well as exposing them to new markets in developing countries.

There is a lack of available information on performance indicators for the Trade and Investment and Capacity Building Program related to activities, outputs and outcomes, making progress towards meeting program objectives and targets difficult to fully ascertained. Interviewees indicated that ESS senior management are more interested in data on outcomes measures such as impacts on countries assisted, extent of leveraging, and cost-benefit estimates. The Program does not currently collect, analyze and present indicator information.

The 13 projects undertaken by the International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program have led to the improved quality and availability of geographic information, frameworks and systems, suited to the needs of developing countries. They have led to enhancements of the security of their populations from natural hazards and assisted the governments of developing countries with the basic functions of governing.

 The International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program has been successful in developing national georeferenced databases suited to the needs of the developing countries. The national geomatics program in Tunisia and the adaptation of the ESS tool, GeoSemantica,37 for use in the Andean countries are cited as examples.

To what extent have intended outcomes and performance targets been achieved as a result of the International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program?

The International Capacity Building /Trade and Investment Program has achieved intended outcomes and performance targets by helping a number of countries to develop capacity, within the state and the civil society, to mitigate the effects of catastrophic natural events such as landslides and earthquakes. Capacity building is predominately a government-to-government exercise, while the private sector participates in the provision of technology to implement solutions. The activities of the International Division support the Canadian private sector by identifying direct contacts, as well as exposing them to new markets in developing countries.

There is a lack of available information on performance indicators for the Trade and Investment and Capacity Building Program related to activities, outputs and outcomes, making progress towards meeting program objectives and targets difficult to fully ascertained. Interviewees indicated that ESS senior management are more interested in data on outcomes measures such as impacts on countries assisted, extent of leveraging, and cost-benefit estimates. The Program did not collect, analyze and present indicator information for the bulk of the evaluation period. In 2007, the International Division started regular surveys of business mission participants to build a better picture of the impact of technology transfer and relationship building with key target countries. The results of these surveys were not readily available in time to be included in the evaluation report, but do indicate work towards developing more accurate performance indicators.

The International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program has helped China, India, Tunisia, and several countries in South America to develop capacity, within the state and the civil society, to mitigate the effects of catastrophic natural events such as landslides and earthquakes. In addition, developing countries have been provided with technology to assess the extent and distribution of natural resources, according to documents.

The eight capacity building in less developed countries projects include:

  • China Hydrocarbon;
  • China Landslide;
  • India Landslide;
  • India Arsenic Toxicity;
  • Multinational Andean Project: Geosciences for the Andean Communities (Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Columbia and Bolivia);
  • Brazil GeoSpatial;
  • Project de Géomatisation Nationale (GEONAT) – Project in Tunisia completed in 2006, largely Trade and Investment, and
  • Senegal, new project for Trade and Investment.

Capacity building is predominantly a government-to-government exercise, while the private sector participates in the provision of technology to implement solutions. The capacity building projects have the benefits of presenting Canada in a favorable light to developing countries, and they helped to institutionalize Canadian technology, equipment, standards and frameworks. The positive feelings generated by these projects towards Canada could potentially encourage these countries to award resulting contracts to Canadian companies, but there is currently no ability to track this within the program.

The activities of the International Division support the Canadian private sector by identifying direct contacts, as well as exposing them to new markets in developing countries. These activities help raise the profile of the Canadian geospatial information technology community abroad. The Senegal project will be largely delivered by the private sector. Quebec-based companies that have experience in providing geometrics and geoscience expertise to French-speaking countries in Africa will be involved in this project.

Other Government Departments are not well informed as to the importance of geoscience and geomatics in laying the foundation for good governance. Interviewees strongly suggested that senior officials from NRCan should work with the Canadian International Development Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to demonstrate the utility of good land management practices as fundamental steps in good governance, sustainability and in the achievement of other United Nations goals.

To what extent have International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program activities led to improved quality and availability of geographic information, frameworks or systems, in support of the basic functions of governing Canada? To what extent have these improvements responded to, and demonstrably satisfied, user requirements?

The document review indicates that the eight projects undertaken by the International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program have led to improved quality and availability of geographic information, frameworks and systems, suited to the needs of the developing countries. The projects have led to enhancement of the security of the population from natural hazards and assisted the governments of developing countries with the basic functions of governing the country.

Evidence from projects implemented in the multinational Andean communities project, China, India and Tunisia clearly points to improvements being in response to user requirements. The projects resulted from requests by these countries. For example, the Multinational Andean project responded to the need expressed by the Andean countries flowing from their very positive experience in working with NRCan in a previous project, which lasted from 1996 to 2001, pioneered unique written communications methods to convey complex geoscientific natural hazard information in a user-friendly format.

In 2005, senior representatives from the Indian Ministry of Mines approached ESS representatives and specially required help from Canada in dealing with landslide issues. In addition, NRCan provided assistance to the Chinese to help them understand landslides and in return the Chinese asked for help with exploration of hydrocarbon potential in deep waters.  The technology developed in this project is now being adopted in the Beaufort Sea.

To what extent has the International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program contributed, to date, to the management, availability and use of georeferenced data integrated into consistent national databases?

The International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program has been successful in developing national georeferenced databases suited to the needs of the developing countries. The document review and the interviews point to the national geomatics program in Tunisia and the adaptation of the ESS tool, GeoSemantica, for use in the Andean countries, as examples where the Program has made national georeferenced databases available for national use.

How successful has the International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program been in transferring outputs and outcomes to their partners and stakeholders? What has been the uptake of these outputs and outcomes to date? How have government agencies used these outputs and outcomes (e.g., in policy development)? How has industry used this information to create value-added products and services?

Projects of the International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Program in developing countries were delivered in cooperation with local government organizations and local private sector organizations, according to documents. This cooperation has been largely successful, but there are countries where the political situation or the technical capacity is not mature enough to fully participate and benefit from the technology transfer.

Qualitative data show that uptake has been good and that this uptake is being noticed by senior political and public officials in the developing country. China has expressed interest and intent to use Radarsat data, which would benefit Canadian industry.

According to interviewees, the experience of Canadian companies abroad has encouraged them to modify their product applications and tailor these to the needs of the host countries.


37 GeoSemantica is set of computer tools and practices that allows efficient data integration through the use of information technologies that have been set up for integrating, translating and sharing information and knowledge in a distributed network environment.

4.2.6 Results and Success – Delineating Canada's Continental Shelf under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

Summary

The first phase of the Continental Shelf Program, "preparation" is completed and provided the foundation for the implementation of the Program. The Program has established a successful governance framework, i.e. procedures, planning and decision making processes. The commitment of the participants is appropriate, e.g. roles and responsibilities have been assigned, are clear and are well understood. No formal performance measurement strategy has been implemented; however progress is monitored on an ongoing basis by the management board. Risks have been identified and some mitigation measures have been implemented. Currently the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade does not have the capacity to prepare, present and defend Canada's submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, as it needs to secure funding and staff the positions with highly specialized legal experts in this field of study. The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has no funding past March 2012, while Canada's deadline for submission is December 2013.

The second phase, "data collection" is proceeding according to the plan and is within budget although significant data collection remains to take place.

How much progress has been achieved to date towards the activities and intended outcomes? Is the Program likely to achieve its objectives of preparing and submitting Canada's Submission by 2013? What about acceptance of the submission by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf? What about international recognition for Canada's Submission. Has the funding base been appropriate? Will there likely be future funding gaps that need to be addressed?

Progress has been made in delivering the planned activities. The Continental Shelf Program is on track to complete the data collection on time: at the end of December 2008, 45% of the time allocated for data acquisition had elapsed, approximately 43% of the work had been completed and 38% of the funds had been expended.

Planned activities are underway, the Continental Shelf Program is forecast to be completed on time and on budget and outputs are on track. In accordance with the plan, considerable work remains to be completed.

In the first years of data collection the Program has collected high quality data (refraction, reflection seismic and bathymetry). So far, the data collected supports initial assumptions (e.g., submarine ridges, substantial amounts of sediments, etc.) and in some cases may allow a larger extended shelf than anticipated in the desktop study to be defined.38 A possible lack of quality data in the Arctic is a risk to Canada's submission, but risks have been identified and some mitigation measures have been implemented. Despite the financial and human resources risks faced over the next few years, the submission is on track for filing with the CLCS in December 2013.

Atlantic Ocean

The Atlantic is subdivided into three geographic areas: the Scotia margin, the Grand Banks and the Labrador margin. New seismic data have to be collected on the Scotian and Labrador margins while new bathymetric work is required on the Grand Banks. Existing data sets pertinent to the project have been acquired and/or are being acquired wherever possible.

Progress has been made in the data collection phase of the Program for the Atlantic. The vast majority of the planned new bathymetric work has been concluded as well as much of the planned seismic surveying.

6,900 km of seismic survey has been done | = 60%
25,400 km of bathymetry survey has been done | = 89%
Refraction will be done later in 2009 | =  0%

More precisely, planned data collection on the Scotian Margin has been finished. "Existing bathymetry data has been analyzed and preliminary foot of slope (FOS) picks have been done. Seismic data is being processed under contract and preliminary analysis shows that sediments are well defined on the profiles. Preliminary 1% points (outer limit locations) have been plotted: all fall inside the maximum of 350 nm, but are further offshore than anticipated." No further data collection is required in the Grand Banks geographic area. "New multibeam data has been processed and delivered. New and existing bathymetric data in the area was analyzed and preliminary FOS picks were obtained." There is a plan to finish the collection phase on the Labrador Margin by September 2009. The work is being done under contract. "The sediment thickness in the Labrador Sea may be sufficient for defining a significant extended shelf. Therefore, it was decided to ensure that we have the best velocity data available and have scheduled a joint survey with the Danes in June 2009 to collect a total of about 1,600 km of refraction data (35 day survey)."

Data collection in the Atlantic is scheduled to be completed in 2009. Data analysis is also underway in accordance with the plan.

Arctic Ocean

The Arctic is subdivided into two areas: the Eastern and Western Arctic. The Eastern Arctic required seismic surveys to show the natural prolongation of the Lomonosov and Alpha-Mendeleev Ridges, then bathymetric surveys to map the foot of slope and 2,500 metre depth contour. The Western Arctic required bathymetric surveys to map the foot of slope and seismic surveys to determine sediment thickness. There are few existing data sets in these Arctic areas relevant to the continental shelf submission so the Program must conduct all the work itself.

The Program has worked to overcome difficult environmental conditions and the limitations these impose on equipment, particularly in the Eastern Arctic. This has been accomplished through a redesign of the data collection plan and enhanced cooperation with other Arctic coastal states engaged in continental shelf research (United States, Denmark and Russia). Progress in both areas of the Arctic is significant with the majority of new seismic collection and almost half of the bathymetry work concluded. In the Western Arctic, a joint vessel-based survey conducted with the United States in fall 2008 was highly successful. The quality of the seismic data collected so far has been excellent, indeed better than anticipated based on previous experience. In the Eastern Arctic refraction surveys of the Lomonosov and Alpha-Mendeleev Ridges have been completed and bathymetry collection over both Ridges is in progress. Analysis of data relating to the Lomonosov Ridge test of appurtenance was carried out jointly with Danish scientists and the results were presented to the 2008 International Geological Congress in Oslo, Norway.39

5,200 km of seismic survey has been done | = 72%
6,420 km of bathymetry survey has been done | = 44%
1,065 km of refraction survey has been done | = 68%

Data collection in the Arctic is scheduled to be completed in 2011 and so far is on track. Moreover, given the difficult conditions and limited research season (March/April in the Eastern Arctic using ice camps and August/September in the Western Arctic using vessels), extra time has been budgeted in case a research season is lost.

What adjustments need to be made in the future to ensure success?

Appropriate adjustments have been made to accommodate changing requirements, technological advances, operational constraints and changes in timelines or scheduling. The Program's team has learned to collect the necessary data in very difficult conditions, especially in the Arctic's extreme cold and thick ice conditions. They have successfully used a number of geophysical collection methods in these extreme conditions. Other strategies, which have worked well, have been setting up ice camps in the spring and conducting data collection from a ship in the fall. Each mission has provided lessons learned for working so far north, beyond Canada's 200 nm limit and training is needed in order to gather this data safely in these difficult physical environments.

The Program has shifted and reallocated resources as required. Operating the ice camps in spring conditions (March and April) has required careful accounting and financial operations because it is difficult to budget precisely for what is spent in each fiscal year. However, the Program has learned to deal with both the operational and the financial management and procurement challenges as necessary. Importantly, dedicated professionals with extensive experience and a well-established international scientific network run the Program. This has permitted successful international collaboration, resulting in significant savings to the cost of the data collection, improved quality of data and greater quantity of data being available. As a result, the Canadian Program's credibility has increased internationally. As well, both experimentation and technological advances have taken place as the Program gains experience using the scientific equipment. For example, experimenting with different types, sizes and lengths of seismic gear has led to finding the most efficient collection methods.

Positive impacts have been noted with regard to improved relations with other countries and scientists from these countries. Collaboration in this manner is positive because it reduces the cost and improves the credibility of the data.


38 Information on this and the following sections (3.3.1 and 3.3.2) is drawn from the UNCLOS Status Report, December 2008.

39 Canadian representatives presented findings to the global scientific community on joint Canadian-Danish surveys about the natural extent of the North American continent under Arctic waters. The scientific data demonstrates that the undersea Lomonosov Ridge is attached to the North American and Greenland plates (Ref.: Government of Canada Welcomes New Mapping Data on Canada's North. NRCan, News Release, August 8, 2008.)

4.2.7 Results and Success – GeoConnections Phase II

Summary

GeoConnections has made progress towards the goal of increasing the use of geospatial data by policy decision-makers and has been successful in providing mechanisms to address inter-jurisdictional decision-making issues in the priority areas. The partnership approach has been used to build provincial and local support and to engage public and private stakeholders. Increased capacity and interest was also reported.

Concerns were raised by interviewees that the local focus on priority areas may not have been the most effective mechanism to support the Program's objectives. The local approach viewed as having creating isolated pockets of geospatial decision-making expertise at the expense of broader approaches that could reach a larger audience of potential users. The need for improved communication in terms of identifying and marketing a CGDI brand was also noted. Several stakeholders expressed concerns about the future of the Program if the sun-setting funds are not sustained, particularly the "core" CGDI work on maintaining national data layers and standards. Two projects were identified by interviewees as key. First, the Interoperability Pilot project that focused on developing a unified, standards-based mechanism to acquire from governments, non-government organization, and provided a link to the federal computer server to access, analyze and update data regularly.  The Interoperability Pilot aimed at assessing opportunities for improving the management and dissemination of geospatial data through open-standards-based technology and focused on three key GeoBase layers: geographic names; the national road network; and Canada's administrative boundaries.  The project concluded with a Web conference attended by over 500 people.

The second project was the Best Practices Guides entitled "The Dissemination of Government Geographic Data in Canada: Guide to Best Practices".  These guides were developed to provide guidance to users of the CGDI on issues, such as data privacy. The guides were cited by stakeholders as a key element in integrating local project findings and issues into a single, accessible document.

To what extent have decision makers increased their use of location-based information to address issues with the four priority areas?

The evidence points to increased use of data/location-based information by decision-makers, as stated in the following exchange with a project interviewee:

"In order to communicate the results of our project . . . [as] our audience is GIS illiterate, we needed to be able to communicate to that audience through a mapping interface is that didn't require GIS software [or] expertise. We were actively looking for opportunities to allow us to move forward to developing that application and GeoConnections were…the only ones we found."

Interviewer : "So prior to the data, what were they making their decisions on?"

"They were using very local data. We provided information at a different scale [that] covered a trans-boundary area and multiple [jurisdictions]. That scale for land planning was not available."

The previous exchange is indicative of the comments drawn from interviews with contribution recipients. The Program provided decision-makers with more complex geospatial data which covered multiple decision-making boundaries. The decision-making process in these local areas often used some form of geospatial data prior to the GeoConnections funding. The Program funds were used to connect disjointed groups, cross existing boundaries and provide the ability to analyze geospatial data as oppose to simply viewing the data.

The inter-jurisdictional issue was frequently highlighted. Local agencies may have been using different data systems and approaches to conducting geospatial analysis of the same fundamental policy or infrastructure issue (e.g., a body of water, a road system, and health delivery systems). The Program funds were a catalyst to bring these groups together to use federal standards to develop a workable, inter-jurisdictional geospatial system. Hence, the Program was successful in bringing together isolated existing GIS users into broader networks.

Many interviewees expressed frustration about the use of location-based information by senior decision-makers. The interviewees indicated that rapid turn over among decision-makers, competing priorities and wide variation in their expertise are constant challenges. As one interviewee observed, "Some Deputies are very keen on geomatics, some don't have a clue…It's a continual thing, because a lot of [decision makers] change."

Lack of awareness was also cited, "…When I mention CGDI, I get blank looks. My land managers are so busy taking care of their job they don't have the time to go to that website and see how easy it is to download that information."

To what extent do stakeholders and potential users of this information have access to it?

Among the outputs of GeoConnections II noted in the Program's 2007-08 Annual Report (draft) are:

  • 84 new portals or systems;
  • 35 new guides or technical documents;
  • 55 of the projects have made their data sets available through the CGDI; and
  • 24 projects lead to the completion of seven new regional atlases, with an eighth in development.40

The evidence suggests that while the use of geospatial data in the areas that received funding has increased, there are on-going challenges to continue to build the foundational national data layers, and improve communication to raise awareness of the CGDI among potential users.

The GeoConnections Phase II logic model identifies awareness as an outcome in terms of awareness of geo-data, the CGDI and the benefits of the CGDI. "Free" access does not appear in any of the Program planning documentation, but appears to have developed among stakeholders over time.

One interviewee briefly illustrated the growth in stakeholder access to geospatial data based on the activities of GeoConnections to address the public health crisis of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). When SARS hit Toronto, Ontario in 2003, there was a need to track infected people to assess the spread of the disease, but the challenge was the approach. Canada Post permission was required to use Postal codes to identify affected people. Then the issue became how to identify linkages among postal codes, requiring linkages to the Canada Post geography network, which is linked to a Statistics Canada network. The information required approval of two government agencies. When asked what would change if SARS reoccurred, the interviewee noted that, "[More} road network is [now] freely available [since 2005]…so now they wouldn't have to come to [a Crown Corporation].

This indicates an increase in the extent to which decision-makers involved in a SARS-like epidemic would have open access to standardized federal data. In this case, the road network data, one of the key components of the national data layers of GeoConnections Program, is now freely accessible. The free road network data is an improvement to the federal decision-making system. However, a number of interviewees commented that the process to have the open and free geospatial information available federally is taking longer than originally predicted.

Another issue frequently cited as impacting access was awareness. Many interviewees indicated that decision-makers and potential users of geospatial data were not aware how to access it. One interviewee observed, "When you're looking at environmental data sets, I would say that [the] information is mostly there. What's lacking is [guidance as to] where these data sets are, and how to merge them together."

To what extent does GeoConnections address user needs?

Evidence from interviews suggests that the Program does address user needs of the specific recipients of GeoConnections Phase II funding. The Program helped improve the coordination and/or analytic geospatial capacity in stakeholders' local areas. The need to improve service delivery by improving the geospatial data was noted.

It is not clear whether the Program had any "spillover" effects on meeting the needs of groups not receiving Program funding. It was noted in the interviews that the Program did not reach a non-GIS literate audience. Consequently, the data were not fully integrated into policy-making needs. For funding recipients, the Program impact was meeting a geospatial technology need, rather than helping address a specific policy issue.

Private sector impacts were reportedly difficult to attribute to the Program.  However, alignment between the Program's long-term goals and the developments within private industry were noted, including a reported increase in the number of private companies using GeoBase data and value-added products as well as development of applications driven by government funding.

To what extent does capacity exist to support and develop GeoConnections data?

The evidence suggests that the Program has not yet built capacity to extend its reach in supporting and developing geospatial data beyond funding recipients. Additional time is required to achieve that. An issue frequently cited in interviews was the fact that the capacity to analyze the data takes a back seat to acquiring the data. It was too soon to consider the capacity issue as acquiring quality data was a major pursuit, as noted in the following interview feedback:

"I think we over estimated what data was available . . . There will always be gaps in relation to data. Data is an ongoing thing. We're dealing with that through GeoBase, making data freely available. GeoConnections is looking at the process of accessing information and I think to a certain extent one of our problems is becoming more that we don't have very good information to access."

What are the major factors that need to be resolved in order for GeoConnections Phase II measures to succeed?

The identified major issues to be addressed in order for GeoConnections Phase II to succeed were:

  1. resolving the issue of funding local groups versus the need to establish a national approach;
  2. increasing awareness of geospatial data and capacity among senior decision-makers and other users;
  3. establishing stronger and more explicit roles for provinces;
  4. improving the user-friendliness of the GeoConnections portal; and
  5. addressing the need for a long-term federal commitment to geospatial data versus the current sun-set funding.

Some interviewees raised concern about funding local groups with the limited resources of the Program. Issues of effectiveness were raised if the local expertise developed was duplicated in other local areas and not expanded nationwide. Another issue was whether the demand should be stimulated by the Program or responded to:

"There needs to be a strategic rethink of how many local applications we need that are all serving this similar base data. I think GeoConnections needs to be a bit…more careful at building too many local looks at less than a provincial landscape because what I think you are doing is potential setting up competing systems and inefficiencies."

Some interviewees felt that the local approach was very cost-effective given that the groups with the most incentive to produce accurate and cost-effective data were those with the responsibility to acquire the data. Even interviewees who felt that the local approach was very cost effective suggested the need to consider how to build on the success stories and reduce redundancy across the country.

The Program's guidelines do not permit recipients to fund the collection of raw data with GeoConnections funds. Instead, support is to be used to analyze existing data to maximize the focus on decision-making. As a result, local personnel capacity, data and technology were noted as critical components needed for the Program to succeed.

Lack of awareness of GeoConnections data by senior decision-makers, and in some cases by managers, was reported as an issue impacting program success.

In the view of provincial representatives, the Program continues to improve and expand on its partnership approach to collect data and develop federal standards, and needs to strengthen the existing partnership relationship within the respective jurisdictional roles. Provinces look to the federal government for leadership, particularly in developing standards.

In the view of some interviewees, the GeoConnections portal, online site of all federal and locally generated data, needs improvement to make it more accessible. Some noted that the portal itself may have contained data that did not meet CGDI standards.

Have there been impacts or results other than the expected ones, either positive or negative?

The issue of data privacy was noted as an unintended impact of GeoConnections. The long-term impact of privacy was not fully understood until GeoConnections allowed data to be aggregated. A GeoConnections working group is examining this issue.


40 GeoConnections (draft) Annual Report 2007-2008.

4.3 Cost-Effectiveness/Alternatives – Basic Infrastructure Sub-Activity

Summary

Basic Infrastructure was delivered in a cost-effective manner by a total of 1,469 full-time equivalent staff over the five-year period. This was achieved by result of coordination with other government departments, provincial and territorial governments, and industry in order to share costs, data and provide in-kind support. In terms of impacts, it is cost-effective to have common reporting frameworks that many federal departments share.

The primary factors affecting delivery of Basic Infrastructure has been funding, human resources, technological issues, and the complexity of managing partnerships.

There has been difficulty in hiring experienced staff and a lack of funding to hire them permanently. Uncertainty over long-term funding can be tied to staff shortages in the face of increasing demand for surveys and related services.

The use of new technologies (such as Canada Lands Survey System On-Line) has improved the efficiency and effectiveness of operations to both personnel and clients. While the development of technology over the past 20 years has had a positive impact, technical limitations have also been felt. Delays in satellite launches and the ageing Gatineau and Prince Albert Earth Observation ground stations have drained resources. The 35-year-old Prince Albert ground station is not cost-effective, and is being repaired by hand, because the original equipment suppliers are no longer in business. If it is to continue to operate it needs to be replaced using modern and more cost-effective ground station technology.

The Sub-Activity is a core government activity related directly to national sovereignty, and could not be transferred to the private sector. As a public good, it should not be in the private sector, and NRCan provides the most logical home for the Components because the department possesses staff with knowledge and experience in related technical specialties, in addition to the mandate given to the Department to provide critical information for the development of public policy, land-use planning, sovereignty, public safety and security and economic competitiveness. Basic Infrastructure also plays a necessary role in supporting the entry of Canadian companies to foreign marketplaces, which could not be transferred elsewhere due to the expertise needed given the focus of the program.

What are the key factors, both internal and external, that are influencing the delivery of Basic Infrastructure (e.g., financial, non-financial and human resources; governance; relationships)?

For Basic Infrastructure, the key factors influencing delivery are funding, human resource and, technology issues, as well as the positive influence of strong external partnerships.

There are several key factors affecting program delivery, with the primary factor being a lack of sufficient and stable funding from partnering groups. A program management view is that the inability to obtain long-term funding is one of the main issues for the Components, as they have ongoing needs.  Having a sufficient amount of operating funding to maintain an information infrastructure is the key factor affecting delivery. Delays in obtaining funds from client departments has led to delays in awarding contracts, resulting in delays in achieving some of the outputs of the Component. In addition, delivery of parts of the Components has been delayed by the shifts in priorities during the evolution of Basic Infrastructure.

Technological developments over the past 20 years have produced more sophisticated and cost-effective data, and also changed user expectations in ways that need to be continuously addressed. An example of this is the recent shift in pubic away from Atlas of Canada products to web-based mapping provided by private companies. There have also been negative consequences related to new technologies. The disruptions in availability of satellite data, satellite reliability, and satellite data continuity/life cycle, are all new factors which must be accounted for. The delay in the launch of the Ocean Circulation Explorer satellite was the key factor in delaying the delivery of the Modernized Height Reference System.

With the growth in the number of satellites in the next decade (from 70 to 300) and rapid changes in technology, the ground station business model will be fundamentally different.  Access to data from the satellites will continue to be of strategic importance for Canada for safety, sovereignty, environment, economic development.  The risk of failure of equipment at the ageing Gatineau and Prince Albert ground satellite receiving stations is a major concern to all Earth Observation projects, and needs to be addressed in this context.

The complexity involved in working with multiple jurisdictions at the federal, provincial and territorial level creates challenges. In order to limit confusion between NRCan and other partners, there is a need to formally define, clarify and document the respective roles and responsibilities and the reporting relationships.  An interdepartmental agreement between NRCan and INAC has been put in place to help begin address this issue.

The difficulty in hiring experienced surveyors, obtaining the resources to hire permanent qualified staff, and staff shortages in the face of increasing demand for surveys and related services are another factor affecting program delivery. This is particularly true for work being done in the North, according to both interviewees and case studies.

To what extent is Basic Infrastructure producing outputs and generating impacts in a cost-effective manner?

Based on the available information, Basic Infrastructure is generally delivered in a cost-effective manner, though there are some specific instances where improvements are needed.

Several factors support the cost-effective delivery of outputs such as partnerships with other government departments, provincial and territorial governments, and industry to share costs or provide in-kind support. This also reduces duplication of effort among agencies and can lead to additional partnership opportunities.

Additionally, work is contracted out to private sector companies, allowing Basic Infrastructure to reduce expenditures while maintaining control over its area of jurisdiction. For instance, Canada Lands Surveys System has for several years contracted out all survey work to accredited, private sector surveyors. Data is also obtained from other government sources instead of undertaking this work within the Sub-Activity to avoid duplication. ESS Contributions to GeoBase has also created a national initiative under which federal, provincial, territorial and municipal government data stakeholders agreed to cooperate and work collectively, to eliminate data duplication while optimizing collective available resources.

The current Earth Observation ground stations business model is no longer cost-effective, according to program management. The equipment in Prince Albert is 35 years old, and some components rely on individual expertise to be maintained. If it is to continue to operate, documents indicate a need to replace the ground segment using modern and more cost-effective technology. New business models are being developed for the all of the ground stations, including the new stations in Canada's North.

Could any activities currently undertaken by Basic Infrastructure be transferred, in whole or in part, to another organization (public or private)? Is there a need to expand current Basic Infrastructure activities?

For the most part, Basic Infrastructure represents core government activities and could not be wholly transferred to the private sector. NRCan has the professional expertise and technologies to discharging its mandate. There has already been a transfer of some aspects of the Sub-Activity to the private sector and the present mix of public and private activities is appropriate. The overall responsibilities of Basic Infrastructure could not be taken on by other levels of government, because there needs to be Canada-wide coordination for mapping.

The Sub-Activity also provides a singular reporting channel for all ESS international activities aimed at demonstrating new technology or building capacity in developing countries. The Canadian government provides legitimacy that is leveraged to help private companies. Any private sector organization managing the program activities would not enjoy the same status.

Interviewees indicated a need for increased collaboration and communication with stakeholders and public, in addition to taking advantage of new and emerging technologies. An expansion of activities to include development of offshore land management regimes, which would help in supporting sovereignty claims in offshore areas, was also identified by interviewees as an area where action is needed. The development of a marine cadastre would assist in this goal.

5.0 Conclusions

The evaluation found that most of the Components have achieved intended outcomes and performance targets. However, it was difficult to assess the level of success in meeting outcomes and performance targets for Geomatics for Property Rights because of a lack of information in the documents. In addition, information on performance metrics related to the International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment activities, outputs and outcomes was not readily available, so progress towards meeting these objectives and targets could not be determined.

The Basic Infrastructure activities are carried out in collaboration with other federal departments and agencies, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, academic institutions, First Nations, the United States, international organizations, industry and the Canadian public. Products and services are used by all of these groups for a broad range of applications, from managing emergency situations to governing Canada and improving the understanding of geography and history. By continuing to support these activities, NRCan supports the basic functions of governing Canada. Most of the Basic Infrastructure activities are a core part of government related to sovereignty, and provide critical information for the development of public policy, land-use planning, public safety and security and external competitiveness.

Weaving together a single performance story for the overall Sub-Activity is difficult, as at this point in time there is not one coherent story for ESS Basic Infrastructure. The Sub-Activity itself did not come into existence until 2008-09 (i.e., after the end of the evaluation period). During the evaluation period most of the Components were focused on different strategic outcomes, while others (e.g., Understanding Canada from Space and Topographic Mapping Initiatives) were only formed in 2007-08. Some programs combined elements of various older programs or absorbed parts of programs which had different mandates. At the same time, significant changes were also taking place in the governance structure. The management reporting structure was changed in order to accentuate the new matrix management structure, and several programs were transferred to different branches.

The Basic Infrastructure activities can be combined to reflect certain themes (including mapping, land information frameworks, remote sensing, and more accurate Canadian and international information), which are the basic functions required governing a country like Canada. However, given its recent creation, the components primarily stand alone. Linkages among them are generally fluid and informal. As the Sub-Activity evolves and a more comprehensive view of it emerges within the Components, it will be possible for future evaluations to provide a less disjointed view of the successes of Basic Infrastructure.

6.0 Recommendations, Management Responses and Action Plans

Recommendations Management Responses Responsible Official/Sector (Target Date)
1. As a result of information gained during the evaluation (suggesting a gap in coverage and a growing need), NRCan should continue to explore, with key stakeholders, the feasibility of setting up a marine cadastre system for the offshore. Accepted. NRCan (ESS) along with DFO is currently reviewing the policy around the roles and responsibilities regarding marine spatial planning.  As of January 2010, a joint DFO/NRCan task force has been established to perform a feasibility study along with stakeholder consultations. This groundwork is not expected to be completed before 2011 - 2012. ADM ESS

March 2012.
2. NRCan (ESS) should continue to enhance its performance measurement frameworks for the Basic Infrastructure components. Accepted. The four DG-chaired Program Activity Boards are currently reviewing the make-up of the current ESS PAA (2010/2011) including the review and development of new performance measurement frameworks for all of ESS sub-activities and corresponding programs in order to improve their performance indicators, targets and data collection methodologies. ADM ESS

June 2010.
3. NRCan (ESS - Geodetic Survey Division) should continue to update their fundamental positioning capabilities and standards, and implement a modernized height reference system compatible with GPS and space systems.
Accepted. NRCan (ESS - Geodetic Survey Division) will move out from the distribution of real time GPS corrections intended for end-users applications (mapping and resources management) promoting Licensing to private sector distributors.  The Provinces and Territories (through the Canadian Geodetic Reference System Committee) and the United States National Geodetic Survey will be consulted on the pertinence of launching the Modernized Height Reference System as early as 2012 or in unison with the United States system planned for 2018. NRCan (ESS - Geodetic Survey Division) will also strive to further exploit geodetic information in support of geoscience for water management, natural hazards and climate change. ADM ESS

April 2011 (GPS correction);

April 2012 (Height Modernization).
4. NRCan (ESS - Canada Centre for Remote Sensing) should review its Business Model to improve the efficiency to acquire, archive and access Earth Observation Data. Accepted. NRCan (ESS - Canada Centre for Remote Sensing) continues to further develop the strategic evolution of Canada's ground infrastructure, especially in Canada's North, with the implementation of a Private Public Partnership for an operational ground station facility in Inuvik in 2010, the development of another facility in the North in collaboration with other federal Departments for 2013, while addressing the major risk of failure at the Gatineau and Prince Albert ground stations by 2012; NRCan (ESS - Canada Centre for Remote Sensing) will also further provide access and sharing across the Federal Departments and Agencies to Commercial Satellite Imagery by the implementation of a suite of National Master Standing Offers starting in 2010, and develop the Archive and Access component of the Earth Observation Data Services, to provide users with easy access, free whenever possible, to the Canadian data archives in partnership with the Canadian Space Agency. Interdepartmental Memoranda of Understanding with the Canadian Space Agency and other Departments will be signed by April 2011 for the evolution of the ground infrastructure and to operationalize access to Earth Observation Data and the Development of an Archive. ADM ESS

April 2011 – MOU

April 2012 – Risk analysis GSS and PASS;

April 2013 Business Plan for 2nd Northern Ground station.
5. NRCan (ESS - Canada Centre for Remote Sensing) should better position the Remote Sensing Science (RSS) Program as a government-wide, horizontal, enabling program for leveraging value from space- and ground-based Earth Observation (EO) infrastructures. Accepted. NRCan (ESS - Canada Centre for Remote Sensing) will strengthen partnerships to increase the impact of the integrated, multi-sensor "research-to-results" continuum Remote Sensing Science is developing, to leverage Earth Observation's potential in direct support of government priorities, operations and decision-making. Collaboration will further Remote Sensing Science's goals: new Remote Sensing methods and applications; more value-added product generation and release; and a more integrated and operational approach to product and solutions dissemination.  New Interdepartmental Memoranda of Understanding will be signed with the Canadian Space Agency and other key departments in 2010 and 2011.  Strategic academic and industrial liaisons will be explored and implemented where considered strategically valuable for Canadians to deliver Remote Sensing Results. ADM ESS

April 2011 restructured Remote Sensing Geoscience logic model.
6. NRCan should more clearly articulate the role of the federal Mapping Components (i.e., ESS Contributions to Geobase; Topographical Mapping Initiatives; Geographical Names Board; and the Atlas of Canada) in creating and providing basic geospatial information on Canada. Accepted. NRCan, Mapping Information Branch is currently re-defining its mapping programs to more clearly articulate the federal role in providing integrated geospatial policy and knowledge to Canadians. As of March 2010, a comprehensive renewal strategy has been established to better integrate key mapping programs such as the Topographic Mapping Initiatives, Geographic Names Board Secretariat, Atlas of Canada, and the GeoConnections Program. Work plans are currently being developed and are expected to be completed by March 2011. ADM ESS

March 2011 - complete work plans
GeoConnections
7. NRCan (ESS) should examine mechanisms to ensure the local expertise currently being developed by GeoConnections can be sustained and transferred to a broader federal and/or provincial level. Accepted. Since April 1, 2008 GeoConnections has focused its project funding on projects that develop nodes or systems to promote knowledge transfer and greater sustainability of funded projects by integrating the local expertise that was developed into broader regional, provincial and/or national systems.  The program has accelerated its documentation of success stories to ensure valuable project information is exposed to a broad community. With the approval in Budget 2010 of GeoConnections III, the focus of the program, inline with our core federal role, will involve a partnership and coordination focus for FPT organizations that support the transfer of knowledge. In addition, awareness strategies will be executed to adapt and promote the best practices developed at the local level. ADM ESS

March 31, 2011.
8. NRCan (ESS) should examine mechanisms to improve the usability of the CGDI portal through pilot testing with current contribution funding recipients. Accepted. The GeoConnections Discovery Portal, the key directory service for the CGDI is being revamped with new technology and an updated approach that will enhance the system's robustness. ADM ESS

March 31, 2011.
9. NRCan (ESS) should consider developing a broad sustainability strategy, including a communications strategy to ensure that the "Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI) brand" is clearly understood by all stakeholders in addition to identifying and maintaining components of the geospatial infrastructure currently being developed through GeoConnections program. Accepted. ESS will communicate the value, objectives and potential of the CGDI in order to address key social, economic and environmental challenges.  Business cases and return of investment will be developed and communicated to stakeholders. By 2011, the program will update the vision and mission for the CGDI as well as define a performance measurement framework built on five pillars; leadership, policy, framework data, technology and standards. In 2012, progress will be measured to ensure remaining development is completed for 2015. The sustainability strategy will be built on key outputs of the GeoConnections III program including a National Mapping Strategy 2010, revitalized FPT Geomatics Accord 2012 and a National Geomatics Policy Framework 2015.  Within ESS, detailed review and examination of current business models will be undertaken to ensure NRCan is able to provide ongoing federal leadership and coordination beyond the final phase of the GeoConnections program. ADM ESS

March 31, 2011.
Continental Shelf Program
10. It is recommended that the Management Board prepare an annual performance report and present it to the Federal Advisory Committee for review and the Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee for approval. Accepted.  The Management Board will prepare an annual performance report for each calendar year of the program. The report will be reviewed by the Federal Advisory Committee and approved by the Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee by no later than March 31 of the following year. ADM ESS

March 2010.
11. It is recommended that the Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee, with input from the Management Board, continue a proactive approach to financial and human resources to ensure sufficiency and continuity of resources. Accepted.  The Management Board will firm up estimates for resources required post-2012 and develop any necessary documentation (e.g., Memoranda to Cabinet, Treasury Board Submission). ADM ESS

November 2010 for estimates;

May 2011 for documentation.

Annex 1: Summary Information on Case Studies

Project Name Program Description Objective Results
Height Reference System Modernization Canadian Spatial Reference System Facilitate the transition from a traditional height reference system to a system based on the geoid model Improve the Canadian Spatial Reference System, a knowledge-based Service to Government The quality of height information from the geoid model has improved from 1.5 m to sub-decimetre levels, and will improve further
Cadastral Management Transformation Canada Lands Survey System Develop a modern and accessible cadastral system that provides a consistent and reliable level of security of land tenure Integration of the Indian Lands Registry and the Canada Lands Survey System into a seamless system Lack of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada funding to integrate the Indian Lands Registry; opted for a virtual integration to provide a semi-integrated delivery mode
Tlicho land claim Geomatics for Property Rights on Aboriginal and Heritage Lands Survey the boundaries of the Tlicho lands Firm boundaries to provide security of title; and employment and training for Aboriginal people There is an eight-year plan for survey work, but anomalies have been discovered and Treasury Board has been asked for additional funding
National Road Network
version 1
Earth Sciences Sector Contributions to GeoBase Provide road network data as part of the geospatial reference and context for a broad variety of thematic data for government, business and personal applications Provide a continuous, accurate centreline for all non-restricted use roads in Canada National Road Network successfully completed; required provincial, territorial and federal collaboration in the development of data standards, data model, data collection and maintenance, data sharing and delivery
New Topographic Maps in the North Topographic Mapping Initiatives Provide reliable and consistent geospatial information and services ranging from digital topographic 1:50,000 scale maps to Global Positioning System online correction services Complete new base mapping at a scale of 1:50,000 for unmapped areas of northern Canada using Earth Observation data More than 5,000 existing conventional topographic maps digitized according to national standard; Landsat-7 imagery of northern Canada obtained
Geoscience for Andean Communities International Capacity Building/Trade and Investment Provide updated and integrated geoscience information on natural hazards, groundwater and mineral resources for use in land use planning and natural hazard mitigation Contribute to improving the quality of life for the people of the Andes by reducing the negative impact of natural hazards (earthquakes, landslides and volcanoes) The geoscience knowledge was created in a format easily understood and used by affected community members and key decision-makers in the Andean region
Water Project Atlas of Canada Develop Canadian watershed frameworks at scale 1:1M with Canadian partners and 1:10M with US and Mexican partners; collaborate on a National Water Atlas for Canada Provide a synthesis of federal government water information for Canadians The Atlas of Canada 1:1M watersheds framework is now used by Statistics Canada, Environment Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for their own reporting requirements