Humans have spent thousands of years studying the geography of the Earth.
We have analyzed our atmosphere, landscapes, populations, resources and industries,
as well as countless other facets.
Today, digital technology allows us to streamline these huge amounts of data into usable,
educational and extremely valuable information.
This technology is called Geomatics.
Geomatics helps us manage, and effectively use, the masses of information contained within our geography.
It is the gathering, analysis, interpretation, and distribution of geospatial data,
which is information associated with a specific location.
Geomatics encompasses a variety of disciplines including surveying,
global positioning systems,
remote sensing and navigation.
The Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure, CGDI, is a spatial data infrastructure
that allows interoperability of all of Canada’s geospatial databases and can make them available online.
The CGDI will lead you to the services you need to discover, find and interact with useful digital geospatial data like maps,
charts, images, photos, mapping tools, geospatial portals, catalogues, measurements, studies, publications, policy and much more.
Natural Resources Canada, NRCan, facilitates the CGDI through the GeoConnections Project and their GeoGratis Web Map Services.
Our role in the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure is to provide a certain type of content, geographic information as it is.
We also bring together a wide variety of partners, federal government partners, the provincial governments, territorial governments and most importantly the private sector
to work together in a national approach to really build this Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure.
Our GeoConnections program is really about building a better quality of life for Canadians.
In essence, it helps emergency providers provide better 911 services,
helps emergency responders like fire departments work in better
and more integrated ways especially when it comes to finding where it is they need to go.
Finally, it helps in the area of health planning for example important location-based information can be used in the event of pandemics.
The Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure is used by a wide variety of Canadians.
It used to be used by highly specialized users in particular geospatial companies but now more and more Canadians are accessing geospatial information through things like the Web.
So we really foresee that all Canadians will be using the CGDI in the near future.
The public health community can benefit from the CGDI by sharing location-based information to track pandemics,
analyze trends and monitor population health.
Individuals can easily locate community clinics and hospitals with this technology.
Communities can plan for the construction of a new hospital by monitoring population trends and resource demands.
Some communities have their very own municipal or regional level Geographic Information System, GIS.
In York Region, York Explorer allows locals, tourists and researchers to access a variety of community-based data for the area.
Individuals hoping to locate health care facilities or services in the region are able to easily do so.
The most popular features of YorkGeo are its access to maps and air photos.
There are more than 150 maps and interactive tools.
Our services have an incredible impact on communities, particularly in public health where there is access to such things as breastfeeding clinics,
their location and hour of operation, seasonal flu clinics, recreational facilities and endless possibilities.
It’s important for the public to know that YorkGeo is free, it’s easy to access, it’s easy to use and it’s always evolving.
The Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure can help to better manage land and water, assess the environment and monitor ecosystems for sustainable development.
GeoBC is a public sector service that allows the Government of British Columbia, partner agencies
and citizens to create, access and use provincial geographic information through the Geographic Gateway.
GeoBC is involved in numerous sectors but we will explore its impact on Natural Resources and Economic Development in particular.
GeoBC keeps up-to-date data on archaeology and culture, fish, wildlife and plants, forests, grasslands and wetlands, the list could go on forever.
Under these headings we find lots of interesting information, for example:
fire management weather stations, maps outlining pest infestations in BC forests, maps of invasive alien plants, etc.
There are incredible resources out there, right across the country.
We have great services in property mapping, in tourism mapping in the Maritimes.
We have got great services in Quebec and in Ontario, Alberta and BC have been long-time leaders in this field.
How does it help the environment?
It allows interested and engaged citizens to up the ante in terms of drawing information off the Web
to help their cause, to help solve their problems.
They can pull down and integrate property information, environmental information;
topographic information related to a common base and use it to make informed decision.
What’s important for the public to know?
Is that the services are out there and exist.
You know it is tempting to stop with just services like Google maps or Bing maps from Microsoft and others but they would be missing so much data that is out there now.
Geomatics and the CGDI provide information that can help improve public safety.
Maps of roads, bridges, electrical grids, water systems, buildings and other important landmarks can be used to plan for and respond to public safety, emergencies and disasters.
Land Information Ontario, LIO, is another user of the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure.
Ontario resident’s lives are touched in a variety of ways by this technology, and one of the most important is public safety.
Forest fires, floods, dam failures, power outages and droughts are just some of the possible threats to public safety.
LIO maps are used as part of a coordinated approach to protecting the public, managing emergencies and reducing the risk of natural hazards.
The five pillars of emergency management are: mitigation, prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.
Users of the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure can access location-based information to support these five pillars
and improve public safety by reducing the effects of an emergency by getting a better understanding of the situation
and by recovering more rapidly from disasters.
Websites like Land Information Ontario enables the sharing and the integration of data for better decision-making and better collaboration during emergencies.
Aboriginal communities can use the CGDI to connect people and communities, map the future and realize opportunities.
Indian and Northern Affair Canada has created an enterprise geographic infrastructure.
Aboriginal communities can now have access to a number of web-mapping applications where they can view program information such as
environmental data, location of First Nations, land claims, land registry data in a way not previously available before.
Aboriginal communities who want to have access to geographic-based information can contact us because we have developed some of the key expertise in the GIS field.
INAC has really embraced geographic technology information and data with the department.
In addition to the INAC Website, some of First Nations are using the CGDI, for example the Athabasca Land Use Project from the Prince Albert Grand Council.
Canadian businesses, consumers, governments, academia and other organizations benefit every day from reliable access to geospatial data.
It allows them to plan effectively and make better decisions about the products and services they offer.
Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure: it’s all connected.