Web Map Services for Marine Geoscience Data

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A Web Map Service (WMS) provides users with maps of geospatial data and allow users to obtain information on specific features on the map.  WMS does not provide access to the original unprocessed data.

Using WMS Services

The most common way to access a WMS is through an ESRI ArcGIS (or similar) product, Google Earth (GE), or to view through a geospatial site.  You’ll need to refer to the supporting documentation of your viewer of choice, to find out how to import a WMS. 

Choose the specific Get Capabilities link for the data that interests you. 

WMS GetCapabilities - to use the XML 'GetCapabilities' information in an application, right click on the Download link and copy the URL to the clipboard:

  • for Microsoft Internet Explorer - 'Copy Shortcut'
  • for Firefox - 'Copy Link Location'

Then paste the URL into the application.

About WMS (Web Map Service)

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) defines WMS as follows:

A Web Map Service (WMS) produces maps of spatially referenced data dynamically from geographic information. This International Standard defines a "map" to be a portrayal of geographic information as a digital image file suitable for display on a computer screen. A map is not the data itself. WMS-produced maps are generally rendered in a pictorial format such as PNG, GIF or JPEG, or occasionally as vector-based graphical elements in Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) or Web Computer Graphics Metafile (WebCGM) formats.

This international standard defines three operations:

  1. GetCapabilities - returns service-level metadata
  2. GetMap - returns a map with well-defined geographic and dimensional parameters
  3. GetFeature - returns information about particular features shown on a map (optional)

Web Map Service operations can be invoked using a standard web browser by submitting requests in the form of Uniform Resource Locators (URLs). The content of such URLs depends on which operation is requested. In particular, when requesting a map the URL indicates what information is to be shown on the map, what portion of the Earth is to be mapped, the desired coordinate reference system, and the output image width and height. When two or more maps are produced with the same geographic parameters and output size, the results can be accurately overlaid to produce a composite map. The use of image formats that support transparent backgrounds (e.g., GIF or PNG) allows underlying maps to be visible. Furthermore, individual maps can be requested from different servers. The Web Map Service thus enables the creation of a network of distributed map servers from which clients can build customized maps.

This International Standard applies to a Web Map Service that publishes its ability to produce maps rather than its ability to access specific data holdings. A basic WMS classifies its geographic information holdings into "Layers" and offers a finite number of predefined "Styles" in which to display those layers. This International Standard supports only named Layers and Styles, and does not include a mechanism for user-defined symbolization of feature data.

Note: The Open GIS Consortium (OGC) Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD) specification defines a mechanism for user-defined symbolization of feature data instead of named Layers and Styles. In brief, an SLD-enabled WMS retrieves feature data from a Web Feature Service and applies explicit styling information provided by the user in order to render a map.

BASIN Database
BASIN contains a wealth of geological, geophysical and engineering information related to many years of petroleum exploration, primarily offshore northern and eastern Canada. BASIN includes both basic and interpreted information for most petroleum industry exploration wells and locational data for a large number of seismic surveys. Basic well data has been gathered from well history and drilling reports while interpretative data such as formation picks, geochemical analysis, age determinations and vitrinite reflection values have been compiled from petroleum industry and government sources.

Google Earth

Canadian Marine Backscatter Images
This collection of digital multibeam sonar backscatter strength images were derived from data collected in offshore Eastern Canada by the Geological Survey of Canada (Atlantic) of Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Hydrographic Service of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.  The data were collected using multibeam echo sounders during multibeam sonar bathymetric surveys to map seafloor topography, structures, and sediment types.
Google Earth

Canadian Marine Geoscience Map Vectors
The Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) has produced maps depicting up-to-date geoscience knowledge and attributes of the Canadian terrestrial landmass and offshore territories.
Google Earth
http://geoappext.nrcan.gc.ca/arcgis/services/GSCA/marine_vectors _e/MapServer/WMSServer?request=GetCapabilities&service=WMS&version=1.3.0

Canadian Marine LIDAR Images
These airborne terrestrial and coastal LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data were collected along sections of the Canadian Atlantic and Arctic coasts by the Geological Survey of Canada with various partners and collaborators. The data sets consist of gridded elevation measurements converted to geo-referenced images and then made accessible via an OGC-compliant Web Mapping Service. These data sets are used to develop coastal terrestrial Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for flood extent mapping, for geomorphic interpretation, for orthorectification of data sets, and as underlying DEMs for other data sets.

Google Earth

Canadian Marine Multibeam Bathymetric Images
The Geological Survey of Canada has compiled various datasets of high resolution marine multibeam bathymetric data, comprising survey data collected by Natural Resources Canada and other partners and has made over 700 colour-shaded relief bathymetry images of these datasets accessible via this application. Point data or individual bathymetric soundings are not available through this application

Multibeam Index Map
Google Earth

Multibeam East
Google Earth

Multibeam West
Google Earth

Multibeam North
Google Earth

Coastal Monitoring Data
The Coastal Monitoring Data Web Mapping Service provides sites in Canada where repetitive surveys, photographs, sediment samples, and thaw depth measurements (in permafrost regions) document shoreline characteristics and rates of change.
Google Earth

Energy - Fossil Fuels
Data related to fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal) in Canada: Canadian National Coal inventory; analysis of borehole cuttings, core and outcrop samples, gasoline fraction, saturates, aromatics, hydrocarbon, geothermal observations.
Google Earth

Expedition Database
The Expedition Database (ED) contains information (metadata) and data related to marine and coastal field surveys conducted by or on behalf of the Geological Survey of Canada (Atlantic and Pacific). ED is a source of information on "Stations" where geological samples such as piston cores, grab samples, bottom photography were collected. Resulting data such as grainsize, radiocarbon dates, and bottom photography can also be accessed through ED. In addition, ED is a source of trackline navigation for marine geophysical (seismic, sidescan, multibeam) profiles collected by the GSC.

Google Earth

Physical Archive Database
The Canadian geoscience community, including the GSC, has long collected and archived geoscience materials in support of basic research. Much of these materials are accessible to the public for further research upon request. 
This dataset is a record inventory management system for the archiving of geological and geophysical data (e.g. seismics, multibeam, bathymetry, gravity, magnetics and seabed videos) as part of the holdings at the Geological Survey of Canada (Atlantic) in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The archive includes logbooks, magnetic/reel-to-reel/digital tapes, paper records, analog data, videos, microfilm, microfiche and photographs collected as part of research cruises by, or for, the Geological Survey of Canada (Atlantic). 

Google Earth