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Data – Canada Lands Surveys

On this page find how to access survey information and data for Canada Lands.


Data Overview


Official survey plans, information on surveys in progress and geospatial representations of parcels of Canada Lands are all accessible online.  Four methods are available to access survey documents and information, while various datasets usable in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are available for download.  Using the Survey Plan Search and Survey Project Search tools one can enter known attributes (e.g. plan number) or filter using the provided options; Using the CLSS Map Browser or Canada Lands in Goggle Earth one can navigate and zoom to areas of interest and then link directly to the associated plans or projects in the Survey Plan Search or Survey Project Search tools respectively. The above diagram shows the relationship between the data within the Canada Lands Survey Records, data access methods and derived parcel and boundary datasets.

Accessing the Canada Lands Survey Records

The most suitable method for accessing records depends on the task at hand. The following table compares four methods.


Task Survey Plan Search Survey Project Search CLSS Map Browser
(Note 1, 2)
Canada Lands in Google Earth
Find a plan – by descriptors Yes - Yes -
Find a plan – by map location - - Yes Yes
(Note 3)
Download a plan (Note 4) Yes - Yes
Research survey plan history Yes - Yes
(Note 5)
Check for active survey projects and their status - Yes
(Note 5)
(Note 6)
View parcels with surveys in progress - - Yes
(Note 6)
(Note 7)
Download cadastral dataset - - - Yes
(Note 3)
Create custom PDF maps - - Yes -


  1. Click on “Help” within the Canada Land Survey System (CLSS) Map Browser to access its User Guide.
  2. The CLSS Map Browser may NOT depict all plans recorded in the Canada Lands Survey Records (CLSR). For the various scenarios where this may be the case, see Important Notes.
  3. In the Canada Lands KMZ Overlay (used for Canada Lands in Google Earth or other Earth Browsers), once zoomed in to the parcel level data, clicking on the centre place mark will display
    1. plan information and the link for downloading the plan
    2. the link to download the digital cadastral dataset and
    3. a link to Map Browser - which after selected will zoom to the relevant parcel after a few moments.
  4. For tips on downloading plans and other survey documents, see Help on Viewing and Downloading Documents.
  5. CLSS Map Browser is very useful for researching survey plan history since it enables a search of all plans in a selected geographical area.  However, since not all of the earliest plans have been prepared and included for geospatial presentation, in some cases it may not provide the complete history. See Important Notes. When needed, the Plan Survey search tool, which provides the complete history, should also be used.
  6. In the CLSS Map Browser, you must choose the desired Province/Territory for the “Survey in Progress” option to become available.
  7. In the Canada Lands KMZ Overlay, parcels shown in pink indicate those with a survey in progress. Clicking on the blue balloon provides access to the project status.

Parcel and Boundary Datasets for use in a GIS

The datasets with geospatial representation of parcel and boundary information, suitable for Geographic Information Systems (GIS), are provided in separate products to meet different user requirements.  It is important to understand and accept that these datasets are not to be used for defining boundaries. Administrative decisions should be based on legal documents and legal survey plans.  The following table summarizes the parcel and boundary datasets.

Dataset Description File information Update freq.
Canada Lands Digital Cadastral Data A cadastral dataset with internal parcel data for individual Canada Lands (e.g. an Indian Reserve or National Park) Coverage:
South of 60º, by Canada Land
North of 60º, by UTM zone

DWG,  ESRI Shapefile

Geogratis –Canada Lands Administrative Boundaries* A data layer with the administrative boundaries for National Parks, National Park Reserves, National Marine Conservation Areas and Aboriginal Land Claims Settlement Areas Coverage:
By province, territory or for all of Canada

ESRI Shapefile
*excludes Aboriginal Lands already included in GeoBase

Canada Lands in Earth Browsers An overlay layer of external parcels and boundaries of Canada Lands in Google Earth or another earth browser. Coverage:
One file for all of Canada

KMZ (zipped KML)

Oil and Gas Grid Areas Data layers of the land division system used in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the offshore for the management of Oil and Gas interests Coverage:
Northwest Territories (including offshore)
Nunavut (including offshore)

Offshore: Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Hudson Bay


Format: ESRI Shapefile

Not applicable

Other products that may be useful for Canada Lands can be found on Open Data. The data in Open Data include layers for Aboriginal Lands, National Parks and National Park Reserves, which has been developed using base data from the Canada Lands Survey Records.

Canada Lands Digital Cadastral Data

Thumbnail image showing parcel framework and annotations for specific Canada Lands. Canada Lands Digital Cadastral Data provides the cadastral parcel framework for specified Canada Lands. This cadastral line and parcel structured vector data is designed and suited for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) application.

By using this data, it is important to understand and accept that the data is not to be used for defining boundaries. Administrative decisions should be based on legal documents and legal survey plans.

The datasets are updated when new survey plans are recorded in the Canada Lands Survey Records (CLSR). Frequent visits to this site are recommended.

The links below will guide you to the FTP locations where you can freely download the cadastral datasets. Please contact your regional office for questions pertaining to the data.

By downloading this data, you agree with the OPEN GOVERNMENT LICENCE - CANADA

Links to FTP directories by province or territory to download Canada Lands digital cadastral datasets:

Canada Lands in Google Earth

image showing sample view in Google Earth of administrative boundaries and parcels within specific Indian Reserve.

The Canada Lands overlay in KMZ format is available for display in various earth browsers, such as Google Earth. It can be used to view the administrative boundaries and cadastral parcels within Indian Reserves, National Parks and the territories.

Please refer to the Canada Lands in Google Earth user guide (PDF, 2.56 MB) for help using the Canada Lands Overlay.

See our placemat to help choose the right tool.

Download the Canada Lands Overlay (KMZ, 421 bytes) for Google Earth.

By downloading this data, you agree with the OPEN GOVERNMENT LICENCE - CANADA

This KMZ file is designed to optimally work with Google Earth 4.2 or later, but the format is also compatible with Google Maps, Google Maps for Mobile, Microsoft Virtual Earth, and NASA's World Wind.

In most cases, Canada Lands in KMZ format have four levels of detail:

  1. A general point location of the Canada Land for viewing at large extents
  2. Zooming in on the point will load the administrative boundaries
  3. Zooming in further will transition the display to parcel level data
  4. Clicking on the place marks at the centre of each parcel will display and link to further cadastral information.

Image showing sample view in Google Earth of the four levels of details – point location, boundaries, parcel data and attributes.

Installation note: A download of the file is required only once followed by a save to My places. If you are experiencing functional or performance issue, we suggest you go to My places and remove any older versions of Canada Lands. For subsequent access if using Google Earth, simply open Google Earth from your desktop and the Canada Lands information will be accessible.

Administrative Boundaries for Canada Lands

Image showing sample view of administrative boundaries of Canada Lands. This product depicts administrative boundaries (exterior limits) of National Parks, National Park Reserves and National Marine Conservation Areas. More specific information related to each administrative boundary can be found in the Entity and Attribute section of the metadata.

This dataset has been merged with the National Parks and National Park Reserves of Canada Legislative Boundaries web service. Please view the web service details to get download links.”

Note, this dataset is not to be used for defining boundaries. Administrative decisions should be based on legal documents and legal survey plans.

Aboriginal Lands

image showing sample view depicting the administrative boundaries of Aboriginal Lands available through GeoBase.The Aboriginal Lands product consists of polygon entities that depict the administrative boundaries (extent) of lands that are set aside for the benefits of specific aboriginal groups in Canada and is made available through GeoGratis.

This dataset has been merged with the Aboriginal Lands of Canada Legislative Boundaries web service. Please view the web service details to get download links.”

Oil and Gas Grid data

A geo-spatial representation of the land division system, in NAD83 coordinates, is available in ShapefileTM format for oil and gas exploration and regulations. The dataset is composed of three layers: Grid Areas; Sections; and Units. The geo-spatial files cover the Northwest Territories (including the offshore), Nunavut (including the offshore), the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and Hudson Bay

By downloading this data, you agree with the OPEN GOVERNMENT LICENCE - CANADA.

Link to download the grid data in ShapefileTM format from FTP site.

The data is distributed using 116 ZIP files split out in 6 folders. The folders represent regions as follows:

  • AT – Atlantic Ocean south of 60° N
  • PA – Pacific Ocean
  • HB_BH – Hudson Bay south of 60° N
  • NT_TNO – Northwest Territories
  • NU_E – Nunavut east of 85° W and north of 60° N
  • NU_W_O – Nunavut west of 85° W and north of 60° N

Please note that there are no overlaps between regions. A Grid area on the boundary between two regions (e.g. Boundary between Northwest Territories and Nunavut) will be included only in one of the ZIP file.

The ZIP files are named as follows:

  • OG-PG_<region>_<latitude>_<edition>_<version>.zip where
  • OG-PG – Abbreviated English and French title of product
  • <region> - Code of region as indicated above
  • <latitude> - Degree of latitude of the Grid Areas included in the file. Values range from 40 to 84
  • <edition> - Dataset edition number.
  • <version> - Dataset version number

Examples: (ZIP file containing the Grid Areas, Sections and Units for Atlantic Ocean area, Latitude 40° N, edition 1, version 0) (ZIP file containing the Grid Areas, Sections and Units for Nunavut area, west of 85° W, Latitude 66° N, edition 1, version 0)

Each ZIP file contains the Shape files for Grid Areas, Sections and Units as well as the associated metadata files in English and French in XML and HTML formats.

FTP help and FTP software can be found on the GeoGratis website.

Help on Viewing and Downloading Documents

This section provides tips and recommendations on viewing and downloading survey plans, maps and other documents.

Viewing Large Size Survey Plan Images

For survey plan images that are relatively large in scale (very wide/tall in pixels) or large in file size (>8MB), some image viewing software may not be capable of rendering it properly. As a result, when users load the image in their viewers, it could appear to be blank when in fact the data cannot be displayed. One alternative is to download a freely downloadable image viewing software that is capable of viewing these large type images, such as IrfanView.

Viewing DjVu files

Some of our scanned survey plans and related documentation are available in DjVu format where file sizes are large and high file compression is required. To view DjVu files you need the DjVu viewer available for free download from this site:

Viewing PDF files

Some of our cadastral related documentation and maps are available in PDF format. To view PDF files you need Acrobat Reader 6.0 (or later) on your system. If the Adobe download site is not accessible to you, you can download Adobe Reader from an accessible page. If you choose not to use Acrobat Reader you can have the PDF file converted to HTML or ASCII text by using one of the conversion services offered by Adobe.

Viewing large images at best quality

This Web site may provide links to very large detailed images that may exceed the browser window size even if the window is maximized. Some browsers have the capability of scaling these large images to fit in the browser window, but unfortunately this reduces the quality of the image and legibility of the information. If an image changes size to fill the browser window as the window is resized, the scaling feature has been enabled. The scaling feature should be disabled to view the image at best quality, albeit requiring use of browser window scrollbars to view the entire image. To disable the image scaling:

Microsoft Internet Explorer:

Select Tools - Internet Options - Advanced, scroll down to the Multimedia section, and uncheck the Enable Automatic Image Resizing option.


Select Tools - Options - Advanced - General and uncheck the Resize larger images to fit in the browser window option in the Browsing section.

Accessing FTP links from Google Earth

Please note that the “Download Digital Cadastral Data” links in the Canada Lands in Google Earth product point to an FTP site. Default security settings in Google Earth do not allow users to open these links directly from the application.

It is recommended to copy the “Download Digital Cadastral Data” links into a web browser address bar to access the data. You can do this by right-clicking the link and selecting “Copy Link”.



Alternatively, settings in Google Earth can be changed to allow opening FTP links. Note, these changes should only be made if you agree with the security impact to your computer. From the menus, select Tools → Options and select the “General” tab. Next, check the options Display → “Show web results in external browser” and Placemark balloons → “Allow access to local files and personal data”.


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