Government of Canada Launches Internet Portal for Geospatial Information

OTTAWA Â- A new Web site developed by the Government of Canada is delivering digital geographic data from across the country to Canadians with an interest in geomatics. That’s the purpose of Canada’s first GeoBase portal, launched today to celebrate International Geographic Information Systems Day.

The new GeoBase portal Â- a joint project involving federal, provincial and territorial governments Â- allows Canadians to access geospatial data on the Internet at no cost and with no restrictions for users. (Geospatial data is geographic data that describes a spatial location.) Canada is one of the first countries in the world to provide such information on the World Wide Web free of charge.

”Making basic geospatial information freely available is critical to the success of the geomatics industry in the new economy, as well as other businesses that need accurate geographic data to operate,” said the Honourable Rey Pagtakhan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Science, Research and Development). Minister Pagtakhan spoke on behalf of the Honourable Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Natural Resources Canada. ”The base data provided by the portal will enable the industry to create new value-added applications that make the domestic market more efficient and lead to international competitiveness.”

The global market for geomatics products and geoscience services is estimated to reach between $45 billion and $67 billion (excluding the space sector) by 2004.

The portal will also help improve decision making by all Canadians who use geospatial information. Businesses, for example, use this information for analyzing markets and determining where to locate new plants and offices, scientists use it as a research tool and governments use it to manage resources and create policy.

Some common uses for geospatial data include 911 service and emergency response, monitoring of the environment, natural resources management, transportation planning, retail expansion and planning, and property transfer and record management. The portal could also improve the exchange of technical knowledge between industry and government.

The information, which describes the Canadian landmass above and below water, is available at It is the first step to building a complete coverage of digital geospatial data for Canada and offers access to six sets of data: national road network data, Canadian digital elevation data, geographical names of Canada data, administrative boundaries data, Canadian geodetic network data and Landsat-7 orthoimage data. (Orthoimage data are images from the Landsat satellite presented with the least distortion.)

Natural Resources Canada hosts and operates the GeoBase portal. Its development is the result of financial and in-kind resources provided by federal, provincial and territorial agencies and the GeoConnections initiative. GeoBase is a new approach to the management of geospatial data in Canada in which different levels of government work together to share the cost of providing up-to-date geospatial data.

The GeoBase portal helps to advance the Government of Canada’s commitment to the sustainable development of our natural resources, contributing to their economic importance and to a strong society and communities through knowledge, innovation, technology and international leadership. By integrating our economic, social and environmental goals, we can ensure our quality of life and build the Canada we want, for ourselves and for future generations.

For more information, media may contact:

Alexandra Muir
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada
(613) 947-8246
Ghyslain Charron
Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada
(613) 992-4447