Esri Canada to Bring Together Public-Private Collaboration to Build a Geospatial Data Exchange Infrastructure for Canada

By on May 16, 2012

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GeoFoundation Exchange will Provide Organizations across Canada with an Open Platform for Efficiently Exchanging Geographic Data to Build a National Web Basemap

QUÉBEC CITY, Global Geospatial Conference, May 16, 2012 – Esri Canada today announced that the company has been selected by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to lead the GeoFoundation Exchange project. The project, which is partly funded under NRCan’s GeoConnections program, focuses on developing a prototype for an open, Web-based system that will enable cost-effective and efficient sharing of geographic basemap data across the country. The GeoFoundation Exchange is essential to the creation and maintenance of the most current national Web basemap of Canada.

“Natural Resources Canada is working with private, public and academic organizations to facilitate the development of world-class geospatial tools and technologies,” said the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources Canada. “Open and accessible data is a key strategy of ours to increase the availability of information to Canadians, create socio-economic opportunities and enable citizens to participate more fully in the process of government.”

NRCan is bringing together federal, provincial and territorial governments and the private sector to collaborate and better meet the geospatial demands of Canadians. This collaboration will also help to effectively respond to critical priorities while reducing costs to government and private-sector companies.

Geographic information systems (GIS), combined with other technology, will be used to establish a federated infrastructure shared among all levels of Canadian government, non-government organizations, industry and academia. This will help increase productivity by automating the updating of data. The system will support bi-directional exchange of information, providing all agencies and the public with consistent, current and authoritative data for the national Web basemap.

While there are numerous Canadian mapping initiatives by the public and private sectors, there is often a significant lag time between when a data producer creates data updates and when this data eventually makes it into the national Web basemap. This lag often results in duplicate update efforts, unsynchronized data and a lack of standards in workflows and terminology. The GeoFoundation Exchange will allow for the development of standard workflows for creating and maintaining Canada’s basemaps and the improved efficiency and coordination of mapping efforts.

Esri Canada has been at the forefront of providing solutions for broad data sharing. Through its Community Maps Program, the company has established a cloud-based framework for developing a detailed, online national basemap of Canada. The basemap is built from authoritative data contributed by more than 100 organizations across the country. It is free to the public and can be used to develop new or enhance existing mapping applications. The basemap has been used to develop innovative Web applications including Trans Canada Trail’s Explore the Trail application, ReNew Canada’s Top 100 Infrastructure Projects application and several Web maps that show the changes in Canada’s political landscape and population density over time.

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