A cure for the mid-winter blues: a guided tour of community map updates

February 18, 2015 Paul Heersink

Updates to the world topographic and imagery base maps with more Canadian content that will help get you through the mid-winter blues.

There is an actual condition for the expression "winter blues" to be true, of course. This blog post might not be a week-long vacation on some sunny beach in the warm south, but a guided tour of imagery basemap and World Topographic Map updates could provide some spatial sunshine for all you map lovers out there. This week, the updates to the basemap on ArcGIS Online include some significant Canadian content that includes 10 new communities and 32 updated communities for the World Topographic Map and two big imagery contributions for the imagery map.

Letʼs start with the World Topographic Map updates by taking a quick tour through the 10 new communities, starting in Alberta. Athabasca County, located northeast of Edmonton, is the first stop on our trip. It covers more than 6,000 square kilometres and is home to about 7,600 people. The county provided data to be included in the topographic basemap. The first half of the County was published last month; this month's update completes the map for Athabasca County.

 Athabasca County, AB at 1:18,056.

Further south and closer to Edmonton is another county that is having its data published for the first time to the World Topographic Map. Strathcona County lies just east of Edmonton and has about 92,000 residents. It contains the community of Sherwood Park – technically still a hamlet but with 65,000 is probably the largest hamlet you’ll find anywhere.

Strathcona County, AB at 1:9,028.

Our last Alberta community that's been published for the first time in this release is Okotoks, located in the southern part of the province just south of Calgary. It has the distinction of being the largest town in Alberta.

Okotoks, AB at 1:4,514.

The next stop on our tour is the neighbouring province of British Columbia. Just over the provincial border is Columbia-Shuswap Regional District, a mountainous area of 28,929 square kilometres and home to about 50,000 people.

Columbia-Shuswap, BC at 1:72,224.

Further down the road are a cluster of communities that have joined the Community Maps Program and are publishing their map data for the first time on ArcGIS Online. The Regional District of North Okanagan has a number of data layers that they’ve published via their open data site. We’ve taken this data and combined it with data submitted by the City of Vernon, located right next door. Further south, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen also contributed their data to the Community Maps Program. Combined with data previously published by nearby communities, the mapping coverage for a large part of the interior of British Columbia is now complete.

Okanagan-Similkameen, BC at 1:36,112.

Three additional smaller BC communities have also joined the Community Maps Program and have their data published in the World Topographic Map for the first time. Merritt, Rossland and Trail are now published down to 1:1,128. Ranging in size from 3,500 to 8,000 residents, these communities have added to the local content for the map.

Trail, BC at 1:4,514.

In addition to these 10 new communities, 32 other communities were updated to the new map design. These include:

  • Airdire, AB
  • Banff, AB
  • Beaumont, AB
  • Camrose, AB
  • Canmore, AB
  • Central Okanagan, BC
  • City of Langley, BC
  • Cochrane, AB
  • Coquitlam, BC
  • Cranbrook, BC
  • District of North Vancouver, BC
  • East Kootenay, BC
  • Edmonton International Airport, AB
  • Kamloops, BC
  • Leduc, AB
  • Morinville, AB
  • Mount Pearl, NL
  • Olds College, AB
  • Parts of the City of Nanaimo, BC
  • Parts of Dawson Creek, BC
  • Parts of Sunshine Coast, BC
  • Prince George, BC
  • Quesnel, BC
  • Squamish, BC
  • St. Albert, AB
  • St. John’s, NL
  • Surrey, BC
  • Thompson-Nicola, BC
  • Township of Langley, BC
  • University of Alberta, AB
  • Vancouver, BC
  • White Rock, BC

All of these areas have been updated and are published down to 1:1,128 in the new map design. Check out the map below to view the extents of the new content.

Lastly, we have two imagery updates to tell you about. The first is 2013 10 cm imagery from Brantford, ON. This is visible from 1:36,112. The other covers a much larger area in southern Alberta and includes multiple imagery sets. Most of the area is covered by 50 cm imagery from 2012 but there is also 20 cm 2012 imagery covering some of the hamlets and 10 cm 2013 imagery from the City of Lethbridge. Check out this map to see what areas are covered by this and previous Canadian imagery submissions.

10 cm 2013 imagery from Lethbridge on the right combined with 2012 50 cm imagery from the Southern Alberta Partnership on the left.

About the Author

Paul Heersink

Paul Heersink is a cartographer and Production Manager of Esri Canada’s Community Maps Program: an initiative that is aiming to build a seamless topographic basemap using contributor data. He has over 15 years of cartographic experience, working in both the public and private sectors. Paul has always been interested in mapping and drew his own atlas at the age of 10. He took a detour in his career through the fields of psychology and social work before returning to cartography.

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