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Parcel mapping in Canada: A case for the parcel fabric

Across Canada, we are seeing an increased demand for parcel mapping. This need is multi-sector and includes areas like planning, land management, public works, emergency management, insurance (risk assessment), real estate viewing and utility asset management.

Across Canada, we are seeing an increased demand for parcel mapping. This need is multi-sector and includes areas like planning, land management, public works, emergency management, insurance (risk assessment), real estate viewing and utility asset management. There are a few different factors that are driving this increased demand, including:

  • Government and industry in all sectors are seeking to increase productivity and reduce costs by incorporating GIS into their business activities

  • Technological advancements are making it easier for people to incorporate parcel mapping into their business applications

  • The open data movement across municipalities is making parcel mapping increasingly accessible

Parcel mapping users have a variety of different needs from parcel data, but, in our experience, what is most important to them include factors like consistent and complete coverage across the jurisdiction, currency (access to updates as they occur) and appropriate (not maximum) spatial accuracy. Of course, it is also very important for users to have easy, simple and flexible accessibility to the data (this refers to both licensing and technology aspects).

A new survey plan is georeferenced against a parcel fabric prior to capturing the new bearings and distances.

Because of this increased demand, many customers across Canada are starting to adopt parcel mapping innovations that are helping to reduce the costs of parcel mapping maintenance and usage. Our customers are also driving an increase in affordability, data quality, accuracy and usage opportunities. Examples of innovations we have seen include:

  • Integrated surveys

  • Georeferencing

  • Continuous mapping

  • Digital submissions of survey plans

  • Adjustment techniques

  • Web submissions of survey plans

  • 3D cadastre

  • Open licensing

Certainly, it is not necessary to adopt all of these innovations in order to see a reduction in the cost of parcel mapping maintenance – even integrating one or two of these ideas can have an impact in your organization. To stay at the forefront of all of these emerging trends and innovations, parcel mapping maintainers require a set of tools that streamline their workflows and integrate well with other aspects of the business. We believe this is what the Esri Parcel Editing Solution offers.

Esri’s parcel fabric is a complex object stored in a geodatabase, and it contains a set of related tables and feature classes. This is an information model that is more than just shapes, as the parcel fabric manages topological relationships for you through the use of shared points and overlapping lines. The parcel fabric is an optimized data model for maintaining parcels for the following reasons:

All of the components of the parcel fabric are related to each other, and these relationships are created and managed by the fabric itself. There is no additional work or effort required by the parcel fabric editor.

New parcels containing the surveyed bearings and distances are joined into the existing parcel fabric.

Esri Canada has developed an approach to modernizing parcel mapping using Esri’s parcel fabric that is designed to help our clients implement the solution efficiently. Our approach is broken down into four key steps, and each has a purpose:

  • Readiness Review

    • A review of your current parcel mapping data, existing workflows and business requirements

    • Quantify the effort required to make your data parcel fabric ready

    • Understanding the benefits of the Parcel Fabric Model

  • Data Migration

    • Data migration is generally about half the overall effort of a parcel mapping project

    • Discussion of best practices for a successful data migration

    • Map current parcel data into the Parcel Fabric Model

    • Fine tune data migration processes (curve detection, topological validation)

  • Customized Training/Fabric Maintenance

    • A review of the various out-of-the box parcel editor tools

    • An understanding of how these tools can be used to complete start to finish parcel mapping workflows

    • Training and workflows are customized to your data

  • Implementation Support

    • Ongoing operations support as your staff learn to work with the Esri Parcel Mapping solution

The Esri Canada approach also uses the Canadian Parcel Data Model (CPDM), a standard parcel editing model that contains pre-configured parcel types, attributes, domains and subtypes that are suitable for implementation in all jurisdictions of Canada. The CPDM includes an MXD with pre-configured display and symbology, and is provided to Esri Canada customers at no cost as part of delivered services.

This phased approach to parcel mapping allows you to choose what level of engagement with Esri Canada is ideal for you. Working with our experienced parcel mapping team lowers the overall risk of implementation and provides you with access to both our subject matter expertise and data migration experience. The end result is a high quality parcel fabric that will make daily operations much smoother. If you’re interested in discussing how Esri Canada’s approach to parcel mapping can benefit your organization, please get in touch by posting in the comments section below.

About the Author

Sarah Sibbett is a senior cadastral mapping consultant with Esri Canada’s Professional Services team. Her focus is on parcel mapping projects across Canada, where she works with clients to increase their productivity and efficiency with the Parcel Editor solution. Sarah has built a reputation for being a creative thinker with a skill for problem solving. She began her career in Esri Canada as a summer student 10 years ago and has served as a mentor for the Associate GIS Professional Program, where she coached and provided constructive performance feedback to outstanding graduates selected for the program.

Profile Photo of Sarah Sibbett