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SDI Snapshot - January 2018

Here’s a look at what’s happening in Canada and globally in the world of Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). This post contains a collection of the latest and most significant SDI news, data, products, and events.

SDI News

Creating Canada’s 4th Plan on Open Government 2018-20

Open government is about making government better, and its data available and reusable. Every two years, the federal government works with stakeholders to create a plan as part of Canada’s membership in the global open government partnership. Open Government Canada is now creating the 4th plan to be published in July 2018. The Multi-stakeholder Forum is playing a key role in this collaborative process and currently you have an opportunity to help shape this plan.

Canadian Digital Service - ways to enable non-traditional users to work with government.

The Canadian Digital Service (CDS) is focused on delivery: building simple and easy to use services directly with federal departments. From the cloud to challenge platforms, CDS is leading efforts to identify and post challenges with Government of Canada departments. Challenges include user requirements, cloud adoption strategies, publishing content and making minimum viable products.

The economic impact of geospatial services

How do consumers, businesses and society benefit from location-based information? In the US, geospatial services industry generates US$400 billion in revenue per year. Plus, geospatial services have a myriad of other positive effects for society and the environment, such as reduced air pollution through more efficient transportation using GPS navigation. Despite the growing use of geospatial technology around the globe, its true economic value remains hidden, as traditional measuring concepts have failed to keep up with the rapid evolution of the industry.

Ushering technological transformation in the public sector

A US county is driven by the mission to deliver efficient and cost-effective services to its citizens. With information technology promising better quality and higher responsiveness of public services, the county is striving to deliver services through digital channels. Currently, Fulton County is focusing on three major initiatives: 1) deliver greater public service through digital avenues, 2) bring more businesses to the county, and 3) streamline the back-end processes of the government.

SDI Data

Have you ever wondered what the most popular national Canadian GIS datasets are?

The Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation at Natural Resources Canada collects, stores and disseminates GIS datasets of national interest and coverage. Do you know which of the GeoBase, GeoGratis or CanVec data layers are the most popular downloads? Check out this GoGeomatics blog.

Esri planning Landsat Image Services update for February 2018

The upcoming release of Landsat Image Services will include some noteworthy updates such as revised scaling, daily updates, a new QA band, a new product ID field, plus WCS and WMS compatibility. Due to the change in the output range of pixel values, this Landsat Image Services update will affect users who use the services for processing and analytics.

What’s new in Canadian coverage in the Esri World Imagery Basemap

+Vivid is the primary imagery basemap solution for providing high quality, high resolution, broad area global imagery. Esri has introduced new coverage for areas in Canada that previously lacked high resolution imagery. Recent and pending +Vivid updates include the Northwest Territories and the Yukon Territory. Community Maps imagery contributions include Elgin County, ON; Squamish, BC; Dufferin County, ON; and Cambridge, ON.

How to make effective use of geospatial Big Data

The heart of any geospatial analysis system, regardless of its location or configuration, is increasingly becoming the server. Whether the system is in the ‘cloud’, a secure data centre or on a single machine running in an office all server implementations face a similar challenge – the ability to deal with the ever-increasing quantities and variety of data the world is now producing at an unprecedented rate.

UK National Infrastructure Commission recognizes data as infrastructure

In Canada, the debate over whether data forms part of an SDI has been raging for years. In the UK, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has recently recognized data as a new form of infrastructure and that open data is necessary for innovation. The NIC has publish their latest report entitled "Data for the Public Good" which explains how data can help get more value from the UK's current physical infrastructure, why open data is necessary for innovation, and how a new form of infrastructure is emerging which they call a data infrastructure.

SDI Products

Practical guide to building future proof Open Data portals

European Union member states are making progress with their Open Data initiatives including Open Data portals. However, to ensure data infrastructures remain relevant over time, a series of aspects should be considered and embedded in the design stages of any Open Data portal. A report is available that shows ten ways portals can be organized to add value over time.

How should you store your data – in a shapefile, personal geodatabase or file geodatabase?

If you’re a bit confused whether or not to use a shapefile (*.shp), a file geodatabase (*.gdb) or personal geodatabase (*.mdb), they are all good places to store your spatial data. Compared to shapefiles, geodatabases deliver extra capabilities such as allowing users to set up a topology. Geodatabases are an organized way to keep similar data together so anything that is relevant can stay in a single database.

Getting started with story maps that inform people in ways that inform, engage and inspire

Story maps use geography as a means of organizing and presenting information. They tell the story of a place, event, issue, trend or pattern in a geographic context. They combine interactive maps with other rich content—text, photos, illustrations, video and audio—within intuitive user experiences. While many story maps are designed for general, nontechnical audiences, some story maps can also serve highly specialized audiences.

About the Author

Gordon Plunkett is the Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) Director at Esri Canada. He has more than 30 years of experience in GIS and Remote Sensing in both the public and private sectors. He currently sits as a member of the Community Map of Canada Steering Committee, GeoAlliance Canada Interim Board of Directors, the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Technical Committee, the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) Committee on Geomatics, the University of Laval Convergence Network Advisory Committee and the Advisory Board to the Carleton University Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre. During his career, Gordon has worked on projects in more than 20 countries and has contributed to numerous scientific conferences and publications. At Esri Canada, he is responsible for developing and supporting the company’s SDI vision, initiatives and outreach, including producing content for the SDI blog.

Profile Photo of Gordon Plunkett