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SDI Snapshot - March 2015

Here’s a look at what’s happening in Canada and globally in the world of Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). In this March 2015 post you’ll find a collection of the latest and most significant SDI news, data, products and events.


Michael Goodchild discusses four thoughts on the future of GIS

The world we know and love and call “GIS” has grown by many orders of magnitude since Roger Tomlinson coined the acronym in the 1960s. Facing us in the future will be questions and issues that deal with data privacy, big data, and even how we define GIS.

2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian women’s curling championship map

The 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian Women’s Curling Championship was recently held in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. It was a field that was top heavy with three or four teams that could win the tournament. See an interactive map with all Scotties teams and their club location.

2015 Tim Hortons Brier Canadian men's curling championship map

The 2015 Tim Hortons Brier Canadian men's curling championship was recently held in Calgary, Alberta. The 2015 Brier had a field that is jam-packed with many evenly matched teams vying for four playoff positions and, ultimately, a shot at hoisting the venerable tankard trophy. See the interactive map with all the Brier teams and their club location.

United Nations General Assembly Adopts First Geospatial Resolution

The science that supports the precise pinpointing of people and places should be shared more widely, according to the United Nations General Assembly. The statement came as it adopted its first resolution recognizing the importance of a globally coordinated approach to geodesy – the discipline focused on accurately measuring the shape, rotation and gravitational field of planet Earth.

Cloud Enables Geospatial Information Sharing Across Intelligence Community

Lockheed Martin and Esri have deployed commercial software to the Amazon Web Services Commercial Cloud Services (C2S) environment for the first time with an intelligence community customer, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), in a move that enables government agencies to better share geospatial intelligence.

Rwanda Launches the First-Ever Land-Use Portal in Africa

Thanks to a new website called the National Land Use Planning Portal (NLUPP), Rwandans connected to the Internet now have easy access to land-use plans and other spatial data on the web, decreasing the time it takes to find such maps and documents. NLUPP is the first portal of its kind on the continent of Africa.


Alberta Data Partnerships: a public private partnership approach to SDI

Alberta’s Spatial Data Warehouse has changed its name to Alberta Data Partnerships (ADP), which is a non-profit, public-private partnership created to provide long-term management of comprehensive digital data sets for stakeholders. Through the Mapping Data Agreement with the Government of Alberta and other key contracts with data creators, ADP is committed to making Alberta’s base mapping infrastructure more available, accessible, accurate, and affordable.

The Growing Military Importance of Earth Imaging in Canada

Recent activities at the Department of National Defence (DND), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and publicly traded Canadian company UrtheCast, illustrate the growing military importance of Earth imaging. 

UK Ordnance Survey opens up more geospatial data

To coincide with International Open Data Day, ODI Member Ordnance Survey (OS) announced it will launch its most comprehensive mapping database to date with OS OpenMap, a new digital map bringing open geospatial data to mobile and web platforms. It's aimed at allowing developers to access and use the open data to build new products and enhance the wide range of existing apps that use geospatial data.

Web GIS and Esri’s Massive Global Library of Content

Esri is now curating an enormous and rapidly growing library of ready-to-use maps, imagery, and geo-referenced data for the entire world. This online collection of authoritative content, together with the new Web GIS pattern, is having a huge impact on the way people use GIS. 


Sharing Web GIS Services? Always enable TLS (HTTPS)

Many public Web GIS services are not as useful as possible as they are not configured with TLS (HTTPS) support.  Often, the operators of these sites are unaware that their lack of TLS support restricts the consumption of their services. The issue is that enterprise implementations of Portal for ArcGIS and/or ArcGIS Online typically enforce requiring TLS to ensure their information is encrypted while in transport.

Hydro Hierarchy is an experimental web application for visualizing river networks.

There are approximately a quarter of a million rivers in the United States, but only 2,500 are displayed in this application.  This subset represents streams with a Strahler stream order classification of four or greater.  The stream data used by this application is derived from the USGS‘s National Hydrographic Dataset and has undergone significant spatial editing.  Streams geometries have been adjusted to ensure connectivity, generalized for small scale mapping and re-oriented in the direction of flow.

Hydro Hierarchy is an experimental web application for visualizing the US river network. See the live application.


Minister Clement Announces Canada to Host International Open Data Conference

Treasury Board President Tony Clement today announced that Canada will host the third International Open Data Conference. The conference will feature experts and professionals from around the world speaking on ways to strengthen domestic and international collaboration on priority open data issues.

Why the CGCRT supports International Map Year

Celebrating maps and their many roles in our lives is what International Map Year (IMY) is all about, and it isn’t just happening in Canada.  It’s the brainchild of the International Cartographic Association and has been endorsed by the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management. International Map Year events will be happening worldwide, kicking off at the ICA conference in August 2015 and running until December 2016.

Research Colloquium on the Retrospective Approach to Mine for GIS Nuggets

Professor Barry Wellar recently organized and published the proceedings of a research colloquium on using the “Retrospective Approach” to mine for GIS nuggets, which centered around a directive question: how can looking back at what has been done, or not been done in the field of GIS, contribute insights into why and how the field of GIS could and should evolve in the coming years?

2015 Esri Federal GIS Conference Videos now available

During the Esri Federal GIS Conference, government and technology leaders including the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) director, the former Maryland governor, and the Esri president shared how GIS is shaping a more resilient world. See your favorite Plenary Session presentations again, catch any you missed, and share your favorites.

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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