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SDI Snapshot – September 2016

Who will be inducted to the URISA 2016 GIS Hall of Fame? How can Canada be mapped by population instead of land area? Where are the SDIs and open data sites in Canada? Find out these and more in the September SDI Snapshot.

Here’s a look at what’s happening in Canada and globally in the world of spatial data infrastructures (SDI). This September 2016 post is a collection of the latest and most significant SDI news, data and products.


An interactive story map introducing the Mactaquac Aquatic Ecosystem Study

Based at the Canadian Rivers Institute, the Mactaquac Aquatic Ecosystem Study is a planned, whole-river ecosystem study and manipulation of the Saint John River ecosystem. The project has published a story map introducing the study and the researchers through photographs, interactive maps and videos. 

GeoAlliance Canada publishes story map of SDIs and open data sites in Canada

GeoAlliance Canada recognized a need to improve the awareness of Canada’s Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs), including open data portals. The organization, working with Federal, Provincial, Territorial and Municipal Government representatives, has collected this information on Canada’s SDIs  and is providing it via the GeoAlliance Canada website.

GeoAlliance Canada announces projects portal

GeoAlliance Canada supports projects promoting access to high-quality geospatial data, education and capacity building, and the development and promotion of a positive and articulate sector identity. GeoAlliance is working with members to develop a pipeline for projects from initiation and team-building through to successful project completion.                                                         

URISA announces 2016 GIS Hall of Fame inductees, who include Alex Miller from Esri Canada

The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) has announced the induction of three deserving individuals into its GIS Hall of Fame. URISA's GIS Hall of Fame honours persons and organizations that have made significant and original contributions to the development and application of GIS concepts, tools,  resources or to the GIS profession. Inductees include: Alex Miller, president of Esri Canada; Mark Monmonier and Waldo Tobler, who will be officially recognized during GIS-Pro 2016: URISA’s 54th Annual Conference in Toronto this November.


BC Economic Atlas; a powerful and free geographical resource from the BC Government

BCEA is a completely free-to-use geographical information tool, built to support economic development in BC by providing simplified access to up-to-date government data in subject areas ranging from infrastructure to major projects, conservation, land ownership and everything in between.

Mapping Canada by population instead of land area

In terms of physical size, Canada is the second largest country in the world behind only Russia. But, most of its 35 million people live in a very small area. This article includes a cartogram, a map in which the area of each region is substituted with some mapping variable, population in this case. In other words, the size of each region corresponds to the number of people who live there. Canada gets deformed to the point it’s completely unrecognizable (for comparison, cartograms of the U.S. and the U.K. largely retain their basic shape).

Esri app helps citizens interact with just released NGA Arctic maps

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the National Science Foundation publicly released new 3-D topographic maps of Alaska in support of a White House Arctic initiative to improve decision-making in the Arctic. The 3D digital elevation models (DEMs), are the first to come from the ArcticDEM project, which was created after a January 2015 executive order calling for enhanced coordination of national efforts in the Arctic. Models of the entire Arctic are scheduled for release in 2017.

New Esri Maps NOAA's National Model forecast data into vivid pictures of U.S. river flows

Government Security News reported that Esri recently released a robust collection of web maps that forecast data into vivid stream flow throughout the continental U.S.

Esri releases EMUs to understand the ocean

Esri and USGS collected a series of global measurements representing the ocean’s physical and chemical properties, most likely to drive ecosystem responses. From millions of measurements taken, 37 physically and chemically distinct volumetric regions, or Ecological Marine Units (EMUs), were statistically derived. EMUs differ from existing maps of marine ecoregions because they are globally comprehensive, data-driven and 3D.


Drones zero in on wheat and canola crops in Canada to boost yields

Farmers Edge,  a precision-agriculture company based in Winnipeg, plans to improve its crop data by using drones from Green Aero Technology that can enhance field images and help growers boost yields. Farmers will get a clearer picture of field health and drainage that satellite imagery may not capture in fine detail. Canada is the world’s biggest canola exporter and one of the top wheat shippers and farmers are demanding more technology to help boost yields amid low crop prices.

Canada Speedtest results reveal fastest ISP, wireless service in your city

Rogers offers the fastest fixed line broadband speeds available in Canada, and Bell Mobility tops wireless download speeds on average, according to a new report based on data from Ookla’s Speedtest Intelligence. The new Market Report is based on 8.8 million broadband tests and almost 800,000 mobile tests and shows the speed of ISPs in upload and download speeds in various areas.


Esri publishes story map of SDI portals around the world

A Spatial Data Infrastructure is an integrated network of people, data, technology and governance through which data are assembled and shared for the purpose of ensuring national interests, such as national security, economic development or environmental resiliency. Esri has published a story map of some of the SDI portals around the world that were implemented using Esri technology.

Video showing how to configure the Situational Awareness Viewer

The Situational Awareness Viewer is a configuration of Web AppBuilder that can be used to analyze the impact to people and places within an incident area. The application can be configured within ArcGIS Online or deployed on-premises. This video provides an overview on how to configure the Situational Awareness Viewer for your organization.

Jessi Mielke, Esri’s certification manager, discusses the Technical Certification Program

GoGeomatics has been publishing a series of articles related to taking the Esri technical certification program.  These articles include: why am I going to take it; preparing for the exam; and how I passed the test. This recent article includes an interview that discusses the history of the Esri certification and asks questions about the program.

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