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Esri Canada’s Community Maps program is building national data infrastructure

With hundreds of contributors, the Community Map of Canada provides the foundation to inform and guide sustainable development, infrastructure management, emergency preparedness and community planning across the country 

TORONTO—July 9, 2024—Now with hundreds of contributing communities, Esri Canada’s Community Map of Canada is the most complete, accurate and up-to-date national basemap available in Canada. Free to use, the Community Map of Canada saves governments, businesses and academia time and resources by leveraging authoritative data and producing high-quality web basemaps from the community. A few of the recent updates include new building footprints for Québec and parcel data for numerous communities in Southern Alberta. The Community Map of Canada currently receives over half a million map views per week, and recently published its 500th update.

“With the Community Map of Canada, governments show their commitment to open data and transparency,” says Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada. “Making spatial information freely available fosters trust and collaboration with constituents and stakeholders alike. This national basemap is updated daily by participants and published twice a week, meeting the rapidly emerging need for current and accurate geographic information to further strengthen Canada’s ability to prepare for and respond to emergencies, manage resources and infrastructure, and build sustainable communities.” 

Since its launch in 2010, the Community Map of Canada program has gained significant traction. Member organizations get access to a scalable data infrastructure that can manage large numbers of queries. Municipalities build on the Community Map of Canada’s authoritative and uniform data layers for urban planning, emergency response and infrastructure development. Businesses leverage its high-quality spatial data and interoperability with existing geographic information systems (GIS). And at a fraction of the cost of internal development or commercial products, participating governments have access to an innovative framework for sharing and curating geographic information that is both collaborative and authoritative—and in real time. Data from more than 410 contributors is synchronized daily, with a new basemap version published approximately every 72 hours.

Several government agencies have discontinued their individual base mapping efforts in favour of this collaborative approach, which reduces the duplication of effort and pools resources to create a community of contributors.

Participants in the Community Map of Canada are demonstrating its utility in numerous ways. Applications developed by community members include interactive maps and search tools for residents across Canada from Ville de Sainte-Hyacinthe, QC, and City of Barrie, ON, to City of Medicine Hat, AB. 

“The Community Map helps us provide quality map products, improving our understanding of what is where and when, so we can build a more sustainable future for our residents,” says Philip Healey, GIS Solution Architect with the City of Kingston. The city uses the vector basemap to power apps for numerous operations including asset management, transportation planning and monitoring of building projects. The program encourages community contributions, which further enhances the accuracy and completeness of the basemap, while fostering civic engagement and strengthening ties with community residents.

The Community Map of Canada is offered with an open, unrestricted license and can be used immediately to develop new maps or enhance existing applications. Government agencies can contribute data such as imagery, parcels, buildings, roads, addresses, administrative boundaries, landmark areas, and points of interest, all while retaining ownership of the data they contribute. 

“Having free access to a detailed national basemap opens up opportunities for all levels of government to collaborate and develop innovative applications that address community issues or concerns,” says Shane Long, program director, Community Maps. “Our contributors are not just a source of information, but rather strategic partners. We are all participating in a larger community, working towards the creation of an authoritative basemap that serves diverse needs across Canada.

To access or contribute data to the Community Map of Canada, visit

About Esri Canada 
Founded in 1984, Esri Canada provides geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower people in business, government, and education to make informed and timely decisions by leveraging the power of mapping and spatial analytics. These solutions enable organizations to better manage their resources, plan their future and collaborate within and beyond their organization. Esri Canada’s products and services help advance successful digital transformation. The company serves more than 14,000 organizations from 13 offices across Canada and is based in Toronto. Esri Canada has been recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for 12 consecutive years. More information can be found at Follow Esri Canada on X (Twitter), Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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