Natural Resources Canada Recognized for Boosting National Mapping Productivity Using ESRI Technology

GeoComm.com. ESRI Canada today presented an Award of Excellence to the Centre for Topographic Information of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) for accelerating map production and boosting national mapping productivity using ESRI's geographic information system (GIS) technology. NRCan developed a map generator application in 2008 that has increased production of Canadian topographic maps from one map per two days to as many as four maps per day. The increased capacity will help support mapping initiatives at NRCan, including the comprehensive mapping of Northern Canada. The award, which recognizes outstanding achievements in the application of GIS, was presented at the 2010 ESRI Canada User Conference in Ottawa.

“Natural Resources Canada delivers an important service, as the department's maps are used as basemaps for numerous applications such as flood control, land-use planning, public safety and natural resource management,” said Alex Miller, president, ESRI Canada. “In modernizing their GIS, they have created an efficient system for improving the quality and volume of national topographic maps. This will enable the public and private sectors to develop more applications that enhance Canada's social, economic and environmental prosperity.”

As Canada's national mapping agency NRCan is responsible for acquiring, managing and disseminating geographic information for the Canadian landmass, including maps, aerial photography and geographical names. They produce topographic maps at scales of 1:50,000 and 1:250,000, used by all levels of government and industry, which detail features such as land forms; lakes and rivers; roads and railways; national and provincial parks; forests, ice fields, built-up areas; official geographical names; and international, provincial and administrative boundaries. To automate its processes and speed map production, NRCan created a map generator using ESRI's ArcGIS technology.

“This award recognizes Natural Resources Canada's leading role in the topographic mapping of Canada, not only of the North but of the entire country. Natural Resources Canada is at the forefront of providing these maps to all Canadians through easy and user-friendly Web access,” said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Natural Resources. “Providing the knowledge to make informed decisions is key to creating the jobs and economy of tomorrow.”

The GIS provides out-of-the-box tools to enhance every stage of the mapmaking process – from data management to map creation and publishing. It has helped NRCan to automatically symbolize features, place text and supporting elements outside of the map's border such as the title, ISBN, metadata, legend and scale bar that help readers interpret the map. It interfaces with other databases and business systems, allowing NRCan to allocate staff between various production processes more efficiently according to changing needs. With the increased efficiency, NRCan is able to better support clients and achieve its objectives. In September 2010, NRCan released the 1,000th map produced by the map generator, and is on track to complete 1,600 maps required for full 1:50,000 scale topographic map coverage of Canada's Arctic region by 2012.
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