About GeoBase Initiative

** GeoBase portal transitioning to GeoGratis **


Territorial knowledge is essential to the development and sovereignty of a country. Because of its size, Canada represents a major challenge for geospatial data producers. In conjunction with budget reductions in recent years, this has led organizations to rethink how they collect, process and disseminate base geospatial information. Within this context, the GeoBase initiative was implemented to increase the availability of base geospatial data to all Canadians.

The GeoBase initiative began when multiple government mapping agencies realized that current resource levels allocated to their tasks were inadequate. At its annual meeting in Fredericton, October 2001, the Canadian Council on Geomatics (CCOG) approved GeoBase's vision, principles and data definitions. CCOG commissioned the GeoBase Steering Committee to develop and propose an action plan. This initiative was to be the beginning of a new era of cooperation between various data-producing stakeholders.

GeoBase is a key component of the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure that has been promoted and facilitated through GeoConnections. The GeoConnections program has provided significant funding for the preparation of, and accessibility to, GeoBase data and the GeoBase portal complies with GeoConnections' vision and principles.

For more information, Geobase Principles, Policies and Procedures (pdf, 408 KB), updated July 2008.

The Plan

A national initiative was created under which federal, provincial, territorial and municipal government data stakeholders agreed to cooperate and work collectively, to ensure the availability of high-quality geospatial base information covering the entire Canadian landmass. The underlying principles of cooperation between the various partners are to provide access to:

  • Quality geospatial data (current, accurate, consistent and maintained)
  • Unique geospatial data (one data, collected once and maintained closest to the source)
  • Data at no cost and with no restrictions for users

Current GeoBase partners have reached agreements and are breaking new ground in finding ways of working together in order to respectively meet their commitments to the principles of the GeoBase initiative. Each organization is working towards the elimination of data duplication while optimizing collective available resources. Since the adoption of the GeoBase initiative by the CCOG, stakeholders have assembled the following data for the opening of the portal:


GeoBase's goal is to provide the geospatial reference and context for a broad variety of thematic data for government, business, and personal applications. Critical intervention assessments related to:

  • sustainable resource development for forestry, mines, energy, water
  • public safety, protection, and sanitation for emergency response, disaster management, Department of National Defence
  • environmental protection for greenhouse gas effects, global warming, natural risks

all make use of base geospatial data as a primary tool in planning and execution. Effective geomatics applications rely on high-quality base geospatial information.

Canada's geomatics industry will also benefit from GeoBase since data acquisition and maintenance activities will be contracted out. In addition, the availability of high-quality base geospatial information will promote the development of value-added products and services provided by the private sector. It will also benefit Canada's geomatics industry by maintaining its competitiveness on domestic and international markets.