GeoBase Web Mapping Service (WMS)

GeoBase Portal offers an access to its data layers through a Web Mapping Service (WMS) in accordance with the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) specifications. (


GeoBase assumes that users know what a WMS is and how to operate it, and that they are aware of the capacities and limits of the technology behind this type of service. The information presented is not intended to increase awareness of or describe Web Map Services. GeoBase does not provide support for users who want to learn about this technology. Users can find several information and training sources on this subject on the Internet, such as the OGC site and the online training site for the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI) on the GeoConnections website.

You will need a Geographic Information System (GIS) or a Web application compatible with OGC standards to use this map service. Several resources can be found by searching the Web using a search engine (e.g., Quantum GIS, Gaia (The Carbon Project), OGC-compatible visualization software by Intergraph and the UDig application by Refractions.

In your GIS or Web application, it is necessary to seek a function or a command allowing the addition of a map service and where you will normally have to copy the URL of our service.

By using this service, developers will have access to our most current GeoBase data for rendering customized maps.Our OGC-compliant WMS technology is provided free of charge and is subject to the Open Government Licence – Canada.

Links for the GeoBase WMS

The GeoBase WMS is available in both official languages through a separate URL for each language. Based on the address used, the GeoBase WMS will produce a map with textual elements (labels and annotations, not including toponyms) in the language selected.

URLs for the GeoBase WMS by official language:

  • English:
  • French:

GeoBase requests

The GeoBase WMS adequately supports mandatory operations (GetCapabilities and GetMap) as defined in the OGC WMS standard, version 1.1.1. If available, the other operations do not guarantee any results.

GetCapabilities is an operation that produces a descriptive XML document including general information on the GeoBase WMS, along with the description of each data layer. Here is an example of this type of request addressed to GeoBase WMS:

GetMap is an operation that allows the user to obtain a raster map containing the requested layers selected from all the available layers as defined in the document produced by the GetCapabilities operation. This operation requires several arguments to define elements such as the data layers, region, projection, size, image format, etc. The complete list of arguments required is available in the aforementioned OGC document. The following is an example of a GetMap operation request:,45.35,-71.85,45.5&width=800&height=600&style=&format=image/png&layers=nhn:hydrography,nrn:roadnetwork,nrwn:track

Projections available for service requests

All map requests must specify the desired projection. The user can obtain a map from the GeoBase WMS in any of the following pre-defined European Petroleum Survey Group (EPSG) projections.

  1. EPSG:2294 - ATS77 / MTM Nova Scotia zone 4
  2. EPSG:2295 - ATS77 / MTM Nova Scotia zone 5
  3. EPSG:3395 - WGS84 / World Mercator
  4. EPSG:3400 - NAD83 / Alberta 10-TM (Forest)
  5. EPSG:3401 - NAD83 / Alberta 10-TM (Resource)
  6. EPSG:3799 - NAD83(CSRS) / MTQ Lambert
  7. EPSG:4269 - NAD83
  8. EPSG:4326 - WGS84 (World Geodesic Datum)
  9. EPSG:26907 - NAD83 / UTM zone 7N
  10. EPSG:26908 - NAD83 / UTM zone 8N
  11. EPSG:26909 - NAD83 / UTM zone 9N
  12. EPSG:26910 - NAD83 / UTM zone 10N
  13. EPSG:26911 - NAD83 / UTM zone 11N
  14. EPSG:26912 - NAD83 / UTM zone 12N
  15. EPSG:26913 - NAD83 / UTM zone 13N
  16. EPSG:26914 - NAD83 / UTM zone 14N
  17. EPSG:26915 - NAD83 / UTM zone 15N
  18. EPSG:26916 - NAD83 / UTM zone 16N
  19. EPSG:26917 - NAD83 / UTM zone 17N
  20. EPSG:26918 - NAD83 / UTM zone 18N
  21. EPSG:26919 - NAD83 / UTM zone 19N
  22. EPSG:26920 - NAD83 / UTM zone 20N
  23. EPSG:26921 - NAD83 / UTM zone 21N
  24. EPSG:26922 - NAD83 / UTM zone 22N
  25. EPSG:32198 - NAD83 / Quebec Lambert
  26. EPSG:41001 - WGS84 / Simple Mercator
  27. EPSG:42101 - LCC
  28. EPSG:42304 - LCC / Atlas of Canada
  29. EPSG:53016 - Sphere Gall Stereographic
  30. EPSG:54003 - World Miller Cylindrical
  31. EPSG:54004 - World Mercator
  32. EPSG:54008 - World Sinusoidal
  33. EPSG:54009 - World Mollweide
  34. EPSG:54016 - World Gall Stereographic
  35. EPSG:54030 - World Robinson
  36. EPSG:102008 - North America Albers Equal Area Conic
  37. EPSG:102009 - North America Lambert Conformal Conic
  38. EPSG:102016 - North Pole Azimuthal Equidistant
  39. EPSG:102017 - North Pole Lambert Azimuthal Equal Area
  40. EPSG:102018 - North Pole Stereographic
  41. EPSG:102184 - NAD83 / Alberta 10-TM (Forest) (ESRI)
  42. EPSG:102185 - NAD83 / Alberta 10-TM (Resource) (ESRI)
  43. EPSG:900913 - Google Spheric Mercator


The GeoBase WMS does not allow users to customize styles or symbols.

Maximum map dimensions

The GeoBase WMS produces images with maximum dimensions of 1,000 x 1,000 pixels. These dimensions reflect the concern for offering an image of acceptable resolution while taking into account the capacity and performance of WMS servers that have to respond adequately to all queries.

Available GeoBase Layers

The current WMS offers to users an access to the following GeoBase data layers:

Canadian Digital Elevation Data
The Canadian Digital Elevation Data (CDED) consists of an ordered array of ground elevations at regularly spaced intervals. The source digital data for CDED at scales of 1:50,000 and 1:250,000 is extracted from the hypsographic and hydrographic elements of the National Topographic Data Base (NTDB) or various scaled positional data acquired from the provinces and territories.
Land Cover, Circa 2000
Land Cover information is the result of vectorization of raster thematic data originating from classified Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 ortho-images, for agricultural and forest areas of Canada, and for Northern Territories. The forest cover was produced by the Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EOSD) project, an initiative of the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) with the collaboration of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and in partnership with the provincial and territorial governments. The agricultural coverage is produced by the National Land and Water Information Service (NLWIS) of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). Northern Territories land cover was realized by the Canadian Centre of Remote Sensing (CCRS). Land Cover data are classified according to a harmonized legend build from the partners legends.
Landsat 7 Orthorectified Imagery over Canada (1999-2003)
The orthoimage data set is a complete set of cloud-free (less than 10%) orthoimages covering the Canadian landmass and created with the most accurate control data available at the time of creation. The imagery has been corrected with either provincial and aerial triangulation data or, if not available, the most accurate NTDB data. The objective is to obtain accuracy of 30 metres or better in the South and 50 metres or better in the North. Landsat 7 images used to produced this data set were captured between 1999 and 2003.
Administrative Boundaries
Canadian Geopolitical Boundaries
Canadian Geopolitical Boundaries contains the international, inter-provincial and territorial boundaries, as well as the boundaries of Canada's exclusive economic zone. It is not intended for legal use, and should be utilized for cartographic purposes only.
Aboriginal Lands
Aboriginal Lands including Indian Reserves, Land Claim settlement and other Indian Lands.
Municipal Boundaries
Municipal Boundaries data product consists of a series of municipal features, each defined as a bounded area within a Canadian province or territory. The datasets from this product are not to be used for defining boundaries legally. Administrative decisions should be based on legal documents and legal survey plans. The purpose of this data product is to provide a national coverage for municipal features in Canada. The model and corresponding data also provide a common understanding and common boundary definition of all municipal features across Canada. A municipal feature is an administrative area that meets the following three criteria: It is administered locally by a mayor or council or other representatives who are voted into office,It carries out taxation (or taxation is carried out on its behalf, with the collected revenue then transferred to the jurisdiction),rs on its territory are broad in nature. Decisions regarding what is and what is not considered a municipal feature were all made in consultation with the respective provincial or territorial authority. Municipal features are considered to be administrative areas classified according to a certain hierarchy (corresponding to the concept of GDF Order - Geographic Data File - originating from the ISO 14285:2004 Standard). In Canada, this hierarchy consists of three levels: Municipal regional areas (GDF Order-6), Upper municipalities (GDF Order-7), Municipalities (GDF Order-8).
National Road Network
NRN Network
The National Road Network (NRN) product contains quality geospatial data (current, accurate, consistent and maintained) of Canadian road phenomena. The NRN product is distributed in the form of thirteen provincial or territorial datasets and consists of two linear entities (Road Segment and Ferry Connection Segment) and three punctual entities (Junction, Blocked Passage, Toll Point) with which is associated a series of descriptive attributes such as, among others: First House Number, Last House Number, Street Name Body, Place Name, Functional Road Class, Pavement Status, Number Of Lanes, Structure Type, Route Number, Route Name, Exit Number.
NRN Street Names
Street Names of National Road Network
NRN Address Ranges
Address Range of National Road Network
National Railway Network
Railway Structures
Geometric representation (with a linear feature) of a manmade structure built to support or protect a Track.
Railway Track
Infrastructure providing a guide for the movement of trains and other equipment. In general, one linear feature represents the two rails of a Track.
Railway Crossings
Location along the rail network where a Track crosses another network.
Railway Stations
Location identified by a Station name sign and designated by that name in a time table.
National Hydro Network
NHN Hydrography
The National Hydro Network (NHN) focuses on providing a quality geometric description and a set of basic attributes describing Canada's inland surface waters. It provides geospatial digital data compliant with the NHN Standard such as lakes, reservoirs, watercourses (rivers and streams), canals, islands, drainage linear network, toponyms or geographical names, constructions and obstacles related to surface waters, etc. The best available federal and provincial data are used for its production, which is done jointly by the federal and interested provincial and territorial partners.
NHN Network
A network flowing through naturally occuring or constructed bodies of water.
Boundaries of Drainage Areas
Canadian territory subdivision used to manage and distribute NHN data. NHN Work Units limits generally correspond to the Water Survey of Canada Sub-Sub-Drainage Areas, to the Fundamental Drainage Areas from the Atlas of Canada, or to specific delimitations originating from a federal, provincial or territorial partner.
NHN Toponyms
A feature delineating the extent, in whole or in part, of a toponymic phenomenon.
Reference Layers
Shows the depths (bathymetry) of the waters in and around Canada at 1:1M scale (Atlas of Canada)
Canadian and Foreign Landmass
Canadian and Foreign landmass at 1:1M scale (Atlas of Canada)
Geopolitical Boundaries
Representation of Canada's international, provincial and territorial boundaries.
Index of the National Topographic System of Canada
Topographic maps produced by Natural Resources Canada conform to the National Topographic System (NTS) of Canada. They are available in two standard scales: 1:50,000 and 1:250,000. The area covered by a given mapsheet is determined by its latitude and longitude.
This group covers drainage (coastlines, rivers, lakes) for the Canadian landmass.
Road Network
This group covers the road network (primary and secondary highways, selected ferry routes) for the Canadian landmass.
Populated places in Canada
Populated Places data set shows a selection of named populated places suitable for use at various scales. Places, which refer to individual municipalities, are always shown using point symbols. The selection of populated places was based on local importance, importance as a cross-border point, and, occasionally, on other factors.

Data updates

Geobase WMS layers are updated every time a new dataset is publicly released and the data reflect the content available for download.