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Canada Now Provides Free Online Access to Digital Mapping Data


OTTAWA - Experts and other users of digital topographic data will no longer have to pay to use digital versions of government maps and data. Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is now making its electronic topographic mapping data available to all users free of charge over the Internet.

“Our Government recognizes the importance of providing Canadians with access to the latest digital mapping information at no cost,” said Minister Lunn. “Not only will Canadians now have free access to digital maps, but Canada will be known as an important source for digital mapping data around the world.”

Topographic data provide information on the location of landscape features - such as lakes, rivers and elevations - and also roads, railways and administrative boundaries. This information is used for many purposes by governments, academia and the private sector to provide valuable maps for Canadians.

The new no-fee access policy applies to data that is solely owned by NRCan. This policy builds on an earlier initiative (, which in 2003 provided free access to various co-owned federal, provincial and territorial topographic data. As well as waiving access fees, NRCan is lifting all cost and licence restrictions on the redistribution of the data. This will help ensure that accurate and consistent information is available for users.

NRCan has provided the private sector with access to digital topographic data since the early 1990s. With the ongoing rapid growth of the Internet and the resulting drop in distribution costs, it is appropriate to make public information in digital form available without any restrictions on its use or redistribution. The data collections will be made available through the GeoGratis Web portal ( Users will need to have a geographic information system or image analysis system and the graphics applications of editing software to view the data.

The no-fee policy helps advance the Government of Canada’s commitment to the development of knowledge, innovation and productivity in the natural resources sectors and elsewhere - giving Canadians the advantage to succeed.


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