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ICIS Data Sharing Initiative
BC ELN, on behalf of its partner libraries, is an affiliate member of the Integrated Cadastral Information Society (ICIS). This membership enables participating post-secondary institutions to access and use ICIS member data, including data provided by the Province of B.C. This is a large collection of GIS data for British Columbia including the Cadastre Fabric, assessment data, TRIM maps, etc. The data comes from municipalities, crown agencies, First Nations, and several BC ministries.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can participate in the ICIS initiative?
To participate, BC ELN partner libraries must:
- pay an annual fee according to the latest renewal
- have a librarian able to mediate access for users
How can the data be used?
Our licence allows for "use by faculty, students, and staff, for research and educational [purposes]". This includes researchers and graduate students using data sets to support their research and publications, and instructors using data in the classroom (e.g. a GIS course). Commercial use is not allowed.
For more details see the License Terms and Conditions page and documents, linked above.
What data sets are available under the agreement? Where can they be found?
There are two portals for access to data covered by the BC ELN ICIS membership.
- ICIS' own data is available to its members through the ICIS website, in particular the Map Viewer (for generating maps) and the Data Catalog (for downloading raw data sets).
- ICIS members are also allowed to access major data sets through the BC government's Base Map Online Store (BMOS) and BC Geographic Warehouse (BCGW).
Participating libraries also receive a discount on orthophotos.
- ICIS Cadastre: The data in this layer includes the best available data from both Provincial and Local Government sources within standardized and uniform attribution.
- Integrated Cadastral Fabric (ICF) data for all areas for which an ICF has been compiled and made available by ICIS
- Local Government Cadastral Fabric as has been supplied to ICIS by any Local Government during the Term of this Agreement. The locational accuracy and attribution of the Local Government Cadastre will vary.
- Assessment Fabric Layer Data from BC Assessment
- AddressBC Data
- Canadian Wildlife Service
- Agricultural Land Reserve
- Health Authority Locations
- Conservation Parcels
- Police Jurisdictions
User Guide for Map Viewer 3.0 available at: https://www.icisociety.ca/bc-spatial-services/map-viewer/
- TRIM Data (TRIM 1 and 2): the Terrain Resource Information Management Digital Data for the Province of British Columbia, including positional and Digital Elevation Model (DEM) Information.
- Tantalis Crown Parcel Fabric and attribute data
- Tantalis Administrative Boundary Data - This Administrative Boundary information includes: Assessment Areas, Electoral District Provincial, Indian Reserves, Integrated Survey Area, Land District, Land District, Land Management Region, Land Title District, Municipality, National Park, OIC Ecological Reserve, Provincial Park, Regional District, School District, Nisga’a Treaty Management, Muskwa-Kechika Management Area.
- Orthophotos - Orthophotos are not free. Instead, they are available at a discounted cost of $25 per mapsheet rather than the usual $200. Air photos are available at the regular price of $18.50.
The following guides to the BC government GIS data were created by Tom Brittnacher, former data librarian at UBC:
- Provincial Base Mapping Data Availability (Word) - list of the types of TRIM maps, digital base maps, orthophotos, etc. available, with costs
- Accessing GeoBC Base Mapping Products (Word) - links to the major portals, info on delivery times, links to help guides and support desk
- TRIM Products Overview (5 page PDF) - things to think about when you're looking for TRIM maps
- Downloading TRIM Data (19 page PDF) - screenshots of the download process
Accessing the Data - Creating Logins for Data Librarians - Role of the Data Librarian
Note that both websites above also offer many services for free to the public. In general, the public are able to generate maps and download them as images. The value offered through this initiative is the ability to download the underlying data files for manipulation and combining with other data sets.
Accessing the data in the ICIS and BC government portals is via a mediated model. In other words, the data librarian responds to requests from researchers and other users, and downloads the requested data sets on their behalf. Access is controlled by personal logins and passwords. Anonymous IP range-based access is not possible. This mediated model is not ideal, but at present there are no alternatives. It is noted that access to data sets such as StatsCan is often limited in this kind of way.
The data librarian is responsible for:
- informing potential users at their institution about the initiative
- confirming that all data requests come from authorized users
- educating users on data policies and appropriate use (this is verbal; there is no end-user agreement to be signed)
- downloading data sets
We are in discussion with ICIS about allowing "power users" (e.g. a researcher with extensive data needs) to create their own personal login and access the interfaces directly.
To participate in the initiative, a post secondary institution needs to inform BC ELN of the name and contact information of their data librarian. As noted above, as of 2015 there is an annual fee for participation. The data librarian should already have a BCeID (see below). BC ELN will:
- contact ICIS to have the librarian's login created for the ICIS portal
- contact GeoBC to have their BCeID assigned appropriate permissions to access data on the government portals
Participants and data librarian contacts
See the current list of data librarians for participating institutions.
The BCeID is an authentication system used by the BC government. It is a personal login for an individual with permission to access certain government websites and services. To obtain a BCeID, the data librarian must contact the BCeID account manager for their institution. The best way to find that person is to look up their institution in the BCeID White Pages. That manager will create the account for the data librarian. BC ELN will then arrange for the account to be assigned permission to access data sets on the GeoBC portal.
Participation in this initiative requires specialized knowledge in a number of areas: types of content available, use of the interfaces, GIS data standards, etc. It is hoped that data librarians can share expertise amongst each other and contact colleagues for assistance with challenging reference questions. A list of participating institutions and their assigned data librarians will be added here after the renewal process.
It may also be possible to obtain support from the hosts of the platforms.
|For support with the ICIS platform, contact:
|For support with BMOS and BCGW, contact their Service desk:
Email : NRSApplications@gov.bc.ca
Phone: Victoria: 250-387-6121
Elsewhere in BC: 1-800-663-7867
The BC ELN office is not able to support the use of these data services beyond basic account setup.