Tuesday, 11-June


Jay Brodeur & Christine Homuth, McMaster University

Is there a project or piece of software that you would like to explore with a group of equally interested collaborators? Are you interested in learning about or sharing new approaches and ideas? Are you just looking for some excellent company on a Tuesday morning? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, join us Tuesday morning for a GIS / Maps / Geospatial data hackfest. Ideas will be solicited and shared before the conference; during the session, participants will sign up to participate in a project of their choice. Results will be presented to all participants at the conclusion of the session.

Wednesday, 12-June

Morning Keynote Address: Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada: Mapping Nations Without Borders

Chris Brackley, As The Crow Flies cARTography, Royal Canadian Geographical Society

At a time when the Canada’s stated relationship with Indigenous Peoples is described as “Nation to Nation”, two questions quickly arise. What are the nations that is Canada building relationships with; and where exactly are these nations? A good place to look for answers to these questions is in map drawers and spatial data warehouses. The language that defines national existence has long been cartography. Drawing border lines on a map creates a bounding box for a collective national identity, allowing a nation to say “inside these lines is where we live”. And of course, bounding a nation on a map asserts the nation’s possession of the land, saying “these lands are ours”.

But the Indigenous peoples of Canada do not have simple contiguous borders defining either their national existence, or their possession of land. They exist as a disconnected patchwork of communities, reserves, treaty areas and settlement lands. So when Chris Brackley was charged with developing the cornerstone map for the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada in collaboration with the project’s partners; The Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, The Métis National Council, and the National Centre for Truth and Reconcilliation, the challenges were many.

Chris’ keynote talk will explore how he faced and overcame these challenges. Where did the data come from, and how was it categorized, and grouped? With a credible suite of data collected, what cartographic tools did he use to meaningfully show Indigenous Nations within the Nation of Canada? The talk will conclude with a hands on visit to the 8 x 11m Indigenous Peoples of Canada Giant Floor Map, which will be on display in the nearby Student Centre.

Truth and Reconciliation in Maps: Geolocating Residential Schools in Canada

Rosa Orlandini, York University

Maps have been created to depict the colonization of North America for hundreds of years. With the publication of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions findings, reports and Calls to Actions, many researchers are now looking at historical maps through the lens of decolonization, as well as using these maps to help tell the truth about the impact of colonial policies on Indigenous peoples in Canada. In 2017, the researcher in collaboration with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, embarked on a journey to find the precise location of Indian Residential Schools in Canada, create a geospatial dataset of residential school locations and compile an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources. This presentation will discuss the cartographic and textual sources that were used to find the locations of the schools, as well as discuss the methodology, challenges, results and next steps of the project.

Memory studies and the Canada Land Survey Records: Telling untold stories

Roddy McFall, Library and Archives Canada

In 2017, a small collection of survey plans in the custody of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) grew exponentially when Natural Resources Canada’s Office of the Surveyor General transferred over 90,000 original survey maps and field books from the Canada Lands Survey Records (CLSR) collection. Dating as early as 1769, these underused archival records document the survey, settlement, and sustainable use of Crown Lands. In making the collection accessible, stories emerged of Canada’s Indigenous history and culture, including the distribution of language groups, treaty rights, the location of Residential Schools and Indian reserves, and Indigenous land use and occupation. In its ongoing effort to make it available to users, LAC staff have experienced challenges. Canada’s history is complicated. How do we celebrate such a significant acquisition in a way that is respectful, cooperative, and that engages in Reconciliationinitiatives? The CLSR collection is being processed, described, arranged, and made available to the public via finding aids, exhibits, publications and LAC’s online database. Among other stories that have emerged from the CLSR collection, the story of the significant Indigenous contribution to the Klondike Gold Rush stands out.

Examining spatial information literacy through a decolonizing lens

Francine Berish, Queen’s University

The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) initiated a process to expose the treatment of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Post-secondary institutions are witnessing a call for teaching practices that demonstrate respect for and appreciation of Indigenous worldviews and approaches to learning. It is within this context that libraries must explore their colonial foundations, including questioning the models of information seeking and resource selection that have become standard practice in our classrooms. This presentation will explore the preliminary results of a learning program for Queen’s librarians to discuss decolonizing the information literacy curriculum. We will share preliminary results of our learning program including how we define decolonization in relation to information literacy and the key challenges in changing our teaching practice. This presentation will include one-shot and term-length teaching examples outlining how the land ownership-centric biases of traditional cartographic materials are a great starting point for class discussions working towards decolonizing information literacy approaches. Session attendees will have an opportunity to discuss their own experiences decolonizing information literacy at their institutions and to discuss how libraries are engaging Indigenous communities.

Afternoon Keynote Address: A global solution for the Six Nations of the Grand River

Phil Monture, Nativelands Ltd., Bryan McPherson, Land Active

Phil Monture is Mohawk from the Six Nations of the Grand River. Phil will talk about the history of Six Nations lands and the Haldimand Treaty of 1784. The Haldimand Treaty covers lands for six miles on each side of the Grand River from Lake Erie to its source. Phil has been researching this history for 40 years and will provide a historical account of the land transactions within the Treaty lands. For 27 years Phil acted as Director of the Land Claims Office at the Six Nations of the Grand River, and in 2002 he established the company “Nativelands Ltd” to evaluate and develop Land Tenure and Land Rights for Indigenous communities.

Bryan McPherson, an academic researcher with the University of Waterloo, will introduce landscape visualization efforts with Six Nations - including historic survey archives, pre-settlement vegetation mapping, LIDAR and laser cut topographic maps.

Roundtable discussion: Don’t Stereotype Me: Putting Prejudice on the Map

Sherri Sunstrum, Carleton University

A Discussion around controversial maps.

Background: In April 2018, a World Map according to the United States (2010), which was up on display, went missing. It was later revealed that a group of students were very offended about specific content on the map and wanted it removed. The student staff member took it down and brought the map to his supervisor. I went to retrieve the map and discovered that the map had been vandalized. In the past year, the map has been vandalized several times.

Conversation could be centered around but not limited to:

  1. Policy on offensive and controversial material
  2. Responding to complaints
  3. Stereotype maps in academia
  4. Cultural differences in perspective (as a white Canadian woman, my view on the map is very different to an International student who is Muslim)
  5. Displaying controversial or sensitive material while still ensuring the library is a safe place for everyone (this has been a challenge)

Thursday, 13-June

Student Research taking flight with ArcGIS Online: Using StoryMaps to showcase bird populations in an undergraduate Ornithology Course

Tanya Kenesky, Sanja Hinić-Frlog, & Andrew Nicholson, University of Toronto Mississauga

Maps have been used to tell stories and highlight new discoveries for centuries. Today with online mapping and technologies such as ESRI Story Maps, researchers can now make online interactive maps, combined with text, images, and videos to create narratives around particular topics or themes. Story Maps can also be a great way to introduce undergraduate students to Online GIS mapping. Furthermore, Story Maps can also be an attractive option as a course assignment allowing students to develop and present an appealing and personal showcase of their research. One such example has been taking place at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) in an ornithology course (BIO326). The instructor began collaborating with the GIS services offered at the UTM Library in the Fall of 2016 in order to emphasize the importance of visualization of bird observation students were making in the course. The first iteration of the assignment incorporated a mapping aspect in the course. Students were introduced to the ArcGIS Desktop, which they used to make map layouts of their bird observations. In 2018, the instructor and library staff elevated the GIS use by having students move into the ArcGIS Online environment to create Story Maps of their bird observations and related research findings. This presentation will discuss student, instructor and library staff experiences based on incorporation GIS to 3rd year Biology students during a transition of assessment and learning activities into an ArcGIS Online and Story Maps environment.

Supporting our future: Connecting with K-12 education in your community

Jean Tong, Esri Canada

Explore how you can connect with your K-12 community and collaborate on projects, initiatives and develop future students through the use GIS.

Adventures in Web Mapping… and Opportunities for Library Instruction

Evan Thornberry, University of British Columbia

According to CIRA, in 2018 most Canadians were online 3-4 hours a day and so have become very familiar with the web. Maps play an important part in e-commerce, navigation, journalism, and digital storytelling, and their prevalence in the web has increased general awareness of interactive maps, while traditional map reading and analysis skills have been deemphasized. Terms such as scale (now “zoom level”), adjacent sheet (because we have “pan”), or orientation (thanks to “Web Mercator”) have been used less often, and cartography has shifted to focus on styling and configuring vector data rather than creating cartouches and pictorial features.

Libraries are often a resource for those just beginning to learn about or use GIS technologies, and librarians offering geospatial services have undoubtedly assisted with projects that will ultimately be published in the web. However, the basic concept of displaying a point (or “marker”) on a web map is simple to comprehend, but it is a task that can easily reach beyond the capability of the user - both technically (hosting, data types, etc.) and cartographically (design, accessibility, UI, etc.). The result is that users will often depend on services such as ArcGIS Online or CARTO as solutions, but these services come with their own limitations. This presentation makes a case for including web mapping topics in library instruction to introduce traditional mapping concepts, increase geospatial literacy, and add value to digital cartography. Impacts and complications on the library will also be discussed.

Geoparsing historical Ottawa documents

Rebecca Bartlett, Carleton University

The Ottawa Resource Collection in Carleton University Library’s Archives and Research Collection is comprised of over 1000 items. The collection includes primarily textual resources such as city histories and Ottawa City Council minutes, which are often used by researchers to find information on specific locations within Ottawa. However, references to specific locations are often buried within the documents and can be time consuming to locate. In order to facilitate resource discovery, geoparsers - software tools that match words in machine-readable text with locations in a digital gazetteer - are being explored in conjunction with digitized Ottawa Resource Collection documents.

A new tool for neighbourhood change research: The Canadian Longitudinal Census Tract Database, 1971–2016

Jeff Allen, University of Toronto

Performing longitudinal analysis of socio-economic change in small-area spatial units such as census tracts presents several methodological complications and requires significant data preparation. Unit boundaries are revised each census year because of changes in population and delineation methodologies. This limits cross-year comparison since data are not representative of the same spatial units. To address these problems, we have developed an innovative procedure to reduce error when comparing tract-level data across census years by apportioning data to the same areal units. Our procedure is a combination of map-matching techniques, dasymetric overlays, and population-weighted areal interpolation. The output is a set of tables with apportionment weights pertaining to pairs of unique boundary identifiers across census years. These can be linked with census data or other data with census identifiers that require longitudinal comparison. These are made freely available for the research community: https://doi.org/10.5683/SP/EUG3DT.

A modern carto-bibliography of the Lake Nipissing area

Marcel Fortin, University of Toronto

Using modern and web-based tools, this project examines the cartographic evolution of the Lake Nipissing area. The presentation will also discuss new potential for rediscovering the lost art of compiling a carto-bibliography.

Géoindex, Plateforme partagée de données géospatiales des université Québécoises

Stéfano Biondo, Université Laval

Géoindex: plateforme partagée de données géospatiales des universités québécoises

La conférence vise à présenter la nouvelle plateforme permettant aux universités québécoises de découvrir, visualiser et extraire les données du Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles (MERN), ainsi que les données locales de chaque institution universitaire. Le conférencier se propose de parcourir l’interface de Géoindex et présenter les différents modules qui le composent ainsi que discuter de son mode de gouvernance. Il souhaite également recueillir les commentaires des collègues et établir de nouveaux partenariats.

Cette conférence fait suite à celle présentée à Montréal lors du congrès Carto 2018 où le conférencier avait expliqué la mise en contexte ayant conduit à la refonte de Géoindex+. Il avait présenté un aperçu de la nouvelle plateforme suite à l’entente signée en août 2015 entre le Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles (MERN) et le Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire (BCI).

Transforming Workflows: automating data loading processes to better support end user discovery and collaborative projects in the Scholars GeoPortal

Kara Handren & Jo Ashley, Scholars Portal, Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL)

Since 2012, Scholars GeoPortal has existed as a centralized data portal to allow library users from across Ontario to find, preview, and download geospatial datasets. These datasets are loaded into the GeoPortal by staff at Scholars Portal who, to date, have processed over 4500 datasets from various governmental and private agencies. As each dataset requires individual attention in order to ensure that it is discoverable and fully functional in the GeoPortal, the time and expertise required has been a limiting factor in the amount of data that can be loaded. These same factors have made direct contributions from other schools almost impossible.

Over the past two years, staff at Scholars Portal have been working to automate the data loading and metadata creation processes. Our presentation will highlight the results of this work, and outline how those result can provide impact in various ways for the Ontario data community. Our hope is that the scripts and workflows that have been developed will not only allow for more rapid processing times but also greater community collaborations, by easing the way for future digitization and georeferencing projects.

Geodisy: Geospatial Discovery Interface for Canada’s Research Data

Evan Thornberry, University of British Columbia

Funded by CANARIE and in coordination with Research Data Canada, this collaborative project aims to provide an easy-to-use interface to enhance searching and discovering Canadian research data. A web map — familiar to anyone who has used Google Maps — will enable users to navigate to areas where they wish to find data. This method of prioritizing geography in search results can display data in a new context, and can help link data sets where such discovery was in the past not easily possible. In addition to the search and discovery enhancements, the project will enrich geospatial research data for better integration and machine readability with geographic information systems (GIS) software. The new developments take advantage of several existing open-source software components with an estimated completion data of spring 2020. Collaborators on the project include University of Toronto, McMaster University, Compute Canada, Portage Network, and UBC’s Advanced Research Computing.

Friday, 14-June

Morning Keynote Address: Citizen-science GIS: Project 44, mapping the First Canadian Army through 87 days of combat

Nathan Kehler, Drew Hannen, & Julien Brown, Canadian Research and Mapping Association (CRMA)

Project ’44, led by the Canadian Research and Mapping Association (CRMA), is an online commemoration project launched in the spring of 2019, to mark the the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. It aims to develop a publicly accessible web-based map, that displays all the major units that fought in the Battle of Normandy (June 6 – August 30 1944). Focusing on the First Canadian Army, the web map tracks the daily positions of battalion to army-level units of the First Canadian Army, as well as daily position of the Allied and German units at the division to army-group level. To build the platform, maps have been collected and digitized through a variety of sources, including the Library and Archives Canada (LAC), McMaster University and the Mapping and Charting Establishment of the Department of National Defence. To date, over 400 maps have been scanned, in line with archival standards.

In addition, over 65 war diaries from Canadian units have been retrieved, digitized and converted to machine-readable text using optical character recognition (OCR), resulting in over 1500 pages of digitized content. The war diaries were then analyzed to identify spatial information and mapped into a spatial dataset. Over 20,000 daily positions have been mapped, including all Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) positions. Through this work, the CRMA aims is to stimulate a discussion around digitization of military history with the goal of building capacity in military museums, and enable such information to be made more readily accessible to Canadians.

Expanding the Library’s Map Collection through digitization and collaboration

Christine Homuth & Jay Brodeur, McMaster University, Kara Handren, Scholars Portal

In a time of stagnating and shrinking acquisitions budgets, how can map libraries expand their collections, reach new users, and expand their value proposition? As a follow up to a presentation delivered at Carto 2017, we’ll explore some of the collaborative projects that McMaster University Library has undertaken with the broader Ontario and Canadian map library communities. Among these initiatives is the University of Alberta Libraries – McMaster University Library collaboration to digitize, georeference, and make publicly available close to 5000 WWII topographic maps of Europe from the William C. Wonders Map Collection. We will also tell the story of how many institutions and organizations worked together to make publicly available a collection of WWII Defence Overprint Maps in a variety of formats through a collection of platforms. Using these examples as a framework, we’ll explore the various ways that the Canadian map library community could collaborate to expand the discovery, accessibility, and value of its important collections.

WWII on Land, Sea & Air Charts: The demand and challenge for Cartography (1942-1945)

Gord Beck, McMaster University

The demand for mapping in WWII initiated the largest cartographic undertaking the world had ever seen, resulting in a combined Allied Forces output of close to half a billion maps between 1942 and the end of 1945. The maps ranged from the detailed 1:12,500 scale topographic sheets, codenamed ‘Benson,’ for Operation Overlord to geologic maps for the siting of temporary airfields, supply depots, and cross-country transportation routes for tanks and heavy vehicles. They also included hydrographic charts and cross-sectional profiles of the English Channel floor opposite the D-Day landing beaches, and aeronautical lattice charts for the newly invented ‘Gee’ radio-navigation system used on bomber missions. This presentation will explore the breadth and depth of mapping undertaken during the war, as well as the challenges encountered and solutions found for problems related to survey and other aspects of data collection and compilation. It will conclude with the lasting legacy these cartographic endeavours have had on our modern systems of mapping and navigation.