Maps for Canada

Wednesday, 21 February 2007
Topographic Map

Last year the Canadian Government announced plans to discontinue printing paper topographic maps. They planned to only offer electronic versions of it allowing you to print off your own maps.

There was lots of press about it as well public outcry.

I just got a letter from Heather McAdam, Chair, Map Users Advisory Committee. She has confirmed that the Government has backtracked for now and have started a consultation process to look at the use of printed maps in the future.

Here is a copy of the letter I received:

Dear Maps for Canadians Supporter,

Last year was a great year for topographic mapping in Canada. The Government of Canada opted to reinstate the production of print topographic maps as a direct result of many hundreds of supporters of this service, such as yourself. We are asking you again to show your support for mapping by participating in an on-line consultation initiated by the Minister of Finance, the Honourable Jim Flaherty.

Although topographic map services have never been subject to public consultation, thanks to you for voicing your concerns. Maps for Canadians proved that topographic mapping is an important service to Canadians. This was an important first step to renew Canada’s topographic mapping. Canadians, through government as well as the private sector, need quality map data for responsible decision-making.

Until February 28th, the Government of Canada is calling for your input on its budget priorities. I would like to ask for your input once again on the subject of topographic mapping. The updating of topographic mapping slowed down first way back in the 1970's, to the point where today, the average print topographic map is 27 years old, and the digital topographic maps are no better.

If you are concerned that topographic maps need to be updated, because,
  • topographic maps support search and rescue and emergency response teams,
  • topographic maps support the enjoyment and stewardship of Canada's natural environment,
  • topographic maps support Arctic sovereignty, such as the Northwest Passage,
  • many other important services to Canadians.

Please submit 50 words or less to the Ministry of Finance's online pre-budget consultations, as a spending priority of the Government.

Sample statement:
The Government of Canada must ensure complete and up-to-date topographic maps of Canada by Natural Resources Canada to: defend our sovereignty and security in the face of global realities, support our search and rescue teams, monitor Canada’s environmental and natural resources base.

I hope that we can we count on your support. If you would like your organization added to the the list of supporting organizations, please send a reply.

For more information and opportunities for involvement, please see, and stay in touch.

Yours sincerely,
Heather McAdamChair, Map Users Advisory Committee,
Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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