To make informed decisions it’s important to know exactly where you stand. That’s why the regional, municipal and electoral administrative boundaries of our province were recently digitally mapped and released as open data, bringing clarity and efficiency to land issues while also reducing dependence on physical mapping materials.
Administrative boundaries divide us and connect us. They determine things like who provides our emergency services, which elections we participate in, where we pay our taxes, who maintains our roads and more. Now publicly available in the BC Data Catalogue, the new digital maps of legal administrative boundaries can be easily shared, supporting the work of local governments and bringing clarity to issues involving lands.
The boundaries of 161 Municipalities, 157 Regional District Electoral Areas, 28 Regional Districts, Islands Trust and 13 Local Trust Areas are now easier to access and share than ever before.
To do this precision mapping work, GeoBC and the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development (MCSCD) sourced data from the Letters Patent for each local government. The Letters Patent contain the definitions of administrative areas in B.C. called metes and bounds. Since the late 1800s, these written descriptions have set out the size and shape of administrative areas using elements like roadways, bodies of water, geographical features and legal lot descriptions to define boundaries.
The process of developing these digital maps helped identify anomalies, which are being individually reviewed in partnership with local governments. The collection of maps is now going through the process of becoming the legally accepted version of administrative boundaries and until that work is done the metes and bounds descriptions will prevail where there is a discrepancy.
There’s also a green element to going digital. Users of the open data can share maps amongst partners without having to rely on printing and copying resources.
While the primary users of digital administrative boundary maps are local governments, there are also opportunities to use the open data by businesses, community groups and private individuals who rely on accurate mapping. We’d love to hear how you’re using it. Leave a comment and tell us your open data story.
As with all Open Government licensed, publicly accessible, geographic data – this data can be viewed via a variety of web mapping tools, accessed via web service APIs and downloaded in a variety of formats. See the following catalogue records for more information:
- Regional District Administrative Boundaries
- Municipal Administrative Boundaries
- Electoral Area Administrative Boundaries