New and Improved iMapBC Benefits Economy

Today the Province of B.C. launched a new version of iMapBC. This popular public mapping tool can be freely used to visualize and analyze hundreds of geographic government datasets. Content includes location of municipalities, public and private property, land use tenures, heath regions, roads, rivers, and topography.

 iMapBC users will find the tool is more intuitive and easier to use. It provides familiar ways to display and analyze data as well as enhancements such as:

  • Browse additional content
  • Use the application with a variety of different web browsers
  • No more time outs of your working session
  • Faster overall responsiveness
  • Modernized user interface

 As a reliable source of up-to-date and authoritative data, iMapBC helps inform a broad range of decision makers from oil and gas companies to First Nations. This means they spend less time doing paperwork both inside and outside government, and more time developing projects that generate jobs for British Columbians.

iMapBC can help simplify the regulatory process for the province’s expanding oil and gas industry, a major driver of the provincial economy. For example, before oil and gas companies can start work, their development plans must be approved by the BC Oil and Gas Commission. To obtain approval, their plans must include actions to protect the rights of others in the area, such as landowners or other tenure holders. This could range from guide outfitters to other oil and gas companies.

Oil and gas companies often contract geomatics consulting firms such as the Focus Group to create development plans. The Focus Group’s geomatics staff like Jessica Nelson depend on iMapBC for up-to-date information on surrounding tenures. Government staff use iMapBC to regularly update land tenure data. “iMapBC is a great tool for planning,” Jessica says. “It’s good the data is all in one place and everyone is referencing the same database from a regulatory standpoint. If the Oil and Gas Commission sees things represented in two different ways it may end up in a project approval being stopped or delayed. If the data is the same and from the same source it creates a lot less confusion.” According to Jessica, iMapBC’s value is simple: “Time and money. The less time you spend doing research the better. The less time you spend making plans that may not go through because you are not aware of the surrounding tenures the better.

iMapBC also makes it easy for individuals like Cleve Lowry to work his mineral claim and meet regulatory requirements for his placer mines. Cleve has been prospecting for precious minerals in B.C. for 43 years. Every year he travels from his home in Calgary, Alberta to work his placer mineral claim at Adams Lake, near the town of Sorrento. Out in the field he takes samples for minerals or might find a geologically important feature, such as a fault. He inputs the latitude and longitude point locations of these finds into his GPS. When he returns home, he loads the locations into iMapBC and creates digital maps to guide future backcountry exploration. While government staff are quick to add new sections of logging roads into iMapBC, Cleve will also take coordinates in his GPS, and then roughly draw the roads. “iMapBC lets me get the new roads in there pretty fast,” he says.

Cleve also uses the maps he creates in iMapBC to complete the annual mineral assessment work to retain his claim, a requirement from the Province of B.C. to ensure mineral claims are actively worked. Previously, Cleve would annotate printed maps and submit them to the Ministry of Energy and Mines as evidence of his activity. This was a time-consuming process for him and the public servants responsible for assessing his submission. Using iMapBC, he now can do all of the work digitally, saving time and money.

On the west coast of Vancouver Island, the Maa-nulth First Nations uses iMapBC to be informed about activities occurring in their traditional territories. When the Maa-nulth receives referrals from forestry companies about new logging plans, they can assess the plans using iMapBC, view the planned harvest areas along with other information, such as the locations of streams and previously logged areas. The Maa-nulth also use iMapBC to view the locations of the trap lines and guide outfitters tenures within their territories, as these are activities similar to hunting and fishing rights the Maa-nulths protected under treaty. Since being introduced to iMapBC in a session hosted by the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and DataBC, the Maa-nulth have found iMapBC a useful tool. “Our members are excited about iMapBC with access to real-time data that is really oriented to our users,” says Ron Frank, Maa-nulth Resource Advisor. “It’s an eye-opener for some of our younger members to see how much tenure and activity there has been out on the landscape.

Whether you’re a long-time user or brand new to iMapBC, try it out. Look for it, and other applications on the DataBC Website. We welcome your feedback so please let us know what you think.

p.s. We’re also working on an HTML5 version for mobile and tablets 🙂

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9 responses to “New and Improved iMapBC Benefits Economy

  1. Kathleen

    I took a quick look and dabbled through the layers. Very nice and shiny, and great to read that there will be no more “time outs” – yay! Looking forward to seeing how well it works in the future. Do you know if my old iMap sessions (saved) will work in this new version?

    Now if we could just get a consolidated layer of mineral exploration disturbance (drill sites, trenches, access trails) into iMap, rather than just the (mostly useless) Notice of Work “points”, I would be a very happy government employee. 🙂

    1. Elaine

      The old and new version of iMapBC will operate in parallel for a period of time to give users the opportunity to shift their work to the new version. To help the transition, training materials will be made available.

      1. Kathleen

        Excellent to know that the old iMap will be kicking around awhile and that training materials are coming.

        I have a couple of questions now that I am trying to work with the new iMap: is there some reason why the tabs on the iMap version 2.0 are different from the version in the information/ graphics show under the “Help” menu? I am looking for more expansive Navigation options, similar to the old iMap (e.g. search by place name or BCGS 1:20,000 mapsheet), which apparently exist under a “Tasks” Tab according to the help menu. However, this “Tasks” Tab does not appear in either the public or internal iMap application.

        According to the Help Menu, there is also supposed to be an “Extract Layer Data” function but this does not appear where it is supposed to be. Thank you!

        1. Terry

          Thank you for your comments. We will address this inconsistency as soon as possible. While this is occurring, you should be able to have all your questions answered by contacting the Service Desk (all contact information is on the iMapBC Welcome Page, found by clicking the little house icon in the lower left part of the page).

          Currently, much of your searching can be done with the search bar in the upper right corner of the map. This search bar is connected to three distinct services: the BC Geocoder (address location), the BC Gazeteer (place names) and your added layers. In addition to this, under the “Navigation” tab, you will find a “Zoom To Features – Location” tool, which allows you to zoom to certain information that is not normally found in one of these three services.

          To download data from the Province, please refer to the Data Distribution Service, which can be found at

  2. Randy

    Not to be factious but trust the government to introduce a new version that seems incomplete. Having said that there seems to be no contact number so that one can talk with someone regarding this matter. Also that fact of the matter is we now have (2)two new and improved sources of mapping that do not seem to work the other being Mapplace. I have tried to locate an area in BC in this new version and would like to do this by using a map number ie 104N 053 but have not been able to locate anything on this version. I would hope that you do not get rid of the old version before instituting the new version

    1. DataBC

      Thanks for taking the time to provide some feedback, Randy. I understand you spoke with Elaine and Terry today. If you have any further questions, please let us know.

      As I am sure was mentioned, the Service Desk is available to answer questions. All contact information, including email and telephone, is on the iMapBC Welcome Page, found by clicking the little house icon in the lower left part of the page.

      1. Terry

        In order to answer the question in this forum:

        iMapBC has a number of layers under the “Zoom To Feature Location”, with more being added by user requests where possible. 1:250,000 and 1:50,000 mapsheet grids are currently available, while the 1:20,000 mapsheet grid is not conducive to this workflow. As an alternative, simply load the layer you wish to query (in this case: Mapsheet Grid (1:20,000)) and use the “search for map features bar…” to search for attributes within the layer (in this case 104N053). Click on the result and select “Zoom To Feature”. You will now be looking at your 1:20,000 mapsheet.

  3. Johnny

    New iMap isn’t super user friendly. Can’t share maps with a link, hard to find, TONS (and I mean hundreds) of broken links scattered all over the gov’t sites. Especially for the Rec Sites & Trails portal. Desktop version isn’t working for info links off of point data. Silverlight isn’t loading on some browsers. Silverlight is deprecated anyway, and is a ‘dead’ technology. Help files point to solutions that don’t exist. No contact info for filing bugs about shortcomings.

    Mobile HtmL5 version is better, but only by a little bit. Seems like you should have a full on ARCmap application for industry, and then a more user friendly version for general public rather than a single compromised version.

  4. Mullane,

    Hi Johnny,

    Thank you for providing us feedback. We are continuously working to improve our services, and user feedback helps drive improvements. We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

    Our iMapBC team will follow up with you to gather more of your feedback.

    The DataBC Team