A new section on the Atlas of Canada Web site is bound to enthuse history buffs from coast to coast to coast. The Archive Maps of Canada, launched as part of Canada Day celebrations, is a compilation of maps that have been digitally reproduced from previous print collections of the Atlas. “Getting historical information and statistics about Canada’s geography is now much easier,” said the Honourable Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). “This initiative will enable Canadians to learn more about our past, helping to inform decisions we make for our future.” The 943 maps in the archives are scanned from the original five printed editions, dating back to 1906. Users can explore details contained in these historical maps by zooming in and out, panning or moving the map in various directions, and then downloading or printing the results. The archives also contain the Canadian sector of the International Map of the World series, 1956 to 1987, and the first Glacier Atlas of Canada, 1969 to 1972.
Visitors can enter the archives through atlas.gc.ca/site/english/featureditems/map_archives and select an edition from the scroll-down menu under “Map Archives.”
Along with the archived maps, the Atlas of Canada Web site features the current on-line Atlas of Canada, with a treasury of information and insight about Canada’s physical, environmental, economic, social and cultural issues in a geographical context. Visitors can select thematic maps with topics such as forest fires, current water levels, income and climate change. Charts, diagrams, pictures, tables, analyses and commentary enhance the map information. The Atlas also contains a geography quiz, hundreds of facts about Canada, a searchable database of more than 47,000 place and feature names, a curriculum guide for every province and territory, and other educational aids. The Atlas of Canada is collaborating with GeoConnections, a national partnership initiative led by NRCan, to provide Canadians with Internet access to geospatial information — information about the geography, environment and natural resources base of a country. More than maps, geospatial data is information linked to a location that improves our understanding of our world and promotes sound decision making. This information can be used to track climate change and pollution, help us respond to natural disasters, and manage our financial and human resources more efficiently. Through its work with geospatial information, NRCan helps advance the Government of Canada’s commitment to the sustainable development of our natural resources — contributing to their economic importance and to a strong society and communities through knowledge, innovation, technology and international leadership. By integrating our economic, social and environmental goals, we can ensure our quality of life and build the Canada we want, for ourselves and for future generations.