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Base Mapping

Find Your Way with Base Mapping

Base maps contain certain fundamental geographic information that provides people with a visual reference for determining where they are or where they want to go.

Topographic Mapping, Aerial Photography, and Orthophoto Imagery are key elements of base mapping in Nova Scotia.  Other layers or themes of information can be displayed on or derived from these forms of base maps. Base map products are created and distributed to citizens and government.

How the Program Works

Changes in the natural and cultural landscape are always occurring.  People want the best available information to make informed decisions – and that fuels a demand to keep our base mapping as current and accurate as possible.  Geographic Information Services is responsible for the collection, maintenance and dissemination of the Nova Scotia base map information.   

Topographic Mapping

The Nova Scotia Topographic Database (NSTDB) is a digital map file made up of natural features (water bodies, topographyand forested areas) and cultural features (roadways, buildings and administrative boundaries).  The NSTDB offers complete coverage for all of Nova Scotia, and contains over 150 unique feature types.

Aerial Photography

Using aerial photography to map and explore the changes in our province provides us with a tool for resource management and planning.   Color aerial photography is acquired annually over some part of Nova Scotia using a digital camera.  It is the main data source for topographic mapping.

New features are captured from the photography and stored in the Nova Scotia Topographic Database.  Older features are retired or updated.  

Orthophoto Imagery

Aerial photography is geometrically corrected and mosaicked into orthophotos. High resolution (20cm) orthophoto imagery of Nova Scotia provides an impressive and colorful visual image on its own or as a base map for other data layers in a Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Base Mapping Highlights

  • Resource Mapping  - Multi-layered GeoPDFs will replace former 10k Topo PDF product
  • Large Scale Mapping – The Province seeks Municipal partners to cost-share the acquisition of imagery and/or Lidar for large scale mapping purposes.  Get Involved. 
  • Lidar Mapping – Partnerships are being explored to enable the acquisition and use of Lidar for creating new map products and updating base mapping.
  • Recent Photography Cumberland County & Sable Island (2014)
  • Historical Photography – Analog film roll collection (1950-2012) are being scanned

Source Matters

We want the base information to be reliable so you can find your way. 

Base mapping is a part of the foundation geography in the Nova Scotia Geospatial Infrastructure (NSGI).  Through this environment, the authoritative trusted source of aerial photography, topographic mapping and orthophoto imagery are accessible to government & public.     View the collections