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A picture paints a thousand words, but a map paints a million!

19 November 2014

Today is International GIS Day!  A day to celebrate geography and geographic information systems (GIS) around the world by show casing real-world GIS applications to students and the general public. You can find more details on events occurring around the world (displayed, fittingly, on a map).

At its core, GIS is a tool that allows people to analyze data and make informed decisions based on the spatial relationships between objects of interest. For example, every time you use the maps in your phone or computer to plan a route, you are accessing a GIS. Today, the power of GIS is being leveraged in innovative ways for a wide variety of purposes ranging from social media campaigns to city infrastructure planning and business applications.   
 
At WCS Canada, we harness the power of GIS to make informed decisions about future development scenarios and wilderness protection in Ontario’s Far North (Map 1). There are a number of current and potential development pressures building in the Far North and based on these pressures I developed two geospatial tools to address specific issues surrounding mining and hydropower development.  The first, the Mining Claims Ownership Script, keeps track of the ongoing changes in mining claim ownership within the Far North (Map 2), and more specifically the Ring of Fire (Map 3) a mineral-rich crescent approximately 500km northeast of Thunder Bay that contains significant discoveries of chromium, copper, zinc, nickel and gold deposits.  The second tool, the Dam Footprint Model, models hydropower footprints associated with potential hydroelectricity development projects (Map 4).

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