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Ministry of Energy Mines and Responsible for Core Review Abstract

MapPlace Home

British Columbia Geospatial Delivery with 



The British Columbia Geological Survey links government, the mineral industry and British Columbians to the province’s geology and mineral resources.  Accessible high quality and up-to-date geoscience attracts and encourages investment from the mineral exploration and mining industry.  MapPlace has been proven highly effective and successful in web service delivery of geosciences data since 1995.  The Fraser Institute annual survey of mining companies has consistently ranked British Columbia high in Geological Database, which includes quality and ease of access to information.  Of 112 mining jurisdictions, British Columbia maintained its 3 place ranking for 2012 and 2013, and has consistently ranked high since 2005.


MapPlace web services provide industry and government agencies with comprehensive tools and open geoscience data to aid in the discovery of minerals in British Columbia.  MapPlace’s unique and interactive tools assist clients in investment decision making, leading to efficiencies in research time, data costs, and analysis.  Data themes on MapPlace include mineral potential, bedrock and surficial geology, publications, mineral and petroleum tenure, MINFILE, assessment reports, geochemistry, and geophysical surveys.


These data can be combined with other base data, including administrative boundaries, topographic features and raster images such as LandSat, ASTER and aeromagnetics.  User-defined map views can then be printed or pasted into common graphics packages.  Many individual map objects are linked to valuable attribute data or to a separate application, allowing further search and retrieval capabilities. All geospatial data maintained by the BC Geological Survey is available for free download in Shape or MS Access formats.


The Exploration Assistant supports a set of geopositional images on the Image Analysis Tools (IAT) but the analysis capabilities were discontinued June 2015.  A Publications Search tool displays footprints for and links to the 4200 Geological Survey publications. 


See the MapPlace in action at



Technology Details:


The MapPlace uses Autodesk MapGuide 6.5 to provide free access to an extensive array of information related to British Columbia geology, mineral exploration and energy resources.


The BC Geological Survey offers clients GIS tools and data to enhance their research capabilities in support of planning new exploration programs. The MapPlace Application ( is part of the Ministry of Energy and Mines. 


  • Autodesk MapGuide 6.5 Server is used to deliver over 400 data layers through over 50 maps in the MapPlace Application. 
  • ColdFusion Server 4.5 is used to report and distribute data using CFM scripts. Supporting scripts are written in HTML, JavaScript, ASP, and KML (Google Earth use).
  • Safe Software FME Provider for MapGuide provides access to external data sources such as the ARC SDE British Columbia Geographic Warehouse (BCGW) of GeoBC []
  • Client-side: MS Internet Explorer, Autodesk MapGuide 6.5 Viewer, Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Database management: MSAccess 2000, Oracle, SQL.
  • Spatial and raster formats: SHP, SDF, DWF, TIFF, JPG, SID, ECW
  • Autodesk MapGuide Open Source are currently being evaluated as a complement to the site.
  • Application server licenses are less than $1300 per year. Server maintenance and data backup is assisted by government information technology staff. 
  • The web is used to develop and maintain documentation, metadata and marketing on MapPlace and associated databases.

Brief History:


The driving force for this website was to have something to distribute and work with the Mineral Potential data.  In 1995 the server was a desktop Pentium and the original software was MapGuide. The biggest challenge was to acquire spatial and raster data.  In 1997 the Exploration Assistant theme map was developed, which provided more interaction for the user.


Subsequently, new hardware was provided to better serve data and house very large data sets.  The initial development was in-house by Ward Kilby.  The site is currently maintained by 1 to 2 people, with assistance from occasional students and consultants.  MapPlace also partners with other MapGuide sites.  Over 7500 users visited the site 4 times or more in 2006.


For more information: Kirk Hancock, Sr. Geoscientist MapPlace, Ph. 250-952-0433 or Larry Jones, Ph. 250-952-0386.