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Canada’s National Elevation Data Strategy Updates from NRCan

New Data Generated from LiDAR!

In dark green: new data generated from LiDAR

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is proud to announce a new release of the product High Resolution Digital Elevation Model (HRDEM). This new and highly accurate data covers approximately 50,000 km2 of new territory and includes areas in Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. This new coverage includes the cities of Burnaby, Surrey, Regina, London, Windsor (ON), Kingston, Waterloo, Peterborough, Belleville, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Granby and Saint John (NB).

Updates and corrections were also made for 13 previously published projects, including the cities of Montreal and Vancouver.

For more information on the HRDEM product, please consult the product specifications. As collaboration is a key factor in the advancement of the HRDEM product coverage, NRCan would also like to thank all of its partners.


NRCan plays a leading role in the standardization of LiDAR data acquisition in Canada, as shown in 2017 with the release of the Federal Airborne LiDAR Data Acquisition Guideline. NRCan now provides, to federal departments, support to acquire and standardize LiDAR acquisitions through its supply arrangement (SA). NRCan thus ensures the coordination of acquisitions and the validation of data quality according to Canadian standards. In this context, NRCan used its SA over the past summer to issue three data acquisition contracts in partnership with federal departments. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) leveraged NRCan’s expertise to acquire LiDAR data in the Great Lakes region. This data will be used in studies of the vulnerability of Great Lakes coastal wetlands to climate change. Parks Canada also used NRCan’s expertise to acquire data for Jasper and Prairies National Parks. For the Jasper Park, Parks Canada will use the data to develop a vegetation resource inventory, while for the Prairies Park, the data will be used for 3D analysis for environmental assessment. On the other hand, NRCan will use this data to improve the coverage of the HRDEM product.


Automatic hydrography extraction from Lidar data

NRCan’s goal is to maintain and distribute hydrographic data. Human activities, bank erosion and climate change have a significant impact on the shape and extent of lakes and rivers. Several issues such as flood monitoring or lake health analysis require current and accurate data in order to deploy needed capacities properly. Lidar can now help predict and mitigate the risks associated with these issues.

The hydrography extraction’s goal is to develop from Lidar data, automatic extraction methodologies of water-related data such as lakes, rivers, and directional flow path. Extracted features will be used in the process of hydrography update, hydrography flattening and the production of hydro-conditioned data model.

Many research projects are going on with Provincial and Federal Departments along with Academia.


As mentioned earlier, NRCan plays a leading role in the standardization of LiDAR data acquisition in Canada. In 2018, NRCan has continued its role by implementing a series of semi-automated tools to validate data in accordance with the recommendations of the Federal Airborne LiDAR Data Acquisition Guideline. These tools will be used to validate the data obtained via the contracts presented in the second section of this newsletter.

Contact Us:

Comments and suggestions are always welcome. Please contact us at: NRCan.elevation-elevation.RNCan@canada.ca

The authors of the articles are: David Bélanger Marc-André Daviault Nicolas Gariépy Charles Papasodoro