Member Stories: GeoBC


GeoBC is a branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations which has responsibility for geomatics-related decision support products and services for natural resource sector (NRS) Ministries, for the operation of the Integrated Land and Resource Registry and for all Provincial base-mapping functions.

The group has four areas of focus directly tied to natural resource sector business functions:

  1. To create and maintain a standard set of base spatial data with the goal of progressively making this information open and accessible for use by all,
  2. Provide business direction and assurance for a registry of Provincial rights and interests – specifically the Integrated Land and Resource Registry (ILRR),
  3. Offer Crown land and resource research expertise to other government agencies, both rights-granting and otherwise, and;
  4. Where government business areas require more customization than is possible with base mapping services or through self-serve online geospatial tools, GeoBC will provide a service for custom solutions.

In short, if an NRS business area has any concerns about or interest in the concept of “place” then GeoBC is involved in some way; whether indirectly through the open provision of the authoritative base information or directly by involving mapping, analysis and land research specialists from the branch.


Brad Hlasny (manager of base mapping group) and the team at GeoBC have worked with the ICI Society for many years and the many contributions made by Brad and the team have been and continue to be invaluable in supporting the Society’s success. Brad’s professional expertise in all aspects of mapping, surveying and land management bring specific high level knowledge to the Society table in his Board and Membership Committee roles.

The team at GeoBC have also been active participants in many of the Society’s User Conference Events. “Brad is always one of the first to contribute and participate in the Society’s Annual User Conference series. Brad and his team volunteer their expertise to speak on various topics at every one of the Conference events throughout the Province to educate Society members on important and interesting subjects highlighted in this profile. Brad and Carol Ogborne (team lead of base mapping) bring a level of levity to make for enjoyable and entertaining presentations on serious topics. Dale Sparrow is part of GeoBC’s Parcel Fabric Section team who maintain the Integrated Cadastral Fabric (ICF) for the Society. Dale presented at several conferences in the regions who utilize the ICF providing valuable update information and associated education to the participants,” says Barry Logan, Executive Director of ICI Society.

Brad and Carol discussed several interesting topics at the 2015 ICI Society Conference Series. These topics included:

  • Height Modernization
  • Municipal Boundaries
  • Resource Roads
  • National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP)

Among their many tasks, the GeoBC team has made significant progress on all of these projects. The following is a brief update:

Height Modernization Initiative:

The new vertical datum has been designated CGVD2013 – Canadian Geodetic Vertical Datum of 2013. It will be realized primarily through the use of an accurate Canada wide geoid model, CGG2013. This will allow users to determine accurate elevations anywhere in Canada including the high Arctic and remote areas presently without nearby benchmarks through the use of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).

  • The Federal Government (NRCan) adopted CGVD2013 already and published their geodetic / survey control on this datum and it is now up to the Provinces and local governments to adopt.
  • The Province of BC plans to adopt CGVD2013 in January 2018.
    • All benchmarks and vertical information will be re-published based on that datum.
    • Working with Surveyor General/LTSA, the Association of BC Land Surveyors and a number of Municipal Government representatives as a Stakeholders Group the process of building a communication plan has been completed. The plan going forward is to communicate to all identified stakeholders on what the vertical datum is, what it means to them and what is required to prepare all heading towards the January 2018 adoption date.
    • GeoBC is currently working on readjusting all of the municipal leveling data right now in preparation for adoption.
    • Find out more about Vertical Modernization at:

Municipal Boundaries:

  • The accurate & authoritative mapping of regional and local government boundaries is now completed.
  • Provincial, regional district, municipal and electoral area boundaries have all been re-mapped from the legal (OIC) documents and stitched together in a boundary fabric — no gaps or overlaps.
  • This new province-wide base data set has been aligned to the Integrated Cadastral Fabric (ICF) and TRIM base mapping and have been pushed to the Province’s Geographic Data Warehouse (BCGW) as open data.
  • GeoBC is currently working on other boundary datasets (e.g. legal counties, self-governing First Nations, etc.) and working with Telus and E911 dispatch agencies to align the MSAG boundaries
  • The data sets are maintained and updated as required.
  • These boundaries are also being used in ParcelMap BC (PMBC) for locational and administrative purposes.
  • Learn more about the Administrative Boundary Management System at:

Resource Roads Update Program:

This program is intended to update the existing government road databases which are estimated to be missing ~150,000 kilometers of resource roads and to correct more than half of the road mapping in the Province that is more than 7 years out of date.

  • Although this project has slowed down due to a funding crunch; internally, almost all consolidation and integration of resource roads are complete. The final step is to purchase current satellite imagery for validating the roads (when budget is available).
  • As areas are updated, and validated by satellite imagery info is updated to the Province’s Geographic Data Warehouse (BCGW).
  • As of now, 70% of the Province is complete.
  • GeoBC is looking for partners within Provincial government who have a similar need for this data set to assist in offsetting some of the costs.
  • When initiated in 2013, the goal is to complete all resource road updates in the Provincial within 5 years while the Natural Resource Road Act was being implemented; which would then provide spatial updates in an automated process.
  • Read more about the Resource Road Update Program at:

National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP):

The Province, through Emergency Management BC (EMBC), is administering and contributing to the National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP). This is a federally and provincially funded program where projects will be selected for funding through a competitive, merit-based process using objective and measurable criteria. There are four funding streams available under the NDMP:

  • Risk Assessments
  • Flood Mapping
  • Mitigation Planning
  • Investments in Non-structural and Small Scale Structural Mitigation Projects

The province is taking an “all hazards” approach and including hazards such as: flooding, tsunamis, sea level rise, land slide hazards, and infrastructure bursts (dam or dikes). As part of this program, GeoBC is currently working with Emergency Management BC (EMBC) on the data acquisition portion of the project.

  • This is a multi-year program expected to continue over the next two-three years.
  • EMBC has been sending out Requests For Proposal to regional and local governments for proposals in one of the four above funding streams.
  • It would be the province’s goal to resurvey all flood plains and high risk areas of BC over the next three to five years
  • LIDAR and Ortho-Imagery for the lower mainland from Hope to the Pacific and the Squamish/Whistler/Pemberton corridor was collected in Summer 2016..
  • Planning for the additional areas of the Province will be completed over the remainder of 2016 and into 2017.
  • Funding for NDMP initiatives are regularly advertised by EMBC via UBCM and CivicInfo BC.
  • In additional to GeoBC’s work with EMBC on hazard’s, GeoBC also is busy supporting the BC Wildfire Service with supporting base mapping data sets (e.g. critical infrastructure, imagery services, etc.).

These and a long list of other initiatives contribute to GeoBC’s purpose which is to provide foundational geographic information and services for use by British Columbians, industry and government in support of responsible decision-making. The GeoBC team is made up of land surveying, GIS, base mapping, imagery and land research functions along with the talented people entrusted with providing those services. The team comes from diverse backgrounds, business experience and values. The resulting unique combination of characteristics and the team’s broad business knowledge allows a range of perspectives to the organization. This has helped make GeoBC one of the Ten Best Places to Work within the provincial government.

“This dedication to and high level support of the Society from an important Society member is indicative of the highest value of contribution and is why the Society succeeds in its mandate. Thank you Andy, Brad and all of your team at GeoBC,” states Barry Logan, Executive Director, ICI Society.

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