ARCHIVED - Data Activities in Canada Report 1996
Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.
on Data Activities in Canada - 1996
The following report on data activities in Canada was presented to the 20th General Assembly of CODATA at Tsukuba, Japan in September 1996. To obtain further details on individual items or to submit information on other Canadian data activities for inclusion in the next report (September 1998) please contact:
Secretariat, CNC/CODATA, CISTI, Building M-55, Rm 249
National Research Council, Montreal Road Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R6,
Telephone: (613) 993-3291 Fax: (613) 952-8246
20th General Assembly of CODATA, Tsukuba, October 1996Report on Data Activities in Canada
Activities in Canada, as known to the Canadian National Committee for CODATA (CNC/CODATA), are reported below in the categories shown. Further information on some items may be obtained from the contacts cited at the right margin and identified in the Appendix.
- Biological Sciences
- Materials Properties Data
- Physics - Astrophysics
- Canadian National Committee for CODATA
Data Banks with Public Access Via Internet:
1. Indices of Available Fungal Cultures
Produced by the Nova Scotia Institute of Science, these indices
are lists of cultures available from culture collections and
include the following details of each culture: binomial name,
accession number, substrate, place of origin of the fungus
as well as details of its maintenance and toxicity. Cultures
covered include at least seven Canadian collections, with
an aggregate of about 14,000 cultures, as well as those available
from the International Mycological Institute in the UK with
about 9200 cultures.
2. Fungal Metabolites
Also produced by the Nova Scotia Institute of Science, this
database, with coverage from 1789 to 1993, includes the binomial
names of the producing organisms, the name (trivial or systematic)
of the metabolite, its molecular formula and a literature
reference giving details of the method of isolation of the
3. Organelle Genome Database (GOBASE)
This is a unique, interdisciplinary project between two Canadian
universities, Montreal and Dalhousie which differs in its
concept from existing projectspecific databases, e.g.,
flybase and ACeDB. This project is supported by the Canadian
Genome Analysis and Technology Program (CGAT). The goal of
the project is to create a comparative organelle genome database,
integrating data from a wide range of sources, which will
be a model for many of the other genome projects underway,
for which comparative data are not yet available. GOBASE is
being developed using SYBASE RDMS and WEB/GENERA software.
The database will be network accessible and will permit submission
of confidential data and passwordprotected access, at
the same time allowing free access to most of its information
by the general scientific community. The first Internetaccessible
GOBASE release is scheduled for July 1996.
4. Protist Image Database (PID)
PID is part of the Molecular Evolution and Organelle Genomics
program at the University of Montreal. PID provides images
and online information on the morphology, taxonomy and phylogenetic
relationships of protists. The PID Web page contains links
to wide range of resources in protistology and related fields
such as: microbiology, mycology, phycology and protozoology.
Protist Image Database
5. Elegans Genetic Toolkit
The Genetic Toolkit Project is funded by a grant from the
NIH National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) to the laboratories
of Ann Rose, David Baillie and Don Riddle (University of British
Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the University of Missouri
respectively). The goal of the project is to provide genetic
'tools' to facilitate the cloning of genes and analysis of
their function. The first stage has been the generation and
characterization of chromosomal rearrangements (balancers)
which are being used to isolate and maintain mutant strains.
Current updates about balancers are available from the Web
site. The project is now entering stage two, which is to provide
overlapping deficiencies that will be aligned to both the
genetic and the physical maps.
Elegans Genetic Toolkit
6. Cosmid Transgenics
Transgenic strains available from the Department of Medical
Genetics (University of British Columbia) were constructed
in association with the C. elegans Genome Sequencing labs
in St. Louis, Missouri and at The Sanger Center, Hinxton,
UK. Funding for this work was made available by a grant from
the Canadian Genome Analysis and Technology Program (CGAT)
to Ann Rose and David Baillie. As of March 27, 1996 the total
number of cosmids available as transgenic strains is 129.
In all cases, cosmids microinjection was performed on
N2 hermaphrodites. All cosmids were coinjected with the
plasmid pCes1943 which contains a semidominant allele
of the rol6 gene.
7. Physical and Transcription Maps of Human Chromosome 22q13.3
Heather McDermid and Kenneth Roy (Biological Sciences, University of Alberta) propose to search for genes at chromosome band 22q13.3, which is predicted to be generich and may contain over 300 genes, including those for several genetic diseases that map to this region. This project is funded by the Canadian Genome Analysis and Technology Program (CGAT). In collaboration with the U.S. Human Genome Center for Chromosome 22, a cosmid contig of 22q13.3 will be assembled using minimally overlapping yeast artificial chromosomes (YACs) as the starting material. The cloned DNA fragments identified will provide the source material for isolating genes by exon amplification and cDNA selection. All genes cloned will be at least partially sequenced for expressed sequence tag (EST) production. The ESTs and their precise map location will be made available to the scientific community through the Genome Data Base.
8. Integrated Map of Human Chromosome 7
LapChee Tsui and Stephen Scherer are with the Department of Genetics, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, and the Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics, University of Toronto. LapChee Tsui and Johanna Rommens are the coinvestigators of a CGAT grant entitled "Largescale physical gene mapping of human chromosome 7Q". The physical map of the long arm of chromosome 7 now contains the map positions for 1,200 YAC clones. A systematic search has resulted in the recovery of over 300 unique cDNA clones for 7q21 q22. The Toronto group works on the incorporation of genetic markers, such as those from Genethon and the Cooperative Human Linkage Center (CHLC), on the physical map. A major contribution has been in the area of contig assembly. Part of the YAC mapping work was accomplished in collaboration with KarlHeinz Grzeschik's laboratory. Another collaboration was established with Helen DonisKeller's laboratory to generate a fine map of the tip of the long arm.
9. Canadian Collection of Fungal Cultures
The Canadian Collection of Fungal Cultures(CCFC) currently
holds 10,500 strains of fungal cultures representing about
2,500 species. The collection originated as an amalgamation
of individual research collections and now serves as the primary
repository for fungal cultures in the Agriculture and AgriFood
Canada research branch and accepts patent strains. It functions
as a gene bank for this microbial resource and provides pure
cultures to scientists in agriculture, forestry, medicine,
private industry and biotechnology. Many species held in the
collection are unique, and a number are new to science.
Canadian Collection of Fungal Cultures
10. Directory of Canadian Culture Collections
Information was collected on the numbers of collections,
diversity, availability,funding and methods of preservation
used. Three types of collections emerged. A few collections
were large in terms of taxa and isolates held. Others contained
few species but represented important national or international
collections of characterized strains. Most of these collections
received institutional support for facilities and operations.
Those remaining could be characterized as working collections
of individual researchers. These were maintained with program
budgets or from academic research grants.
Directory of Canadian Culture Collections
11. CANSIS-Canadian Soil Information System
CanSIS uses a GIS called ARC/INFO to maintain land resource
data in the NSDB. These data describe the location of soil
types in Canada, and include characteristics that are relevant
to a soil's biological productivity, as well as landscape
attributes such as slope, local surface form and the presence
of rock outcrops.
12. Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System
This information system provides details taken from literature
references for over 250 plants that can poison livestock,
pets and humans in Canada. Its interactive search engine provides
information on plant names, distribution, toxic plant parts,
toxic chemicals, and symptoms of poisoning.
Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System
13. Beetles of Canada and Alaska
This database provides the current nomenclature of all the
beetles known to occur in Canada and Alaska. Distributions
are rendered by maps indicating the presence or absence of
the taxa by geographic subregions.
The purpose of this database is to provide the correct names
of the beetles occurring in Canada and Alaska and give a brief
survey of the distribution of the taxa in the area covered.
The ending of all speciesgroup names has been checked
to conform with the gender of their respective genera. The
distributional records are based on published records and
on specimens in the Canadian National Collection. For some
families, records from other collections have been included.
Doubtful records from literature that apparently are based
on misidentifications or mislabeled specimens are rejected.
Beetles of Canada and Alaska
14. Diptera Types in the Canadian National Collection of Insects - Part 4, Tachinidae
This work is the fourth, and last, in a series of catalogues
on the Diptera types in the Canadian National Collection of
Insects (CNC). The first, published in 1991, dealt with the
Nematocera. The second, published in 1993, documented the
types of brachyceran Diptera exclusive of the Schizophora.
The third, currently in production, will cover the Schizophora
exclusive of the Tachinidae. A brief history of the Diptera
collection in the CNC is given in Part 1 of this series.
Diptera Types in the Canadian National Collection of Insects
Organizations or Systems Providing Access to the International Data Banks1. Molecular Biology
The CAN/SND Molecular Biology Database System (MBDS) is a
subsystem of CAN/SND, the Canadian Scientific Numeric
Database Service operated by the National Research Council
Canada (NRCC) through the Canada Institute for Scientific
and Technical Information (CISTI). Via the MBDS, CAN/SND provides
ready access to the world's major protein and nucleic acid
sequence databases, including GenBank, EMBL, NRL3d, PIR,
ProSite, SwissProt, and others. Similarly, CAN/SND provides
access to software packages available in the field which enable
users to search, analyze, manipulate and display protein and
nucleic acid sequences. Among these are GCG, FASTA, BLAST,
ATLAS, Entrez, PHYLIP. CAN/SND's databases may be accessed
in several different ways depending upon one's local resources
Molecular Biology CAN/SND
2. CIAR Program in Evolutionary Biology (CIARPEB)
The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIAR) supports
a network of researchers across Canada as well as in other
countries. The goal of the Program in Evolutionary Biology
(CIARPEB) is to use the comparative database of genome
sequences, to which this project will contribute, for developing
concepts of genome, cell and population evolution, and for
constructing algorithms for molecular structure/function analysis
which may be later applied to problems in biotechnology, microbial
diversity and genetic/genome technology. The CIARPEB
Home Page contains information about its programs and activities
as well as provides links to world wide Molecular Evolution
and Computational Biology resources.
CIAR Program in Evolutionary Biology
Main Sequencing Projects, Which Make Their Data Available to the Public1. Sulfolobus Solfataricus Genome Data
The Sulfolobus solfataricus genome sequencing project is
a collaboration of W. Ford Doolittle, Robert Charlebois (U.
of Ottawa), Mark Ragan (NRCIMB) and Christoph Sensen
(NRCIMB). This is the only allCanadian wholeorganism
genomesequencing project and the first off the mark of
several archaeal genome projects worldwide. It was initiated
in mid1993 with primary support from the Canadian Genome
Analysis and Technology (CGAT) Program and contributions by
the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIAR), the National
Research Council of Canada (NRC), and the Medical Research
Council of Canada (MRC). The interaction among the three laboratories
relies heavily on the Internet. Data are moved directly into
a UNIX environment at IMB for initial processing and database
analysis. Extensive development of the Sulfolobus computational
environment at IMB by Christoph W. Sensen and Terry E. Dalton
now allows to work at a single computer with seamless access
to UNIX XWindows, MS Windows, WWW tools, and remote terminal
applications. Processed data are distributed among the laboratories
through secure network facilities and analyses are stored
in a single highsecurity location.
Sulfolobus Solfataricus Genome Data
The OGMP is an interdisciplinary collaboration of seven Canadian
research groups from Eastern Canada, each of which is interested
in molecular evolution, mainly focusing on mitochondria, plastids
and bacteria. This collaborative project, supported by the
Canadian Genome Analysis and Technology Program (CGAT), concentrates
on organelle phylogeny and includes the establishment of a
centralized sequencing facility (the Megasequencing Unit)
that serves as the major research hub. The "Megasequencing
Unit" is located at the University of Montreal. The OGMP
bioinformatics division is responsible for the data handling
and analysis. The sequences of mitochondrial genomes from
the "Megasequencing Unit" will be made available
to the scientific community through GenBank and GOBASE.
Organelle Genome Megasequencing Program
3. Fungal Mitochondrial Genome Project (FMGP)
FMGP, a project of B. F. Lang's research group (Department
of Biochemistry, University of Montreal), is supported by
the Medical Research Council of Canada (MRC). The goal of
the FMGP is to sequence complete mitochondrial genomes from
all major fungal lineages, to resolve the fungal branch of
the 'tree of life' and to investigate mitochondrial gene expression,
introns and mobile elements. The webpages of the FMGP include
extensive information on subjects such as general organismal
information, gene map, complete sequence, phylogeny, etc.
Fungal Mitochondrial Genome Project
4. Human Chromosome 14 Expressed Sequence Map
An expressed sequence map of 14q32 project is funded by a
grant from the Canadian Genome Analysis and Technology (CGAT)
to the CO, Diane Wilson at Medical Genetics H.S.C. (Toronto).
The goal of the project is to identify and map all of the
expressed sequences, or genes, in the terminal 10 percent
of chromosome 14, using yeast artificial chromosomes (YACs)
for the region as a starting resource. The region is believed
to include genes for colon cancer, neuroblastoma, seizures,
eye disease and heart malformations. The database of chromosome
14 mapping and sequence information will be developed. The
data will be presented to the user in graphic form. Newly
generated data will be added to the database and accessible
to all chromosome 14 investigators.
Projects Developing Analytical Tools for the Scientific Community1. Models and Algorithms for Genomic Evolution
Sankoff David (Mathematics and Statistics, University of Montreal) has a project funded by CGAT which focuses on evolutionary mechanisms which operate at the genomic level without affecting the composition of individual genes (e.g. insertion/deletions of genes or segments of chromosomes, transposition, inversion, reciprocal translation, duplication, fusion etc.). The aim of this project is to elaborate a common mathematical framework for investigating these processes, while performing genomic comparisons in inferring evolutionary divergence. The project will include construction of the first database of paralogous genes and chromosome segments in the human and mouse genomes which will be used to study questions about genome organization and evolution.
2. Computational Issues in Alignment and Sequencing
Derick Wood's group (Computer Science, University of Western Ontario) works on tools for bioinformatic sequence analysis; the project is funded by the CGAT.
Prof. Françoise M. Winnik, Department of Chemistry,
McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont., is developing a database
on the properties of nanocomposites, magnetic nanostructures,
and polymers involved in surfactant interactions, as well
as amphiphilic polymers. These data are expected to be useful
in a variety of applications, including surface chemistry,
studies of reactivities in organized media and models of cytoskeletons.
2. Databank on n-octanol: Water Partition Coefficients
Dr. James Sangster, Sangster Research Laboratory, Montréal, Québec, has maintained and upgraded a databank on noctanol:water partition coefficients of a large set of molecules, important in many chemical and biochemical fields. These data are essential in making comparisons and potential predictions of biochemical activities of potential drug molecules as well as environmental toxicants. SRL
3. Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons Database
Prof. Bruce Greenberg and Prof. G. Dixon, University of Waterloo,
Ont., are developing a databank on the photochemical activities
and aquatic toxicity of polyaromatic hydrocarbons, as well
as their photooxidized products. Data on the chemical properties
and toxicities recorded in this database are expected to serve
both academia and the chemical industry, providing tools for
toxicological risk assessment.
4. Database Relating Pesticide / Herbicide Activities to Metal Contaminants
Prof. P. Ming Huang, Department of Soil Science, University
of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, is developing a database of pesticide
and herbicide activities in the presence of metal contaminants,
affecting the soil plant root system interface. Using
similarity search techniques, the database is expected to
enhance the predictability of adverse effects of new pesticides
and herbicides entering the market.
5. Hemoglobin Binding Affinity Database
Prof. Kannan Krishnan, Dép. Médecine du Travail et d'Hygiène du Milieu, Faculté de Médecine, Université de Montréal, Québec, has developed a database on the hemoglobin binding affinity constants of a large series of organic molecules. This database is already being applied for the study of some of the adverse effects of toxic substances.
6. Toxicity of Metals Database
Prof. Beverly Hale, University of Guelph, Ont., and Prof. Francine Denizeau, Dép. Chimie, Université du Québec à Montréal, Québec, and coworkers, are developing a database on the toxicity of metals, including Cadmium and Zinc, with special emphasis on their uptake by grain varieties.
7. Shape Databases for Drug Design Strategies
Prof. Paul G. Mezey, Dept. Chemistry, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, has extended the molecular shape database (MEDLA) to a series of haloalkanes, alcohols, aldehydes, ketons, and esters. The polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) shape database has also been substantially updated. These shape databases have already been applied by the phamaceutical industry in calibrating various drug design strategies in new lead search, and additional applications have been completed in toxicological risk assessment within the framework of CNTC (Canadian Network of Toxicology Centers) Quantitative Risk Assessment project. UOS
Work continued on updating the database making it exhaustive in coverage to 1913 and containing about 60,000 entries. The database may be licensed for private or multiple use and it is also available online via the CAN/SND and STN services.
2. Inorganic Crystal Structure Database (ICSD)
Through an exchange agreement between NRC and the FIZ Energie, Physik, Mathematik (Karlsruhe) the ICSD continued to be made available online on the CAN/SND system and CRYSTMET continued to be made available online on STN.
3. NIST Crystal Data File (CRYSTDAT)
Under an umbrella arrangement between the two organizations, NRC and NIST continued to collaborate on the production and enhancement of the Crystal Data File known as CRYSTDAT on the CAN/SND system. This collaboration has produced software tools to address some of the research needs of materials science, particularly in the areas of materials design and identification. Crystal Data now contains over 180,000 entries.
4. Online Access
The CAN/SND system continued to offer public, international online access to the complete suite of crystallographic databases both via the Internet and the X.25 packet-switched networks. The databases available online are:
- CRYSTDAT NIST Crystal Data File
- CRYSTIN Inorganic Crystal Structure Database
- CRYSTMET NRC Metals Crystallographic Database
- CRYSTOR Cambridge Structural Database
1. Geothermodynamic Database
A revised, internally consistent thermodynamic database of endmembers and solid solutions has been completed for important high temperature metamorphic minerals: olivine, orthopyroxene, garnet, cordierite, clinopyroxene, biotite and ilmenite. This database is utilized by the TWQ thermobarometry software package which has been improved and can be obtained by anonymous ftp from emr1.emr.ca (gsc/berman directory). In experimental measurements, equilibrium Al2O3 contents were defined for Fe, Mg and FeMg biotites in equilibrium with sillimanite, quartz, sanidine and water.
Geothermodynamic Database GSC
2. Canadian Mineral Occurrence and National Mineral Collection Databases
Two mineralogy databases are maintained by the Mineral Resources Division (MRD) of the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC). The Canadian Mineral Occurrence File (MOFILE) presently has about 27,000 occurrences listed from about 5000 localities. The National Mineral Collection catalogue has about 19,000 records on individually catalogued specimens (worldwide) in the collection. WWW access is planned in the near future.
3. National Geochemical Reconnaissance Database
MRD also maintains the National Geochemical Reconnaissance database that contains 4.2 million determinations for 164,000 stream and lake sediment samples representing 2.2 millions km2 of Canada. It is being moved to MSSQL in preparation for permitting access, selective retrieval and purchase of data over the Internet. The data are of interest to both geoscientists and others concerned with the chemistry of the environment.
4. National Mapping Program
The GSC's National Mapping Program (NATMAP) is producing multidisciplinary, digital databases (GIS, geochemistry, geophysics, geology). These databases can be obtained through the GSC's Continental Geoscience Division (CGD) for projects near completion (Shield Margin, Slave Province). GSC
5. Computer Aided Field Mapping Software
The GSC's CGD has continued development of the PCbased
Fieldlog software package designed to assist in computer aided
field mapping and rapid construction of point source databases.
This software maintains a relational database, especially
tailored for geological data and spatial operations, and provides
linkages to CAD or GIS software for visualizing and graphically
adding or editing the field data. The latest version operates
in DOS or WINDOWS and incorporates userdefined glossaries
of geological terms throughout the data entry process.
Computer Aided Field Mapping Software GSC
6. Canadian Geodetic Information System (CGIS)
The Geodetic Survey Division of the GSC is establishing the
Canadian Geodetic Information System (CGIS) as the integration
of existing national gravity and survey control (horizontal
and vertical) databases. The CGIS is a UNIX/Oracle database
of approximately 5 GB with public access through an electronic
bulletin board service linked to the World Wide Web.
Canadian Geodetic Information System
7. National Coal Inventory Database
The Calgary office of the Geological Survey maintains a National Coal Inventory data base with primary geological, analytical and environmental data collected from sources within the private sector and provincial agencies. Some 60,000 boreholes covering 70% of Canada's thermal coal resources have been digitally captured. They also provide interpretive GIS based spatial datasets, derived from 3D modelling of the primary data, which address economic, geological and environmental issues / constraints associated with coal deposits.
8. Geomagnetic Data
The Geomagnetism Program of the Geological Survey of Canada
(GSC) maintains and updates the archive of Canadian magnetic
observatory digital data. This archive of about 5 GB contains
high-resolution data from 13 observatories for the past 20
years plus historical data back to the time of the International
Geophysical Year and earlier. It is accessed by researchers
and others from all parts of the world. The Internet has greatly
increased the speed with which data can be provided to users
and an automatic DRM (data request manager) using electronic
mail is in operation. The recent opening of a WWW site is
resulting in a significant increase in the frequency of requests.
The presence on the WWW is also resolving a contentious issue
with the World Data Center system, since linkages between
the Canadian geomagnetism website and the World Data Center
website are being established that will protect the interests
9. Seismological Data
The Seismology Program of the GSC maintains and updates the
archive of Canadian seismological data from the Canadian seismograph
network. The archive contains a large volume of older analog
seismograph records dating back to the early 1900s and microfilm,
all stored in environmentally controlled conditions. The modern
data archive contains digital data from 1980, amounting to
more than a Terabyte of time series data. In addition the
archive contains digital data from about 1966 from the Yellowknife
seismic array, used in nuclear explosion detection studies,
and also first-level derived data in the form of earthquake
epicentre locations for Canada. An automatic DRM using electronic
mail is in operation and is heavily used. Direct links exist
with the International Data Center for Seismology in Washington
DC. A WWW site provides derived data such as epicentres, current
information on recent earthquakes, and a catalogue of data
The Regional Geophysics group of the GSC operates the National
Database for Aeromagnetic Data for Canada. Data range back
to 1947, with the early analogue maps having been converted
to digital form. The coverage is of 80% of Canada at a regional
scale. Data holdings amount to about 6 GB. Data are available
in many forms: as point value, gridded sets, plots at any
scale, in any format and on any media type, including electronic
mail and the Internet. An online ordering system (Auto DRM)
is under test. A WWW site is in operation, containing a full
catalogue of data and services. Interactive use of data through
the WWW is under development.
11. Gravity Data
The Regional Geophysics group of GSC also operates the National
Database for Gravity Data for Canada, in conjunction with
the Geodetic Survey of Geomatics Canada. Data extend back
to the mid-1940s and are mostly at regional scale (about 10
km data point spacing). Data holdings amount to about 2 GB.
Data availability and related services are as described above
for the aeromagnetic database. Both aeromagnetic and gravity
data are now used frequently as "layers" within
12. Radiometric data
The Mineral Resources Division of the GSC operates the National Database for Radiometric Survey Data. Coverage includes about 2 million square kilometres at 5 km line spacing in the Canadian Shield and many more areas in other parts of Canada at closer line spacing. Data requests are filled in the form of gridded data, or preferably in the form of line-data. Increasing demands for data are coming from the exploration industry. The database is currently being converted from a minicomputer to a PC system. It is not yet accessible via Internet and the WWW, though that is an intention for the future. Index maps of data are available.
One of the common issues for all of these geophysical database
operations is that of data ownership and copyright. In the
rapidly evolving Internet the traditional ownership and copyright
provisions are being undercut, with no clear replacement mechanism
to protect the interests of the institutes that have expended
large amounts of money to collect the data. While recognizing
the importance of making data available to as wide a user
base as possible, we have to protect the sources of data in
these times of reduced funding levels.
In the area of geoscience data standards, Canadian initiatives have encouraged the formation of a new International Standards Organisation Technical Committee entitled ISO/TC211 Geographic Information/Geomatics. The Technical Committee has five working groups:
- WG 1 Framework and Reference Model (convener United States)
- WG 2 Geospatial Models and Operations (convener Australia)
- WG 3 Geospatial Data Administration (convener United Kingdom)
- WG 4 Geospatial Service (convener Norway)
- WG 5 Profiles and Functional Standards (convener Canada)
Many countries have initiated efforts over the past ten to
fifteen years to produce national geoscience data standards,
especially as concerns the transfer of digital geographic
information between users with different computer systems
and environments. It was therefore only a matter of time before
this important field should have been taken up by the ISO.
The long-term objective from the Canadian perspective is to
move away from Canadian-developed standards to participate
in and adopt ISO standards. To further this objective, Canada
has established a Canadian Advisory Committee to ISO/TC211.
This activity is coordinated by the Canadian Committee on
Geomatics, which is the official committee representing the
Standards Council of Canada to ISO on these matters. Canadian
participation in the above efforts is very strong. The Chairman
of Working Group 5, Profiles and Functional Standards, is
David McKellar, Department of National Defence. The Canadian
Advisory Committee has established subcommittees to mirror
the activities of the ISO/TC211 structure. The following have
been nominated to chair these subcommittees:
- Geographic Information Standards Yves-Luc Hudon, Gouvernement du Québec
- Geospatial Data Modelling Tim Evangelatos, Fisheries & Oceans Canada
- Geospatial Data Administration Valerie Hume, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
- Geospatial Services Dave Coleman, University of New Brunswick
Functional Standards Pierre Beaulieu, Department of National
The schedule of work of ISO/TC211 is extremely ambitious. A positive outcome would be the winnowing of existing standards to identify the strong contenders. Some aspects of the work on temporal data standards may be premature at this time, but are included for reasons of completeness.
The related Canadian MERCATOR initiative embodies three major
thrusts: geospatial information standards, data warehousing,
and related software tools development. Across Canada there
are a number of similar activities on-going that share common
elements such as exploiting new RDBMS technology. A key strategic
relationship between the Department of National Defence, the
Directorate of Geomatics, the Canadian Hydrographic Services
and the B.C. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks has
been initiated. An initial MERCATOR Project has been defined
and an announcement made by CANARIE. The MERCATOR Project
will use HH Code technology developed cooperatively between
the Canadian Hydrographic Service and Oracle Canada. The MERCATOR
Project will implement, for example, the various data models
from SAIF, DIGEST and S-57 into Oracle spatial data option,
formerly Oracle-7 multi-dimension. The result will be a proof
of concept to implement a massive geospatial database online
-- the MERCATOR Warehouse. Existing development activity has
contributed significantly, such as the Chartnet initiative
led by the Canadian Hydrographic Service, and in British Columbia
where Land Data BC is being constructed to provide online
timely access to a variety of information products using the
World Wide Web.
To ensure that the MERCATOR standard becomes a reality, it will need to incorporate and build on existing standards such as DIGEST, S-57, and on modules of SAIF. This resultant body of work will go a long way to influence strongly the direction of standards development within ISO TC211.
Access to geospatial data in Canada is being facilitated
by the Inter Agency Committee on Geomatics (IACG).
A Canadian metadata standard for geospatial data has been
established and adopted by the Canadian General Standards
Board. This standard is generally compatible with the U.S.
standard for digital geospatial metadata but has the benefit
of being condensed and less onerous to use, which will encourage
its more widespread adoption.
The database collected for the report on Current Status and
Trends in Federal Digital Geographic Data in Canada, which
is a complete description of geospatial datasets in federal
government departments in Canada in 1991, will be made digitally
available, and there are plans to update this in 1996.
The Canadian Geographical Information Systems Sourcebook,
previously available in hardcopy, will also be made available
in digital form.
It is anticipated that these new services will be available
in the Spring of 1996 on the Internet.
1. Great Lakes Information Network
This online database about the Great Lakes and their basins (8 US states and Ontario) is maintained by the Great Lakes Commission. Currently it contains: library of legislative and policy developments; business, industry and socioeconomic statistics; toxic air emissions; human health and lake levels data.
It is available via gopher (gopher.greatlakes.net at
port 2200) or via the WWW.
Great Lakes Information Network
2. Computerized mining libraries
Several databases of mineral resource and land use information have been developed by provincial geological surveys.
A computerized mining library, known as the Earth Resources and Land Information System (ERLIS), is accessible for a fee through the computer centres of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines in Ontario. ERLIS contains 120000 maps along with mining databases and 1.5 million pages of mining related documents (480 Gbytes); it includes GIS, database and document processing software for accessing the information.
Mineral Data BC is an integrated, networked desktop mapping
and data retrieval system for which a full description can
be accessed from:
Mineral Data BC
3. Occupational Health and Safety
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)
CDrom databases (MSDS, chemical profiles, noise level measurements,
legislative information, research references) have now been
put on the internet along with their BBS system.
4. Databases for Environmental Analysis: Provincial and Territorial Governments (Cat. No. 11529E)
This publication is a joint product of Statistics Canada
and the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.
It presents an inventory of Provincial and Territorial databases
useful for environmental reporting. With over 800 databases
listed, each one has a detailed description which lists: purpose,
contact information and much more. As a special feature, a
diskette for micro computer users is also included. It contains
all the information in the report and allows users to search
the database on a variety of fields, including "Key words".
National AccountsNatural Resource and Environmental Accounts:
The Greening of Canada's National Accounts
Statistics Canada is developing a set of natural resource
and environmental accounts that will serve as satellite accounts
to the System of National Accounts. There are four distinct
The natural resource stock accounts record the known size
and composition of Canada's natural resource assets as they
evolve over time, in both physical and monetary terms. The
links between the value of Canada's natural resources and
traditional national accounts provide a tool to measure national
wealth and sustainable development.
The natural resource use accounts record in physical terms,
when and how nonproduced goods and services are brought
into the economic sphere and used in production and consumption
activities, and highlight the role of selected produced goods
that are important in analyses of certain environmental issues.
The waste output accounts record in physical terms, the types
and quantities of waste products that are generated in the
economy and relate these to the flow of output.
The environmental protection accounts identify current and
capital expenditures, by business, government and households,
that are intended to conserve or protect natural resources
and the environment. Supply side information provides a perspective
on the economic benefits of spending on the environment. STATS
Databases for Environmental Analysis (Cat. No. 115320XDE)
Databases for Environmental Analysis is a collection of descriptions
documenting the characteristics and contents of over one thousand
federal, provincial and territorial government databases that
are useful for the analysis of environmental conditions and
trends. The inventory is a tool to assist researchers investigating
the relationship between human activities and environmental
conditions and trends. We recognised the need for such an
inventory from our own experience in developing statistical
reports on human activities and the state of the environment.
The inventory guides users to sources of data and it offers
information that assists the person in obtaining data from
the database. It also contributes to a timely and comprehensive
picture of environmental databases held by the federal, provincial
and territorial governments in Canada and assists in the identification
of data gaps in existing environmental information.
A typical entry in the inventory contains a summary description,
the name of someone to contact for more information, and details
about the database contents and coverage. Click here to see
an example of a typical page.
2.Obtaining the Inventory
The full inventory is available from Statistics Canada on
diskette in Folio VIEWS=AE format ($75 in Canada; $90USD in
the USA; $105USD elsewhere). The Folio VIEWS=AE software to
read and search the inventory is included on the diskettes.
A complete list of the titles of all the databases in the
Inventory, organised by jurisdiction, is also available.
The project is a combined effort involving Statistics Canada,
Environment Canada, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the
Environment, and all the Federal and Provincial Government
agencies that the collection represents.
Collaboration with other cataloguing projects has been an
important element of the work. Major sources that were drawn
upon are the Atlantic Coastal Zone Database Directory, the
TERRAMON Database held by Memorial University of Newfoundland,
the 1991 Environment Canada Catalogue of Environmental Data
in Atlantic Canada, REPEN produced by the St. Lawrence Centre
of Environment Canada, the Electronic Inventory of Environmental
Data for the Hudson Bay Region collected by Environment Canada
(and now held by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern
Development), and the British Columbia Resources Inventory
The new Folio VIEWS=AE product is the third in a series.
Statistics Canada previously published Databases for Environmental
Analysis: Government of Canada in 1992 and Databases for Environmental
Analysis: Provincial and Territorial Governments in 1994.
Each publication contained an electronic version of the database
on diskette. The new Folio VIEWS=AE product contains both
the Federal and Provincial inventories including the latest
updates of the database descriptions.
3. Forthcoming Products
(September 1996): Studies in National Accounting, No. 4:
Accounting for Canada's Mineral Resources (Cat. No. 13603E)
This publication will cover estimates of the physical quantity
and monetary value of Canada's mineral reserves including
oil, natural gas, coal and nine metals. It will also include
a complete description of the methodology and the data sources
used. An analytical section will show remaining life of reserves,
marginal finding costs, etc.
(June 1997) Canadian Environmental and Resource Accounts
This publication and associated database will summarize the results of Statistics Canada's Natural Resource and Environmental Accounts Programme. It will include detailed tables on the physical stocks of resources (oil and gas, minerals, forests, land), their use and values.
Also included will be details on the generation of wastes and expenditures on environmental protection.
1. Ageing of concrete structures in a nuclear environment
Atomic Energy of Canada and Ontario Hydro are collaborating
with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna
on the development of a database for nuclear concrete structures,
in particular on the processes associated with ageing. The
ageing of nuclear structures is of special interest because
of its impact upon the safety and reliability of operation
of nuclear facilities, including the nuclear power plant concrete
containment designed to separate the reactor and other systems
from the outside environment. The proposed database represents
the first time this aspect has been addressed in particular.
154 Nuclear stations from around the world responded to the
survey initiated by the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) in Vienna. The data were gathered and analyzed by a
panel of specialists from six countries, including Canada,
which are involved in this Coordinated Research Program (CRP).
The first results were published in a IAEA Working Material
Document in 1995. Following further evaluation of the data,
a second publication is scheduled for the end of 1996 or early
In the fall of 1995 a review of priorities took place and the design of the database structure was transferred by IAEA to OECD/NEA (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development/Nuclear Energy Agency) where the work will continue.
2. Computer Integrated Material Database (CIMDATA)
The Industrial Materials Institute of the National Research
Council of Canada has developed an integrated system of knowledge
and factual databases covering plastics, non ferrous metal
alloys, cast iron alloys and tooling materials. More than
100 physical and engineering properties and over six hundred
molding and casting materials are encompassed.
The knowledgebased components of the system dealing
with process control, for example, provide answers or suggestions
to problems that might arise on the production floor concerning
a given process. Thus, for instance, an engineer with an injection
mould that is not working correctly may query the system and
be led to a solution based on the expert knowledge captured
Complementing these components are the factual databases which assist a user in the selection and comparison of material properties. Here, the user may choose from a wide number of properties and parameters for the materials of interest and be guided in making the optimum choice. NRC-IMI
The Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC) continued to be
the focus of data activities in astronomy. The CADC developed
an innovative approach to provision of archival data from
the Hubble Space Telescope which involves storing the raw
data on CDROMs in a 500 platter jukebox and performing
automatic calibration of the data when it is requested from
the archive. This takes advantage of the latest calibration
software and reference files. The archive can be searched
via a World Wide Web interface which provides ubiquitous access
to all computing platforms.
The CADC will be moving the CanadaFranceHawaii
Telescope Archive to CDROM as well to provide online
access to the data. This year the CADC will also begin archiving
data from Canada's two other major facilities, the James Clerk
Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii and the Dominion Radio Astrophysical
Observatory in Penticton, B.C.
1. Facility for the Analysis of Chemical Thermodynamics (F*A*C*T)
F*A*C*T is a fully integrated Canadian thermochemical database
system which couples proven software with selfconsistent
critically assessed thermodynamic data. It currently contains
data on over 5000 chemical substances as well as solution
databases representing over 70 nonideal solutions (liquid
alloys, slags, mattes and molten salts). F*A*C*T is accessible
online from McGill University and is available also as a PC
2. University Research Programs
Profs. C. B. Alcock and V. Itkin (University of Toronto)
assess thermodynamic data of the elements (Debye temperature,
Cp(T), enthalpy, third law entropy and fusion properties).
Cp data are described by several equations and recommended
data are given.
Prof. A. E. Mather (University of Alberta) measures vapourliquid equilibria and enthalpies of reaction and solution for acid gases in aqueous solution of polar organic solvents (application in gas purification). He has contributed to the IUPAC Solubility Data Series in compilation and assessment of data for CO2 in water and nonaqueous systems, as well as for solids and liquids in supercritical CO2.
Prof. J. Lielmezs (University of British Columbia) compiles
and evaluates data for the development of equations of state.
They also serve for correlative predictive methods for heats
of vaporization, surface tension and transport properties
as well as ideal gas thermodynamic properties.
Prof. P. Englezos (University of British Columbia) measures gas hydrate phase equilibria involving methane, CO2, hydrocarbons and nitrogen. Measurements also include the solubility of calcium carbonate in the presence of adsorbed substances.
The Committee continued to meet annually during this biennium
under the sponsorship of The Canada Institute for Scientific
and Technical Information (CISTI). Dr. Paul Mezey succeeded
Prof. Hugh King as Chairman and three new members, Drs. Denis
Crabtree (Astronomy), Maria Korab-Laskowska (Biology) and
James Sangster (Thermodynamics) joined the ranks. In addition,
Drs. Robert Berman (Geothermodynamics), Larry Speers (Taxonomy)
and Barry Wood (Physics) served as Observers by virtue of
their membership on CODATA Task Groups. Completing the team
as Observers were Drs. Richard Coles (Geomagnetism), John
Rodgers (Crystallography) and Andrée Bichon (International
Affairs) along with Mr. David Henderson (Royal Society of
Canada, Global Change).
Distribution of the CODATA Newsletter to over 400 addresses in Canada continued with inserts of particular interest to the Canadian community being added to several of the issues. Through the auspices of the CAN/SND program at CISTI, a WEB site was established for CODATA which links to all the other CODATA activities world wide and includes an electronic version of the Newsletter. In addition, a WEB site was established for CNC/CODATA first, at the Université de Montréal by Dr. Tim Littlejohn, and currently at the NRC Herzberg Institute in Victoria by Dr. Durand.
To assist the USNC/CODATA International inquiry on issues related to the transborder flow of scientific data, CNC/CODATA undertook distribution and collection of the questionnaire forms (in both hard- and electronic-copy) in Canada. It is planned to analyze the Canadian responses to try to discern any peculiarly Canadian problems that may exist in this area.
AECL Mr. C. Seni, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., AECL-CANDU,
2251 Speakman Drive, Mississauga, Ontario L5K 1B2. Tel: (905)
823-9060,Fax: (905) 823-8006
CAN/SND Services Coordinator, National Research Council
Canada, Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information,
(CAN/SND), Montreal Road, Bldg. M-55, Ottawa, Ontario K1A
0S2. Tel: (613) 993-3294,Fax: (613) 952-8246, e-mail: email@example.com
CCG David McKellar, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
Department of National Defence
FACT Prof. W. Thompson, Royal Military College, Kingston,
Ontario K7K 5L0. Tel: (613) 541-5010
GEOCAN Gordon Plunkett, Manager, GIS Operations, Geographic
Information Systems and Services Division, Geomatics Canada
GLC Carol Ratza, Great Lakes Commission, Argus II
Building, 400 Fourth St., Ann Arbor, MI, 418024816, Tel:
(313) 6659135, e-mail: email@example.com
GSC Geological Survey of Canada, 601 Booth Street,
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0E8 Tel: (613) 996-3919
NRC-HIA National Research Council Canada, Herzberg
Institute of Astrophysics, 5071 West Saanich Road, Victoria,
British Columbia V8X 4M1,Tel: 250 363-0052
NRC-IMB Dr. Mark Ragan, National Research Council
Canada, Institute for Marine Biosciences, 1411 Oxford Street,
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 3Z1.,Tel: (902) 426-1674 Fax: (902)
NRC-IMI Mr. Georges Salloum, National Research Council
Canada, Industrial Materials Institute, 75 de Mortagne Blvd.,
Boucherville, Quebec J4B 6Y4,Tel: (514) 641-5222
NSIS Nova Scotian Institute of Science, Science Service
Killiam Library, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3H 4H8. Tel: (902) 494-3339
SRL Dr. J. Sangster, Sangster Research Laboratory,
Suite 402, 3475 de la Montagne, Montréal, Québec
H3G 2A4 Tel: (514) 694-1215
STATS CAN Statistics Canada, Publications Sales, Room
1710, Main Building, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0T6 Tel: (613) 951-7277
UOS Dr. Paul Mezey, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon,
Saskatchewan,S7N 0W0 Tel: (306) 966-4654 Fax: (306) 966-4730
Report a problem or mistake on this page
- Date modified: