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Scholars GeoPortal (http://geo.scholarsportal.info) is an award-winning* geospatial data discovery tool, allowing Ontario's university students and researchers to enrich their teaching and reasearch by engaging with the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL)'s growing collection of geospatial data. The portal offers search, preview, query, download and sharing functionality for datasets licensed by Ontario university libraries, covering such topics as land use, transportation networks, census boundaries, geology, soils, points of interest (such as healthcare facilities, schools, and airports), air photos, and more. Increasingly, it also includes historical open data collections, such as topographic maps and census data.

Scholars GeoPortal was the result of a 3-year project supported by the Government of Ontario through its OntarioBuys initiative. A collaborative effort including the work of OCUL members and faculty from across the province, the Scholars Portal team, and partners from the Ontario government, the platform is powered by Esri's ArcGIS suite of software. Scholars GeoPortal was launched on March 1, 2012. As of fall 2020, work is underway to scope out a reinvestment in the GeoPortal, to update and develop functionality in order to serve the OCUL geocommunity moving forward.

Scholars GeoPortal's features include:

  • full-text searching
  • geographic searching by place names and addresses, or by drawing a box on the map
  • adding data to the map view & manipulating the transparency and draw order of layers on the map
  • selecting from a variety of base maps
  • identifying individual features on the map
  • viewing and querying attribute tables
  • annotating the map by marking and labelling points and shapes of interest
  • saving maps to your user account
  • printing, exporting, or sharing (linking to) your map
  • downloading data in a variety of formats and projections
  • "clip n ship" downloading of a selected areas, allowing for downloads up to 8 GB from larger raster and vector products (imagery, LiDar)
  • both French and English language interfaces

Scholars GeoPortals' collections currently include data from Statistics Canada (through the Data Liberation Initiative), Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (through the Ontario Geospatial Data Exchange), DMTI Spatial Inc., various Municipalities (ie. City of London, City of Mississauga). Open data includes historical topographic maps of ONtario (1:25,000 and 1:63,360), WWII military maps, and census data, all of which were the results of projects within the Ontario geospatial data community. Data from all providers is continually being added to the portal - check out the latest additions under "New Data" on the Scholars GeoPortal website.

For more information on OCUL's Scholars GeoPortal, please contact datagis@scholarsportal.info

*OCUL's geospatial data platform Scholars GeoPortal was awarded the 2012 Ontario Library and Information Technology Association (OLITA) Award for Technical Innovation .

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