As a transboundary organization, the IJC uses maps and geospatial data to help manage water levels and conduct watershed assessment and ecological inventory analysis.
Using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) technology, spatial data can be visualized with high-level detail and processed in complex ways. The IJC uses GIS to map information such as Lake Erie phosphorus monitoring programs and the locations of Areas of Concern. The data provided helps governments, nongovernmental organizations, and citizens better understand their local regions. To explore more maps and data along the waters of the US and Canadian borders, see the IJC’s online mapping portal.
Maps were essential for early explorers navigating the globe and are just as important in modern life.
GIS allows users to take geospatial data and create maps that analyze and interpret data to evaluate potential relationships, patterns, and tendencies. Besides the IJC, GIS is used by cities for planning and utilities, governments for transportation and defense, and companies for market research.
Because data changes with time and events, GIS maps can be dynamic to reflect these changes, such as the Columbia River basin map below. This is an example of a dynamic product showing real-time data for US Geological Survey (USGS) river flow gauge stations and watershed boundaries. This information is used by hydrologists and Columbia River Board of Control members to assist with regulating water levels or planning new station locations (Click here to view an interactive map).
The IJC also uses GIS to help the public better understand extreme weather events. After the 2011 Souris River flood, the IJC along with USGS and the North Dakota State Water Commission, created an Esri Story Map to help citizens better understand historical floods and how and why the recent flooding occurred. Products like these can help the IJC communicate important science being done in the Canada and the US.