Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources Receives ESRI Canada’s Award of Excellence in GIS

Mineral Resources Branch Recognized for Developing Extensive GIS Resources to Promote Sustainable Use of Natural Resources

HALIFAX – October 28, 2009 – ESRI Canada today presented an Award of Excellence to the Mineral Resources Branch (MRB) of the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources for leveraging geographic information system (GIS) technology to develop and provide public access to a broad array of GIS resources to promote efficient use of mineral and natural resource data. The award was presented at the 2009 ESRI Regional User Conference in Halifax.

“The Mineral Resources Branch is a model of success in using GIS for effectively managing natural resources,” said James Wickson, Vice President of Sales and Professional Services, ESRI Canada. “It has developed numerous groundbreaking GIS applications, data and policies, which serve as leading examples for other organizations. With our world-class GIS solutions, we look forward to helping the branch continue to deliver a wide breadth of complete, high-quality GIS data products and services.”

The MRB focuses on implementing programs and policies regarding the exploration, development and management of Nova Scotia’s mineral resources. Its vision is to share geographic information on the province’s natural resources with governments and the public to foster a better understanding of the province’s geology and make better environmental decisions and policies. The MRB has been using ESRI GIS technology exclusively as its GIS platform since 1994. It currently leverages ESRI ArcGIS, which enables users to build a complete GIS and collect, manage and share geographic information on servers, desktops, mobile devices and over the Web.

The branch has a GIS group with four members who use ArcGIS to develop, manage and maintain a corporate GIS containing over 450 geological data sets, including an inventory of mineral occurrences in the province. The group also helps maintain Nova Scotia’s online public geoscience database containing records of more than 15,000 maps and publications.

The branch uses GIS to provide public access to mineral rights disposition information and is moving towards expanding GIS functionality in administering the province’s mineral rights tenure system, which establishes legal rights to minerals for exploration and development. In 1997, the branch began providing public access to its GIS data and was one of the first government organizations to allow free use of its geographic information for both non-commercial and commercial purposes. Since then, it has received more than 300,000 download requests for its GIS products from users such as prospectors, developers, planners and researchers worldwide.

It has also produced high-quality metadata for a national online catalog of metadata for geosciences digital data products. Metadata provides descriptive information about data stored in databases and has become increasingly important in Web-based applications. Committed to leveraging emerging technologies to improve its services, the branch was also an early adopter of Internet Map Server (IMS) technology and has implemented the ESRI ArcIMS solution to deliver dynamic maps and GIS data and services over the Web.

The MRB is currently developing an online Mineral Resource Atlas, a series of new maps that combines mineral staking and geological resource information including mining activity, mineral deposits, aggregate and building stone resources, and oil and gas resources in the province. The atlas will be launched in November and is expected to help improve land use planning and preserve areas in the province with high potential for geological resources.

“ESRI GIS technology enables us to do more with less because it provides the comprehensive functionality we need to deliver high-quality GIS data and applications easily and quickly,” said Brian Fisher, GIS Supervisor, MRB. “This recognition is testament to the dedication and energy our team brings to support the branch and inspires us to further improve the quality and access to our products and services for the benefit of our province and the public.”

For more information about ESRI ArcGIS technology, visit:


About the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, Mineral Resources Branch
The Mineral Resources Branch is responsible for implementing policies and programs dealing with the exploration, development, management and efficient use of mineral resources in the Province of Nova Scotia. The Branch promotes scientific understanding of the geology of Nova Scotia for use by government, industry and the public, and provides a mineral rights tenure system that establishes legal rights to minerals for exploration and development. The Branch also promotes the concepts of environmental responsibility and sustainable development, stewardship of the mineral resource sector and integrated resource planning. For more information, visit

About ESRI Canada
Founded in 1984, ESRI Canada provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower businesses, governments, and educational institutions to make timely, informed and mission critical decisions by leveraging the power of geography. The company distributes the world's leading GIS software from ESRI, Telvent Miner & Miner, Azteca Systems, and other technology partners. Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada. Information about ESRI Canada can be found at

Media contacts:
Joy Chan
PR Specialist
ESRI Canada
+1 (416) 386-6488
Email Contact

Brian Fisher
GIS Supervisor
Mineral Resources Branch
Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources
+1 (902) 424-6660
Email Contact

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