Geospatial Data

The Maps, Data and Government Information Centre (MaDGIC) serves as a central point of access to a wide range of data and statistics. 

Geospatial data is a type of data that shows where features or objects exist in the world; for instance, the physical locations of cities, rivers, or roads. It's used in GPS systems, mapping apps on your phone, and by researchers and planners to understand and manage the world around us.  

Geospatial data helps us model real-world features like buildings, roads, lakes, and property boundaries on a computer screen using GIS (Geographic Information System) software. These real-world features have attributes that are associated with their location, like the address of a building, the length of a road, or the types of trees in a forest.  

There are two types of geospatial data.  

  • Vector data is represented by points, lines, and areas (or polygons) that have discrete locations on a map. For example, it is common to see cities represented as points on a map, roads and rivers as lines, and lakes and provincial boundaries as areas.  
  • Raster data is represented by a matrix of cells or pixels (like a digital image) and is used to model continuous real-world phenomena, like temperature or elevation change. 

MaDGIC can help you find, analyze and visualize geospatial data in GIS and other specialized software packages available to current Trent students, staff and faculty. Find out more about our services and facilities and contact us for personalized support. 

Trent Access 

  • Scholars GeoPortal is a geospatial data discovery tool available to current students, staff, and faculty at Trent to enrich their teaching and research with a growing collection of geospatial data and mapping products. Search, preview, query, download and share data about Ontario and Canada, such as topographic data from various sources, historical census boundary files and topographic maps, current orthophotography from the Government of Ontario’s imagery program, and much more. Export data in a range of useful formats including SHP, DWG, DXF, GeoTIFF, MrSID, and PDF. Trent login required. 
  • Trent Library subscribes to the CanMap Content Suite from DMTI Spatial Inc., which includes coast-to-coast national coverage of more than 300 mapping layers like water, parks, utilities, and transportation (including networks and routing attribution such as speed limits, turn restrictions, etc.). Trent users also have access to CanMap Address Points, a comprehensive collection of individual address points with land use status, and high precision geocodes. This data is available for download from Scholars GeoPortal. For larger downloads, contact for alternative access options. 
  • Trent University’s ArcGIS Online Portal is where you can find and use Esri data and mapping products, manage your own geospatial content and view informative and inspirational content created and shared by other students, staff and faculty. MaDGIC shares a variety of geospatial base data (for example, roads, water, land cover, infrastructure, and protected areas) clipped to a 30 km (18.64 mi) buffer around Symons Campus. Note that you must be a registered student, staff, or faculty member with an active Trent Esri enterprise account to access data from Trent's ArcGIS Online Portal.

Open Data


  • is a search and discovery engine created by geospatial data experts from provincial, territorial and federal government departments in Canada. It's a place to easily find, use, access and visualize a huge collection of Canada's geographic information about
    • administrative boundaries 
    • economics
    • emergencies and natural disasters 
    • environmental topics 
    • satellite and aerial imagery 
    • infrastructure 
    • legal topics 
    • science 
    • society  
  • The Earth Observation Data Management System (EODMS) is a tool offered by Natural Resources Canada for the public to find and download RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) images and National Air Photo Library (NAPL) air photos.   
  • The Canadian Geospatial Data Extraction Tool can be used to select and download only the map data you need for a specified spatial extent, from detailed vector base layers to high-resolution digital elevation models. The CanVec series includes more than 60 topographic layers like roads, waterbodies, and landforms that are organized into eight categories and available at map scales of 1:50,000 or 1:250,000. The data is high-quality, follows international standards, and is well-suited for adding detailed base layers to a map layout. 
  • Statistics Canada Boundary Files are geospatial files that display Statistics Canada geographic classifications, including administrative and statistical boundaries. These files are well-suited for creating maps and conducting geographic analysis using GIS software. There are two file types available for download:  
    • digital files, which include all areas plus coastal waters; and  
    • cartographic files, focusing on Canada's mainland and islands.  
  • Indigenous Peoples and Lands Maps provides comprehensive tools to find data and maps (interactive and static) to study present and historical Canadian Indigenous lands and treaties. 
  • Great Lakes Commission GIS offers a variety of GIS map layers for public use, focusing on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. Layers include a range of geographical and political boundary maps such as Great Lakes States, Canadian provinces, U.S. Congressional Districts, and county boundaries for several states. This collection also provides access to geographic data like elevation, watershed boundaries, and ecological layers related to fisheries and bird populations. 


  • The Ontario Geohub is a go-to resource where you can search, interact with, request, and download reliable geospatial data and metadata about Ontario. Example datasets include orthophotography of Southern Ontario, captured on a 5-year cycle starting in 2011 as well as high-resolution LiDAR data and derived products collected in leaf-off conditions beginning in 2022. You will also discover a range of unique mapping applications from the Government of Ontario, like Fish ON-line, the Ontario Watershed Information Tool (OWIT), Make a Topographic Map, and more. 
  • GeologyOntario is an online platform that makes it easy to find and download geoscience data for Ontario. The portal is designed for a wide range of users including geologists, mineral explorers, municipal planners, students, environmental groups, Indigenous communities, and the public. 


  • The County of Peterborough Public GIS Application is a public GIS that offers a variety of map layers, linking locations to related information, photos, and websites. The platform is equipped with easy-to-use features like search, draw, measure, and print, enabling you to create and download a map customized for your specific needs. 
  • The City of Peterborough Open GIS Data initiative allows users to explore and learn about the city, interact with staff and citizens, and use information to solve problems and make informed choices. You can find a variety of datasets in formats like spreadsheets and map files, with downloadable maps in PDF format. 
  • Peterborough E-maps is a handy tool where you can look up specific addresses, discover places of interest in the city, and see aerial photographs of the area. 


  • Big Ten Academic Alliance Geoportal offers GIS datasets, web services, and digitized historical maps carefully curated by librarians and specialists from twelve research institutions in the Big Ten Academic Alliance. This is a great resource to learn about these institutions and the origins of the geospatial information they provide. 
  • is the U.S. Government's open data site that provides access to open datasets from various federal agencies. Find data, tools, and resources useful for research, create web and mobile apps, design data visualizations, and more.