Neptis Foundation Geospatial Data

Neptis Foundation Geospatial Data Collection on Urban Issues

These pages contain a listing and brief description of these data.

For access information, click here.

Cartography Office Base Series (COBS)

One key product of Neptis research is a collection of maps that illustrate and describe phenomena under study at a regional scale.  However, the same detailed, large-scale geospatial data sets used for analysis in any given project were repeatedly used to create the maps in many of the Neptis reports.  The use of such detailed data to create regional-scale maps becomes problematic particularly when a map is distributed across the internet since its file size become exponentially large as more data sets are added to the map.  Additionally since many of data sets originate from different sources, the data do not always align properly.

In the summer of 2008, the Neptis Foundation and the Cartography Office initiated a data generalization program whereby a number of frequently-used data sets were identified and cartographic principles of generalization were applied.  The object was to generalize these base data so that they could be mapped at scale between 1:250,000, the typical scale of an upper-tier municipality or county and 1:900,000, the scale of southwestern Ontario.  The data sets in the series were then adjusted so that they would align to each other whenever possible.  The program has been applied to base data in the collection that covers southwestern Ontario with a central focus on the Toronto region, but as the research expands to other regions so will the generalization program. Data in the series are stored in ArcGIS feature class format, in feature datasets within a geodatabase.

Cartography Office Base Series: Southwestern Ontario (SWO)

Census Value-Added Series – CVAS

The data in this series is a product of a number of projects that required census variables at different levels of geography.  Most of the data sets, geography and tabular attributes, originate from the Map and Data Library at Robarts Library, but as part of the data analysis process, value has been added to each data set either through amalgamating census units to form a study area that coincides with a political jurisdiction such as the GTA or GGH or attaching attribute information, such as population, dwelling or employment variables to the geography.  If you require census information for the Toronto region to study changes in population, dwelling, transportation or employment trends, this series is a good place to start your search.

TTS Series – Transportation Tomorrow Survey Series

The data in this series is a product of a number of projects that require traffic zone geography and population and employment variables.  Although the geography and attribute information are available through the Data Management Group (DMG) in the Department of Civil Engineering, they are not available in a combined format for easy use in a GIS software.

Project-Specific Series

Centres and Corridors – P. Filion

In the report, The Urban Growth Centres Strategy in the Greater Golden Horseshoe: Lessons from Downtowns, Nodes, and Corridors, the author examines the successes and failures of polices created to encourage centre and corridor development.  As part of the analysis, the author, in cooperation with Cartography and Neptis, analyze land-use, population, employment and travel patterns in a select number of existing centres and corridors.  The data created for this project has been made available.

GTA Planning Game – A. Sorensen
In 2003, Professor Sorensen from the University of Toronto, Scarborough campus approached the Cartography Office and the Neptis Foundation with the idea of creating a planning game for his Urban Geography undergraduate course using the GTA as the model.  In 2002, the Neptis Foundation had just published a study called Toronto-Related Region Futures Study: Implications for Business-As-Usual Development (BAU) which projected the growth of population, employment and urban land in the next 30 years if status quo development patterns continued.  The Planning Game used the BAU projections as a basis for growth, but the students were asked to create alternative development scenarios using a map as their gameboard.  The gameboard map was designed and created by staff at the Cartography Office and Neptis Foundation.

Visualizing the Toronto Metropolitan Region – An Atlas

This is an on-going project that began in the summer of 2008 with the generalization of some of the base data in the collection.  The idea is to create an atlas or a series of maps that depict the urban complex in the Toronto region in its context, including the natural landscape, transportation infrastructure, political jurisdictions and economic environment.  The series will be distributed as wall posters and on the Neptis website using a zoomable software.

Access information

Conditions of access and use of data in the Neptis Foundation Geospatial Data Collection on Urban Issues.

Currently these data are available in two ways:

1. Through the Map and Data Library, University of Toronto, GIS and Data Catalog. Searching on “Neptis” will bring up all the data sets listed above, downloadable as pre-packaged .zip files

2. All these data sets are housed on a Geography Department data server, and are available for use by students, faculty and staff of the Department. When logging in to the Department network, you should automatically be mapped to the courses directory H:\. These data will reside in the H:/Cartography_Office directory. They may be ccessed via ArcGIS tools in Geography labs, or from home computers via the Geography vpn.

Use of data is constrained by data-use or licencing agreements inherited from source data (example: StatsCan Data Liberation Initiative agreement with Library). Details of use constraints are incorporated into metadata records for each data set. Generally to be used only for teaching and research for University of Toronto students and faculty. Some data may be available for other non-commercial research uses on request.

For further information contact: Byron Moldofsky, Manager, GIS and Cartography Office, Department of Geography
byron@geog.utoronto.ca