"Spotlight" On The Inner Coastal Natural Resource Center Stream Habitat Mapping Project (ICNRC)
I was recently re-introduced to a project developed in British Columbia know as
The Local Information Mapping Model (LIMM).
A posting to the GeoCommunity discussion board got my wheels turning so I contacted the author for more details.
As it turned out, Jess Gordon (the author of the thread) was a Tech Manager for Location Technologies at
AXYS Consulting in Victoria, B.C. from 1991-96... the same company I worked for several years prior to
starting up The GeoCommunity (small world eh). Jess put me in touch with Mike Berry,
Project Director for LIMM (and the principal reason for its reality)
and the local R.P.Bio in Alert Bay, BC. Mike has provided us with details of the LIMM project
and points out that there has been a great deal of volunteer effort
(especially the "local knowledge" input), there has also been a lot of money
and "in-kind" contributions to the project (from Fisheries Renewal BC, DFO, and others). The project
is a fine example of inter-agency cooperation, endless hours from volunteers, partners, and
a project "champion" with the desire to see things through to the end. It doesn't end there though. The project is also having problems growing due to a lack of funds and problems obtaining data at a reasonable cost - Glenn Letham
Thanks Jess Gordon and Mike Berry for their contributions to this feature
The Inner Coast Natural Resource Center (ICNRC) Stream Habitat Mapping Project (the
Local Information Mapping Model or LIMM Project) began in February 1999, and has
been almost three years in development. Funding was provided by Fisheries Renewal BC
to develop an interactive on-line stream habitat data entry and mapping tool primarily for
the use of Northern Vancouver Island Stewardship Groups. The web map site can be
viewed via www.icnrc.org and is located on the
The BC Ministry of Environment Lands and Parks and Fisheries and Oceans Canada both
have map display web sites and associated fisheries information databases. The ICNRC
web map site is different in that it allows password-authorized users to enter new stream
habitat and fish distribution information directly while on-line. Federal and Provincial
sites have no such data entry capability; rather, new information must be sent as hardcopy
to the various agencies and it sometimes takes considerable time for that information to
be displayed on maps and for the updated information to become retrievable. New
information put into the ICNRC streams database is immediately viewable as points or
zones on the maps and associated data reports.
The ICNRC mapping project started by visiting archives of both DFO and MoELP (B.C.
Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks) to retrieve existing information about
impacted stream habitats. Much of this information was poorly stored in warehouses and
was not available for public use. The intent of the project was to compile the existing
data and add new “local knowledge” stream information into a readily accessible
catalogue. The stream habitat database is to be used as a tool in setting priorities for
restoration projects in the Combined North Island Fisheries Center area, and to catalogue
new fisheries related information collected by local stewardship groups and individuals.
To date (April, 2001) the impacted habitat database contains approximately 700 records
of impacted stream habitats, and new records are being added continuously.
The ICNRC web map site is now linked to the joint DFO/BC Fisheries “Fish Wizard”
database so users of the site can access Fisheries Information Summary System (FISS)
reports and other information relating to the stream of interest. The ICNRC site uses
Autodesk Canada’s “MapGuide Viewer”TM to display stream maps and the site visitor is
able to zoom into areas of interest to view reports or add new information. Some of the
North Island and Mainland Inlet area has 1:20000 orthophoto coverage that can be
switched on or off. This layer allows the user to more accurately pinpoint impacted
habitat or fish observation sites, especially in those streams that are not accurately
represented on the BC Watershed Atlas basemaps.
The ICNRC web map site was initially designed to display stream habitat and fish
distribution information. In the near future we will be adding a marine layer or theme to
the mapping site that will allow stewardship groups and individuals to enter such things
as inter-tidal species observations, nearshore habitat observations, and marine species
point or polygon information.
The project has been developed on the ICNRC theme of “Linking Local Knowledge With
Science”. Local resource stewards can easily access information and, by being able to
instantly view their own data inputs in map and report formats, they will hopefully
develop a more active sense of stewardship of local resources.
This project has been developed in cooperation with an informal group of “Community
Stewardship Mappers” who share a server and other resources on the www.shim.bc.ca
website. The server is maintained by the BC Conservation Federation in the lower
mainland, as North Island internet speeds are prohibitively slow to serve out large map
The ICNRC LIMM mapping and database project was conceived and championed by
Michael Berry (project Coordinator) and Jess Gordon (project GIS Advisor) and is
designed to explore a new approach that allows local knowledge as well as the traditional
scientific process to create input to maps and databases using the Internet. There were no
templates to build on, agency “buy in” has not always been immediate, and much of the
historic data has been gathered from some fairly dusty archives.
The ICNRC would like to thank Brad Mason M.R.M., (Habitat Inventory Coordinator,
Information Management Unit, Habitat and Enhancement Branch, Fisheries and Oceans
Canada) for his tireless support (mostly on weekends and in evenings) of this project.
His knowledge and support for Community Stewardship has helped this and many other
Local Stewardship projects throughout BC.
Thanks are due to Ms. Suzanne Richer who developed the interactive web mapping tools.
Even working out of Halifax she has quickly dealt with the inevitable “glitches” involved
in developing new technology and has invested many hours to produce the result seen on
The part time data entry technicians, Brian Svanvik and Shannon Bleasby, and the project
GIS advisor, Jess Gordon, have been most patient in helping the project grow from vision
All interested Parties are encouraged to use the ICNRC LIMM web map site - it has been
developed to provide a living archive of North Island Stewardship efforts.
Michael D. Berry (ICNRC LIMM Project Coordinator)
Using the the ICNRC Stream Observation Mapping Tool
Innitial welcome screen from the MapGuide app
Area with Orthophotos displayed - click for larger image with contours displayed
Users can zoom in to anywhere past a 1 : 50,000 Scale to view streams and habitat impact data. The streams and habitat impacts are selectable
Right-Click and Select "View ==> Report" will cause a pop-up window telling you to choose a report.
A sample FISS Report
Users having access priveleges can use the system to digitize data, link it to a piece of the blueline atlas,
and add attribute data.
This project required the participation of a number of players, however,
as is often the case, some agencies are not always eager to get on board.
The project is currently using the TRIM roads and contours layers
thanks to a (temporary) agreement with B.C. Energy Mines and Resources as
a permanent agreement regarding the use of TRIM data could not be worked out with GeoData BC.
Berry tells me that having additional TRIM data as well as forest cover data
would be a real boost for the project, however, at
$425/sheet [1:20,000 scale] for 170 required sheets [and that's just for the North Island/Central
Coast] it likely won't happen in a hurry.
Berry would like to expand this project to include nearshore and marine
themes but the current "loan" agreement from the current provider of bathymetric
data restricts web publication. He would also like to link
directly to various Provincial and Federal datasets
but notes that the project will have to be "sold" to executives before any agreements are reached.
If you have any ideas or suggestions for data sources or data sharing, please contact Mike Berry at
About Fisheries Renewal B.C.
FISHERIES RENEWAL BC is a Crown corporation
created to lead the renewal of British Columbia’s fish
resource. The corporation will work with partners to make
strategic investments in programs that improve fish stocks
and habitat; develop new fisheries; diversify and market
products and services; create jobs; and strengthen fishing
communities through training, education and technological
development. The mandate extends to all fish (finfish and
shellfish, crustaceans, aquatic animals and aquatic plants)
all waters (fresh and marine) and all sectors (commercial,
Aboriginal and recreational). Funding is available for works
on all lands (public, private and First Nations).
You can visit their website at
Some useful weblinks
Are you working on a project and having prolems getting data? Got any interesting tales to share or comments
regarding data cost recovery, the cost of obtaining "public" data, or data sharing... I'd love to hear from you. contact firstname.lastname@example.org