ICIS Data Sharing Initiative
BC ELN, on behalf of its partner libraries, is an affiliate member of the Integrated Cadastral Information Society (ICIS). This membership enables participating post-secondary institutions to access and use ICIS member data, including data provided by the Province of B.C. As of 2015, partner libraries must pay a fee to participate in the initiative.
Who can participate in the ICIS initiative?
To participate, BC ELN partner libraries must:
- pay an annual fee according to the latest renewal (2015 renewal)
- have a librarian able to mediate access for users
How can the data be used?
Our licence allows for "use by faculty, students, and staff, for research and educational [purposes]". This includes researchers and graduate students using data sets to support their research and publications, and instructors using data in the classroom (e.g. a GIS course). Commercial use is not allowed.
For more details see the BC ELN / ICIS Data Sharing and Licensing Agreement (DSLA) (Attachment 5) and the ICIS Data Policies.
What data sets are available under the agreement? Where can they be found?
There are two portals for access to data covered by the BC ELN ICIS membership.
- ICIS' own data is available to its members through the ICIS website, in particular the Map Viewer (for generating maps) and the Data Catalog (for downloading raw data sets).
- ICIS members are also allowed to access major data sets through the BC government's Base Map Online Store (BMOS) and BC Geographic Warehouse (BCGW).
Participating libraries also receive a discount on orthophotos.
Chris Burns of KPU has created a guide to accessing and downloading data from ICIS (PDF).
The following guides to the BC government GIS data were created by Tom Brittnacher, former data librarian at UBC:
Note that both websites above also offer many services for free to the public. In general, the public are able to generate maps and download them as images. The value offered through this initiative is the ability to download the underlying data files for manipulation and combining with other data sets.
Accessing the Data - Creating Logins for Data Librarians - Role of the Data Librarian
Accessing the data in the ICIS and BC government portals is via a mediated model. In other words, the data librarian responds to requests from researchers and other users, and downloads the requested data sets on their behalf. Access is controlled by personal logins and passwords. Anonymous IP range-based access is not possible. This mediated model is not ideal, but at present there are no alternatives. It is noted that access to data sets such as StatsCan is often limited in this kind of way.
The data librarian is responsible for:
- informing potential users at their institution about the initiative
- confirming that all data requests come from authorized users
- educating users on data policies and appropriate use (this is verbal; there is no end-user agreement to be signed)
- downloading data sets
We are in discussion with ICIS about allowing "power users" (e.g. a researcher with extensive data needs) to create their own personal login and access the interfaces directly.
To participate in the initiative, a post secondary institution needs to inform BC ELN of the name and contact information of their data librarian. As noted above, as of 2015 there is an annual fee for participation. The data librarian should already have a BCeID (see below). BC ELN will:
- contact ICIS to have the librarian's login created for the ICIS portal
- contact GeoBC to have their BCeID assigned appropriate permissions to access data on the government portals
The BCeID is an authentication system used by the BC government. It is a personal login for an individual with permission to access certain government websites and services. To obtain a BCeID, the data librarian must contact the BCeID account manager for their institution. The best way to find that person is to look up their institution in the BCeID White Pages. That manager will create the account for the data librarian. BC ELN will then arrange for the account to be assigned permission to access data sets on the GeoBC portal.
Participation in this initiative requires specialized knowledge in a number of areas: types of content available, use of the interfaces, GIS data standards, etc. It is hoped that data librarians can share expertise amongst each other and contact colleagues for assistance with challenging reference questions. A list of participating institutions and their assigned data librarians will be added here after the renewal process.
It may also be possible to obtain support from the hosts of the platforms.
|For support with the ICIS platform, contact:|
|For support with BMOS and BCGW, contact their Service desk:|
Email : NRSApplications@gov.bc.ca
Phone: Victoria: 250-387-6121
Elsewhere in BC: 1-800-663-7867
The BC ELN office is not able to support the use of these data services beyond basic account setup.