by Adam Hayes, Soil Management Specialist – Field Crops, OMAFRA
Ag Maps Geographic Information Portal
The Ag Maps Geographic Information Portal is a new service launched this past fall by the Geomatics Unit of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. This new page on the OMAFRA website, www.ontario.ca/agmaps, offers a variety of soil map resources. There are four sections that provide a wide range of information.
1. Agricultural Information Atlas
The Agricultural Information Atlas is an interactive mapping website. It serves as a tool to acquire agricultural information or to create maps. You can view maps with basic road and municipal information, aerial photography, Canada Land Inventory, hydraulic soil groups, tile drainage information, soil drainage, watersheds and more. It is as easy as clicking on and off the layers you are interested in seeing. You can use the tools to measure length, area and to mark areas on the map. The maps can be printed out as well. These maps can be quite handy when you need a farm or field map.
2. Geospatial Data View and Downloads
This part of the website allows the user to view the location on Google Maps of farm markets, OMAFRA offices, equipment dealers and more. The user may also download these files to their computers as a kml or shapefile.
3. Canada Land Inventory (CLI) Mapping
The Canada Land Inventory maps, or CLI maps as they are often known, provide information on the soil capability class of land (Class 1 to 7) inOntario. The map units are in colour and use the current road names.
4. OMAFRA Program Data Sets
a. Drainage Mapping
The drainage mapping section of the website provides information and links to the agricultural drainage data that OMAFRA maintains.
b. Soil Mapping and Reports
This section provides links to a page on the Soils Ontario project. The objective is to evolve the current soils data into a digital database that is spatially accurate throughoutOntario, consistent, and easily accessible in digital and paper format. A link is also provided to the Land Information Ontario website, which has significant soils data sets. Another link takes the user to the CANSIS website, which is maintained by Agriculture andAgri-FoodCanada. This website has PDF versions of most of theOntariosoil maps and reports. Just click on the link that says “view the report”. The final link takes you to the Service Ontario website where soil maps, reports and other soils related publications can be ordered.
c. Land Use Data Sets
This section discusses the Agricultural Operations Inventory project, which is complete on a portion of the province. It provides farm and land use information, such as fields, farmsteads, fencerows and ditches. Detailed information includes crop type, row direction, ditch and farmstead locations, livestock raised, irrigation and tillage method used. Also described in this section is the Agricultural Resource Inventory, which was produced in 1983. It provides a map of general land use at that time – urban, woodland, and cropland (corn system, grazing system, hay system, etc). The final link takes you to a page about Specialty Crops and Canada Land Inventory Mapping for the Feed-in Tariff Program.
These resources represent a lot of work that has gone into creating useful tools for many types of uses. Some of them are easy for farmers to use and others are targeted more toward planners, consultants and others who have the software to map out the data. A few of the resources are complete, many are being constantly updated and improved, while others are still in development.
Check these resources out and see which ones are most useful for your situation.