Mapping Support and Training

Applications for the 2019 program are opening in the new year!

Kootenay Lake watersheds map

Please refer to our 2018 webinar: Mapping Your Watershed With CBWN to learn more about how to benefit from our Summer Mapping Program – see here!

The SGRC/CBWN Mapping Program

The Columbia Basin Watershed Network works in partnership with Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre (SGRC) to support watershed network groups and members with an interest in mapping. This work includes but is not limited to: assembling data for use in interactive mapping platforms such as the Columbia River Basin Biodiversity Atlas or GIS/Google Earth, GPS surveying, producing paper or digital map products and 3D visualizations, providing GIS or remote sensing analyses. The partnership can also provide training to CBWN members on GIS, GPS and internet map resources.

The CBWN works with the Selkirk Geospatial Research Program at Selkirk College to assist watershed groups with mapping and geospatial research. We have two main programs, the Summer Mapping Program, and the Select Research Project program.

Summer Mapping Program

The CBWN Summer Mapping Program offers 2-4 weeks of supervised coop student support between May 15 and August 10 to watershed groups to use geographic information systems (mapping) in well-defined projects that offer great potential for involvement and communication. The proposals we chose for support this year are listed below. We expect that all these projects will increase involvement in the watershed group either through improved community understanding or through participation in mapping or research. They could be accomplished in the short time frame of the awards. We are grateful to the Columbia Bastin Trust for their support of this program. Each year we are able to support four watershed groups with a watershed mapping project that engages their communities and increases understanding of the watersheds.

Past projects can be viewed at the Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre website, in the Columbia Basin Watershed Network Project directory.

2017 Summer Mapping Program Awards & Updates

Mainstreams Environmental Society: Mather Creek Watershed Mapping Project Report – Susan Bond

Arrow Lakes Environmental Stewardship Society: for base maps and initial wetland delineation

Glade Watershed Stewardship Society: for baseline mapping to support ecosystem planning.

Wasa Lake Improvement District: for flood contour mapping to support land use planning.

Selkirk College GIS Program Coop Student Profile: Kayln May

By Kalyn May

My name is Kalyn May, a recent graduate of the Advanced Diploma in Geographic Information Systems at Selkirk College. After this program, I was fortunate to be accepted as a co-op student with the Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre to work with the Columbia Basin Watershed Network, and several of its member groups this summer. Primarily providing them with GIS and mapping support towards watershed protection and management projects and to also be used in other initiatives within their communities.

The Arrow Lakes Environmental Stewardship Society was interested in maps of watersheds near Burton, British Columbia to be use in community presentations as wells as for wetland restoration, water quality monitoring, and community capacity building. Glade Watershed Protection Society was looking to enhance ecological watershed management efforts in the Glade Creek watershed recovery from past logging activities. The Wasa Lake Land Improvement District was interested in updating base maps of the area as well as identifying properties that are vulnerable to seasonal flooding. Lastly the Mainstreams Environmental Society was looking to identify human and wildlife uses within the Mather Creek watershed and to use these maps to increase awareness and the value of water resources in their community.

This has been a really great learning opportunity, which has helped to strengthen the skills and mapping techniques from my education (as well as learn a few new ones). There was great communication between the groups and helped me to tailor each of project to their needs. This co-op wasn’t without its challenges, especially with upgrades to the GIS lab that had me prepared against unsuspecting power outages and other technical issues…. In addition there is still limitations and constraints when it comes to certain spatial data that hopefully will be addressed in the future.

Nevertheless, this experience has provided me with valuable lessons that have really helped me to strengthen my skills and techniques that will benefit my GIS career in the future as well as gain confidence in the transition from practice to real life application.

Select Research Project Nominations

The CBWN/SGRC Select Research Project program selects proposals to put forward for undergraduate thesis research. These proposals must offer the potential for student research development, by defining and addressing a single research question, as well as show potential for answering a research question important to a community. These project start in September and finish in February.

2017 Select Research Project Nominations

We also work with the Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre to nominate projects for consideration by the GIS students as thesis projects. The best projects here are research level GIS projects, that will allow the student to engage in research relevant to geographic information services.

Columbia Lake Stewardship Society has proposed research on how to use remote sensing data to identify and potentially track changes in aquatic invasive species, using colour signatures to distinguish between native aquatics and mats of invasive species. We have recommended this project as a GIS research project.

We are in discussions with the other applicants about how best to move their projects forward.

Applications are typically due in early Spring, and our Mapping Committee meets in April to discuss how best to support our watershed groups with their geospatial needs.

Learn more about the projects supported in prior years:

Quick link to view maps produced for various watershed groups though the Mapping Program in 2014.

Learn more about projects supported in 2014, click here.

For more information contact CBWN at:

2016 Summer Mapping Program Awards

Blewett Watershed Committee: for base maps and any available data on watershed activities and aquifers, to support participation in land use planning.

Friends of Kootenay Lake Society: update existing maps with Shoreline Inventory and land ownership categories, to support land use planning.

Slocan River Streamkeepers: development of internet mapping server tool, to test on Slocan watershed group maps initially, and to improve CBWN member use of online mapping.
Wildsight Golden: Updates to Columbia Waterbird Survey, including new study sites and private land ownership.

GIS Training Opportunities in the Basin

QGIS for Beginners

Richard Johnson, SWAMP and Slocan Lake Research Centre offers QGIS for Beginners. The fee varies depending on session costs, typically 8-10 students are required to run a session.
Learn how to use the free, open source QGIS program to produce high quality maps from public databases and your own knowledge. In a hands-on environment, students will create basic maps, add lines, shapes, overlay images, create contour maps, add labels and produce maps for print or digital presentation. We will cover projections, data sources, data analysis and map creation. Full day course, cost $99. Please contact us to arrange a session.


Selkirk College Continuing Education offers an IMAP BC course in the basics of mapping, at their Grand Forks and Nakusp campuses.
The draft course catalog says:
Need a map for your next backcountry adventure? View thousands of map datasets in an interactive map environment. Combine map layers of interest, produce maps in print or mail to others.
Check the Selkirk College Continuing Education Calendar for details.

Other Mapping Resources in the Columbia Basin

Columbia River Basin Biodiversity Atlas

The Columbia Basin Watershed Network gratefully acknowledges support of the Columbia Basin Trust.