June 14, 2007 - Edmonton

The ability to see what Alberta’s landscape might look like in the next ten to 100 years has just been made easier with the release of a new land-use visualization tool. In less than a year’s time, the Alberta Research Council and its partner Golder Associates developed MapNow, a software tool that creates spatial maps of various potential landscape changes resulting from all types of human land use. MapNow produces realistic maps of future landscapes based on outputs from ALCES, an Alberta developed land-use simulation model.

“MapNow represents a progressive step in the evolution of a tool that can be used in resource management decision-making,” says John McDougall, President and CEO with Alberta Research Council. “Although ALCES has been around for some time it was only capable of generating figures, tables and other numeric results. With this tool, those results are now presented visually in a way that is meaningful and easily understood not only by resource users, but also by the public.”

With increasing population growth and intensities in industrial development across the province, Albertans are concerned about cumulative effects of development on the environment and what that may mean for future generations. MapNow is a tool that can assist resource managers to further understand the consequences of landuse options and obtain meaningful public input.

“Natural resources will continue to be at the forefront of Alberta’s economic prosperity,” acknowledged Doug Horner, Minister of Advanced Education and Technology. “We have been successful both in attracting some very bright minds to Alberta to research better ways to manage our resources, and in drawing others with the right talents to take those discoveries and designs to market.”

MapNow is capable of assimilating large volumes of complex data derived from the ALCES simulation model into a variety of conceptual maps that illustrate how different regions and habitat types may be impacted. Resource managers, government policymakers, and the public are literally able to see potential future landscape outcomes that could occur from various management policies. By exploring the potential implications of land-use decisions before development unfolds, government and industry will be able to better manage the exceptionally complex range of environmental, economic, and social values that Albertans want from their landscape.

The MapNow project received funding and support from several provincial government and industry partners, including Advanced Education and Technology (Innovation Fund), Sustainable Resource Development, Environment, Energy, and the Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta.

MapNow is now commercially available. If you are conducting cumulative effects assessments and are interested in using MapNow, contact Craig Aumann of the Alberta Research Council or Justin McPherson of Golder Associates.

The Alberta Research Council Inc. (ARC) delivers innovative science and technology solutions that meet the priorities of industry and government in Alberta and beyond. Established in 1921, ARC is wholly-owned by the Government of Alberta and incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation. ARC operates in five facilities throughout Alberta, serving the energy, life sciences, and manufacturing sectors.

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For more information, contact:

Valerie Golka
Communications Advisor
Alberta Research Council Inc.
Phone: (780) 632-8409

Craig Aumann
Land Use Planning Systems
Alberta Research Council Inc.
Phone: (780) 450-5260

Justin McPherson
Senior Geomatics Specialist
Golder Associates Ltd.
10th Floor, 940 6th Avenue S.W.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2P 3T1
Phone: 403-532-5717 (direct)