GEOSCIENCE ATLAS:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS





1) What is the Atlas used for?

2) What information is available on the Atlas?

3) What browsers work best with the Geoscience Atlas? How should the browser be set up?

4) Problems - the Atlas does not look correct; there are no icons to expand the Groups; I'm not getting the information I expect

5) Can I download data? If so, which layers can I download?

     5a) If I don't have a GIS program how can I view the data?

6) What projection and datum are used?

7) What is the format of the downloaded data?

8) The geology polygons I downloaded are all one colour - how do I colour the geology polygons?

9) The point (or line) data I downloaded does not have the same symbols as on the Geoscience Atlas - how do I get the same symbology?

10) Where can I get a legend for the bedrock geology map?

11) Can I view the shape attribute tables as a spreadsheet?

12) The order of the Contents is not the same as previously?

13) Who can I email or speak to about the Geoscience Atlas?

Contact Information



FAQ : Answers

1) What is the Atlas used for?
The Geoscience Atlas provides access to predominantly geological, geochemical and geophysical data collected by the Newfoundland and Labrador Geological Survey Division, the Mineral Lands Division and the Geological Survey of Canada. This data can be viewed by turning various layers on and off. Topographic data, as static base maps, are also available to provide a spatial framework to view the data. Most of this data is available for download (see other FAQ's, layer information and the Atlas Help for more information on downloading data).

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2) What information is available on the Atlas?
The Atlas contains geoscience information predominantly gathered by the Newfoundland and Labrador Mines Branch personnel and the Geological Survey of Canada, including bedrock and surficial geology, till, lake sediment and rock geochemistry, regional and detailed geophysics, mineral lands information (e.g., claim boundaries, mining leases), and some land use layers (e.g., Labrador Inuit Lands, public water supply areas, municipal boundaries). For a complete list go to the List of Layers.

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3) What browsers work best with the Geoscience Atlas? How should the browser be set up?
The Geoscience Atlas works best with recent versions of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Other browsers may work (e.g. Apple Safari) but not all Atlas tools and functions will work well. Make sure that pop-ups are enabled on your internet browser for this site. Ad blockers cause problems so make sure to disable the blocker for this site.

To be assured of getting the most recent website information, turn off caching. For example, in Internet Explorer (v.10) go to Tools > Internet Options > General Tab, under the Browsing History section click on the Settings button, and in the Temporary Internet Files section select "Every time I visit the webpage".

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4) Problems: the Atlas does not look correct; there are no icons to expand the Groups; I'm not getting the information I expect; I'm not getting any information.
Make sure the correct layer has been turned on in the Contents panel. Note that information is not available for Base Map topographic layers. Pop-ups need to be enabled on your internet browser for the Geoscience Atlas site. Ad blockers also cause problems so make sure to disable the blocker for this site.

If you click on an object (e.g, till or lake sediment sample site) and no information is displayed in the Search Results window then just refresh the screen (F5) and try again.  You will lose any drawn graphics.

If you are still not getting the correct information or the Atlas seems to be 'glitchy' (not providing the expected results), then it might be better to close the Geoscience Atlas and clear history (e.g. browsing, form, and cookies) for your internet browser. This will reset Geoscience Atlas parameters back to the default view - note that you will lose cookies, login information and form information if you haven't set up which parameters to clear in your browser. You may also have to clear your cache in the History settings.

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5) Can I download data? If so, which layers can I download?
Yes, the layers 'owned' by the Department of Natural Resources and a few other provincial government departments are available for download. Layers that we do not own are not available for download but may be available from the Contact information in the help file for that layer.

For vector data (i.e., point, line and polygon data) only the information bounded by the map window will be downloaded by the 'Download Data' tool. For raster data (i.e., geophysical images) the whole layer is downloaded in the chosen format.

Topographic data on the Base Maps is not available for download but most  of this data is available from the federal governments Geogratis site.

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5a) If I don't have a GIS program how can I view the downloaded data?
The vector data can be downoaded in ESRI shape file format which can be viewed by many free programs (see below). Also, the .dbf file, downloaded as part of the shape file, can be opened in many spreadsheet programs such as MS Excel. The .dbf file contains the attribute table listings. Raster data can be downloaded as images such as tif, jpg, and png which can be viewed in many free viewers.

QGIS is a free and open source GIS. It is available at www.qgis.org.

ArcGIS Explorer Desktop is a free GIS viewer that gives you an easy way to explore, visualize, and share GIS information. Review and download the program at: http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/explorer/index.html

Forestry GIS (fGIS TM) is a compact but robust shapefile editing program, digitizer and GIS data query tool for Windows. fGIS was designed for natural resource managers who are not GIS specialists. It's easy-to-use and simple to install. Many power users also like fGIS because they can run it on laptops or home computers without copyright issues, it produces data compatible with commercial GIS programs, and fGIS is free. Note that as of 2005 fGIS is no longer being updated but it is still available to use and freely share. Click on the following link http://www.forestpal.com/fgis.html. To download a copy of fGIS, go to the right side of the map and click on "Download a free unlimited copy."

MapWindow GIS is a free, open source, standards-based standalone software package that you can use to view and edit GIS data in many file formats. Click on the following link http://www.mapwindow.org/ and click on Downloads> Mapwindow Desktop.

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6) What projection and datum are used?
Downloaded data is provided in latitude-longitude, North American Datum 1927.

The projection of data in the Geoscience Atlas map window is NAD27, transverse mercator but centered on longitude 59.5°, and with a scale factor of 0.998, known locally as NF_GNL1.

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7)What format is the downloaded data?
Downloaded data from the Search Results window is provided in ESRI shape file format, in a latitude-longitude, NAD27 coordinate system.
Downloaded data from the Download tool is provided in a number of formats such as ESRI shape file or file geodatabases for feature class data (vector data) and jpg, tif or png for raster formats.

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8) The geology polygons I downloaded are all one colour - how do I colour the geology polygons?
This will depend on the GIS program you are using.

ArcGIS users:
-go to the Bedrock Geology help file , the ArcGIS layer files are available to download through the Symbology Files section

MapInfo users:
-Google addcolor.mbx or go directly to the Addcolor-243 zip file in the MapInfo Tools resource online, download the zip file and RUN the mbx program in MapInfo - the RGB colour values are in various fields at the end of the shape file tabular data (e.g., D_Red, D_Green and D_Blue colour the polygons in the 'detailed' geology mode).

Other GIS:
-use the RGB colour values in the bedrock geology shape file fields, to manually colour the polygons

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9) The point (or line) data I downloaded does not have the same symbols as on the Geoscience Atlas - how do I get the same symbology?
This will depend on the GIS program you are using and which layer you want to symbolize. 

ArcGIS users:
-please contact the Geoscience Data Management Section of the NL Geological Survey for a layer file which will symbolise the points or lines; some of these will need special fonts or styles and so it may not be possible to match the Atlas symbols

MapInfo and other GIS users:
You will have to manually set the symbols. Some point symbols (such as glacial striation directions) are available in the free 'GeomanT' font set which is available by contacting the Geoscience Data Management Section of the NL Geological Survey

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10) Where can I get a legend for the bedrock geology?
The help file has pdf files for the legends for the 1:1 million bedrock geology of Labrador and the 1:1 million bedrock geology of the Island of Newfoundland. More detailed legend information is also available from the help file as lists. Coloured legends for the specific geology downloaded will be available in the future.

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11) Can I view the shape attribute tables as a spreadsheet?
Yes, download the layer information in ESRI shape file format - this is composed of a group of files (e.g. shp, dbf, sbx, prj). The tabular information is contained in the .dbf file. This file can be opened in most spreadsheet programs (e.g., MS Excel). The data won't be well formatted but it will be available to view and manipulate.

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12) The order of the Contents is not the same as previously?
The order of the Contents Panel groups should be Map Layers, Coastal Monitoring, Indexes, Land Use, Mineral Lands, Geochemistry, Bedrock Geology, Surficial Geology and Geophysics. If the order is not as listed then polygon layers may obscure point or line layers. Reset the order by refreshing the current page by clicking on the reload icon, click on F5 or close the browser window and open it again. This may have to be done two or three times.

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13) Who can I email or speak to about the Geoscience Atlas or a particular layer?
Go to the help file for that layer and the contact information will be at the bottom of the file. For the Geoscience Atlas or general questions please go to this Contact link to get an email address and phone number.

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CONTACT

Questions, comments or suggestions can be directed to:

Geoscience Online
Email: GeoscienceOnline@gov.nl.ca

Geoscience Data Management
Geological Survey Branch
Department of Natural Resources
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
P.O. Box 8700
St. John's, NL A1B 4J6

t. 709-729-2301

(updated May, 2016)