This tool is intended to help you understand how to use mapping for source water protection.

Source water and watershed protection relies on geospatial data. For example, vulnerability mapping that shows very high to low risks can help when assessing source water protection in your upland watershed. Other stakeholders can layer the vulnerability mapping into their mapping and planning.

Mapping allows geo-referenced data presentations, which are well suited to watershed protection activities. However, GIS analysis involves large files with high computation requirements and it requires technical expertise.

How to use this tool

Mapping is a powerful tool to visualize geographic patterns and plan future land-use activities. There are many sources of high quality publicly available geospatial data that are well suited for source water protection and analyses. Table 16 is not comprehensive but contains some of the most useful sources of geospatial data for British Columbia.

Mapping tools specific to the Okanagan are provided in Table 17; similar links are likely available for other communities in B.C.


Table 16: Mapping tools applicable to B.C.

Mapping Tool





Provincial government index of geospatial data: GIS layers for roads, waterways, forestry, etc. LiDAR for most of southern B.C. and has a goal to acquire LiDAR for the whole province.

Government of British Columbia

Google Earth Timelapse

Time lapse of annual satellite images of any location on Earth for last 30 years. Useful for viewing large-scale changes over time (e.g., watershed deforestation, urban sprawl).


Sentinelhub Playground

Web portal for near-real-time satellite imagery of Earth. Useful for viewing conditions in remote locations or cataloguing recent or sudden changes within a watershed.

Sentinel Hub

B.C. Government Google Earth Layers

Several layers of geospatial data relevant to water suppliers and watershed management, viewable in Google Earth and updated daily.

Government of British Columbia

UBC Geographic Information Centre, Air Photo Collection

The largest provincial air photo collection. The GIC will loan air photos from their library, dated from the 1922 to 2009.


Table 17: Mapping tools specific to the Okanagan

Mapping Tool




RDCO Historical Air Photos

Web portal with high resolution air photos of RDCO since 1951. Excellent for cataloguing and comparing current and pre-urban landscapes.

Regional District of Central Okanagan