Thursday, 26 July 2012

Manitoba Road Network

One of the most fundamental datasets in any province or state is a road network.  This key feature is used for reference, navigation and routing.

Currently no single organization in Manitoba has overall responsibility for managing and maintaining the complete digital version of a Manitoba Road Network (MRN).  Various components are maintained in a piecemeal fashion and some components are not maintained at all.  Natural Resources Canada, the creators of the National Road Network, produced the Manitoba portion of the National Road Network (NRN).  NRCan does not have a mandate to maintain this network and unfortunately the geometry of the NRN is already becoming dated.  Other organizations, such as Manitoba Hydro and the Medical Transportation Coordination Centre are maintaining road networks for their internal operational needs.

In recognition of the need for this important dataset GeoManitoba and Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation have begun a project to establish a Manitoba Road Network.  The purpose of the MRN project is to establish a program to develop and maintain a representation of a continuous, accurate, and spatially-referenced centerline for all non-restricted roads in Manitoba.

The objectives of the project include consulting with stakeholders and defining the MRN requirements and establishing partnerships.  Development of the MRN will include establishing a governance, ownership and oversight model to ensure the network’s ongoing upkeep.

A successful MRN project will have the following benefits:
  • Overall ownership and responsibility as well as ownership and responsibility for individual pieces will be clearly established and documented
  • Manitoba will have a road network that is complete and current with a maintenance plan to keep it current going forward
  • Public Safety will be enhanced by improved 911 emergency vehicle dispatch
  • Improved management of emergencies by Emergency Measures Organizations such as EMO, Manitoba Health, Manitoba Agriculture and Food Initiatives, etc.
  • Partnerships will be established with Federal and Provincial government agencies, crown corporations and private industry which will decrease the burden on any one organization and will pave the way for improved data sharing.  
  • Creation of the MRN will reduce the duplication of effort and cost that is currently expended by various organizations to independently obtain or create a road network for their own needs. 
  • Improved dispatch of gas, transmission line and emergency service by utility organizations such as Manitoba Hydro.
Let's hope this project is a success.  We need this critical dataset.


  1. Rather than build yet another road network why not collaborate on Open Street Map?

  2. Yes a valid consideration. I was also looking at open street map as I pondered all of the duplication of effort that seems to be happening. The answer may be a bit of both. Emergency services providers and others have additional attribution requirements and are hesitant to use a network that is open and possibly subject to tampering. They prefer a network that uses information from authoritative sources. I see no reason why the Open Street Map cannot be used as one of the sources and updated with new information from this project.