What is the Ground Ice Map of Canada?

The Ground Ice Map of Canada (GIMC) (Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 8713) presents new national-scale mapping of ground ice conditions in Canada. The mapping depicts a first-order estimate of the combined volumetric percentage of excess ice in the top 5 m of permafrost from segregated, wedge, and relict ice. The estimates for the three ice types are based on modelling by O’Neill et al. (2019) and informed by available published values of ground ice content and expert knowledge. The mapping offers an improved depiction of ground ice in Canada at a broad scale, incorporating current knowledge on the associations between geological and environmental conditions and ground ice type and abundance. It provides a foundation for hypothesis testing related to broad-scale controls on ground ice formation, preservation, and melt. Additional compilation of quantitative field data on ground ice, and improvements to national-scale surficial geology mapping will allow further assessment and refinement of the representation of ground ice in Canada.

O’Neill, H B; Wolfe, S A; Duchesne, C; (2019). New ground ice maps for Canada using a paleogeographic modelling approach, The Cryosphere vol. 13 no. 3.

What is the context of the GIMC evaluation?

Evaluation of the GIMC is part of the ongoing efforts to provide general feedback, and evaluate specific areas of the GIMC, which will inform the production of the first version of the Ground Ice Potential and geotechnical permafrost base map of Canada (GRIPv1) by NSERC PermafrostNet. It follows the production of a Ground Ice Atlas of Canada helped by the participation of many contributors, and will provide a more in-depth feedback on the map product.

What do we need?

NSERC PermafrostNet Theme 1 researchers are involved in improving the GIMC. We would like your expert opinion on the accuracy of the current GIMC. Your expertise is valued, as knowledge on ground ice is quite rare and highly site dependent, and therefore scattered all across the permafrost community. In addition to using your knowledge to evaluate the GIMC, NSERC PermafrostNet is creating a standard and procedure of permafrost data online publication, and if you wish to, we will be able to assist you in the online publication of your dataset.

How can you improve the GIMC?

You can contribute by completing the questionnaire provided below. The questionnaire asks you to indicate the locations where your expertise can be applied, then prompts you to evaluate specific sites.

Questionnaire Instructions

  1. Download the excel file provided below (do not fill or open online).
  2. Modify the name of the .xlsx file by inserting your last name_first name in the proper space in the spreadsheet title (please avoid blank spaces)
  3. Fill out the questionnaire, starting with the “General Questionnaire” tab
  4. Once filled (and saved), return it by uploading it in the form below.

Please avoid making any changes to the formatting, the tabs or to cells other than those dedicated to be filled. If you need more spaces to input specific sites, please fill a second questionnaire instead of adding lines to the file. As a general rule, avoid modifying the structure of the excel file, as it will create issues when gathering the data.

The questionnaire is supported by the GIMC in the form of a kml file, which you can open using Google Earth (opening the file will automatically open Google Earth, if you have it installed on your computer). If you’re using the online version of Google Earth, you can add a layer by clicking on “Menu” (top left of the screen), “Projects”, “New Project”, “Upload a KML file from your computer”.

The KML file is separated in 4 layers, which you can individually toggle on and off, showing the distribution and excess ice content for different ground ice types (total, relict, segregated, wedge). Blank areas have no excess ground ice. Please refer to this map to evaluate your sites, and keep in mind the relative scale of your specific research sites in relation to the scale of the mapping efforts.

Questionnaire Upload Form

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

How will the data be used and protected?

The collected data will be analyzed anonymously, and will serve as an assessment of exactitude of the GIMC. Results will be made public as part of a review of the GIMC, and the final dataset will be made publicly available on a data repository. Further information about our data policy is provided on our data page and our data standard recommendations are available here.


Please contact us if you have any questions – permafrostnet@carleton.ca

Thank you in advance for your contribution.

The GIMC evaluation team