Got Waterfront?

To develop, or not to develop in the floodplain?

I often get calls from developers, engineers, and regular home owners looking to make a few changes to their properties. If that property is crossed by a water feature, you may need to apply for a Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses permit in the course of having a development application approved.

Related: VuMAP Helps Property Research

The trade off

Regulatory bodies might be making some of the decisions for you about what to build, and where, if your property is adjacent to water or near other significant natural features, land forms or protected areas. In such a case, taking the approach of building just a few high end homes for the development and playing up the natural features at the site could be the best way to realize the maximum value from the land.

Incorporating a babbling brook or two into a new property development gives the neighbourhood a tranquil vibe that appeals to buyers craving a piece of nature without getting too far from the city.  The trade off, of course, means leaving some of the land undeveloped in order to raise the potential value of the development as a whole. If you have investors looking to cram as many units into a site as possible, it may be difficult to convince them that less is more, even when it's not your choice.

Convince them faster

There's an easy way to explain to your non-technical stakeholders clamping the purse strings firmly shut - show them.

Data visualization is just a fancy word for maps. First Base Solutions has a lot to offer if you need to compile a custom map of your site or even if you're just evaluating land prior to purchase. All you need is few layers of map data.

See how VuMAP lets you layer geographic data to instantly create your own custom maps.

We recommend you start with orthophoto, which simply means air photos that have been stitched together into a map. On top, add a layer of parcel mapping to see the limits of the property.

Just the orthophoto
Orthophoto with parcels

Now you can easily see in photographic detail where the special natural features intersect your land, and if they eat up a significant chunk of the property or make road access difficult.  This might be all you need to see to decide to walk away and keep looking for a better site.

Going more in depth, adding elevation data or regulatory flood plain mapping on top the photo and parcel will reveal the lay of the land and highlight flat, easily buildable spots within a property, and where ridges and valleys would need to be avoided.

Orthophoto with elevations

Orthophoto with flood plain (You'll need to contact the TRCA to interpret how the regulations apply to your development application specifically.)

Voila! A custom map to intuitively interpret and communicate the potential of any site.


How do I get map layers?

A couple ways to choose from:


Ontario’s largest spatial data marketplace for orthophoto, elevation models, parcel boundaries and much more. Find the spot on a map, pick some data that covers that area, pay with a credit and download files in GIS and CAD formats. Learn how


A feature-packed online mapping application with tools to measure, draw, compare imagery year over year, and research property information. Get a free trial subscription now or learn more.
Related: Saving, Surfing, or Streaming? How to choose the data delivery method that's right for your project

We welcome your questions. You can also contact us directly to place a custom order. Even if you don't see what you need on the self-service sites above, we can get it or we can produce new custom mapping for your project on request.


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