Law Of The Land

Use mapping and aerial imagery to enhance your legal research

Maps are an essential tool to interpret other documents. Visual materials are naturally easy to present and explain to others. No matter what kind of law you practice, brushing up on your geography skills can help you quickly get to the root of land based legal research. Read below to see how mapping and aerial imagery is being utilized in Canadian law.

Maps and aerial imagery can be used as independent, objective sources of information to support other facts. Interpretations and conclusions made based on geographic data can be refuted just like any other opinion. Understanding how to use maps effectively is essential to your practice since the creation and distribution of spatial data has become mainstream and highly accessible through online applications such as Google Maps and VuMAP.

Virtually every industry has inserted modern mapping into some aspect of its standard operating procedures. Expect this trend to continue. Law being incredibly multifaceted, using maps and aerial imagery in legal practice can be grouped into three basic strategies:

Time Series

Aerial imagery is an object record of the past that can be used to answer questions about conditions that once existed at a location. Since aerial imagery is continuously updated, it's an easy way to visualize changes as they occurred over time.


Aerial imagery is usually geometrically corrected to compensate for the movement of the aircraft such that the viewer's perspective is directly overhead at all points in the photo. Accurate measurements of distance, area, and sight lines can then be taken directly over photographic detail.

Research and Pre-Search

Maps can help fill in the gaps and provide an alternative credible source where other reference materials may be difficult to locate, interpret, or explain to others. Of course any land based activities that need to be researched can be expedited with maps.

Related: What You See Is What You Get?


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