National Lake Pulse Web Atlas

By using satellite imagery and spatial modelling techniques, we will extend measurements from 100s of sampled lakes to many 1000s of lakes to provide interactive, web-based maps of lake health nationwide. These methods will allow us to go well beyond the capabilities of any current monitoring program.

Without these advanced techniques, the National Lake Pulse Survey and the data archives of our partners would cover less than 1% of Canadian lakes because of the immense number of lakes in Canada!

The interactive, web-based maps will show:

Past conditions

Maps of the pristine state of lakes before human impacts describing the baseline conditions.

Present conditions

Current lake health, such as key lake and watershed variables.

Future conditions

Forecasts of future lake changes due to land-use and climate changes.

Key stressors

Key stressors, by region, and their impacts on lake health.


Assessments of the impact of environmental changes on ecosystem services.

Societal costs

Assessments of the costs and probability of lake degradation.

National Lake Pulse Web Atlas 5-year timeline

2017 - The National Lake Pulse Database on lake health is being built. It integrates existing datasets from our partners. It also integrates data collected during the 1st field season of the National Lake Pulse Survey (summer 2017).

2018 - The national database continues to grow. A web interface is developed to help lake associations, municipalities and other organizations share their data. An Automated Lake Pulse Report system is being designed to compare lake data entered via a web interface accessing the National Lake Pulse Database.

2019 - The Lake Observer mobile app encourages community-based monitoring by facilitating the sharing of lake and water quality observations with large-scale lake databases, such as our National Lake Pulse Database. Basic lake reports on a limited number of lakes are provided from our Lake Pulse Web Atlas.

2020 - The web interface begins providing maps of lake and water quality. More advanced analyses are being developed, such as the distribution of human impact factors and their effects on lake health. The Automated Lake Pulse Reports are enhanced with more lakes and enhanced features.

2021 - The addition of satellite sensor data estimating lake water quality across Canada (such as chlorophyll-a, cyanobacteria blooms, turbidity, water clarity and light penetration) allow Automated Lake Pulse Reports on many more lakes to be downloaded from the National Lake Pulse Web Atlas. The Atlas gains enhanced regionalization features from the spatial modelling efforts.