LakePulse Web Atlas Water Portal

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 LakePulse 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.

We hope to share an early, public version of the Water Portal in late 2019

We are working on how to provide wide access to our research findings and other scientific information on lakes and watersheds, which will be shared on the Water Portal. Here’s what we’re working on:

  • Automated lake reports for over 80,000 lakes across Canada.
  • Expert-interpreted results with interactive tools, related to our findings on topics such as emerging contaminants, cyanotoxins, mercury, land use impacts, climate change scenarios, remote sensing and spatial modelling approaches for lake health.
  • For over 80,000 lake watersheds, maps on land use and a human impact index, to help understand the links between activities within watersheds and lake health.
  • Policy briefs on some of our key findings.
  • Recommendations on technical aspects, such as on how to develop a shared environmental database, an online portal, standardized protocols for lake sampling, etc.

We are developing an integrated system for sharing lake and watershed information across Canada, which also serves our research projects. The Water Portal will make environmental information and research results widely available in order to increase understanding of lake and watershed health.

Information will be presented in a user-friendly format, especially for those with limited time, resources and experience. By providing scientific results in such a way, we hope to contribute information needed by many groups, including federal, provincial and municipal agencies; community members and groups; business and industry; and nongovernmental organisations. We aim to provide results and maps that can be used to address environmental concerns affecting lakes, to inform policymakers, and to support integrated watershed management.

While we’re busy working on these activities, consider completing our LakePulse questionnaire if you’d like to help us to create tools that suit your needs for lake and water quality data.

LakePulse-ca-Water-Portal Water Portal 5-year timeline

2017 – The LakePulse 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 LakePulse Survey (summer 2017).

2018 – The national database continues to grow. An early version of the Water Portal is being developed to encourage scientists and trainees to identify links between their work and policy issues.

2019 – An Automated LakePulse Report system is being designed to share basic data with lake associations, watershed organizations, First Nations, municipalities and other groups. Basic lake reports on a limited number of lakes are provided from our Water Portal.

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 LakePulse 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 LakePulse Reports on many more lakes to be downloaded from the Water Portal. The online interface gains enhanced regionalization features from the spatial modelling efforts.