It has now been a little over 3 years since Natural Resources Canada released CanVec, a national coast to coast to coast spatial dataset at 1:50,000 or better nominal scale. In the interverning time there have been several updates, we now sit at Edition 6, and there are scheduled updates every 6 months, indefinitely.
Canvec replaces the National Topographic Database (NTDB) which was both expensive, ~$240 per NTS tile if memory serves, and definitely not libre. With the NTDB we had to pay royalties for every map that went to another party, even if we gave it away. The royalty was reasonable, on the order of 25 cents each, but we had to pay in advance, in $5,000 chunks, with a minimum of $8,000.
Canvec is a well modelled internally consistent dataset of good quality, better than the NTDB, and it's FREE, both libre and gratis. What puzzles me, greatly, is the virtual silence online* about this fantastic resource. And this where we come to you, dear GIS professionals. Why? Why is there so little chatter about Canvec? Is this scale of data just not that relevant south of 60°N and you're using something different? (what?) Are the naming conventions so opaque people just can't drum up the energy to figuring out what's what? Or is it in use all over and I'm just not looking in the right corners?
And finally we come to the question behind the questions: Where are the resources and tools to make using this stuff easier (or even possible)?
Thank you for your thoughts.