National Topographic System

National Topographic System

The National Topographic System or NTS (French: Système national de référence cartographique) is the topographic system used by Canada for providing general purpose maps of the country. NTS maps are available in 1/50,000 and 1/250,000 scales. The maps provide details on landforms and terrain, lakes and rivers, forested areas, administrative zones, populated areas, roads and railways, as well as other man-made features. These maps are currently used by all levels of government and industry for forest fire and flood control (as well as other environmental issues), depiction of crop areas, right-of-way, real estate planning, development of natural resources and highway planning.



A map sheet is defined by a string containing:

  • Series number
  • Map Area
  • Map Sheet

A map sheet is further divided in blocks, units and quarter units.

A series generally has a width of 8 degrees of longitude and 4 degrees of latitude from north to south.[1]

  • A Series is divided into 16 Map Areas, marked sinusoidally from A to M starting from the south-east corner of the Series. Ex 96-M.
  • A Map Area is divided into 16 Map Sheets, marked sinusoidally from 1 to 15 starting from the south-east corner of the Map Area. Ex 96-M-16.
  • A Map Sheet is divided into 12 Blocks, marked sinusoidally from A to L starting from the south-east corner of the map Sheet. Ex L/96-M-16.
  • A Block is divided into 100 Units, marked from 1 to 100 starting with 1 at the south-east Corner of the Block, with numbers increasing from east to west, then from south to north. Ex 98-L/96-M-16.
  • A Unit is divided into 4 Sub-units, marked sinusoidally from a to d starting in the south-east corner of the block. Ex d-50-L/96-M-16.


See also

External links

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