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Resources for Geosciences Graduate Students

Searching by NTS grid square

Searching by location can be a key strategy to find geoscience information.  In particular, Canada is geographically organized by the National Topographic System (NTS): documents produced by the federal and provincial geological surveys usually contain the NTS location for the area studied.  Searching by NTS location is useful if a location name has changed, or if there's uncertainty in the exact point location of a site.

To find the NTS number for an area, check the Atlas of Canada, and activate the grid layer.  At the country scale, Canada is divided into numbered grid areas.  Kingston is in area 31.


Each area is sub-divided into 16 pieces, each at a scale of 1:250,000 and designated with a letter.  Kingston is in area 31C.


Each letter area is further sub-divided into 1:50,000 scale areas, each with a number.  Kingston is spread out over areas 31C/01, 31C/02, 31C/07 and 31C/08.  Searching by NTS number at this scale is often the most efficient way to search by location.