GIS Database Migration and Development for the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust


GIS Database Migration and Development for the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust


Roshelle Chan

Host Organization

Haliburton Highlands Land Trust, Greg Wickware & Ralph Baehre

Supervising Faculty

Dr. Tom Whillans, Environment and Resource Studies/Sciences



Location of Document



Haliburton County


Geographic Information Systems


The Haliburton Highlands Land Trust (HHLT) is a non-profit organization that aims to protect the natural
landscape and cultural heritage of the Haliburton Highlands through acquiring and conserving lands of
ecological significance. After reviewing their current database, the land trust has expressed their desire to further develop their spatial data management system to more effectively integrate knowledge of their properties into their stewardship, management, and land acquisition decisions. Open source GIS database software, specifically PostgreSQL with the PostGIS extension, can improve the HHLT’s access to, and use of, existing research and management data. The objective of this project was to migrate the HHLT’s database in Microsoft Access to PostgreSQL, an open source database management system that can help the HHLT eliminate the annual cost of an Access subscription while providing greater flexibility for spatial applications in the future.
A requirements analysis was first conducted through stakeholder meetings, discussions with the HHLT, and a comprehensive review of existing documents. After acquiring a copy of the current database and other relevant files, a conceptual database design was produced to provide a description of the database and identify the main database entities along with their relationships. The next step was the translation of the conceptual database design into a logical and physical database design, which contained more detailed information of database elements (e.g., cardinality, data types, constraints). After the final database design was approved by the HHLT, the database was constructed then tested in PostgreSQL and is now ready for deployment.
The final database has 24 tables storing a range of data from property details, bird surveys, member contact information, reports, permanent sample plot surveys to species. Relationships between tables were defined and previous survey data were used to populate the database. For rapid access to summary information, queries were created and stored as database views. Three main recommendations for continuing this project in the future include: (a) further refining database tables and definitions with the input of more data collected from the field; (b) developing open source web applications to synchronize data collection with the database; and (c) exploring remote sensing and image analysis for monitoring biophysical and temporal changes in the region.


Trent University



Roshelle Chan, GIS Database Migration and Development for the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust, Trent University, 2021