In Saskatchewan, vegetation surveys are done by a variety of agencies and researchers and as such, data have usually been stored internally by agencies involved, with no consistency in platform or format. It has been challenging to combine data from different agencies to meet the broader information needs of the province. Sharing data among agencies is mutually beneficial, because it gives larger datasets than any one agency can collect. Pooled data can be used for many purposes such as:

  • developing rangeland assessment methodologies
  • examining vegetation characteristics within a region of interest
  • showing provincial trends in ecological health
  • conservation planning
  • developing reclamation standards

The Vegetation Information System Saskatchewan (VegISS) is a database application and a common platform created to catalogue vegetation survey data. The VegISS project was initiated in 2009 and expanded in 2011 to include data from forest surveys, and can now be regarded as a general platform for most types of vegetation data collected in the province. The project was led by a steering committee consisting of representatives from Saskatchewan Watershed Authority, Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, Saskatchewan Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport, Saskatchewan Research Council, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Environment Canada, Nature Conservancy of Canada, and Ducks Unlimited Canada.

VegISS is a stand-alone Windows application developed using .NET and was initially built to store information in several different database formats including Access, SQL Server and Oracle. The current release of VegISS has been tested to work with Access, and tests with SQL Server and Oracle are not yet complete. 

VegISS is a ready to use product that can organize and structure data, save and store, and generate reports from that data. VegISS has capacity to store plot information such as location, site characteristics, vegetation sampling data, and any applicable health assessment forms. These include:

  • Lotic Health Assessment
  • Lentic Health Assessment
  • Grassland Health Assessment field worksheet
  • Forest Range Health Assessment - Indicator method
  • Forest Range Health Assessment - Quantitative method
  • Tame Health Assessment

All vegetation surveys and health assessment forms have formatted reports that can be generated to provide hard copy or electronic output. 

So much time is spent collecting vegetation data, this database is now the answer to effectively analyse, store and share this important information.

Download the VegISS User Guide

Download a list of data that has been entered into VegISS and may be available to partners

Download the VegISS Import Template Instructions

Download the VegISS Import Template (Excel file)

Click on the videos below to watch portions of a VegISS Training Workshop that was held in Saskatoon on March 1, 2012

Introduction (VIDEO) - Etienne Soulodre
Core Parts (VIDEO) - Jeff Thorpe
Entering Data Part 1 (VIDEO) - Jeff Lettvenuk
Entering Data Part 2 (VIDEO) - Jeff Lettvenuk