Grassland Vegetation Inventory (GVI)


The Grassland Vegetation Inventory (GVI) represents Alberta's new vegetation inventory for the Grassland Natural Region of the province. It is an outcome of efforts initiated by Alberta's Prairie Conservation Action Plan (PCAP) to assess the change in the native vegetation characteristics of Alberta's prairie landscape. Compilation of the inventory with digital color infrared photography was started by Alberta Sustainable Resource Development in 2006/07 with about 107 townships and will encompass over 1300 townships at completion with the participation of a number of Alberta Prairie Conservation Forum members.

GVI replaces the original quarter section native prairie vegetation inventory completed in 1992/93 with a more comprehensive and detailed GIS product that is intended to meet a multitude of business needs integral to the Alberta prairie landscape. GVI data are captured as a polygonal, line and point spatial relational database (MS Access Personal Geodatabase) that provides information on a number of different landscape features.

GVI Features

These features include 14 upland range site descriptions (loamy, limy, sandy etc.), ten wetland/riparian feature classes, four anthropogenic agricultural classes, two industrial classes and two anthropogenic urban/rural classes. Some classes may contain a multitude of modifiers such as salinity extent in agricultural lands, gravel pits, quarries, processing plants, confined feeding operations or even green spaces in urban/rural habitat areas. Vegetation characteristics are described in general by tree, shrub, herbaceous percent cover, height, density and distribution pattern. The Personal Geodatabase (PGDB) also allows for more specific entries regarding species type and their percent cover. Line and point topological layers have also been introduced to delineate features such as shelterbelts.

In order to protect the integrity of the geodatabase and to ensure consistency in data capture, two sets of tools have been developed for use with the PGDB. GVI Tools are used in conjunction with the PGDB in a softcopy data capture setting to ensure that the table structures and domains are respected. GVI Tools can also be run to validate the data before the PGDBs are loaded into the GVI data repository. GVI Audit Tools are used by the GVI correlators to facilitate the photo-interpretive audit of the captured information for consistency with the source digital aerial photography.


GVI Link:

To view the data, please visit  


GVI Documents

Grassland Vegetation Inventory Specifications 5th Edition -June 29 2010 Revised - November 9 2011

PCF GVI Publications

GVI Interpretation Guides and Examples 

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Data Sharing Disclaimer

GVI data may be viewed and queried but may not be downloaded or redistributed. Copies of the data may be requested under an end-user license agreement from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Data Distribution Unit. To obtain a copy of the data, please contact: 

Data/Map Distribution Unit 
Informatics Branch                                                                                                                                                                   
Corporate Services Division, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
14th Floor Oxbridge Place
9820 - 106 Street NW
Edmonton, AB Canada T5K 2J6
Phone: (780) 427-7374
Fax: (780) 422-0712


top photo by Carla Koenig | RSS