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Navigating the CanWIN Site

The CanWIN site is the main portal for accessing, visualizing and downloading research data in our Data Catalogue, as well as a gateway to other DataHub portals such as ERDDAP and Geonode. The site is powered by CKAN, an open-source platform also used by the government of Canada, multiple agencies, citizen science, and NGO’s. For more information on CKAN’s capabilities, view their ReadTheDocs or API information.


This page provides an overview of the CanWIN site and how to find, visualize and download data in a nutshell. For detailed information on publishing, finding, and downloading data, visit the Data Catalogue Help pages.

Key CanWIN terminology

Below are the definitions of key terms you will see on the CanWIN site:

Term Description
Dataset A collection of data. It can consist of one or more data files
Project A program which occurs over 1 or more years and can contain sub-projects.
Collection Multiple datasets made up of the same or different types of data and are grouped together by a category (e.g., all datasets collected from moorings could be under a collection called 'Moorings').
Organization A site or organization from which multiple research activities are conducted. They may include companies, governmental or other organizations, or infrastructure such as a building, vessel or lab.
Platform A container or structure from which instrumentation is deployed (e.g., mooring or meteorological station).
Theme CanWIN has 5 themes – Atmosphere, cryosphere, freshwater, marine and remote sensing. All research outputs fall under one or more of these themes.
Keyword A term one may use to search for data on a specific topic.

The Home Page

The CanWIN home page provides access to our Data Catalogue repository, data visualizations, as well as our other data platforms - ERDDAP and GeoPortal.

CanWIN Homepage

CanWIN Homepage

Below are the key features of the home page:

Feature Description
The Main Menu At the top of the home page is the main menu. Here, you can quickly navigate between key components of the CanWIN site: Data, Visualizations, Portals, About Us and our Help pages.
Advanced Search Box Here you can enter keywords to search the Data Catalogue for a dataset, project, organization, or publication you are interested in.
Feature Boxes for Frequently Visited Pages These three boxes contain frequently visited/accessed projects, collections, and data themes.
Summary Bar As you scroll down the homepage, you are provided with a brief summary of the site contents, showcasing the number of projects, datasets, publications, and downloads from the site.
Quick Links The Quick Links showcase featured visualizations as well as other portals that are a part of the CanWIN DataHub ecosystem. These boxes contain an image representing the particular page, a title In bold, and a short description. Click on a title to go to that page.
Spatial Search Tool The spatial search tool provides you with three options to procure information of interest from a particular geographical region:

You can use the Draw on Map feature to delineate the region you are interested in by clicking, holding, and dragging to draw a bounding box over the area. The Enter Coordinates feature allows you to enter the area coordinates in the North Latitude, South Latitude, West Longitude, and East Longitude boxes. The Select Location feature allows you to select an area via a drop-down menu of locations. A bounding box will automatically be drawn around the region selected.

Once an area of the map has been outlined within the bounding box, click the Apply and Search button to find all data associated with the defined spatial area.
Featured Projects and Datasets This section highlights featured projects or datasets, and allows the user to view all datasets and projects.

The Data Catalogue


The Data Catalogue is CanWIN's main data and metadata repository!

CanWIN's Data Catalogue is a listing of all the research outputs (data pages) that are hosted by CanWIN. This includes:

  • Projects
  • Datasets
  • Publications
  • Campaign details
  • Instrument details
  • Platform details

Accessing the Data Catalogue

To view all research data outputs in the Catalogue, go to DataData Catalogue from the main menu. On the Data Catalogue page, a user can further refine outputs by using the filter options on the left-hand panel of the window. Filtering options include:

Filter Description
Type The type of content (page) you are searching for (Dataset, Project, Publication, Campaign, or Platform). When logged into the site, users can also search for Instrument or Deployment Details.
Project Selecting a project will show only outputs that are under the selected project.
Collection Selecting a collection will show only datasets that are a part of that collection.
Organization Selecting an organization will show only outputs associated with the selected organization.
Platform Selecting a platform will show only research outputs associated with the selected platform.
Theme Selecting a theme will show only outputs that have the selected theme.
Keyword Selecting a keyword will show all the outputs that have the selected keyword.

Once you have found your page of interest in the Data Catalogue, go to that page by clicking on the page title.

Page Structure

Each page in the data catalogue (dataset, project, publication, etc.) has specific sections that make up that page, as described below:

Section Description
Related Collections and Datasets All the collections and dataset pages associated with a project or a publication page.
Sub-projects A list of all sub-project pages associated with (under) the current project. This section is only found on a project page.
Data and Resources A list of all the data files that make up a specific dataset, publication, or are associated with a specific project.
Related Platforms A list of all related platform pages. Platform pages contain details about research facilities or vessels related to the data from which data collection took place.
Instruments A list of instrument pages related to the project, data, or platform page. Instrument pages have detailed information about the instruments or equipment used in data collection.
Deployments A list of deployment pages related to the dataset, project, campaign, or instrument page. Deployment pages have detailed information about instrument deployments from a platform or facility.
Campaign A list of campaign pages related to the dataset, project, instrument, or platform page. Campaign pages have detailed information about a specific campaign where data collection took place over a period of time.
Related Publications A list of all related publication pages, i.e, reports, field logs, or any published work on CanWIN that is associated with the current page.
Keywords Selected standardized words from the Polar Data Catalogue that describe the key research concepts from the dataset, project or publication.
Metadata All the metadata associated with the dataset, project, or publication page.

Data Resources


Data resources are all the actual data files that are uploaded to a page.

On a dataset, project or publication page, the data resources (files) that make up that dataset, project, or publication can be found under Data and Resources. These resources are further broken down into the following categories:

Resource Type Description
Data Processed data.
Raw data Data that has not been manipulated or processed.
Scripts Any code associated with the data processing or modelling.
Documents Any documentation related to the data or publications generated from the data.
Supplemental Any additional information about the data or related internal documentation that is useful for data users.
Web Services Any digital web content openly available that is associated with the data.

Below is an example of what these categories look like on a dataset page:

Data resources

Data resources


On each CanWIN page, the associated metadata is organized by categories at the bottom of the page. The metadata is available for download in multiple formats – JSON, JSON-LD, RDF/XML, HTML, and PDF. The Export metadata button is below the page description.

The table below describes CanWIN's key metadata sections:

Metadata Section Description
Time & Location The when and where of the data
Provenance Information about how the data were collected and analyzed
Constraints How the data can be used and shared
Credits Who collected the data
Supplemental Resources Other resources related to the data that may exist in another location
Publications Any published documents produced about the data

Visualizing data

On a dataset or project page, users can visualize certain data resources prior to downloading. By clicking the Explore button on the right-hand side of a data resource, you are able to:

  • Preview the data (if available for that data format)
  • Download the data in several formats
  • Edit (if your account has associated permissions)

By directly clicking on a data resource, you will also be taken to a view of that resource, depending on the data type.

Downloading data

Once you have found the dataset, publication, or project you are interested in, you can download the associated data in several ways:

  1. Clicking Download package from a dataset, project, or publication page will download both metadata and data resources.
  2. Going to ExploreDownload beside each individual resource on the dataset, publication, or project page will allow you to download that resource.
  3. Clicking on a resource, and then clicking Download (in a specific format) from the resource page will also download that resource.

Help pages

The Help pages provide detailed descriptions for publishing, finding and downloading data from CanWIN.