Counties of British Columbia - Legally Defined Administrative Areas of BC

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Published by the Ministry of Attorney General - Policy and Legislation
Licensed under Open Government Licence - British Columbia

The Counties of British Columbia contains areas of land within the Province of British Columbia representing legally defined administrative areas described in the County Boundary Act. The purpose of this division is for the administration of justice.

The counties were delineated using provincial base mapping features, following the metes and bounds descriptions in the Letters Patent.

A polygon dataset that includes all of the administrative areas currently in the Administrative Boundaries Management System (ABMS) is available here.

A complimentary point dataset that defines the administrative areas is also available here.

The Legal document which divides the province of British Columbia into counties is available here.

Other individual datasets are available from the following records:

Data and Resources

Dataset Extent

Latitude: 48.0° to 60.0°
Longitude: -139.5° to -113.5°

Additional Information


Administrative boundaries are used by agencies at all levels of government for land use planning, treaty negotiations, emergency management and planning, running elections, conducting demographic analysis and municipal planning.

Lineage Statement

Primary data sources for ABMS include Metes and Bounds legal descriptions from the Letters Patent, ICF (Integrated Cadastre Fabric), TRIM (Terrain Resource Information Mapping), and FWA (Freshwater Atlas). Other sources were used to clarify boundaries (e.g., Tantalis for crown land parcels, legal plans, etc.).

More Information

Contact Information

NameJoy Sinnett (pointOfContact)
OrganizationMinistry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development

Access & Security

Who can view this dataset? Public
Who can download this dataset?Public

Metadata Information

Record Published 2017-03-10
Record Last Modified 2020-01-27
Resource Status completed

Object Description


Short Name: COUNTIES
Comments: ABMS_COUNTIES_SP contains legally defined administrative boundary areas in the Province of British Columbia whose purpose is for the administration of justice. This spatial layer contains multipart features.

Column Name Short Name Data Type Data Precision Comments
LGL_ADMIN_AREA_ID AA_ID NUMBER 10 LGL_ADMIN_AREA_ID is an operationally-generated unique identification number, e.g., 1, 2,3.
ADMIN_AREA_NAME AA_NAME VARCHAR2 200 ADMIN_AREA_NAME is the authoritative, officially approved name given to the Administrative Area, e.g., County of Yale.
ADMIN_AREA_ABBREVIATION ABRVN VARCHAR2 40 ADMIN_AREA_ABBREVIATION is a short form or commonly-known acronym for the Administrative Area name. If there is no short form, the ADMINISTRATIVE_AREA_NAME is used, e.g., County of Yale.
ADMIN_AREA_BOUNDARY_TYPE BDY_TYPE VARCHAR2 20 ADMIN AREA BOUNDARY TYPE is a high-level grouping of Administrative Areas used to categorise features when reporting, e.g., Census, Legal, Administrative.
ADMIN_AREA_TYPE AA_TYPE VARCHAR2 50 ADMIN_AREA_TYPE is a low-level grouping of Administrative Areas used to categorise features when reporting, e.g., County, Regional District, Harbour and Port Authority.
ADMIN_AREA_GROUP_NAME AA_PARENT VARCHAR2 200 ADMIN_AREA_GROUP_NAME is the name given to the larger administrative area (if there is any) of which this feature is a member, e.g., Province of BC (This would be the ADMIN_AREA_GROUP_NAME of the feature called "County of Yale"). In the case of the Province of BC itself, there is currently no group for Canada so the ADMIN_AREA_GROUP_NAME is empty (signified by a hyphen).
CHANGE_REQUESTED_ORG CHNG_ORG VARCHAR2 30 CHANGE_REQUESTED_ORG is the government acronym of the Ministry or sub-org that last requested the change that resulted in the modification of the record, e.g., GeoBC, MCSCD.
UPDATE_TYPE UPT_TYPE VARCHAR2 50 UPDATE_TYPE is a short description of the latest alteration of the feature's geographic or attribute content, e.g., Inserted (added new), Change in geometry.
WHEN_UPDATED UPT_DATE DATE 7 WHEN_UPDATED is the date and time the record was last modified.
OIC_NUMBER OIC_NUMBER VARCHAR2 7 OIC_NUMBER is a single, most-recent Order-In-Council (OIC) identifier for a particular Administrative Area. The OIC_NUMBER is in the form ###/YY where ### is a number, then a forward slash '/' followed by a two-digit Year abbreviation, e.g., 245/13 denotes OIC Number 245 enacted into law in 2013.
OIC_YEAR OIC_YEAR NUMBER 4 OIC_YEAR is the four-digit year that the Order-In-Council was enacted into law, e.g., 2014.
AFFECTED_ADMIN_AREA_ABRVN AFFCTD_DMN VARCHAR2 120 AFFECTED_ADMIN_AREA_ABRVN is a semicolon-delimited list of the abbreviations (ADMIN_AREA_ABBREVIATION) of Administrative Area boundaries that are affected by the OIC number in the OIC year, e.g., SQCRD-EA E; SQCRD-EA H. If a record has the value ‘SQCRD-EA E; SQCRD-EA H’ for AFFECTED_ADMIN_AREA_ABRVN , an ADMIN_AREA_ABBREVIATION of Prince Rupert, an OIC (OIC_NUMBER) value of 501/14, an OIC Year (OIC_YEAR) value of 2014, and an Administrative Area Group Name (ADMIN_AREA_GROUP_NAME) of Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District, then the interpretation is that OIC 501 in the year 2014 for Prince Rupert also affects the boundaries of Electoral Areas SQCRD-EA E and SQCRD-EA H in the Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District.
FEATURE_AREA_SQM AREA_SQM NUMBER 19 FEATURE_AREA_SQM is the system calculated area of a two-dimensional polygon in square meters.
FEATURE_LENGTH_M LENGTH_M NUMBER 19 FEATURE_LENGTH_M is the system calculated length or perimeter of a geometry in meters.
SHAPE SHAPE SDO_GEOMETRY 1 SHAPE is the column used to reference the spatial coordinates defining the feature.
OBJECTID OBEJCTID NUMBER 38 OBJECTID is a column required by spatial layers that interact with ESRI ArcSDE. It is populated with unique values automatically by SDE.
SE_ANNO_CAD_DATA BLOB 4000 SE_ANNO_CAD_DATA is a binary column used by spatial tools to store annotation, curve features and CAD data when using the SDO_GEOMETRY storage data type.