Strategy and Action Plan

The Pan-Canadian Geomatics Strategy and associated Action and Implementation Plan were developed by the CGCRT. They are based on seven distinct yet related strategic dimensions. The action ideas outlined below were identified as the national priorities for each dimension at the 'Team Canada' workshop held in Ottawa, ON in June 2014. This page is an illustration of the decisions made at that meeting. For more information, including a full list of all the strategic objectives identified during the consultation process, please download the documents using the links above. 


Identity Dimension

There is a need to communicate a more cohesive and compelling geomatics story in Canada. The public, business leaders and politicians need to understand the relevance and importance of geospatial information in our everyday lives: from the GPS systems in our cars to the geodetic framework that underpins geospatial information whenever a map is made or used in Canada to the satellites that are capturing data on our changing environment.

The focus of this dimension is to define the scope of the Geomatics Sector and describe its uniqueness and importance in enabling the broader Geospatial Community, whether a forester, a geologist or market analyst – anyone needing to use geospatial information in their daily lives and work. There is a need for the Sector to articulate an easily understood and compelling identity that creates a positive image with government and private sector decision makers, and the public at large – both at home and abroad.


Strategic Objectives
  • An identity for the Geomatics Sector that is clear and well understood by senior leaders and decision makers and is viewed positively by the general public.

  • A Canadian Geomatics Sector that reaches consensus on a Pan-Canadian Strategy with support of senior sector leaders at all levels of government, industry, associations and academia.

  • A Canadian Geomatics Sector that embarks on a Pan-Canadian Strategy to position Canada as a leader in the global geospatial domain and that can be used as a world-reference for building awareness of Canada’s renewed identity in the market.

  • Recognized and articulated commonalities to unify the Geomatics Sector, to counter the current tendency towards splintered and diffused factions, adding weight to messaging from and about the Sector.




  • Settle the geospatial/geomatics debate.
  • Hire a marketing consultant to do branding, marketing and communications.
  • Make use of the results of the Canadian Geomatics Environmental Scan and Economic Value Study to help build/validate/reinforce our Identity and promote it to senior leaders via our sector champions.
  • Identify and build sector champions that will promote the importance and value of what we do using language that everyone can understand.
  • Articulate who are the key stakeholders of the Canadian geomatics sector by communities (geographers, librarians, cartographers, data science, government, private sector, analysis)

2016 and beyond:

  • Develop a plan to get ‘geomatics’ defined in common dictionaries.
  • Use the developed tapestries as foundational ideas for expressing who we are to the general public.
  • As part of marketing/branding campaign work, consider successful campaigns used by other sectors.
  • Develop a value proposition for the Geomatics Sector.
  • Identify meaningful examples of why 'WHERE' is important.
  • Develop the business case for why geomatics sector is providing great value.
  • Create a national home for a Geomatics accreditation body (bringing together the current fragmented network) to create an identity for people working in the Sector, across various areas/levels.


Market Dimension

It is critical for Canada’s Geomatics Sector to respond to current and future geomatics market trends and changes and explore new avenues to position Canada as a leader in an expanding geospatial market. Traditionally focused primarily on meeting the demands of a more narrowly focused geomatics marketplace, solution providers in the Canadian Geomatics Sector are now faced with opportunities to address the demands from a much broader Geospatial Community that is exploding well beyond the traditional sphere of activities serviced by the Sector. There is a need for Canadian-based Geomatics companies to more innovatively and competitively meet the needs of a growing national and international geospatial marketplace. The Geomatics Sector composed of geo-data providers, location-enabled device manufacturers, geo-app developers, and a growing network of geospatial experts and educators generates significant direct revenue to the Canadian economy and more importantly, geospatial services created by the industry deliver efficiency gains in the rest of the Canadian economy that are valued at many times the size of the Sector itself.


Strategic Objectives
  • Understanding of the characteristics of the geospatial market now and in the near future, and preparation for the impacts of disruptive technologies, through examination of the results of the Canadian Geomatics Environmental Scan and Economic Value Study, and identification of business trends on an ongoing basis.

  • Improved cohesion in the Geomatics Sector through greater collaboration among all levels of government, private sector companies, and academic institutions, thus enabling improved ability to develop value-added geospatial applications, products and services, setting the foundation for a virtuous circle of investment, innovation, and readiness to respond to emerging business needs, nationally and globally.

  • Strategic project investments that will catalyze innovation and development, enabling Canadian solution providers to evolve their data services, applications, products, and consulting services in growing SDI and Location Based Services (LBS) environments.




  • Identify big project ideas that demonstrate value of integration with a range of data sources and ensure use of advanced visualization techniques and other capabilities.
  • Engage knowledgeable sector participants who understand various location-enabled and location-incidental markets.
  • Dissect Canadian Geomatics Environmental Scan and Economic Value Study Report to identify non-traditional users of geospatial data - identify needs and opportunities for various parts of the geomatics sector that are actionable.

2016 and beyond:

  • Have a joint national Geospatial/Geomatics Conference.
  • Create national showcase of geomatics expertise and applications, i.e. underground infrastructure - Calgary and Edmonton.
  • Use the Environmental scan to build a current and future market profile.
  • Use market profile to support the communication plan across the dimensions.
  • Create model business or value propositions by sector (i.e. health, real estate, etc.). Use examples from other places where markets have been successfully reached.
  • Facilitate the communication/access of big data and analytical tools to allow individual organizations to study existing market trends for the purposes of identifying new markets
  • Create a strategy to develop international markets to export Canadian Geomatics services and technologies.


Business Model Dimension

While the thinking on what precisely constitutes a business model continues to evolve, the basic question for any organization remains central: How will that organization thrive? In this analysis we define the organization to be the Canadian Geomatics Sector – diverse as it is. An appropriate business model enabling a healthy, viable Geomatics Sector is necessary to support Canada’s diverse and expanding Geospatial Community. The intent is to create a business environment that enables productivity and innovation, promotes excellence, and rewards investment in the Geomatics Sector. Ideally, such a model would promote collaboration among key stakeholders in the business and academic communities and all levels of government to best deliver on the needs of the entire Geospatial Community.


Strategic Objectives
  • Recognition that the delivery by government of authoritative geospatial information is a public good worthy of continuing investment and an integral part of open data initiatives, enabling innovative private sector value-added product and service development.

  • A new Geomatics Sector business model collaboratively defined and optimized between the public and private sectors based on clear definitions of respective roles and responsibilities (i.e., Public sector – enable delivery of authoritative public sector geospatial information; Private sector – develop and deliver value-added geospatial products and services to meet priority economic, environmental and societal needs).




  • Have a broader conversation on Open Data.
  • Shift to larger, longer term contracts.
  • Need to pick a preferred business model for the "nation building" project(s).

2016 and beyond:

  • Export of geospatial technology (on shore vs. offshore).
  • Create Government charter to address changes in Business Models.
  • Define sector value chain. Assess sector participant capabilities and mandate against sector needs (i.e., data collection and stewardship, research, education, technology commercialization). Structure ourselves to address identified gaps.
  • Evaluate factors of successful Canadian geomatics firms.
  • Create opportunities for SMEs to provide entrepreneurial direction in the policy-making process.


Leadership and Governance Dimension

Governance provides structure to leadership, which is responsible for advice and direction, and finding resources and moving the strategic process forward through consultation. It is a way to ensure we are consistent in our efforts and that the Sector is aligned with the overarching strategic objectives as expressed by our vision. The focus of this dimension is to propose leadership actions with an accompanying governance structure necessary to enable the community to come together under a shared vision and goals.


Strategic Objectives
  • A governance structure that enhances communications among all levels and dimensions of the Sector and provides a means of more regular interaction.

  • A strategy and process for engaging and mentoring next-generation leaders in the Sector, so that the governance structure and Sector are sustainable and strong over the long term.

  • A new governance structure aligned with a common vision and identity that is representative of the realities of the Sector’s contributions to Canada and has contribution from all major groups in the Geospatial Community.




  • Identify the various groups/organizations that exist in the sector.
  • Continue with the Steering Committee to communicate with the identified groups in an attempt to create an umbrella organization to speak for the community.
  • Develop a comparative matrix that illustrates what each organization does and the overlaps that exist.
  • Create a "Canadian Association Alliance” which would have responsibility for:
  1. Defining a value proposition for Government and Sector participants which will lead to a credibility win.
  2. Identifying other early credibility wins in governance and organizations.
  3. Creating some criteria for the manner in which we work.
  4. Creating a "Young Leaders" Mentorship program.
  • Find one social challenge that can be informed by Geo information to assist in strategic policy development.
  • Establish a communication strategy and methodology.

2016 and beyond:

  • Approach CIG to take on the umbrella organization role.
  • Develop a process for engaging and mentoring our next-generation leaders.
  • Arrange a meeting of associations to determine which 50% to consolidate or eliminate.
  • See Strategy Version 2, recommendation #2 - Use the results of the Canadian Geomatics Environmental Scan and Economic Value Study to shape leadership directions.


Education and Capacity Building Dimension

How do we ensure we have the Canadian Geomatics workforce and geospatially-enabled society of tomorrow? The focus of this dimension is to examine education and capacity building at the professional and technical level in the Geomatics Sector and the opportunity for certification.  Focus is also on ensuring the broader Geospatial Community has the skills training necessary to make effective use of geospatial information in their daily work and to ensure a “geospatially-enabled society”.


Strategic Objectives
  • A coherent geomatics education system from K to post-graduate with an adaptive and proactive curriculum that: meets the demand for geomatics professionals and specialists to support Canada’s network of spatial data infrastructures; produces the geospatial data specialists with the skills needed to undertake geospatial data related research; and enables the range of candidate Geospatial Community practitioners with the skills they need to use geospatial information in their day to day work.

  • A robust academic sector in Canada with a research and training agenda aligned with geospatial community requirements that supports the whole Geomatics Sector and is significantly contributing to key issues.

  • A Geomatics Sector that is supported with reliable, sustainable research resources (grants, scholarships, government involvement) to support development of highly qualified personnel and the sustainability of the Sector.

  • Increased awareness and use of geospatial data and information at senior management levels to improve policy and decision-making in both industry and government.




  • Expand partnerships between Geomatics Sector employers, associations, and students to expand the delivery of scholarships, research grants, co-op programs, internships, and work terms at the university and college level.
  • Create a robust network of grass roots organizations to promote geo-literacy and geo-careers across Canada.
  • Connect and create synergy with existing national or provincial initiatives looking at education of geo.
  • Explore the feasibility of creating a national governance model and processes for identification of national geospatial research priorities and coordination of research programs and initiatives.
  • Create a national geomatics student association.
  • Create of a NEW technical network for geomatics to bring together senior peoples as mentors and build capacity. 
  • Develop a 'Geomatics Day' in the Canadian Engineering Week.
  • Create a foundation to support the St. John's education declaration.

2016 and beyond:

  • Develop a core curriculum that identifies fundamental geo-skills that should be taught from K-12 to university as well as education outcomes (standardized, transferable skills) linked directly to curriculum at each level of education, across primary, secondary, and academic levels.
  • Encourage school boards and professional development accreditation organizations to reward/incentivize K-12 teachers training in advanced courses in geospatial information and skills.
  • Rationalize the various college and university accreditations (e.g.,  2-year vs. 3 yr vs. 4 yr programs) to clarify how the program structures relate to the type of professional being trained.
  • Geomatics in a crate.
  • Develop Geospatial Community Events that reach out to a broad participant range (e.g., Geospatial Family Day).
  • Establish a professional development "source" that provides information on the PD available in Geomatics (e.g., GeoEd website)
  • Move to national licensing body to standardize some of the requirements.
  • Look at the Project Management Institute to see how they got credibility.
  • Improve continuing education initiatives to better support geomatics professionals.


Data Sources Dimension

Canadians are using more geospatial data for decision making than ever before – and that use is growing. Through Canada’s network of SDIs the Geospatial Community is able to fully realize the true value and potential of geospatial data assets. This is further accomplished as core data holdings in the network of Canadian SDIs are enhanced, enabling the effective use of all geospatial data sources. Assigning custodial responsibilities for maintaining and distributing core data helps to ensure confidence that the data being provided is Accurate, Authoritative and Accessible (AAA). While it is often viewed as the role of governments to provide AAA quality core data, it is important that the Geospatial Community expresses its requirements for core data.  In addition, the definition of core data must be responsive to new types of data resulting from research and innovation and to changing needs of the Geospatial Community.


Strategic Objectives
  • Consistent and seamless access through Canadian SDIs to open,  easily accessible Canada-wide authoritative geospatial data sets (land, sea, air, statistical, environmental, socioeconomic, etc.) that support policy and decision making needs of government and business, social and environmental policy, planning and management, and enable geospatial services.

  • A wide range of innovative, supported data sources, including data from real-time ground-based, airborne and space sensors, mobile devices and Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) with a design of the Canadian framework of SDIs that allows for the easy integration of future new data types and services.

  • Executed standards for data acquisition, preservation and interoperability into the future.




  • Create communities of practice to develop a Data Strategy.
  • Profile every SDI in the country (i.e. GeoNova, DataBC, education sector, 45 municipal open data portals....).
  • National initiative to assess (survey) user needs, across the Geospatial Community.
  • Creating a Canadian clearinghouse pointing to any information portal in Canada with tools for helping users find the best available data.
  • Create a database of current data acquisition surveys.
  • Defining and implementing national data preservation standards that will allow long-term access to data.
  • Look at possible pilot initiatives.

2016 and beyond:

  • Define a legal and policy framework for data access, management, preservation, and re-use.
  • Make metadata open across the country: organizations make standard metadata open online, including how you access the data.  Admit and recognize that we aren't where we could be - prioritize addressing this deficit.
  • Ask data providing organizations to make their data available online, across Canada - whether open or private. Need to accommodate both.
  • Enable conversations on both access and data lineage/custodian/quality.
  • Harvest and leverage, harmonize current data initiatives at F/P/T/M/private/academic levels.
  • Pull together the elements to establish a national imagery service.


Legal and Policy Interoperability Dimension

There is a need to develop a harmonized, interoperable legal and policy framework that enables the creation, access and use of geospatial data in Canada. Such a framework will positively influence how data is used and shared and will have significant impact on the ability of Canada’s Geomatics Sector to be competitive in both local and international markets and to support the Geospatial Community, including a geospatially-enabled society. Legislation and policy both enhance and protect Canada’s financial investment in geospatial information.


Strategic Objectives
  • A harmonized, consistent and transparent policy  framework evolving with the pace of technological change, which supports geospatial-enablement of society through effective and inclusive collaborative governance, where well-defined roles and responsibilities of Canadian governments, industry, academia and other stakeholders are aligned for action through common goals and objectives.

  • A shared national policy classification framework and repository leveraged by all levels of government to address areas such as: privacy, national security, liability, responsibility and obligations, public protection, data acquisition, management, access, dissemination and preservation; data interoperability; and intellectual property.

  • Interoperable  legislation and policies relevant to the stewardship/custodianship and life cycle management of geospatial data and services.

  • Promotion within the Geomatics Sector of the implementation of the principles of open government at all levels - from aboriginal communities, to municipalities, to regional, provincial, territorial and federal governments - with appropriate measures to address the integration of heterogeneous geospatial data.




  • Establish a commitment in the renewed Geomatics Accord to a national legal and policy framework.
  • Build upon the geospatial policy classification framework and repository developed by GeoConnections to create a national framework and repository. 
  • Harmonized open data licensing and governance to encourage / enforce it.
  • Review of data retention and archival legal / policy framework and its effectiveness.
  • Create a new, improved Accord for the Geomatics Sector as a vehicle for collaboration across jurisdictions.

2016 and beyond:

  • Mobilize the Geomatics community to define the roles and responsibilities of Canadian government, industry, academia and other stakeholders.
  • Clarify privacy issues around data.
  • Reassess legal constraints associated with "Charts" Can we move arctic hydrographic charts to be underwater "topo, resource data/maps".