We asked leaders in the Canadian geospatial community what GeoAlliance Canada membership would mean to them. Representatives from education, non-profit associations and the private sector gave their thoughts on how a national umbrella organization might help them thrive, what projects they’d like it to take on, and who else they think should become a member.

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Renae Barlow, Economic Development Lethbridge

Apr 17, 2015

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What are some of the issues you currently face that you believe a national umbrella organization would help address? Can you identify your top priority?

In order of importance, the priorities include:

  • Emerging Entrepreneurs: A national umbrella organization would benefit from working with nascent and small sized companies that are actively working with emerging trends and innovations in the geosciences. As an industry that has experienced rapid growth, the capacity to continue to move and be agile at the pace of technology and business becomes more and more important as new innovations transpire. (i.e. open data)
  • Geo-literacy:  There is a need to encourage and promote geo-literacy to Canadians especially ensuring it is adequately represented in the curriculum in our schools.
  • Global Marketing: The ability to have a national association to promote the marketing of geo-related products and services to a global market. There needs to be a consistent message about the quality and scope of services available to the international market with a coordinated effort to connect Canadian companies with global markets. Canadian companies also require information and practical knowledge to help companies export their services, data and products to global clients.

 

How would you rate your current success in collaborating with like-minded organizations across the country? Do you think GeoAlliance membership would help facilitate better communication and collaboration?

Better communication and collaboration will only be achieved through a commitment to work together. This requires industry to actively come to the table and clearly identify issues that require a collaborative effort to overcome.  This also requires that government come to the table ready to work at the speed of business to resolve issues and facilitate the growth of the industry.  GeoAlliance, as a conglomerate of all players, could facilitate this process.

 

What is one project you'd like to see undertaken in GeoAlliance Canada’s first year?

As a national project that could be coordinated through multiple industry partners and government, mapping the Arctic is project that would be a worthy consideration for the GeoAlliance.  Forging a presence in the Arctic has long been a priority of the current Federal Government.  Last fall Canada sent two icebreakers to the region to gather data that supports its bid for control of the North Pole.  This comes after Canada made a submission to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in an effort to claim a portion of the North Pole.  Despite this flurry of activity, Canadian environment commissioner Julie Gelfand issued a report last fall noting that Arctic waters have been inadequately surveyed.  This presents an opportunity for the geospatial community to step up and offer support for mapping this uncharted area.  This project would require a great deal of coordination and effort but would achieve noteworthy results among the population at large and would ultimately offer a blueprint for what geospatial technology can do.

Transport Canada and Speed of Business Regulation for UAV’s: The use of UAV’s in the gathering of geospatial data is relatively new.  There is much work to be done to continue to evolve the use of this tool.  GeoAlliance could be useful in providing more coordinated input into Transport Canada’s approval processes.  For example, regarding “line of sight” regulations, UAV’s cannot be flown beyond line of sight which limits their use in disaster situations or the monitoring of large tracks of pipelines.

 

Name one group (apart from your own) that you'd like to see become a GeoAlliance Canada member. Why them?

I don’t have a particular group to recommend but I would like to see the larger players in the industry actively involved as well as representation from nascent/entrepreneurial companies.

 

Would your organization be willing to partner with GeoAlliance Canada and/or other organizations to achieve specific goals requiring additional resources/funding?

As Economic Development Lethbridge we operate tecconnect, a business incubator provide programs and support to start-up technology and geospatial companies. Our goal is to promote the knowledge industry in Lethbridge with an emphasis on the promotion and growth of the geospatial industry.  We are interested in supporting goals that enhance the geospatial industry as a whole as well as those that may have a regional influence.

 

Economic Development Lethbridge is an independent, not-for-profit association representing the many industries and sectors in the region. tecconnect is a unique facility designed to attract, incubate and develop technology companies through commercialization of products and services.  Find out more. 



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