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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Andrew MacNeil, Service New Brunswick

Aug 04, 2015

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? 

There is considerable waste & duplication within the community.  Participating in an umbrella organization affords the opportunity for Governments, Academia and private Sector to openly discuss issues and work collectively.  This will ensure better alignment of  our outcomes which will be beneficial to the community as a whole. With collaboration, better long term planning can take place to ensure we spend our efforts on the right things. 

My top priority is to align standards, licencing, and procurement approaches to ensure we can as a community obtain a current, accurate elevation model for the populated areas of Canada. By adhering to the federal Open Data standards this would enable academia and private sector to develop centers of innovation in the development and use of the data.

How would you rate your current success in collaborating with like-minded organizations across the country? 

We are currently structured in a vertical silo environment.  This is the case for each of the sectors within the community and is very difficult to overcome.  Some conferences, or organizations attempt horizontal integration for program specific initiatives but  in general we lack the broker to facilitate ongoing collaboration.  Do you think GeoAlliance membership would help facilitate better communication and collaboration? It is my view that a carefully and strategically structured Geo Alliance can become the broker to foster dialogue, collaboration and result in Canada gaining exposure as a hub for Geomatics innovation.  This can only be done with active and complete participation of all sectors of the community. 

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

We have to get the community involved in the schools to illustrate how every day life is driven by geomatics.  The kids of today are the coding kids of tomorrow and their keen intellect and imagination unleased on spatial information is a vein of gold waiting to be mined.  This being international map year  is an opportunity to engage schools in creative map making experience while using the vast libraries of open data which exist in Canada. I see GeoAlliance as playing a major role in collaborating efforts across the country in this endeavor.


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

The Health sector. Why them? Provincially & federally Health care consumes the largest portion of our collective budgets. One can only begin to imagine the savings which could be harvested in this sector with focused use of spatial data to enhance business decision making  and planning.

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

The Province of New Brunswick sees value in joining forces with others to achieve outcomes which may not be possible individually.  New Brunswick has been a leader in Open data and the collaborative development of the GeoNB SDI.  It is now time to partner with all other sectors to ensure the data we have developed is used innovatively and to the benefit of the community and Canadian tax payers.


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