A Team Canada for Professional Surveyors and Geospatial Scientists

Mar 24, 2014

Earlier this year, I was approached to expand discussions on a paper prepared for the Canadian Geomatics Committee Round Table (CGCRT). That paper introduced an approach to define the future identity of the broader geomatics community in Canada through a “Team Canada” lens.

I began to piece together my thoughts on the subject just as our successful Canadian Olympic team returned from the Winter Games in Sochi. Each athlete, as individuals, had visions of gold, yet they also knew they were there to collectively be the ambassadors of their country – as Team Canada! So I thought I would use their success as a line of thought in writing this article.

In the geomatics sector, what would “Team Canada” look like? Who would the players be? How would they interact? When and why would they come together? Hopefully not in reaction to some kind of catastrophic event (a burning platform)! Hopefully in creating a well thought out and planned event (mending the roof during fair weather).

Individual players in the Team Canada identity may be considered as holding a piece belonging to a bigger picture. The pieces currently exist in various forms and models throughout Canada. Special interest groups, NGO’s, professional and regulatory associations, academia, employers, and vendors all hold pieces that make up the bigger picture. Each of these groups, it seems, believes their piece may be the key to defining the identity of our industry. There appears to be a genuine sense of pride in belonging to a small and specialized niche in the market, going it alone and maintaining anonymity. To that, one must ask, “So how is that working for you so far?”

Identity crisis? What identity crisis? The geomatics sector is currently experiencing a crisis in defining its identity, much like an adolescent searching for his/her place in society. Yet the majority of its players are approaching maturity in their careers. Perhaps this is the source of the identity crisis? Our future identity will ultimately need to focus on our future workforce. Our identity will need to weather all kinds of threats and challenges coming its way from unpredictable directions. Windows of opportunity for establishing our identity are opening and closing faster than ever.

The first step to the creation of the geomatics “Team Canada” is for each of its player organizations to develop a willingness to merge their best features into one national organization. I offer a vision of what our Team Canada could look like:

Our Team Canada nurtures an effective balance between a fast and agile entrepreneurial model with a contemporary policies and processes model. The first leads to growth and success in a great work environment while the latter provides stability and reliability in the longer term.

Our Team Canada communicates a vision in which the industry’s resources are better aligned, yielding greater and more cost-effective delivery of products and services.

Our Team Canada enjoys political clout to influence the future direction of the disciplines of professional surveying and geospatial sciences.

Our Team Canada advocates through strong, trusted communication channels that is clearly heard and respected at all levels of government.

Our Team Canada recognizes its members’ professional career achievements, qualifications and experience, publishing those “good-news” stories across a multitude of social and traditional media.

Our Team Canada is dedicated to promoting an environment of life-long professional education opportunities at attractive rates, available when and where they are needed, allowing you to maintain that critical edge over the competition, through programs to compliment the busy professional.

Our Team Canada allows you to keep in touch and grow your network of contacts with the surveying and geospatial sciences community both locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Our Team Canada provides countless opportunities to enhance your skills in operational planning, communication, and people management while cultivating technical and professional superiority.

Our Team Canada is effectively resourced by government, industry, academia and practitioners. It leverages the myriad of geospatial disciplines and expertise to develop effective solutions to growing challenges facing our industry and our country.

Our Team Canada is the AAA (Accurate, Authoritative and Assured) source for geospatial information, collected and administered by a widely recognized group of geospatial specialists.

Our Team Canada’s members may enjoy discounted rates for professional liability insurance, air fares, major hotels, car rental agencies, popular clubs, vacation packages and more (hey, why not?)

Is this even possible? How could this Team Canada come to be? Come back for part two…

Norm Coté is a member of the Canadian Geomatics Community Round Table Steering Committee and Past-Chair of Professional Surveyors Canada.


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