GeoAlliance Canada is pleased to announce that for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, our focus will be on projects that build a stronger sector identity, improve educational resources, and increase access to geospatial data. These three project themes were drawn from the recent work of the Canadian Geomatics Community Round Table (CGCRT) and refined at Map to the Future 2016.
The Canadian Geomatics Community Round Table (CGCRT) resulted in two important documents, the Pan-Canadian Geomatics Strategy and its associated Action and Implementation Plan. These documents laid out the need for a national umbrella organization and provided a comprehensive list of potential activities, initiatives, and events that GeoAlliance Canada could undertake for the benefit of the Canadian geo community.
The Action and Implementation Plan was wide-ranging, with 79 recommended “Actions” covering the seven dimensions of the Pan-Canadian Strategy. Several of the “Actions” could instead be described as “Opportunities” (for example, under the Business Model dimension, “Have a broader conversation on Open Data”). Clear sequencing and prioritization of initiatives, as well as dedicated human and financial resources, were required.
The Action Plan provided a valuable starting point, but it was clear that in order to keep the community on the same page and make real progress on the issues that matter most, the conversation could not end there.
When we rebooted the conversation at the March 2016 Map to the Future event in Calgary (see the Recap and Summary for more information about this event), we started by discussing the mandate assumed by GeoAlliance Canada, using it to inform a new set of proposed ‘Projects’. This shift in language (from “Actions” to “Projects”) was meaningful, as it asked participants to think in terms of targeted, executable initiatives to address the key issues.
At the end of the day, this approach allowed us to use the two sets of outcomes – the CGCRT “Actions” and the Map to the Future “Projects” – to triangulate our next steps. The two different approaches resulted in three common themes: Sector Identity, Education, and Data Access. These areas are considered priorities for GeoAlliance Canada for the year ahead. Focusing on these three actionable themes gives us the beginning of a feasible, realistic plan for a productive first year.
By way of concrete project proposals, the idea of creating an online portal was suggested by several working groups as a way to alleviate key issues cutting across all three themes. This portal was variously seen as a place to share information and resources within the geo community and increase public awareness of the role we play in the Canadian economy.
GeoAlliance Canada will be forming a projects committee from the geo community across the country to review all the proposed project ideas and to make recommendations to the Board of Directors on the projects that should be pursued. We will be reaching out to solicit membership on the project review committee in the coming weeks, at which time we will report again on the next steps.