Interview with Prashant Shukle, Director General at the Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation (CCMEO) at NRCan, about the results of the Canadian Geomatics Environmental Scan and Value Study and what it means for the sector.

The geomatics sector in Canada is experiencing an era of rapid change. Not only are location technologies evolving at an almost unbelievable rate, new actors are emerging on the national stage and public policies around open government and open data are creating exciting new opportunities. These changes have spurred a national conversation about what the new role of the geomatics/geospatial professional should be over the coming years and decades, and how the various players involved can best work together to create the right conditions for growth and continued innovation.

Canadian Geomatics Community Round Table Leadership Summit, April 20, 2015.


Thank you to everyone who attended the GeoAlliance Canada Leadership Summit on April 20! It was a very productive discussion among industry leaders representing groups and organizations from education, non-profit associations, and the public and private sectors.* The Leadership Summit marked the launch of GeoAlliance Canada as an organization, and we were very pleased to end the day with unanimous support from the room to tackle the next steps, including the appointment of an interim board, the registration of the non-profit organization, and negotiation with external funders.

The recently released Public Policy Forum report Open Government in Transition: A Case Study of the Canadian Geomatics Community Round Table takes a look back at the journey of the CGCRT from the initiation of the National Mapping Strategy in 2007 to the release of the Pan-Canadian Geomatics Strategy in 2014. It considers the process through the lens of Open Government and concludes, “The Round Table and the Pan-Canadian Geomatics Strategy could be the first glimpse of a whole new phase in the Open Government movement, the benefits of which will reach far beyond the Geomatics community.”

After attending the Team Canada event last year, I, like many of you, began following the progress of the Round Table with interest. I’ve been working with the CGCRT on their digital communications since January, and have really appreciated the opportunity to get to know many of my peers a little bit better!

Lots of people have been wondering what, exactly, GeoAlliance Canada will do. How will it provide value to members? What projects will be undertaken, and when will they begin? What committees will be formed? Who will sit on the Board of Directors? These questions are difficult to answer because decisions about specific projects and committees will be made at a later date, by the incoming (yet-to-be-elected) Board of Directors and the membership of the new organization. It is not within the mandate (and nor should it be) of the CGCRT to provide that sort of specific direction to GeoAlliance Canada. We, with lots of input from all the CGCRT contributors and volunteers, have created the Pan-Canadian Geomatics Strategy and Action and Implementation Plan, which reflect the priorities expressed by the community and will serve as a guide for GeoAlliance Canada. However, to undertake the full slate of action items in the plan would require tremendous resources (human and financial) that we will not have for some time, if ever. So the outstanding question is: Where do we begin?

We love maps, and if you’re reading this, chances are you probably do too. And if you’re reading this, you probably recognize the importance of geo data and technology to our society. You’re probably the type of person who gets upset about the profusion of bad maps on the internet, or who tries to talk about that incredible new open dataset at parties. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in Canada loved maps as much as you? Celebrating maps and their many roles in our lives is what International Map Year (IMY) is all about, and it isn’t just happening in Canada. It’s the brainchild of the International Cartographic Association and has been endorsed by the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management. International Map Year events will be happening worldwide, kicking off at the ICA conference in August 2015 and running until December 2016.

JFK and James Boxall (Canadian Geomatics Community Round Table (CGCRT) Co-Chair) aren’t the only ones to dream of a moon shot. In the 2010 movie Despicable Me super-villain Gru planned to steal a shrink-ray, downsize the moon, and bring it back to earth to show-up rival Vector’s feat of stealing Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza. The goal? To be recognized as the world’s #1 villain.

Lessons from Canada’s Dance Sector on Crowd-Sourcing a Community Map and Identity Having been born with two left feet, I’m not much of a dancer. So it’s not surprising that despite all the hype around Fox Television’s hit show, So You Think You Can Dance, I have barely given it a passing glance throughout its 11 seasons. My trigger-happy finger on the remote is more likely to speed through channels, blow by the show, and settle on some nerdy documentary. But recently I came across the 2013 Canada Dance Mapping Study – an interactive, searchable map of dance in Canada – produced by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Dance Council, which gave me cause for pause to look at dance a little more closely.