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Canadian Geomatics Conference and Events

The Canadian Geomatics Conference and Events section was designed to help provide people with a central place to obtain information about the various GIS & Geomatics related conferences, events, workshops, training and webinars that are held in Canada.

Canadian GIS & Geomatics related ConferenceAs you browse through the conference and events section you will find that are a wide array of geomatics related conferences, events, workshops, training and webinars available to Canadians. Many of these are conferences that we have attended regularly, events that we have attended before or events that we know about but have yet to attend.

However, often there are events that we are not always aware of yet, so we have added the ability for people to post info about any Canadian geomatics events that they are hosting or ones that they know of but that we missed.

All of our conference and event listing are also promoted through all our social network channels and social media sites like LinkedIn, FaceBook and Twitter, providing you more exposure to your event.

Submit GIS Conference and Events Information

Use this form to submit basic information about a Canadian GIS Conference and Events Information, if you have photos, videos or other material then let us know and we will reply with instructions on how to submit that info to us.

How to use OpenSteetMaps

How to use OpenSteetMap?

Free OpenStreetMap User GuideFor people exploring various places in the neighborhood, it is similar maps as other online map information with zoom and pan, but the real power of OpenStreetMap rests in the hands of developers who can access all the data behind the maps for customizing to their own. What it means that, with OpenStreetMap, you can not only view various spatial locations, but add also your own custom locations and information  to the database which can then be used by other users. All you need to do is to query the map database in any one of various possible ways, thereby extracting information which can later be used to create custom maps. The output of a database query is an XML file with various description of information about local areas, directions, routes, etc. Using all this information, it will be easier to create custom based maps.

With over a million contributors, most of them use GPS units in performing ground surveys. On collecting the data, the information needs to be uploaded into the system using the project website. Once the data is added, they need to be edited to make it user friendly and at this point, all the above mentioned software plays the role. Even though GPS units are needed to add a data for the first time, the subsequent editions of data do not require any additional hardware, making it possible for anyone who have the local knowledge to update the information. The majority of the new information has been added by dedicated contributors while millions of other users simply update the maps. For users who wish to view the map tiles, they can do so with the help of web browsers, GNOME maps and Marble. The only requirement for adding data to the maps is to sign up for a free account.

Data Formats:

OpenStreetMap represents physical structures in the ground using tags that are attached to various data structures such as nodes, ways and relations. Nodes are simply the coordinates of the geographic position which represent the exact location. They use both latitude and longitude values for data representation. A collection of nodes can be called as ways which represent various polygonal areas such as streets and roads, parks and lakes, etc. Relations are the combination of both nodes and ways which can represent restriction present in roads, various ways for a route etc. All the above said information are stored in the map in the form of tags. Any attribute present in the map can be tagged for information, thereby helping anyone wanting information. Considering all the factors, OpenStreetMap was already popular, but is gaining even more popularity everyday with number of contributors growing to new heights. All the information provided in this article gives you an overview of what is OpenStreetMap, but there are lots to explore with respect to its features and supplements.

And if you are more interested about this wonderful mapping experience, don’t miss out attending the annual conference of the OSM community named, State of Map Conference. All new ideas related to the maps are discussed here, along with launching updates and new contents.

Also check out some of these OpenStreetMap & Open Data related Topics:


Esri Canada Celebrates 30 Years of Geographic Innovation

Esri Canada marks 30 years of operations this year with a continued commitment to provide innovative enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions based on Esri’s ArcGIS platform. ArcGIS has evolved from a niche technology for mapping professionals into an open, pervasive Web GIS platform that everyone can use. It runs in the cloud, on enterprise servers or both computing environments, enabling users to easily mash up basemaps and data into intelligent Web maps that can be shared within and outside their organization.arcinfo

“Over the past 30 years, GIS has become far easier to use and can now be deployed in the cloud and accessed on mobile devices,” notes Alex Miller, president and founder, Esri Canada. “The technology has also advanced to incorporate real-time data collection and analysis, providing a common operational picture to entire organizations. These developments make it easier for people to use and share maps, data and analytical tools to make informed, collaborative decisions. While access to the technology has changed, one thing remains the same: GIS continues to enable users to solve problems in new ways.”

Esri Canada Celebrates 30 Years of Geographic Innovation

Alex Miller founded Esri Canada in 1984. From a small office in Toronto with six employees, the company has grown into a multi-million dollar business that employs more than 330 staff in 16 locations across Canada. Its customer base of more than 10,000 organizations has expanded from its initial wins in the forestry and agriculture sectors to all industries including government, business and education.  This significant growth is testament to the company’s unique ability in applying mapping and analysis to nearly every concern. In 2010, for advancing the use of GIS technology in numerous industries across Canada, the company received the Ontario Business Achievement Award for Innovation in 2010.

Increasing government efficiency and transparency Alex Miller - Esri CanadaEsri Canada began its foray into the municipal sector in 1985, when it developed the County of Oxford’s Land Related Information System to support land-use planning. The system integrates and provides access to information such as property and infrastructure data from various government systems. It received the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) Exemplary Systems in Government Award in 1988 and became a model for Canadian municipalities. Today, Esri’s ArcGIS platform is the GIS standard in all levels of government.

To help local governments deploy GIS quickly, Esri Canada provides ArcGIS for Canadian Municipalities. This series of free app templates helps improve transparency, increase citizen engagement and reduce the costs of disseminating information such as election results and government services. In 2010, the company launched the Esri Canada Community Maps Program, which is succeeding in building a detailed, national Web basemap for Canada using authoritative data contributed by government organizations across the country. The basemap is free for governments and the public to use, and speeds up the creation of mapping apps.

The company also developed the Esri Canada Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) solution that enables real-time tracking of fleet vehicles. The hosted solution improves the safety and productivity of municipal field operations including snow removal, tree pruning, roadside mowing and road repairs. As well, Esri Canada recently introduced Assessment Analyst, which allows assessors to incorporate various data and 3D modeling into their analysis to increase the accuracy of property valuations. These pioneering solutions are helping to revolutionize government processes and create new opportunities for increasing efficiencies and revenues for customers.

Improving business productivity ESRI ArcGIS 10
J.D. Irving in New Brunswick was the first forestry company in North America to use Esri technology for the sustainable management of forests back in 1983. They consolidated numerous GIS apps and datasets across 10 regional offices into a single enterprise GIS in 2010. In addition to centrally managing their forestry operations for watercourse buffers, habitat and growing forests, the system now supports their other business areas including transportation, shipbuilding, retail and agriculture.

Today, Esri technology is used by banks, insurers, real estate developers, manufacturers, airports and hospitals to improve productivity, manage risk and effectively deliver products and services. Esri Canada offers the Esri Business Analyst (Canadian Edition), which enables organizations to use location analytics with demographic and business data to gain a deeper understanding of their customers, competition, market and trends. To make it even easier for business users to incorporate GIS into their daily workflows, the company also provides Esri Maps for Location Analytics. These solutions integrate mapping and analytical tools directly into popular systems for business intelligence (IBM Cognos, SAP BusinessObjects and MicroStrategy), customer relationship management (Dynamics CRM and Salesforce), and productivity and collaboration (Microsoft Office and SharePoint).

Advancing geographic education
Esri CanadaSince 1997, Esri Canada has offered education programs that provide affordable access to GIS technology to publicly-funded Canadian schools from kindergarten to grade 12, as well as universities and colleges. It recently introduced a GIS in Education Grant Program, which awards software and training grants to five K-12 schools every year to expand the use of GIS in the classroom. The company also develops free teaching resources that help educators incorporate GIS courses into their curriculum and enhance students’ critical thinking skills.

To promote the pursuit of GIS careers, Esri Canada awards more than $2 million in cash, software and training grants annually to students in more than 50 Canadian universities and colleges through its GIS Scholarships Program. The company also provides outstanding undergraduate and graduate GIS students with an opportunity to jumpstart their career through the Associate GIS Professional Program. Students are given a 12-month, full-time paid position at Esri Canada where they gain cross-functional experience in areas including professional services, training and technical support.

Building up the community and the environment

“The innovative culture and entrepreneurial spirit we’ve fostered among our staff, as well as the partnerships we’ve built, have allowed us to grow our company and industry over the past 30 years,” continues Mr. Miller. “Whether it’s enabling open government, identifying the best site for a new facility or improving education through interactive learning, our goal is to continue providing solutions that make a positive impact on society.”

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the spring issue of ArcNorth News, Esri Canada’s customer magazine, will focus on the company’s three decades of success. Customers and partners are also invited to celebrate with the company at the 2014 Esri Canada User Conferences, which will be held in 16 Canadian cities throughout the year.

Esri Canada logo

About Esri Canada

Founded in 1984, Esri Canada provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower businesses, governments and educational institutions to make timely, informed and mission-critical decisions by leveraging the power of geography.  The company distributes the world’s leading GIS software from Esri, Schneider Electric, Cityworks – Azteca Systems, Inc. and other technology partners.  Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada.  Esri Canada has joined the elite rank of Canada’s Best Managed companies and has been named to the Branham300.  Information about the company can be found at esri.ca.

 

2013 Canadian Institute of Geomatics Conference

Event: 2013 Annual Conference of The Canadian Institute of Geomatics (CIG)
Canadian Institute of Geomatics (CIG)Date:
June 5 to 7, 2013
Location:
Toronto, Ontario
Venue:
Ryerson University

 

Canadian Institute of Geomatics Conference

The Canadian Institute of Geomatics (CIG) is a professional association that represents the interests of the Canadian geomatics community. The CIG recently announced that they will be holding their next annual conference as a joint event shared with the 4th International Conference on Earth Observation for Global Changes. Over the years the CIG has built a solid reputation for hosting great conferences that provide the geomatics community with an open platform where they can exchange ideas or information about research and advancements in the geospatial industry.

Global change is one of the hottest research topics worldwide these days and Earth observation coupled with geomatics has proven to be a very powerful means to help study global changes. CIG conferences provides participants with a professional medium to present some of their ongoing research, projects and ideas relative to global change and earth observations with an emphasis on geospatial information, remote sensing technology, and GNSS. The joint conference will contain several workshops, keynote speakers, panel discussions and technical sessions.

“The conference offers an interdisciplinary forum in the fields of remote sensing and photogrammetry, surveying and mapping, geodesy and geosciences, geography, marine science,forestry, renewable energy, environment, transportation, disaster management, and climate change science.”  [source: Conference Site]

The event will be hosted at Ryerson University in downtown Toronto and take place over three days in June. The last CIG conference was also held in Toronto back in 2007 and was the 100th CIG conference.

Papers and workshop proposals are still being accepted for the conference and all full papers will be published in the conference proceedings. Some papers will be selected, peer-reviewed and also published in a special volume of ‘Springer Lecture Notes’ and future special journal issues.

Conference Web site Links

Conference Site – http://eogc2013.blog.ryerson.ca/
Registration  – http://eogc2013.blog.ryerson.ca/registration/
Program – http://eogc2013.blog.ryerson.ca/program/

Geomatics Social Networking – Get Involved

Social media is a method for online networking interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing and marketing techniques. Traditionally people have always gained information, education and news through electronic and print media. Social media is distinct from industrial or traditional media, such as newspapers, television and film because it is relatively inexpensive and easily accessible to enable all most anyone to publish or access the information, compared to traditional media, which generally requires significant resources to publish, promote and distribute the information.

Web based social services make it possible to connect people that share common interests and activities across political, economic, and geographic borders. Several popular websites have begun to tap into the power of the social networking model for philanthropy. Such models provide a means for connecting otherwise fragmented industries and small organizations without the resources to reach a broader audience with interested users. Social networks are providing a different way for individuals to communicate digitally. These communities allow for the sharing of information and ideas, an old concept placed into a new digital environment.

CanadianGIS.com has been active with several social media web-based technologies for marketing, interactive communication and networking opportunities with others in the geomatics industry. You too should get involved in networking with us and others in GIS to help further build on the Geomatics foundation of your career.

I have provided some basic information below on ways that I have been social networking  with other GIS professionals and encourage you to try some of these as well (if you have not already done so). If you are looking for a starting point then contact me, I will be more than happy to network with you and help get your geomatics networking circle started.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the one of the largest professional networking web sites with over 80 million members and growing rapidly every day. The goal of LinkedIn is to help connect you to your trusted contacts and to help you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals in your field. There is a strong presence of GIS proffesionals on LinkedIn and the numbers continue to grow. 

The big difference with this social media site compared to others sites such as FaceBook is that it is more career orientated and an important place to have your resume, portfolio and other career tools listed.

If you had to choose only one social media networking site to join and really wanted one that can help boost your career then this would be the one to join.

To successfully grow your professional network, you often need to reach out to other people you already know or meet others with common interests and invite them to join your network. If you have not joined LinkedIn yet and you are trying to increase your presences in the geomatics industry then I really recommend that you consider joining LinkedIn (it is free, although they do have some paid services that can help you further).

You should check out and the Canadian GIS LinkedIn group – http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Canadian-GIS-4150297 – it is like an extension of the website where group members can post information, ask questions, interact, find jobs etc. And the best part is that the other members of the group are all there for the same reason. The group sends out weekly emails with updates so you can only tune into discussions that really interest you if you want. Currently there are over 500 members in the group from all regions of Canada.

Twitter

Twitter is a web site that offers a social media texting service, allowing its users to send and read messages shared among one another called tweets. Tweets are small text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the user’s profile page. Users are encouraged to subscribe or follow to read other users’ tweets, also known as following and the subscribers are known as followers.

People send and receive tweets via the Twitter web site, compatible external applications (such as smart phones), or by text message through a smart messaging system (SMS). Tweets are made visible on users profiles to anybody (unless you chose to sign up for a private tweet account) as well as they are also get sent to the profile of any followers. So let’s say that Jon Doe has 10 followers, when he makes a tweet message, it will be posted to the twitter site for anybody to read on his profile and it will also be sent and placed on his 10 follower’s profiles, so obviously the more followers then the larger the audience who the message may reach. You may wonder how this can help you in your career; well once again it goes back to networking. The Twitter environment provides an easy way to connect and meet people that you may not know as well as share content and interact with others that have common interests such as colleagues or possible employers.

You will notice that many companies and professionals have gotten involved with sending and receiving messages on Twitter and CanadianGIS.com is no different, Recently GoGeomatics did some research to determine the 10 most influential Geomatics Twitter accounts and @CanadianGIS ranked 4th in Canada.

@CanadianGIS has over eight thousand followers so when I broadcast a Geomatics message on Twitter it reaches a large audience. Therefore if you are already a Twitter member or have considering joining then you should network with me on twitter and keep updated on GIS events, Geomatic related news, jobs, site updates and much more.

Other Social Media

I have been involved with social media for several years now and what the two methods that I have covered above are only a small insight to what I know about Social Media. There are many other social media programs and techniques that I use for both my career and to help market my portfolio and Geomatics related websites.

Twitter: @canadiangis 15,500+ followers @tedmackinnon  11,000+ followers

FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/canadiangis/ Free GIS job resources -7200+ members joined so far, help make the group better by joining up. CanadianGIS also runs a facebook page with over 5,700 followers that have liked the page to get updates about our website and Canadian GIS  topics –  http://www.facebook.com/CanadianGIS

LinkedIn: Join one of our up and coming LinkedIn groups GoGeomatics 1,700+ members & CanadianGIS group 5,600+ members  and feel free to connect with my personal network of 3,600+ LinkedIn professionals as well http://www.linkedin.com/in/tedmackinnon

 

NOAA Interactive Weather Map

Weather StationThis link to an online web map was emailed to me recently and although it contains mainly American weather stations there are a good number of Canadian ones on there as well so I thought I would share it. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is an an Operating Unit of the U.S. Department of Commerce that provides a National Weather Service.

The Weather Service provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy.

Their operational server maintains a current database of meteorological and hydrological data, historical data, and written information generated by the NWS or other official sources.

In addition, their server accesses in real-time a selection of current weather observations, forecasts, and warnings from U.S. government sources for use by the national and international community.  They also offer many other Weather services on their website such as storm watch, alerts, local and regional information and much more.

NOAA weather map service

Moving the cursor over one of the symbols on the map will reveal data for the weather station of that area and is usually clickable, opening another web page with more information, details and measurements. It would be nice if they could expand a little further north to include all of Canada but in the mean time if you are located in Ontario, the Prairies or the Southern Rockies then maybe you can make use of this interactive weather mapping tool.

NOAA weather map service - Prince Albert SASK

Niagara Falls Online Maps & Data Downloads

Ever since I reviewed the GEONB online mapping application by Service New Brunswick (SNB) and started to investigate various Canadian Open Data Sources, emails have been flooding my inbox with information about other Canadian GIS resources that I should share with all the CanadianGIS.com viewers [Thanks for that! And keep them coming!].

So in an effort to fulfill  those requests, I have been taken some time to review some of the various technology and available data sets from across Canada and continue reviewing them in the GIS data section of the web site throughout the next few months. For one, to learn how well other sites compare (since SNB has set the bar pretty high) and then also to ensure that information about these great GIS resources are shared with others in the Canadian GIS community who can make use of them After all it is one thing to have great GIS information available but it is even better when people know about it.

Niagara Falls Open Data & Online MapsAmong some of the recent responses was an email from the City of Niagara Falls providing me with information about their Interactive Mapping Service  (IMS) known as the Falls Viewer, Niagara Falls Open Data sets and various GIS accomplishments by the Information Systems division. So I took some time, read the provided information, explored the website, tested out the online applications, downloaded some files and this is what I learned:

Niagara Falls, Ontario is located a historical Canadian city located on the Niagara River in the Golden Horseshoe region. It covers a land area of approximately 212 square kilometers including both urban and rural regions; it was incorporated in 1903 and has over 82,500 residents. This historical border city is most known for the world famous set of waterfalls, the American falls and the Horseshoe falls. These bring mass amounts of visitors to the region making it on of the major tourist attractions in the world.Niagara Falls Ontario oblique aerial photo

The City of Niagara Falls state that they are committed to improving services to their citizens, providing transparency and showing accountability with the most innovative and cost effective methods that they can provide. One of their newest initiative is to provide Niagara Falls Open Data (the capacity to provide online access to internal data in a standards compliant Web 2.0 way) on-line. They have designed their website to support the publication and distribution of public information in both viewable IMS,  and also in downloadable SHP & PDF formats. They are small but they hope that their efforts in the open government arena will help make them stand out from other municipalities.

A versatile Information Systems division creates and maintains GIS data for the municipality. They take advantage of the best software resources for their projects including Manifold, Autodesk Map 3D and Symposium plus various in house developed software applications. Windows operating systems are utilized with a SQL Server as the main database platform and most of their applications are running in 64 bit mode.

Buildings in the city of Niagara Falls Ontario CanadaThey no longer run ESRI products because they have found that they were no longer cost effective for their size, however the main data format for data exchange is still the industry standard shape file. The GIS department currently supports over 400 layers of information from various sources – mostly in-house research/information with some outside agency support. Property and addressing layers are maintained internally and unlike many other municipalities do not rely on Teranet / MPAC for anything except Quality Control. All data layers are based on UTM Zone 17 N coordinate system using NAD 83 datum.

Their website provides users with a variety of pre-made maps available in PDF format (such as a base map, zoning maps and a street map), a data catalogue of various downloadable data sets and also an Interactive Web Mapping Service called the Falls Viewer where users can create their own maps in their browser. There is also an Address Finder search tool where users can locate valid street addresses displayed on a location map as well as a Street and Address Master List where you can quickly look up the street address.

Niagara Falls Open Data & Online Maps

Niagara Falls Open Data & Online Maps - Falls Viewer online web map

The Falls Viewer (located on a separate domain – fallsviewer.ca) is a simple to use online mapping application that allows users to create customized maps of Niagara Falls using a wide range of provided data sets. They provide the option of using either a base map background or using a black and white orthophoto.

There are custom tools that allow you to add text and draw features, a select tool for selecting features in existing layers, a buffer tool, measure tool and many more. You have the ability to print your custom map or use the permalink option to generate a custom link to the map you have created, to share with others or to come back to in the future. They also provide plenty of useful help in the form of FAQ and video tutorials.

There were a few things that I didn’t like about the online viewer, I couldn’t figure out how to change any of the color of the layers , there was no option to export data from the viewers or import other data sets. However other then that it contained just about everything that you would come to expect from an IMS, therefor thumbs up to the efforts of the Information Systems division for implementing a great little web mapping application for the City of  Falls.

There are several  downloadable Pre Made Maps of Niagara Falls for those that need a map quickly or are not interested in making their own customized maps. And for us GIS users who have access to GIS software applications, they have also a open data catalogue with a multitude of data sets available in UTM Zone 17N, NAD 83 (see the Open Data FAQ for more details on the terms of use).

So it is pretty obvious that the GIS folks at the City of Niagara Falls have done a great job with their efforts of supporting open government initiatives by providing Canadians with data sets to use in their own GIS software applications and also for providing the Falls Viewer for those that do not have access to GIS software. If you have a need for data in the Niagara Falls region or just want to play around with available data sets then I recommend that  you take some time and check out the data sets and applications provided.

For more information about the Niagara Falls Open Data initiative, refer to their FAQ section, the Terms and Conditions or contact them directly (opendata@niagarafalls.ca) with your questions, concerns or input. They have mentioned that would love to have your input and feedback in order to continue providing great information and services .

[image sources: niagarafalls.ca]

Canadian initiatives for Open Data Resources

Canada open data

Canadian Open Data 

The City of Toronto has recently celebrated two years of online Open Data service and they continue to build on that success, by stating that they intend to add more data layers and further develop their online data portal. So with that in mind I thought I would take a closer look at how Open Data Frameworks are currently doing here in Canada.

The concept behind Open data is that data should be available to anyone to use freely without restrictions or copyright. It is similar to other “Open” movements such as open source software, and open access, and has gained popularity with the launch of open data site by the United States Government [Data.gov] in 2009.

There has been a big movement towards Open Data Frameworks in Canada and the Cities of Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver have come together to share resources and methodologies in order to provide Canadians with good reliable sources of spatial data sets. By offering data sets for general use, these Canadian Cities are demonstrating that they support unfiltered access to information in order to improve access to information and so that more quality mapping related applications / products can be created and shared providing higher potential cartographic products for all Canadians to benefit from.

Unlike the United States or some parts of Europe Canada has no country wide mandate establishing procedures or protocols on how spatial data is delivered online to Canadians. More and more cities and municipalities are getting involved with providing Open Data however GIS users still need to do some searching to find the various sites.

Once again this is one of the reasons why I started a Canadian data section on the site, to help aid fellow GIS users with online data searches. So I encourage you to share these pages and resources with your networks to help spread the word throughout the Canadian GIS community. And if you know of any site(s) that offer downloadable data sets that are not posted on my site then please let me know, so that I can ensure that they get shared with others.

City of Edmonton Data Sets
City of Ottawa Data Sets
City of Toronto Data Sets
City of Vancouver Data Sets
City of Niagara Falls Data Sets

Province of New Brunswick Data

Federal Government Canadian Wide Data

plus we will be listing others as they are discovered on our Canadian open data page

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Is your GIS program listed?

One of the goals of Canadian GIS & Geomatics is to promote education programs in Canada. Currently we have about 25 different Universities & Colleges on our site that offer education related to GIS and Geomatics. However if you are currently in a GIS program or know of one that we have yet to post on the site then we would be interested in hearing more about it from you, so we can share that information with others.

Contribute to CanadianGIS.com

Often the key to having a great website is to have plenty of relevant Canadian information to share with those that come to the site, and we like to think that we do a great job of providing that service, however if you have something that is Canadian GIS or Geomatics related that you would like to share or contribute to the website then we would like to hear from you.

So if you have something that is Canadian GIS related that you would like to share or contribute to the website then I would like to hear about it from you.