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Turning Precision Agriculture Potential into Profit

Turning Precision Agriculture Potential into Profit

Event: 3rd Annual Precision Agriculture Conference & AG Tech Showcase
Theme: Turning Precision Agriculture’s Potential into Profit
Venue: Best Western Lamplighter Inn, London Ontario
Date: Tuesday, February 02, to 03, 2016
Twitter: #PAg16

The 3rd annual Precision Agriculture Conference and Ag Tech Showcase, was held at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn in London last week. London and surrounding Area is recognized as one of the most agriculturally productive and richest areas in Ontario. The theme of this year’s conference was “Turning Precision Agriculture’s Potential into Profit”

Precision Agriculture Conference & AG Tech Showcase

Annual Precision Agriculture Conference & AG Tech ShowcaseThe aim of this year’s conference was to share the innovative and best practices on a wide range of topics such as sensors, managing big farm data, software, UAVs and agronomy that help agronomists and farmers to unlock the full potential of the resources. This Annual event is quickly becoming one of the largest gathering of Agriculture experts, professionals and farmers in Canada, with specific emphasis on encouraging networking, building new as well as strengthening existing relationships.

Annual Precision Agriculture Conference & AG Tech ShowcaseThe conference was inaugurated with a welcome address by Joe Dales, Executive Vice President Farms.com Ltd., who underscored the growing need for sustainability in farming practices. This was followed by Paul Schrempf, who spoke about the market dynamics involving farmers and retailers and the lack of cross platform compatibility among VRT, UAVs, Sensors and Imagery.

Steve Redmond, Precision Agriculture Specialist at Hensall District Co-Operative gave a brief history of Precision Agriculture in Ontario and where they were in adoption of this technology, advent of GPS systems. This was followed by Tim Marquis’s presentation on using the services offered by Weather Decision Technology.

The Trade show part of the conference was opened to the public and represented by most of the well-known service providers for precision Agriculture such as 360 Yield Center, AgLeader, Agri-Trend, DU PONT, Farm Credit Canada, Delta, Deveron UAS, Farms.com, GPS Ontario, Haggerty Creek, Hensall District, Huron Tractor, LaserAg,  Practical Precision, Unmanned Systems Canada, Trimble, and many others.

Annual-Precision-Agriculture-Conference-&-AG-Tech-Showcase-2That was followed by concurrent sessions on:

  1. Precision Agriculture Agronomy Session by Aaron, Stephanie, Jac Nault & Jason Webster.
  2. Managing & Harvesting Your Farm Data by Karon Cowan of AgTech GIS
  3. Financing Agriculture Technologies Panel by Dr. Amit, David Macmillan, Dan & Wade Barnes.
  4. Variable Rate Fertility Overview by Mike Duncan and Rick Willemse.

Following a short break. Jason Tatge, President, Farm mobile presented on “Farm Data Management”, in which he underscored why data is one the most valuable things a farmer harvests. That was followed by Agri-Trends Founder Rob Saik’s presentation on “Building a Dream from the ground up” and how his team has been working on building a network of Agri and Geo Coaches to help farmers.

A welcome reception was held at the trade show to encourage conference delegates to visit the trade show booths and meet Precision Ag experts, socialize with attendees, and network.

On the second day of the conference registration started early followed by breakfast and opening of the Trade show.

The early bird breakout session had two concurrent sessions about:

  1. Precision Agriculture Technology Results by Paul Raymer, Practical Precision.
  2. Introduction to LaserAg-Revolutionary New Soil Testing Systems and Workshop by Jacques Nault, LaserAg-Logiag Inc.

In the Opening main session, there were two presentations:Annual Precision Agriculture Conference & AG Tech Showcase

Lisa Prassack, a well-known Agri Food Innovation expert  presented on “The future & potential of Technology in the Agriculture & Food Industry”, in which she underlined the importance of farmers storing their farm data.

Nevin McDougall, president Agro art Group, spoke about “Why Innovation & Sustainability Strategies Are Critical to Your Farm & Business Success”.

There was a Precision Agronomy & Research Panel Presentation by Noah Freeman, Jason Webster and Dale Cowan and then following a Coffee break there were breakout concurrent presentations on:

  1. Unmanned Systems: UAVs, Images, Services & Regulations by Felix Weber, Norm Lamothe and Charles Vidal
  2. Farmer Software & Technology Update by Chris Creek and Glen Kroeker
  3. Back to Basics – The Evergreen Revolution by Greg Patterson
  4. Precision Farm Machinery Update by Darryl Lacey and Greg Kitching
  5. Variable Rate Seeding Trial, Fungicide Trial & Trial Best Practices by Dale Cowan and Ben Gist.

A Luncheon Keynote Presentation  about “Innovation & Agriculture Business Outlook for 2016” by J.P Grevis and Aron Gampel followed the lunch break. A Farmer Panel was moderated by Lisa Prassack in which four farmers from various parts of North America described their experience in Precision Agriculture and interacted with experts, following which, Wade Barnes, President, FarmersEdge presented on “What Farmers Are Doing in Western Canada / USA”.

The last breakout concurrent presentations were:

  1. Overview of FarmersEdge by Wade Barnes
  2. Future of Agriculture Imagery & Satellite Services by Andrew Pylpchuk
  3. BASF Compass Software Introduction by Andrew Elgersma and Neal Dilawri
  4. Full Season Nitrogen Management Solutions by Stephanie Smith
  5. Zone Smart, Soil Mapping, Management Zones by Nicole Rabe, Mike Duncan and Dan.

Finally, Joe Dales and Steve Redmond provided the Final Wrap Up presentation and highlighted the various proceedings and outcomes of the Conference and the future outlook of the Precision Agriculture industry.

There is an growing need of Skilled resources in Geospatial Technology who can use High Resolution imagery from Satellite, Airborne Imagery in Agriculture Applications , the outlook for the Precision Agriculture Industry is very promising and is poised to become a $4 Billion industry within a few years.

The Conference proved to be a major boost for the Canadian precision agriculture industry in general and Ontario in particular. Some of the new products launched in the conference such as the LaserAg, look very promising for the industry, the enterprising spirit of the speakers was amazing, the conference was well organized and conducted.

 

  Hari Shankar Reddy Yeruva, GISP Contributing Author: Hari Shankar Reddy Yeruva, GISP is a Technology Evangelist on a mission to engage with professionals, educators and students that drive excitement around Geospatial Platforms. As an Evangelist he explores every possible opportunity to reach and inspire technical audiences to successfully discover, understand, deploy and operate the core and unique Geospatial Technologies within their chosen domains. He believes in the concept of “desperately learning” and that learning is imperative if we want to solve some of the challenges our world is facing.


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Historic Bird’s Eye Views of several Canadian Cities

historic aerial image  of Halifax

Canada is certainly not an old country when compared to many others like France or the UK but it has been around long enough to have some very interesting history.

Here are some historic aerial images of major cities in Canada. It is interesting when you compare some of these with modern maps and aerial images, as then you can get a real appreciation on what urban sprawl looks like and how cities develop and spread over time.

The Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives (ACMLA) provide a service where you can obtain your own colour printed reproduction of any of the listed images below [note: the images that the links below point to are actually only thumbnails of the actual images that they repoduce]. Maps ordered are printed on acid free 70 lb paper with a size of about 55 X 70 cm. For more information about how to order historic map prints go to the ACMLA site

historic aerial image  of Ottawa 1893

 

Calgary, Alberta [1910]
Dawson City [1903]
Halifax, Nova Scotia [1879]
Hamilton, Ontario [1894]
London, Ontario [1872]
Montréal, Québec [1889]
Ottawa, Ontario [1876]
Ottawa, Ontario [1893]
Québec City, Québec [1905]
St. John’s, Newfoundland [1879]
Toronto, Ontario [1876]
Vancouver, British Columbia [1898]
Waterloo, Ontario [189?]
Winnipeg, Manitoba [1881]

Also remember to check back to the new Historic Cartography section as more content is added weekly.

 

[image source: acmla.org]

GIS at Fanshawe College

 Fanshawe College GIS Graduate Certificate Program

Fanshawe College GIS

Location: London, Ontario
Program(s): GIS Graduate Certificate Program & a GIS / Urban Planning Diploma
Prerequisites: University degree or College Diploma / High School

Info: The one year Fanshawe College GIS Graduate Certificate Program at the School of Design is actually an eight month intensive program that prepares graduates from College or University for employment opportunities in a wide range of industries that everyday utilize both spatial and tabular data sets. Their program is hands on project based and industry leading software intensive training, Students gain a solid foundation of GIS skills coupled with leading edge industry techniques to

learn the skills that can provide spatial solutions.

In Fanshawe’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program, you’ll learn a complete range of GIS skills to help you increase your marketability. This eight-month intensive program will prepare you for employment in a wide range of land-based industries that require expertise in the use of spatial and tabular data.

Career Opportunities for graduates are to become GIS Specialists, GIS Programmers, Spatial Database Specialists, or GIS Analysts in either the GIS software industry, various levels of government of any private industry that makes use of spatial geomatic technologies. Their web site states that this program is open to International Students.

Fanshawe College also offers a GIS / Urban Planning Diploma that does not require a College or University background. This program focuses on the many uses of land and resources found in both rural and urban areas. Students learn how to design ideal communities, plan and co-ordinate land development, build and maintain geographic databases, using a combination of GIS, CAD and graphic design technology. The program is considered to be hands on providing industry experience through paid co-op work terms.

Graduates of this program tend to work in all different levels of governments, different land development companies, as well as many planning and consultant agencies. Some students even qualify for further education with the Urban and Regional Planning degree program through Ryerson University.

Contact Info

1001 Fanshawe College
London, Ontario
N5Y 5R6
GIS Program: Rick Oskirko (519) 452-4430 ext. 4322 roskirko@fanshawec.ca
GIS / Planning Program: Russell Schnurr (519) 452-4430 ext. 4322 E-mail: rschnurr@fanshawec.ca
See the GIS Course page or GIS / Planning Program page for more details.

 [sources: fanshawec.ca ]


If you are a student, facility or someone who has any more knowledge, feedback or comments to share about the GIS programs at Fanshawe College then I encourage you to share it . You can either use the contribute more info form or the comment functionality below.

Do DigitalGlobe and GeoEye Complete each other?

Do DigitalGlobe and GeoEye Complete each other?

Yes. At least that’s what Walter Scott, founder of DigitalGlobe, thinks about the companies’ proposed merger. OK, the combined entity will be known as DigitalGlobe, but while this looks on the face of it to be a thinly veiled buyout, title aside this cannot be much farther from the truth. If one actually looks at the various terms of the deal and its benefits to the companies, it is increasingly looking like GeoEye is the missing piece in DigitalGlobe’s puzzle.

DigitalGlobe and GeoEyeWhile there is no doubt that the merger will certainly help the companies in many ways, one cannot but help wonder if the deal got its final push after the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) elected to cut GeoEye’s share of a 10-year contract vehicle called EnhancedView, Oh, and DigitalGlobe’s part of the contract has been left intact. The terms of the deal and how it affects the companies will be discussed later, but first the benefits.

There is no doubt that combining the synergies of the two companies will certainly open up new revenue streams for each while also bolstering their offerings. One very important advantage is that while both the companies rely on the US government for 60% of their revenues, the combined entity will draw only around 50% of its revenues from the US government, helping the companies diversify their revenue streams. DigitalGlobe’s Scott expects the merged company to be able to manage its total satellite constellation more efficiently, while also taking advantage of the capabilities of each of the sensors. To quote Scott, “…in some aspects 1+1 is more than 2.”

There are other advantages available to the combined entity as mentioned by GeoEye CEO Matt O’Connell was the satellite imagery business outside the US, while also allowing it to compete with other collection methods, such as aerial imagery collected from UAVs. Scott even added that the deal enables the companies to be in a better position to compete against foreign government-subsidised systems like France’s Astrium.

Now coming back to the contract, GeoEye is currently negotiating conditions of NGA’s remaining $70 million in cost-share payments related to the GeoEye-2 satellite scheduled for launch in early 2013. The NGA has proposed to renew EnhancedView for just three months starting in September, with a nine-month option to be exercised subject to the availability of funds. The deal would see NGA pay GeoEye $39.75 million over the three months beginning September 1, and an additional $119.25 million over the following nine months if funds are available.

The original contract would have paid GeoEye $12.5 million per month from NGA until GeoEye-2 was deemed fully operational around September 2013, following which the monthly payment amount would increase to $27.8 million. The modified contract calls for $70 million in co-payments for GeoEye-2’s construction to be linked to a new series of milestones that GeoEye is fine with.

According to GeoEye CFO Joseph Greeves, the GeoEye-2 construction is still expected to cost between $820 million and $850 million including launch and insurance, with GeoEye having committed $718 million to the project so far. The problem here is that the NGA had previously told GeoEye that the agency may not be able to follow up on its earlier commitment that it would pay $337 million in GeoEye- 2 costs as it was no longer viable, adding that the $181.2 million already approved would probably be the final payment.

While O’Connell expects the final 2013 budget to take “months,” House and Senate are set to put in place a “Continuing Resolution” temporary spending measure to fund the US government at 2012 levels through March 2013. However, O’Connell expects a six-month Continuing Resolution to have “unknown consequences” on the EnhancedView budget. It would be interesting to see how the outcomes of the NGA deal and the proposed M&A deal with DigitalGlobe impact GeoEye, given that GeoEye is continuing to compete with DigitalGlobe on other projects such as the NGA’s GeoInt Data Services business, a five-year contract vehicle for which GeoEye is bidding as part of a team of other contractors.

However, GeoEye is not entirely at the receiving end of the deal as its projects such as its exclusive relationship that provides Google with the “all GeoEye-1 imagery in the Internet search engine space for the next several years,” will continue after the merger along with all other GeoEye contracts.

In spite of all these pros and cons, the deal still has to get many approvals, not the least from the companies’ shareholders, not to mention that of the regulators. But if it does go ahead, will the whole be greater than the sum of its parts?  Sadly, geospatial intelligence may have come along way, but it still can’t predict the future, so only time will tell…


 

Meet DigitalGlobe and GeoEye at DGI – Europe’s leading geospatial intelligence event, 21-23 January 2013, London.

The DGI Conference & Exhibition brings together heads of defence geospatial intelligence, remote sensing, GIS data & mapping, satellite imagery and analysis within the military, governmental, and geo intelligence sectors. It attracts professionals who are responsible for using, and integrating, geo based capabilities in their operations and organizations. Attended by over 800 Geo professionals, DGI is where the geospatial intelligence community comes together.

To join them, and to find out more ,visit DGIeurope.com or check back to CanadianGIS.com for more DGI Conference & Exhibition updates.

[Paper submitted & published on behalf of DGI]