DMTI Spatial Supports Canadian Academia with SMART Program
For more than a decade, DMTI Spatial Inc. (DMTI) has been supporting Canada’s academic GIS community with the SMART (Spatial Mapping Academic Research Tools) program. The program assists a consortium of libraries at over forty Canadian universities and colleges, including the University of Toronto, York University and the University of British Columbia, reaching over 9000 students and faculty members annually.
The aim of the SMART program is to provide affordable access to data in support of social science, engineering, research, business and environmental geographic educational programs. Because of this program, Canada’s GIS students are able to work with many more hands-on, real-world examples, and be better prepared for their life after their post-secondary education is complete. The SMART program has helped individuals at member institutions with such impactful projects as determining emergency routes and plotting the best locations for hospitals and new energy sources. DMTI has lent continued support by providing licenses for its data products, including its CanMap® suite, to these institutions to use for teaching and research purposes.
“The SMART program really opened the door for academics wishing to use Canadian spatial data,” said Marcel A.J. Fortin, GIS and Map Librarian, Map and Data Library, University of Toronto. Mr. Fortin manages the program and plays an instrumental role in supporting the consortium of participating institutions. “Prior to the SMART program, there were few opportunities for university students and faculty to use quality Canadian mapping data for research and teaching. DMTI’s data is now very prevalent at SMART program institutions, being utilized in everything from first year lectures to more complex projects like advanced geocoding and the creation of 3D elevation models.”
“It was very generous of DMTI Spatial Inc. to provide Canadian academic institutions a suite of vector data, DEM, imagery and geocoding software through the SMART Program, especially at a time when geospatial data was not readily available or affordable,” said Trudy Bodak, Librarian Emeritus, York University. “At York University, the data was heavily used by graduate and undergraduate students for a variety of projects including plotting emergency routes, travel times and bicycle routes, and determining the best locations for new golf courses, hospitals and wind turbines. I always used this data as an example in my GIS Library instruction classes, because there is so much value and flexibility in using it for research analysis.”
Academia from coast to coast now continue to benefit from DMTI Spatial and their efforts to liberate access to Canadian GIS data.