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The sun literally shone on this conference - it was the first day of true springtime weather in the Greater Toronto Area. The Communications, Culture and Technology building of the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus, was an ideal venue for the day with its massive windows that let in lots of light and its easily accessible outdoor spaces. Appropriately for a meeting of spatial specialists, the interior layout of the building could be a fun challenge to one’s wayfinding skills.
President Catherine Fitzgerald led a brisk Annual General Meeting with an overview of URISA and its achievements during the past year, and a look ahead to its goals. President Fitzgerald also announced that URISA will be re-branded to BeSpatial with the launch of a new communications campaign. All committees will offer opportunities for members to participate in this new direction.
The conference had four themes:
There were 23 sessions in all and with each lasting 30 minutes, it was possible to attend a good mix of sessions according to one’s interests, with a lot of networking in between sessions. Another option was to check out the exhibitions by Esri Canada, Teranet, Consortech, The Association of Land Surveyors, Cansel and First Base Solutions.
BeSpatial ‘18 wrapped up with awards and door prizes and transitioned to BeSocial ’18 at the UTM campus pub.
Be sure to complete the BeSpatial ’18 evaluation survey! Your feedback will help us improve future events and can assist us in providing more value to the membership.
BeSpatial Evaluation Survey
Photos of BeSpatial ’18 can be downloaded from:
Mark your calendar for BeSpatial ’19 in May 2019!
Tracey P. Lauriault of Carleton University presented the keynote “Towards an Open Smart City”. A concept related to the Internet of Things, Smart Cities have large numbers of electronic data collection sensors throughout an urban area in order to better manage assets and resources.
This engaging talk covered the many complex issues emerging from the development of Smart Cities, particularly transparency, privacy and data residency. Currently, city governments do not control their city’s smart grids. Most of the technologies are developed and owned by private foreign corporations, who collect different data and have different data structures. While Smart Cities present vast opportunities for better understanding and managing urban processes – everything from traffic flows to crime and safety – care must be taken to ensure that the data collected is stored and shared in appropriate ways. Who governs the Smart City? is a question that has yet to be answered.
Professor Lauriault pointed out that all technology exists in a social, political and economic context, but is not necessarily suited to addressing social, political or economic problems. Additionally there are concerns about public resources being diverted from social programs towards investments in Smart City technology. Public-Private Partnerships may be an option for financing smart grids.
Calling for greater participation among geospatial professionals towards the development of Smart Cities, Professor Lauriault said they are by training ideal partners for the project. Data management and spatial analysis are our mainstays, and so we will have insights into the best ways to leverage the new streams of data from smart grids.
Toward an Open Smart City
BeSpatial’18 Keynote: Dr. Tracey P. Lauriault
Critical Media and Big Data, School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University
Keynote: Towards an Open Smart City
This keynote will critically focus on smart cities, examining how they are socially and technically constructed. We will discuss the research outcomes of the Canadian Open Smart Cities project funded by the Government of Canada GeoConnections Program and Led by Open North and the author in collaboration with the Canadian Internet Public Policy Clinic and University of Toronto. Examples will be drawn from five case studies namely about the cities of Edmonton, Guelph, Ottawa and Montreal, and the Ontario Smart Grid as well as number of international best practices. The recent Infrastructure Canada Canadian Smart City Challenge and the controversial Sidewalk Lab Waterfront Toronto project will also be discussed. It will be argued that no two smart cities are alike and may not live up to the promise of being better places to live.
Although an Open Smart City does not yet exist, it will be argued that it is possible, especially if the ideals and practices of open data, open science, open geospatial data infrastructures and open government are mapped onto them.
Dr Tracey P. Lauriault, Assistant Professor, Critical Media and Big Data, School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada,
In addition to BeSpatial on May 2, there will be 2 full-day Interactive sessions being offered. Book the dates May 1-3 and Click on the Titles below for details as they become available! BeSpatial registrants can take advantage of a special rate of $55 for either LiDAR or FME or both!
May 1- LiDAR 201 - Applications of LiDAR Data
May 2 - BeSpatial’18 - Program sessions, Exhibits, MApps Gallery, Networking , Awards and much more...
May 3 - Preparing your Data for Smart Cities using FME 2018
Consider Submitting a presentation abstract for our Fall'18 or Winter'19 events.
Submit a Presentation
Date: April 25, 2018
Time: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Place: Valhalla Inn, Thunder Bay
Join your Northern Ontario geospatial peers for a day of learning best practices, networking, new concepts and technology advances. Focusing on the use of GIS in Northern Ontario, this event will feature presentations from GIS practitioners across many private and public industries.
If you are interested in contributing to the event, there are some speaking spots still open! We want to hear about your real world experience solving problems with a geospatial approach.
Limited Presentation opportunities still available:
Submit your presentation idea
Registration is OPEN!
Visit the Member's area to view the Presentations
Attendance at URISA Ontario events count for certification.
For more info: Visit GISCI
The GIS-Pro conference was last held in Canada, in Toronto, Ontario from October 31 - November 3, 2016.
Visit URISA.org for more info!
Sandra Crutcher inducted in Ontario's GIS Hall of Fame
Lou Milrad receives 2017 Exemplary Service Award
Our very own Al Little received the URISA.org Leadership award from incoming URISA.org President, Tripp Corbin on November 2, 2016 at the GIS Pro URISA International Conference in Toronto, Ontario.
Al has been involved with URISA both internationally and locally since 1993, and has served on the URISA Internal board of directors as well as the URISA Ontario board of directors as President, Past President, and Director of Finance. Congratulations and thank you Al!