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BeSpatial'21

 “A Glimpse into Geospatial Future”

- dedicated to geospatial data and technology implementation presentations

Keynote Speaker  - Biju Misra 

We are thrilled to announce Biju Misra, Director, Transformation/Operations at Enbridge, a recognized transformation and strategic leader as the keynote speaker on day 1 of our annual BeSpatial event.  At BeSpatial'21, Biju will share his perspective on transformative change, innovation and leadership. He will highlight the importance of teamwork and building high impact teams, critical to enable resilience as we tackle the challenges and opportunities entering the 2020s!

Insight Statement: We are living in times of unprecedented disruption changes in the world around us. Innovation coupled with globalization and interconnectedness is fueling disruption which in turn is driving change in how we live, work, and play. The pace of change is much faster than our ability to absorb. The pace of change will only keep increasing.

In this increasingly demanding and changing world, it is easy to become overwhelmed and have varying degrees of personal or professional setbacks. How we cope with setbacks in our lives play a major role in our mind and body well being. Building our resilience muscle is key to cope with setbacks and resilient people are able to leverage their skills to cope and recover.

Everyone reacts differently, however, the key is not to dwell on how far we have fallen but rather how high we can bounce back and be better and stronger than before. Resilient people don't let change or challenge stop their pursuit of their purpose and if anything, they keep going with a belief that tomorrow will be better than today. In many ways resilience is more about letting go and learning to grow. The positive side of all this is that resilience can be learnt through understanding and deliberate practice.

Day 2 theme is "Creative Strategies for Geospatial and Information Professionals" will emphasize strategic approaches to new technology implementations, location-based intelligence and workforce management.  Watch for details coming soon!

Sault Ste. Marie's GIS Based Vulnerable Persons Registry

Presenter:  Paul Beach,  General Manager, Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre

 The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre’s Acorn Information Solutions (AIS) Group and the City of Sault Ste. Marie initiated discussions concerning the development of a Vulnerable Persons Registry (VPR) after the unfortunate passing of Lewis Wheelan during the 2003 North American electrical grid blackout. Lewis had passed away during the blackout because he was electric dependent, needing air conditioning to cool his body.

Through significant efforts and partnership building, AIS launched the Salt Ste. Marie VPR in 2011. The VPR is a  free, voluntary and confidential registry for persons at greater risk during an emergency or disaster. A secure communication tool provides GIS based data to local first responders and the local power distribution company with the key information they need to help increase one’s safety during the following situations: power outages, home emergencies and large scale emergencies.
Since 2011, AIS has registered about 800 citizens into the VPR. The VPR has been utilized numerous times for 911 emergencies and for the following large scale emergency events in Sault Ste. Marie: the September 2013 100 year flood event, the 2014 natural gas leak, the August 2014 boil water event, the December 24th 2015 power outage and the four day power outage in December 2019.
In 2019 and 2020, the VPR is being expanded to include all of the District of Algoma and the District of Manitoulin Sudbury. AIS also assisted the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray) implement a VPR for large scale emergencies. In 2019-2020, AIS also assisted the City of Guelph in implementing a critical water customers registry.
This presentation will detail the conception of VPR, the process to implement and maintain and will discuss the initial barriers and the successes that have resulted. With rapidly changing climate conditions and aging populations, most communities are facing the growing issue of protecting its most vulnerable populations. In Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding region, the VPR has served to help this vulnerable population learn about emergency preparedness and
know that they will be protected should an emergency occur.

Modern day automated historical airphoto processing to generate authoritative climate change information going back to the 1920s

Presenter: Kevin Jones, Director of Marketing,  PCI Geomatics

Historical airphotos are in danger of disappearing. They present challenges in terms of preservation not only with respect to the media formats (contact prints, volatile film rolls, etc), but also in terms of the physical space required to store them. Map making required a high degree of detail for these collections (a ground sample distance of 50 cms or better is common using scanned air photos at 20,000 scale), which remains an untapped source of information. New techniques to process scanned air photos and convert them into digital ortho mosaics and derived information products such as Digital Surface Models hold great promise to create an unexpected source of temporal land use information stretching back greater than 80 years in many cases. These techniques can be fully automated, making it possible to reduce the physical storage space requirements and more importantly, put the data in the hands of researchers and interested parties.

Enforcing Cannabis Ordinance Using Satellite Imagery

Presenter: Chris Humphrey, Account Executive, Planet

Previously, Humboldt County would only investigate complaints that were reported by citizens or happened upon during other inspections. Now, they are using high resolution satellite imagery to monitor the county for code enforcement, including greenhouses to grow cannabis. As a result, they increased citations from 100 to 700 per year, adding an additional $2 million (USD) in revenue.

Vault - Engineering Document Management System - City of Vaughan, 

Presenter:  Samir Patti, Business Analyst, City of Vaughan

The City of Vaughan is a medium sized municipality that has experienced significant growth over the last 35 years. During this time, a great deal of infrastructure was constructed to support the development. Vaughan is responsible for the operation and maintenance of approximately 3000 km of water main, sanitary and storm sewers and 950 km of road infrastructure. There are currently upwards of 50,000 engineering documents in the inventory.

With advancement in GIS and mobile technologies, there was a growing need to provide staff with a user-friendly, interactive and intuitive application that is available on web and compatible with all mobile devices... Since its launch, the end users have been able to save considerable amount of time while searching and retrieving the engineering documents. This new application has helped the residents directly by providing fast service at the counter and indirectly by bringing efficiency in operations and maintenance of assets in the field.

Developing a data sharing portal with FME and GeoCortex - Consortech & Region of Durham

Presenters: Lesley MacKenzie, Senior Business Analyst at Consortech and Rob Halko, GIS Supervisor at Durham Region

The Region of Durham, Ontario, hosts and manages a number of datasets and wished to share them with municipalities within the region through a web application developed on GeoCortex. With the help of Consortech, the Region of Durham was able to streamline requests from GeoCortex and provide a self-serve data sharing solution for key stakeholders in the Region.

In the backend, FME plays a pivotal role from processing requests from the web application utilizing the FME Server REST API to maintaining and updating shared data through automated scheduled tasks.

Want to borrow a 96 CPU 192 gigabyte computer? That'll be $8.88/hour. Using Amazon Web Services to provide temporary computing power for testing, data processing, and learning - Fleming College

Presenter: Shawn Morgan, Professor and Program Coordinator, Fleming College

Amazon Web Services (AWS) have transformed the IT industry, and is heavily used in GIS. But you do not need to be an IT expert to use AWS. In this presentation, we explore how AWS EC2 servers are used to provide each of the GIS students at Fleming College personal servers to learn how to administer, configure and implement ArcGIS Enterprise software. Attendees to this session will come away with ideas, best practices for running AWS EC2 servers, and how to best keep costs low. This session is also ideal for those who process lots of LIDAR or Point Clouds, need processing power sporadically throughout the year, or want to test new software without impacting existing servers or desktops.


Enabling better interoperability with road condition reporting - Grey County

Presenter:  Joel Meier, GIS Specialist, Grey County

Using a combination of Municipal 511, Survey123, Pandas, Python, and ArcGIS Online to allow us to display road issues and road conditions to the public. I will explain the challenges we were facing and how a combination of software programs can work together using APIs and open source software.




Taking the Plunge into Open Source GIS -  PSD - Research, Consulting, Software

Presenter:  Cliff Patterson, Senior GIS Consultant, PSD

Public and private sector organizations are increasingly migrating to open source GIS, yet there is still reluctance by many to consider these solutions. Since the 1990s, open source software has grown to become an integral component of almost everything we do with computers, from sending an email to analyzing data on supercomputers.

In the GIS sector, mature open source projects like QGIS, PostgreSQL/PostGIS, and Geoserver have helped organizations eliminate annual licensing costs without sacrificing functionality. Yet, many organizations still perceive numerous barriers to open source GIS migration, from feeling “locked in” with their current solution to an overarching fear that their current workflows cannot be replicated. Through a comprehensive review of open source GIS solutions and services available through PSD’s new Enterprise GIS platform, insight is provided into how organizations can overcome the barriers to open source GIS.

Next Generation 911

Presenters: Alex Brossault, Program Manager, GIS and Info, City of Guelph with Barry Costello,  Consultant

GIS data is critical to NG9-1-1 operations.  The CRTC has mandated the development of national specifications for GIS data content, accuracy and currency. These changes will dictate that municipalities and other 9-1-1 data suppliers assess their data holdings and management practices. 

To better understand the above, the City of Guelph and Esri Canada teamed up to assess the City’s readiness to meet the NG9-1-1 data requirements. 

This session will:

  • provide an overview of the existing 9-1-1 system and why it needs to change
  • explain the NG9-1-1 system’s critical dependence on GIS data
  • explain the national NG9-1-1 data specifications
  • Guelph-Esri Readiness Assessment:
  • project objectives
  • findings:
    • data management and flow modelling
    • City to NG9-1-1 data model comparison
    • challenges for the City
    • recommendations to address the above

 The use of artificial intelligence in schedule planning for the Healthy Smiles Ontario program - Region of Peel

Presenter:  Hongcheng Zeng,  Business Intelligence Specialist, Region of Peel

Public Health is required, under the Ontario Public Health Standards, to deliver the Healthy Smiles Ontario program. As part of the program, dental hygienists are required to travel to all publicly funded elementary schools and perform dental screenings for students. The development of a scheduling system that ensures an equitable distribution of workload and travel distance for hygienists has proven challenging. Previously designed and tested scheduling approaches were complicated and time consuming and were unable to account for factors such as workload (impacted by various school and student population characteristics) and travel distance.

In 2019, in partnership with the Oral Health Team, the Health Intelligence and Analytics team in Peel Region successfully developed a novel artificial intelligence (AI) tool, derived from the cellular automaton approach, coupled with spatial analytical methods to address the scheduling challenge. The AI tool accounts for a variety of school characteristics and automatically searches for the optimal dates for the dental screening tasks, determining the best overall schedule for the dental screening among the hygienists. The application of the new AI tool resulted in shortening the annual planning time from five months to one month, distributing the dental hygienists’ workload almost evenly, and significantly reducing their travel distances.


Mapping Children’s Environments: A spatiotemporal analysis of how children use their neighbourhoods, Western University

Presenter:  Malcolm Little, Masters graduate student, Western University

Initiatives to get children active outdoors are critical due to unhealthy levels of sedentary behavior. We use novel GIS methods to study children’s frequented spaces. Engagement within different spaces is examined by day (weekdays vs weekends, fair vs poor weather days) to understand spatiotemporal patterns of children’s mobility and use of outdoor spaces.

Children aged 9-14 from across London ON participated in a study which included logging 2 weeks of locations via GPS. Data were processed with a GIS-Python tool that extracted routes and stops from GPS tracks, based on kernel density principles. A Random-Forest-based algorithm determined which GPS variables best predict whether children were indoors or outdoors. Hexagonal bins containing numerous environmental variables informed multiple spatial analyses.

Findings from 516 weeks of data from 449 unique participants revealed interactions centered on schools, homes, parks, strip malls, and recreation spaces. Mean differences between types of days were significant for Commercial, Institutional, and Residential spaces. Findings fill gaps in understanding how children use their neighborhoods, and can inform policies to promote outdoor activities.


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