Northern Ontario GIS Users Event

Presented by URISA Ontario   

Platinum Sponsor:          Gold Sponsor: 

BeSpatial - The Geospatial and Information Community

April 25, 2018

8:30 am – 3:30 pm

Valhalla Inn, Thunder Bay

URISA Ontario is a non-profit, volunteer community of individuals and organizations who share and innovate in geospatial information knowledge and expertise. With over 1,000 members and associates, URISA Ontario supports professional development through networking opportunities, programs and services.  Our goals are to proactively encourage individuals and organizations to participate in the geospatial information community. We recognize excellence and innovation through our award and bursary programs and encourage personal professional development through our various volunteer opportunities.

The event in Thunder Bay will focus on two main areas of interest in the geospatial information community:

  • The cost of capturing LiDAR and Imagery data has come down rapidly, and there are options for capturing LiDAR and imagery data for small site specific projects or for large land areas. Several presentations at this conference will cover how to capture LiDAR and imagery what to consider and how to use the data. These presentations will be followed by an expert panel question/answer and discussion session.
  • Many effective geospatial solutions depend on field data capture and presenting the information in a user friendly application. These presentations will focus on case studies applying data capture solutions and developing end user applications. These presentations will be followed by an expert panel question/answer and discussion session.


8:30 am - 9:00 am – Registration & Continental Breakfast

9:00 am – 9:30 am – Welcome & Introduction by URISA Ontario

9:35 am – 10:05 am – Airborne LiDAR Specifications for Dummies…, Susan Muleme Kasumba, Airborne Imaging

10:10 am – 10:40 am – Unmanned Aerial Systems - Is It Right For Your Project? Todd Domney and Adam Boczek, Sumac Geomatics

10:45 am – 11:00 am – Networking Break

11:00 am – 11:30 am – The Precision Forestry Project - Making Forest Information Accessible, Alex Bilyk, Overstory Consultants and Kevin Shorthouse, Northwest Solutions Inc.

11:35 am – 12:00 pm – Panel Discussion – Morning Presenters

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm – Lunch

1:00 pm – 1:30 pm – Using the Science of where to Unlock your GIS Success, Jasmine Sohal, Esri Canada, Platinum Sponsor

1:35 pm – 2:05 pm – Staying Agile: Lessons Learned Building GIS Software in SoCal, Jennifer Link

2:10 pm – 2:40 pm – Mapping the Risk of Homelessness in Thunder Bay, Ontario using a Socio-Economic Index Model, Rylie Nellis, Lakehead University

2:45 pm – 3:15 pm – Panel Discussion – Afternoon Presenters

3:15 pm – 3:20 pm – Thank you & Door Prizes

Presentation Highlights:

Airborne LiDAR Specifications for Dummies…

Presenter: Susan Muleme Kasumba, Airborne Imaging

We are often asked "how do I know what to ask for when I plan my LiDAR project?" We will compare the Ontario Specifications for LiDAR Acquisition, the new Federal Airborne LiDAR Data Acquisition Specifications and USGS LiDAR Base Specifications.

Each of these documents has specifications for:

  • Collection conditions
  • Point Density
  • Swath width
  • Overlap
  • Processing
  • Classification
  • Hydro flattening
  • Metadata standards, etc.

An evaluation of these documents will give LiDAR data users a better understanding of project planning and acquisition parameters. This will enable them to write requests for acquisition that make sense, and receive the appropriate products to meet needs.

Susan is a graduate of Sir Sanford Fleming’s GIS/Cartography program and attended the University of Guelph. She joined Airborne Imaging in 2011 and has over 19 years of experience in the mapping industry. Susan manages Airborne Imaging’s Office in Ottawa. She looks after clients and projects in British Columbia, Ontario and the eastern provinces.

Unmanned Aerial Systems - Is It Right For Your Project?

Presenters: Todd Domney and Adam Boczek, Sumac Geomatics

Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS)are increasingly being used to capture high resolution aerial data for mapping and survey applications.  Despite their popularity, questions remain about how to best deploy the technology, the accuracy of the aerial data and derived products, and lastly the cost/benefit or return-on-investment.   Sumac Geomatics, has been on the fore-front of utilizing sUAS for mapping and surveying applications.  Through case studies, Sumac will share its experiences and lessons learned as a service provider to forestry, mining and engineering companies to answer the question, is sUAS right for your project?

Todd is the Managing Partner at Sumac Geomatics, based in Thunder Bay Ontario.   With 25 years in Forest Growth and Yield and Forest Inventory, he has most recently led the company’s successful expansion of its remote sensing capabilities.  Today, Sumac provides tailored remote sensing solutions to forestry, mining and civil engineering clients for a wide range of high value applications. Todd continues to push Sumac’s growth and innovation agenda, expanding the use of UAS and sensors in conjunction with airborne remote sensing, advanced geospatial processing and softcopy (3D) photogrammetry.

Adam Boczek lead's Sumac’s small, but highly effective Geomatics and GIS team. A Registered Professional Forester in the Province of Ontario and an Ontario Forest Resource Inventory certified photogrammetrist, Adam has pursued a career in information management, with a strong emphasis on the use of GIS and remote sensing in the forestry industry and natural resource management. Most recently, Adam has the spearheaded the development of Sumac’s Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) program, providing class leading aerial imaging, survey and analysis services to the forestry, mining and civil engineering sector.

The Precision Forestry Project - Making Forest Information Accessible

Presenters: Alex Bilyk, Overstory Consultants and Kevin Shorthouse, Northwest Solutions Inc.

The Precision Forestry Project was a a joint effort between LU-CARIS, Resolute FP Canada Inc., Northwest Solutions Inc. and Overstory Consultants with generous support from CRIBE. The purpose was to explore and compare various Precision Inventory Tools and Techniques available to forest managers today. Some of these included UAS, Aerial LiDAR, ADS40 and Satellite Imagery products. The intention is not to make one ultimate tool recommendation but rather provide forest managers with the insight into which tools make sense under certain scenarios. The project was broken into two themes. Theme one focuses on pre-harvest and Theme two focused on post-harvest.

Kevin will cover the pre-harvest side of the project and demonstrate how tools like UAS and LiDAR can be combined with ArcGIS online to facilitate end-user access.

Alex will cover the post-harvest side of the project and demonstrate how these tools can be deployed for roadside biomass estimation, depletion mapping and compliance monitoring.

Alex Bilyk graduated from the MScF program at Lakehead University in 2011 and is currently pursing a PhD with a focus on improving the forest resource inventory for industrial use. In addition, he operates Overstory Consultants, a remote sensing and GIS consulting firm with clients across Canada. His focus is always on providing innovative solutions and making sure that the solutions can be used in the real world. He also manages LU-CARIS, and teaches the remote sensing courses in the faculty. His latest project was co-leading the Precision Forestry Project, which was supported by CRIBE and Resolute FP Canada Inc.

Over the past 13 years, Kevin Shorthouse has developed a diverse background in forest operations and forest management across Canada. He holds a Master of Science in Forestry with comprehensive industry and applied research experience. Working as a Registered Professional Forester, Kevin is passionate about developing innovative solutions to challenges facing the Natural Resource Sector. His projects often require interdisciplinary teams to find solutions resulting in the development of a global network of professionals and colleagues. In addition to forest asset valuation and management he also specializes in creating sustainable resource plans and optimizing operations using leading decision support software.

Using the Science of Where to Unlock your GIS Success

Presenter: Jasmine Sohal, Esri Canada, Platinum Sponsor

ArcGIS is an integrated GIS platform, a system for managing all types of information. Join Jasmine Sohal, from Esri Canada as she discusses how the ArcGIS Platform is used as a system of record, a system of engagement and a system of insight and how you can effectively use the new capabilities in your organization to solve and improve business workflows. Learn how ArcGIS allows you to efficiently share and access geographic content and how the ArcGIS platform enables the creation of focused, highly effective end-to-end GIS solutions with minimal effort.

Jasmine Sohal is a Technical Solutions Specialist for Esri Canada, holding an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from McMaster University and a post-graduate GIS Applications Specialist certificate from Sir Sandford Fleming College. As a kid, Jasmine refrained from going to new places until she drew a map of how she would get from Point A to Point B. After taking her first Introduction to GIS course at McMaster University, Jasmine knew right away where her passion lay. Now, as a self-proclaimed Geogeek, she is always inspired to visualize situations spatially and applies GIS anywhere she can.

Staying Agile: Lessons Learned Building GIS Software in SoCal

Presenter: Jennifer Link, GIS Software Engineer

What defines a successful GIS application, and how can one achieve this end? Although there are many paths to successful software development, there are some sure-fire ways to stay on the road to success and avoid the common pitfalls that can produce a longer and more arduous journey than necessary. Using 20 years of experience building GIS software, I will illustrate tips, tricks and methods that prove useful in designing, building and maintaining successful applications. Whether you intend to develop apps as a lone ranger or within a team of designers, developers and testers these tips can work for you.

Jennifer Link is a GIS Software Engineer with 20 years of experience working in the GIS industry. Jennifer graduated from McGill University with a BSc in Geography, and later added to her technical education with an Advanced Diploma in GIS from BCIT. She has used her GIS expertise in street mapping, utilities and real estate domains, but the lion share of her experience was gained in the public safety sector. Jennifer has worked in both startup and corporate environments and now works as a freelance consultant in Thunder Bay.

Mapping the Risk of Homelessness in Thunder Bay, Ontario using a Socio-Economic Index Model

Presenter: Rylie Nellis, Lakehead University

For populations at risk of homelessness, access to essential services is critical.  This project identified areas in which resources for homelessness are most concentrated, created a socio-economic risk index model of homelessness, and identified dissemination areas in which individuals are most at risk. This analysis identified where essential resources are distributed in comparison to areas in which people are most at risk, and identified areas which currently do not have access to necessary support services.

Rylie Nellis is a third year Environmental Studies and Geography student at Lakehead University. Rylie is also President of the geography group at LU called the LakeheadU Globetrotters. The Globetrotters aim to get involved in the community and further knowledge in geography and environmental studies. Rylie has a passion for GIS  and hope to pursue a career in the geospatial profession.

A few speaking opportunities are available, submit your abstract today!

Call for Presentations:

Do you have experience in either of these areas that you would like to share?  This conference is an opportunity to share your project, lessons learned and opportunities. The panel discussion period provides an opportunity to collaborate with the geospatial information community.

Presenting at this conference provides an the opportunity to share your experience and gain recognition from your peers. Many presenters have also found that in sharing experiences, they connect with other geospatial professionals working in similar areas, and gain a valuable network.

Presenters will receive 1 complimentary registration to the conference (limit 1 registration per presentation). Submit your presentation idea online: Submit your presentation idea

GoGeomatics Social Event

Joining us from out of town? The GoGeomatics social event will be held:

When: Tuesday evening, April 24, 2018 6:00-9:00 pm. 

Where: The Lounge at Valhalla Inn

Meet up with Northern Ontario geospatial professionals for an informal social gathering.

The Thunder Bay Go Geomatics group along with URISA Ontario are coming together for the meet up this April. Come out and kick off the first URISA Ontario Northern Ontario GIS Users Event with us! You'll have the opportunity to chat with URISA Ontario Board of Directors and learn about the organization.

Registration Rates:

Group Registration (4 or more, 10% discount): $90

Registration: $100

Students - $30

All registrations include a complimentary 1 year membership in URISA Ontario

Register Here

*May change due to unplanned event logistics.

Event Sponsors:


Social Night Sponsor:

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software