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2021’s Most Exciting Canadian Geospatial Companies

GIS and geospatial technology have come into the public eye more frequently over the last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With organizations such as Johns Hopkins and many Canadian jurisdictions putting out some form of COVID-19 ArcGIS Dashboard. As geospatial professionals, we know that the abilities of geospatial technology go far beyond what can be seen on these dashboards. From earth observation for greenhouse gas emissions to drone delivery to underground utility mapping, we have put together a by no means comprehensive, but an exciting list of companies making a splash in the geospatial market across Canada and internationally.

Watch these companies for job opportunities and as sector technology leaders now and in the future. You may recognize some of their names if you attended Canada’s National Geospatial Conference, GeoIgnite.

These are definitely companies to watch now and in the future. Read on to learn what sets them apart from other companies, and how they are delivering best in class location technology, geospatial analysis, data, logistics, robotics, and Earth observation on the world stage. IN no particular order here they are!

Drone Delivery Canada

Headquarters: Vaughan, Ontario
Founded in 2014
Careers at Drone Delivery Canada

Created in 2014 by founders with a vision of a new logistics platform, Drone Delivery Canada is a proudly Canadian company working to disrupt traditional logistics services. As the first company to market with their unique drone delivery services, they are at the forefront of a rapidly expanding industry.

Lately, they have been gaining some serious momentum with a series of exciting announcements. In early July, DDC announced a partnership with the Edmonton International Airport, Apple Express Courier Ltd, and Ziing Final Mile Inc to deploy their patented drone delivery solutions at the Edmonton International Airport. On July 27th, they were the “first publicly traded drone delivery company to be granted a domestic cargo license under the Canada Transportation Act (“CTA”). As this license is normally granted to airlines providing passenger or cargo services, it is a tremendous step for DDC, enabling them to expand and scale their operations. We can’t wait to see what other exciting developments DDC will announce in the upcoming months.

Sparkgeo

Headquarters: Prince George, British Columbia
Founded in 2010
Careers at Sparkgeo

Sparkgeo is a company providing geospatial expertise to clients around the world. Based in Prince George, BC. Sparkgeo is engaged in geospatial infrastructure, analytics, and Big Data. They pride themselves on building next-generation products, tackling complex problems and massive amounts of data, usually on the web. As a company, they have grown rapidly since their founding in 2010 and look poised to take advantage of the expected growth in the geospatial market through the next decade.

To facilitate this growth, they have announced their first international expansion, the opening of their European headquarters in London, England. As Europe accounts for roughly 35% of the global geospatial market in 2021, they see this as an opportunity to grow and take advantage of the “data talent pouring out of UK universities.” CEO Will Cadell adds “In the UK there are heaps of data waiting to be explored and put to use, and the time has come to integrate smart data solutions into business planning and directives. Frankly, those who don’t will be left behind.” Their foray into UK markets will initially be in the sustainability, finance, and transportation sectors.

SkyWatch

Headquarters: Waterloo, Ontario (office in New York)
Founded in 2014
Careers at SkyWatch

What a great year it has been for SkyWatch so far in 2021. The Waterloo-based company announced in June the completion of a USD 17.2M Series B round of financing in their continued efforts to democratize Earth Observation data. This financing, led by Drive Capital, builds on an impressive first half of 2021 in which SkyWatch saw its revenue grow upwards of 450% over the same period in 2020. As with the expansion of Sparkgeo mentioned above, this growth highlights the incredible demand for earth observation data in the private sector.

SkyWatch also signed a contract in early June with SatRevolution, a Polish-based commercial satellite company. SkyWatch’s TerraStream platform will offer SatRevolution data management, ordering, processing, and delivery for the upcoming mission with their STORK constellation of satellites, while their EarthCache platform will offer access to application developers and GIS specialists looking to work with imagery at scale. This is just one of SkyWatch’s many exciting partnerships to keep an eye on shortly.

MDA

Headquarters: Brampton, Ontario
Founded in 1969
Careers at MDA

In an exciting return to its Canadian roots, space giant MDA completed an IPO and became a publicly listed company earlier this year (TSX: MDA). In a slightly confusing history, MDA merged with DigitalGlobe a few years ago to form Maxar Technologies, after which it was sold to establish its own independent business. MDA has since reestablished itself in the Canadian space industry with exciting projects such as a joint venture with the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans for Dark Vessel Detection and a contract with Telesat to manufacture antennas for Low-Earth Orbit satellites.

To complete their IPO, MDA issued 28,571,500 common shares listed at $14 each. This offering raised about 400 million Canadian dollars that MDA will use on future projects like the Radarsat-2 Continuity Mission and Canadarm3. MDA has set a target delivery date for Canadarm3 in 2026, an exciting project that will play a critical role in the US-led Lunar Gateway mission.

GHGSat

Headquarters: Montreal, Quebec
Founded in 2011
Careers with GHGSat

GHGSat has become the global leader in high-resolution greenhouse gas (GHG) monitoring from space. As we have seen through this summer of wildfires, global temperatures continue to rise, creating more heatwaves and droughts across the country. GHG monitoring is critical to models that allow us to fully appreciate and understand how our emissions impact climate change. The high-resolution monitoring led by GHGSat will continue to have an essential role in our ability to make informed decisions.

Supported by the Government of Quebec, GHGSat completed their Series B funding in mid-July, closing at US$45M. This funding is critical to their mission, enabling the company to triple the number of sensors they will have deployed by 2023. The Series B funding also allows GHGSat to expand its international commercial presence in European and American markets. We can be sure there will be some exciting developments from this innovative leader moving forwards.

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