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A New Geomatics Expo for Canada and North America

The inaugural GoGeomatics Expo will be held in Calgary Canada November 6-8, 2023. There are plenty of amazing geo exhibitions in North America, however, most of these are hosted by individual vendors. There is nothing like the massive annual INTERGEO exhibitions (held in Germany), that are open to any and all to showcase the hardware, software, tools, and solutions evolving so rapidly in the geomatics and geospatial sectors. The exception is the annual Geo Week events and their continuing success which helped inspire this new event.

Calgary Stampede Roadhouse

The venue for the 2023 GoGeomatics Expo is the Big Four Roadhouse, an event centre on the grounds of the world-famous Calgary Stampede, having plenty of room for exhibits and presentation stages, and for the big, planned party event.

In addition to the exhibits, there will be an education track, geospatial community track, and vendor presentation track (more on that later) spread across 3 days, all for a rather unheard-of attendee early bird fee of only $100. While the exhibit spaces are filling up fast, there are many opportunities to participate, speak, teach, participate in a live demo SLAM-lidar contest, pitch your products or projects, or sponsor other elements of the Expo.

The idea for the expo really came around the fact that we don’t have a marquee national event that showcases the best of geomatics and Canada to the world,” said Jonathan Murphy, founder and Managing Director of GoGeomatics, a geomatics community-based media and event platform. ”A place for the world to come to, to engage with us in our sector, in our home base. For companies looking for solutions, resellers, partners, clients, new staff, innovation, for ideas,  and for geo practitioners, students, and academics to see and learn more about the latest and greatest of the technology and how it is being applied.”

GoGeomatics has deliberately stacked the deck to build the kind of success we see in other geo exhibitions. We need something like INTERGEO or Geo Week, that provides a place where people can come and know their experience is going to be good, and worth their time and expense. They know it’s going to be not just a trade show, but it’s where they’re going to see their clients and their partners, potential new employees  and stakeholders. They’re going to learn things about the latest technologies and service offerings.

“The geo sector is a big tent, and the Expo is designed to serve that broad community,” said Murphy. “It’s not just the surveyors. It’s not just the GIS people. It’s anybody that has something that leverages geospatial technology, like the people doing monitoring, asset mapping, doing reality capture, and more.”

The Expo was inspired by the annual INTERGEO events held in Germany. INTERGEO is a massive trade show focused on geomatics technologies and solutions. It was time for such an event in North America.

“Another reason why this expo is important is that it’s become more difficult over the last few years to source highly qualified personnel in geomatics, and associated sectors, artificial intelligence, BIM, you name it,” said Murphy. “So, the expo is also a call to action for our sector to get together to showcase and highlight the exciting careers to the public and how we enable and support the wider economy.  Raising the profile of geomatics and advocacy is an important aspect of the expo. Within the expo we are showcasing some of the best Canadian geomatics education programs. And as well as getting people excited about a career in geo.”

I had to ask, “Why Calgary? Why November? How are they able to do this with such a low entry fee?”

“Our goal is to bring the sector together and provide a platform for us as a whole community. To do that we need to make it as accessible as we can. High fees can be a barrier to participation. In Canada, Calgary and Canada in general, the combination of natural resource industries, urban development, environmental concerns, research institutions, and government support has created a favorable environment for the growth of geomatics companies in Western Canada. Geomatics provides crucial services and technologies to ensure that those activities continue to flourish and be successful.”

Calgary is also the home of several prominent geo industry R&D and manufacturing firms like NovAtel/Hexagon, as well as one of the most respected university geomatics programs worldwide. Calgary is surprisingly affordable to travel to and stay in during November, and it is not quite as “arctic” as you might think at that time of year. Plus, there was a lot of input from the geomatics sector expressing a preference for an event that is not during peak busy seasons. November was a good fit. The venue is the Big Four Roadhouse, an event centre on the grounds of the world-famous Calgary Stampede, having plenty of room for exhibits and presentation stages, and for the big, planned party event.

Goals for the expo include: 

  • Bring the community together for a national annual event and invite the international community to join us.
  • Engage Canada’s natural resource sector, which utilizes geomatics and location technology services, data, hardware, and personnel.
  • Provide opportunities for learning, networking, and business development.
  • Showcase Canada’s geomatics sector expertise and education programs, highlighting the nation’s leadership in the field.
  • Foster a diverse and inclusive environment, welcoming participants from all backgrounds and promoting equal representation.
  • Establish the largest geomatics and geospatial intelligence trade show in Canada, featuring a comprehensive range of exhibitors, technologies, and industry insights.
  • Highlight and raise awareness of career opportunities for the next generation of highly qualified personnel.

While there are elements of the goals focused on the host country of Canada, the Expo is being crafted to cater to all of North America.

I first heard of this idea from Jonathan Murphy, while we were walking around the exhibit halls of the massive INTERGEO geomatics expo in Germany in October of 2022. I was lamenting that we do not have many options like INTERGEO in North America (that are not specifically vendor-hosted). He told me about the new Expo already in the works, so I happily agreed to help put it together.  There is an eager organizing team of GoGeomatics staff and volunteers like me. Have ideas or suggestions? Let us know.

Go to the Expo website and check it out.

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