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Building a Strong Canadian Geomatics Sector: Three Case Studies for Governance

The Canadian Geomatics Community Round Table is beginning to implement the Pan-Canadian Geomatics Strategy which seeks to guide and support the Geomatics sector in Canada. The group of people involved with the Round Table comes from industry, NGOs, professional associations, academia, and all levels of government.

One of the objectives in the Pan-Canadian Geomatics Strategy is to form an organization which will provide the guidance and support required to achieve the Strategy’s initiatives, some of which include performing regular market analysis, providing resources for students and new professionals, and encouraging partnerships between the sectors’ stakeholders. This organization could provide a new structure and a strong start to achieving the common goals outlined in the Strategy.

The first step in this process is making some important decisions about the structure and governance of the organization that will lead Canada forward as we strengthen and promote our Geomatics Industry.

Here are some examples of what other countries are doing:

European Umbrella Organisation for Geographic Information – EUROGI

Governance Structure:

  • Affiliated members are allowed one representative on the General Board. This includes one National Geographic Information Representative from each country, one representative from an affiliated corporation or one representative from an affiliated ‘other’ organization or network.
  • Executive Committee – Consists of a minimum of three appointed members from the General Board including the President of the General Board who is also the President of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is charged with day-to-day management of the foundation.
  • Each member of the General Board has at least one vote and each member of the Executive Committee has one vote.
  • The Foundation is governed by statutes and bylaws.
Source: http://www.eurogi.org/about-eurogi/eurogi-statutes


Mandate: EUROGI seeks to maximize the availability, effective use and exploitation of GI (geographic information) throughout Europe by using a policy process to gain member consensus on issues and then report and deliver these messages to advise any discussion taking place within the European Commission, European Parliament and/or Council of Ministers on GI-related policy issues.

Current Initiatives:

  • UpsideDown Protect – Spatial Data and Meta Data Protection for the Underground Critical Infrastructures.
  • EUROGI/eSDI-Net – Fosters the dialogue between European sub-national SDI stakeholders.
  • LAPSI 2.0 – Identifying the remaining legal barriers and obstacles to access public sector information (PSI) on the European content market and to re-use it .
  • GRAAL – A matchmaker between European local and regional authorities and GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) to foster research and development.
  • Plan4all – A book about interoperability for spatial planning.

United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation – USGIF

History: Established in 2004 after the 2003 Geo-Intel event attracted more than 1000 intelligence professionals showing a need and interest for a unifying body in the community.

Governance Structure:  A Board of Directors governs the foundation as well as the Committees. The Strategic Committee is led by the USGIF CEO and comprises only Strategic Member Partner representatives and sets the direction for the other Committees which currently include:

  • Planning Committee
  • Technical Committee
  • Tradecraft and Professional Development Committee
  • Outreach Committee
  • Academic Committee

These Committees make decisions regarding all USGIF events, as well as the Scholarship Program, Geospatial Certificate Program and Awards Program. In addition to these committees, USGIF also has several working groups made up of members for various needs and interests across the community including:

  • Activity-Based Intelligence Working Group
  • Africa Working Group
  • Commercial Electro Optical Imagery Working Group
  • Commercial SAR Satellite Working Group
  • Modeling & Simulation Working Group
  • Small Business Advisory Working Group
  • Small Satellite Working Group
  • Young Professionals Working Group

Source: http://usgif.org/community/Committees

Mandate: USGIF’s purpose is to promote the geospatial intelligence tradecraft and to develop a stronger community of interest between government, industry, academia, professional organizations and individuals who share a mission focused on the development and application of geospatial intelligence to address national security objectives.

Current Initiatives:

  • GEOINT Symposium – An annual geospatial intelligence event.
  • GEOINT Community Week – Networking, exhibits, briefings and workshops for stakeholders in the geospatial intelligence industry
  • USGIF Scholarship Program
  • USGIF Awards Program
  • USGIF Magazine – Trajectory
  • Young Professionals Group

Spatial Industries Business Association – SIBA (Australia and New Zealand)

History: The association began in 1972 as the Association of Consulting Surveyors. In the year 2000, it was decided to combine several associations to create the Australian Spatial Industries Business Association. In 2004 the association expanded to include New Zealand.

Governance Structure: A National Board governs the association and participates on various other industry boards.

Mandate: SIBA seeks to inform, assist and grow private enterprises within the spatial industry with a focus on four core areas: networking, growth, support, and influence at a government level.

Current Initiatives:

  • Spaceship Earth – A public exhibition about ‘Observing our earth from satellites’.
  • MIMOSA – Multi-dimensional Information for MetrOpolitan Spatial Alliances – A vision for collaboration of the major urban centres of Australia and New Zealand around a common innovative open platform.
  • Knowledge Communities Initiative and Think Tanks – A way to unite parties within the spatial industry who have a collective interest in specific topics.
  • Destination Spatial – An automated matching system to enable employers to find students interested in vacation work, work placements, work experience, and graduate programs.

Here are some other very noteworthy organizations and directives:

  • INSPIRE – Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community
  • AGILE – Association of Geographic Information Laboratories for Europe
  • IRLOGI – Irish Organisation for Geographic Information
  • GENIP – Geography Education National Implementation Program
  • Brazilian Institute of Geomatics and Geospatial Solutions Companies

As we move forward in creating an organization for supporting and strengthening the Geomatics Sector and the greater geospatial community in Canada, we can consider these excellent examples from around the world. Creating a national organization will support the collaboration that is necessary to foster the innovative technology and new ideas which will make Canada a leader in the global geospatial industry.

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