Canadian Geospatial Digest May 29, 2023
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Canadian Geospatial Digest May 29th, 2023

  1. Why are hazard maps still lacking in NWT communities?
  2. Alberta wildfires are depicted on a digital map in near real-time.
  3. Make use of the Esri Canada Air Quality Aware App to monitor air quality.
  4. In May, an Apple Maps group will visit a city close to your place in Canada.
  5. Geospatial Technology Exposition in Calgary, Canada.
  6. Farmers now have access to a new online mapping tool.
  7. Canada will form a mission to monitor wildfires.

Why are hazard maps still lacking in NWT communities?

A map showing Akulivik, Nunavik’s development potential. Source: Cabinradio

The Northwest Territories (NWT) in Canada is lagging behind other northern jurisdictions in developing hazard maps to address climate-related risks in communities. While some regions have created maps outlining areas vulnerable to natural hazards due to climate change, most communities in the NWT lack such maps. Hazard maps are crucial for community planning and adaptation, helping identify high-risk areas and suitable zones for development. Technical challenges and limited resources have slowed progress in the NWT. Efforts are underway to gather missing information, including flood mapping and surficial mapping projects. Funding and resources remain key barriers to expediting the development of hazard maps in the NWT. Read more in detail here.


Alberta wildfires are depicted on a digital map in near real-time

Alberta is experiencing an early and intense wildfire season due to dry and hot weather. The province has already seen record-breaking heat, reminiscent of the conditions in 2016 when a devastating wildfire occurred. Currently, there are 76 active wildfires in Alberta, leading to evacuations and a provincial state of emergency. To help people understand the location and risk of the fires, Esri Canada has released a digital map based on NASA’s data, showing near real-time wildfire locations. The map utilizes satellite imagery from VIIRS to display detectable thermal activity over the past seven days. This resource provides more up-to-date information compared to other public-facing sources, such as the Alberta Wildfire Status Dashboard. Find out more here.


Make use of the Esri Canada Air Quality Aware App to monitor air quality

Snapshot of the Air Quality Aware App. Source: ESRI Canada

Esri Canada has developed the Air Quality Aware App, a real-time and interactive tool for visualizing air quality in Canadian cities. The app utilizes Environment Canada’s Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) to display air quality observations. With the increasing intensity of seasonal wildfires and their impact on air quality, the app aims to address the urgent public health challenge faced by Canadians. It provides reliable data-driven tools that simplify complex information about fine particulate matter concentrations, allowing environmental health practitioners and public health teams to communicate risks to the public effectively. The app includes features like automatic summaries of locations with higher-than-average AQHI and a ranking of cities with poor air quality. Collect details here.


In May, an Apple Maps group will visit a city close to your place in Canada

Apple Maps teams will be traveling to major Canadian cities, including Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, and Edmonton, in May 2023. Their primary focus will be on mapping more roads and streets to enhance the navigation app. The teams will utilize specialized vehicles and backpacks to collect data and improve Apple Maps’ accuracy. The information gathered will contribute to improving Apple Maps and supporting the ‘Look Around’ feature, similar to Google Maps’ Street View. Privacy protection is a priority for Apple, as pedestrians’ faces and sensitive information like license plates will be blurred. Canadians can contact Apple to request any necessary changes. Read more here.


Geospatial Technology Exposition in Calgary, Canada

GoGeomatics Expo Calgary 2023

The GoGeomatics Expo 2023 is set to take place in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, from November 6 to 8, 2023. It is the first Geomatics Technology Exposition in North America, organized by GoGeomatics Canada in collaboration with industry, academia, associations, and media partners. The expo will feature a trade show with various booth options for exhibitors, along with educational opportunities and engagement for students, faculty, and partners from the University of Calgary and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). The event aims to bring together the geospatial community and provide networking and learning opportunities in the field. Read more about this here.


Farmers now have access to a new online mapping tool

The province of New Brunswick in Canada has introduced an online mapping tool aimed at supporting the agriculture sector. The tool provides an interactive map that indicates the most suitable lands for various crops, such as potatoes, vegetables, and small fruit. By considering factors like soil type, topography, and groundwater depth, the tool accurately determines land suitability within a one-meter range. Agriculture Minister Margaret Johnson emphasized the tool’s usefulness for both new and existing farmers, allowing them to make informed decisions about land usage and potentially boost food self-sufficiency and agricultural production in the province. The software has gained support from agricultural organizations and groups. Find out more here.


Canada will form a mission to monitor wildfires

Wildfire smoke rises in Lodgepole, Alberta, Canada. Source: Room The Space Journal of Asgardia

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has granted a contract to ExactEarth, a subsidiary of Spire Global, Inc., to undertake preliminary work for the development of a satellite dedicated to monitoring wildfires. This initiative, known as the WildFireSat mission, aims to observe active wildfires across Canada on a daily basis from space. The satellite will provide valuable support for wildfire management, offer precise information on smoke and air quality conditions, and accurately measure carbon emissions from the fires. ExactEarth will collaborate with Ororatech, a leading provider of space-based thermal intelligence. The project is anticipated to commence in 2024 and be completed by 2029, benefiting Canada’s forestry industry, emergency services, and communities affected by wildfires. Collect details here.

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