Photograph of Riley Smith and Justin Collett.
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Future of Geomatics in Canada: Inside the National Geomatics Competition

From the Editors Desk: GoGeomatics Canada is proud to be the official media sponsor of the first Canadian Geomatics competition.  We recognize the leadership and hard work of the local GoGeomatics community in Fredericton who actively support and promote geomatics.

Hey geomatics students! There is a new geospatial competition that requires your attention. The National Geomatics Competition is the first of its kind in Canada as it strongly promotes the engagement of students studying geomatics and challenges them to see what they are made of.

National Geomatics Competition

The competition will be held on three days on the 16th, 17th and 18th of February of this year. The competition can be entered by groups of three and on the 17th they will be given a Geomatics challenge that test their skills.

In the spirit of this event, it was my pleasure to conduct an interview with Riley Smith(R) and Justin Collett(J) who are the pioneers of this event.

Photograph of Riley Smith and Justin Collett.

From left to right: Riley Smith and Justin Collett.

GoGeomatics: What do you hope to achieve with this competition?

J- Technically there have been previous competitions but this is the first branded geomatics competition and our goals are threefold. First to promote the profession and the universities that have geomatics programs across the country; second to network industry professionals and students and third give students something to look forward to and showcase their knowledge.

GoGeomatics What kind of skills do you need to be in geomatics?

R- Its geomatics focused, geomatics is broad in a sense. Geomatics involves skills taken from all sorts of professions such as hydrography, mapping, surveying, GIS, remote sensing, geodesy, and navigation.

GoGeomatics: What schools are attending the competition?

R+J- We have confirmed attendance from University of New Brunswick, University of Calgary, University of Waterloo, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, York University, and British Columbia Institute of Technology.

GoGeomatics: In terms of the challenge itself, how quickly do you expect people to be able to crack it? Do you think it will take the full 6 hours?

J- I would be surprised if it didn’t, not only is it figuring out a solution but also preparing a presentation so that will definitely take 6 hours to do.
R- The idea is that it’s not so much can you get it done fast enough but can you use the amount of time you have to prepare the best solution possible in that amount of time. So instead of looking at who finished first, its more of “here’s the time window, what can you do in that time?”

GoGeomatics: Is this competition only for students or are there activities planned for Geomatics professionals at large?

R- There are activities planned; For example, the opening social night which is in collaboration with GoGeomatics which allows the all the students to socialize, network and meet each other.
J- And of course our sponsors, who will be acting as judges and speakers at our conference!

GoGeomatics:: What type of discussions are you hoping to encourage from the students?

R- Because of the variety of presenters in co-ordination with the event, we are hoping to get students to thinking about their futures and what roles they’re going to play in the Geomatics profession as they finish their academic career.
J- Getting our students to have an open mind to hear from different people, and be challenged with the competition itself but also to be able to bring the students together from across the country to have community.

GoGeomatics: Other than yourselves, are there other people involved in this process? What was the labour involved in this event? Venue, food, sponsors, etc.

J- There are seven people in our organizing committee and each person had a designated role, sponsorship was split between Riley and I. There was one position for delegates, events, logistics, marketing, and academic.

GoGeomatics: Why only three people in the undergraduate teams? Why not more than that?

J- Mostly cost, we wanted as much involvement as possible. It is more difficult to send two teams of four than it is to send two teams of three. And sending six people(two teams) would be better than to send one team of four.
R- Three is a magic number and if you do any reading about teams you discover that when the team is bigger than three, it becomes harder to manage and effectively collaborate.

GoGeomatics: How many volunteers do you have lined up for the event itself?

R- Currently, we are still working numbers out but we are hoping for about ten volunteers in total so that students have the opportunity to participate even if they are not competing.

GoGeomatics: There is a lot of mystery around your five speakers? Is there a reason for this?

J- At this point, we have six speaking spots, technically seven as we are having the elder in residence for UNB for her to give an opening address. Then we have our five platinum sponsors who have tasked them with presenting different technical aspects that they are facing, we are still waiting to hear back from them. Then we have our keynote speaker, Dr. John McLaughlin who is President and Professor Emeritus of the University of New Brunswick, and is currently Scholar in Residence at UNB’s Centre for Technology, Management and Entrepreneurship.

GoGeomatics: Will this competition become an annual event? 

J- At this point, the majority of our organising committee is graduating so it’s unlikely that the competition will happen at UNB next year but there is interest from the students at the University of Calgary to host for next year, as well as interest from the University of Waterloo to host the year after that.

GoGeomatics: Sponsors?

J- Thanks to our sponsors and we could not have put this event together without them. Our sponsors include but are not limited to: WSP Canada, Esri Canada, UNB Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering, Novatel Inc., Teledyne CARISChallenger GeomaticsCanadian Institute of Geomatics, GeoNBLim Geomatics Inc., AOLS – The Association of Ontario Land SurveyorsAlberta Land Surveyors’ AssociationAssociation of British Columbia Land SurveyorsQPS maritime geomatic software solutionsUniversal Geomatics Solutions Corporation, South Central Regional Group of Ontario Land Surveyors, and GoGeomatics Canada.
R- We’re also giving the sponsors as much of an opportunity to participate.

GoGeomatics: What is the theme for the competition?

R- The theme of the competition is “Measurements that Matter”. Its catchy and there is such a big buzz that all the geomatics professions impact the day to day lives of all peoples. These are the things that matter, so we are trying to reinforce how geomatics students can utilize their skills to help make decisions that truly matter to people.

Justin and Riley are both proud students of the University of New Brunswick and you can find out more about the competition that they are hosting by clicking on the links below:

UNB Facebook video introducing the event

Official Website of the National Geomatics Competition

Sponsors for the National Geomatics Competition

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