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University of Calgary Geomathon: Geospatial Graduate Design Hack-a-thon a success

The Department of Geomatics Engineering’s Geomatics Graduate Group (G^3) successfully organized a hack-a-thon competition for  graduate  students  in  geospatial  related  fields,  Geomathon,  for the first time in Canada. This event was part of GeoDays 2019, a series  of  Geomatics  Engineering  Events  hosted  and  organized  by students, faculty and staff from the Department of Geomatics Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary.

The Geomathon competition was divided into three sessions: idea sprint, hacking and presentation/judging. Each of the participating teams was made up of 2 to 4 graduate students in  the  engineering  field.  Each  team  could  select  any  available sensors provided by the sponsors such as TDK’s motion sensors, Occipital’s Structure Core and Hemisphere’s GNSS receivers. The idea sprint session, developing and hacking were accomplished during the first day of competition. The competition started with the idea sprint led by Prof. Alexander Bruton, Geomatics Engineering faculty specializing on Engineering Entrepreneurship. The idea sprint was an ideation session for each team to have their ideas be reviewed by a panel formed by industry representatives.

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The goal was to make sure that all ideas had high impact and were highly feasible. After finalizing their ideas, all participating teams began  to  do  hacking,  developing  and  prototyping  their  products or services. During this session, there were mentors from industry and post doctoral fellows to help and provide supports to all teams.

On the second day, each team was given 15 minutes to present  their  results  to  industry  representatives,  the  other  participants and the three judges,  Dr.  Emmanuel Stefanakis (Dept Head), Dr. Alexander Bruton, and Walid Abdelfatah (representative from PPI). After each presentation, there  was a question period. The judges evaluated each team based on five different criteria: idea and innovation, technical solution, demonstration, user friendly design, and pitch.

Geomathon also provided opportunity for all graduate students to attend industry presentations from our sponsors and supporters. The participants were also given employment opportunity interviews as selected by the sponsoring companies. With the experience gained, we plan to organize the next geospatial graduate design hack-a-thon for Spring/Summer 2020.

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