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Your Canadian Geospatial Briefing for February 18th: Markham Smart City pilot; Condor drone; Space Flight Laboratory; Canada’s Surface Combatant ships; goodwoodglobes; International Boundary Commission

Smart city technology will monitor Markham infrastructure

Image by Peter J. Thompson (National Post files)

Bell Canada and IBM Canada will be testing a new generation of systems for monitoring problems like storm flooding in Markham, Ontario. This pilot project is focusing on behind-the-scenes processes designed for detecting leaks in city water pipes, energy usage in city buildings, and remote tracking of city equipment; the local government will be evaluating whether investments into the new systems will be worth the effort considering “further investments that would have to be made to make it more comprehensive across the city.” Mayor Frank Scarpitti hopes that other partnerships to tackle traffic congestion will follow, despite the recent concerns raised around the Google-affiliated Sidewalk Labs initiative in Toronto.

The Condor delivery drone to be unveiled this week

Drone Delivery Canada (DDC) will be unveiling its 180kg Payload Cargo Delivery Drone, ‘the Condor’, on February 19th at the Toronto Stock Exchange. In development for the past year, the Condor is the largest of DDC’s delivery drones and has a wingspan of approximately 20ft. It is capable of vertical take-off and landing, and uses the same FLYTE management system utilized in DDC operations in Moosonee and Moose Factory in support of Transport Canada’s Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight pilot project. DDC will be working with Transport Canada to secure the necessary approvals to begin flight testing in Q3 of 2019.

Image from Geospatial World

Space Flight Laboratory receives $15 million contract

The Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) has awarded a major contract to Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) for development of multipurpose microsatellites to support Arctic surveillance. The microsatellites in development will have multiple sensors on a constellation of satellites operating in low Earth orbit to allow for quick identification of surface or airborne targets. SFL has built over 25 microsatellites with more than 95 cumulative years of successful operation. Surveillance solutions like that of DND’s “Strong, Secure, Engaged” defence policy supports the Canadian government’s ability to exercise sovereignty in the North and provides better awareness of transportation and commercial activity in Canada’s Arctic.

MDA joins Canada’s Surface Combatant project

MDA has announced that Canada’s Combat Ship Team was awarded the design contract for Canada’s Surface Combatant (CSC) ships. As a member of the design team, MDA’s role will be to design the Electronic Warfare suite system for the CSC program. The CSC is a globally deployable warship designed to meet mission requirements of the Royal Canadian Navy; it’s quiet, versatile, and intended for anti-submarine warfare. Work on the program is expected to create over more than 200 new, high-quality jobs in MDA’s Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia.

Let the Earth be round

Image from Canadian Geographic, by Mark Jeffrey

Mark Jeffery is trying to bring back the spherical world. In an effort to correct the warped proportions of map depictions of the Earth, the B.C. Software developer created goodwoodglobes, an operation that creates wooden globes with continents, oceans and mountain ranges carved in relief on the surface; Jeffery uses a computer numerical control machine (a tooling machine that carves to precise specifications from programmed instructions) to show the true shapes and sizes of the continents. Having access only to the CNC machine at MIDAS FabLab in Trail, B.C., he has launched an Indiegogo campaign to by his own machine.

Marking the divide

Joe Harrietha is a senior surveyor who leads a team that marks the boundary of our country. The 141st meridian that divides Canada and America is marked by bronze land markers that are slowly sinking into the sea as melting permafrost forces erosion up to 40 metres a year. Enter the International Boundary Commission, to mark the invisible boundaries that delineate private land ownership and laws. Harrietha has seen some of the biggest changes along the “West Line” that separates Quebec from New York, where law enforcement is eager for surveyors to make the boundary clear for asylum seekers; in a time when the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates the total cost of “irregular migration” into Canada at $340 million, those boundaries are tense divides.

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