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Your Canadian Geospatial Briefing for November 11th: A Concerning Data Strategy; Sidewalk Labs in Toronto; Vancouver: Top North American City for tech growth; World-First Satellite Connection to the Arctic with 100Mbps

A Concerning Ontario Data Strategy

Teresa Scassa, a professor from the University of Ottawa, has written an interesting piece on her blog about the latest update on the Ontario data strategy.

To create economic opportunities and to improve government services, the province of Ontario is presently in a data strategy consultation process. This consultation has had little to no attention brought upon it. Considering the conversation at hand, there are many reasons that the population of Ontario should be concerned about the direction this is taking.

  1. Major changes with no debate or proper consultation
  2. Superficiality 
    1. “An alarming glimpse of what lies beneath the superficial gloss of these documents is found in the second discussion paper which focuses on “Creating Economic Benefits”. The document talks about the value that can be derived by the private sector from data shared by governments. It then casually states “Given that Ontario has a wealth of data in digital health assets, clinical and administrative health data can also be considered as a high-value dataset that may present various opportunities for Ontario.” This suggests that the government is planning to make the personal health data of Ontarians available to the private sector.”
  3. Gaps
    1. This strategy has a very narrow focus, and chooses to ignore the alternative data-related reforms that promote and enhance transparency.
  4. Social Impacts
    1. For the general public, the main issues in terms of data are privacy and security. A discussion needs to occur about the impact this suggested technological change will have on individuals and communities.
  5. ‘Stakeholders’ and the Rest of Us
    1. “Another issue that should concern Ontarians in this consultation is whose voices really matter. The lightning fast consultation hints at some major changes, many of which are driven by industry demands (such as the massive sharing of personal health data with the private sector). Industry clearly has the ear of government and does not need the consultation process in order to be heard.”

Why Ontarians should be concerned about Ontario’s data strategy

Sidewalk Labs in Toronto 

In June, Sidewalk Labs released their master plan for the Toronto area. Their project includes features such as traffic signals that use data to prioritize pedestrians who need more time to cross, and thermal grids to lower power usage. This project has granted the city conditional approval to build a smart city in Toronto.

This YouTube screenshot shows the discussed area at the east end of Toronto Harbour.

The project will be under formal evaluation and public conversation until March 31st, 2020 where a final vote will occur. Stephen Diamond, the chair of the Waterfront Toronto, had this to say, “While a final Board decision whether or not to proceed has yet to be made, we are pleased that we are now able to move to the evaluation stage”.

This project is expected to add $14.2 billion annually to Canada’s GDP and create 44,000 jobs by 2040.

Sidewalk Labs secures conditional nod for Toronto smart city

Vancouver: Top North American City for tech growth

This year, Vancouver went up 27 spots in CBRE Group’s annual Tech-30 report to take the position of top city in high-tech job growth in North America.

Vancouver’s tech sector grew by 30% from 2017-2018, with 13,600 new jobs. This increase was a large contributing factor to their ranking, with Seattle following close behind.

This ranking is good for our Canadian geospatial ecosystem, more specifically in Vancouver, allowing for a sector to continue to grow and establish itself as a top contributor.

Vancouver / Shutterstock

GoGeomatics Canada will be hosting Career Events across Canada in 2020 with the first major event being in Vancouver on Saturday January 25th, 2020. Please join us for a full day of geospatial career strategies and job opportunities.

If you would like to learn more, please sign up for news about the event nearest you.

Vancouver named top city in North America for tech job growth

World-First Satellite Connection to the Arctic with 100Mbps

Kepler, a small-satellite start-up has provided a satellite-based broadband connection to the Artic. “This is the first time there’s been a high-bandwidth satellite network for any central Arctic ground-based use, and this connection isn’t just a technical demo: it’s being used for the researchers in the MOSAiC team, which is made up of hundreds of individuals, to transfer data back and forth between the ship and shore-based research stations, which improves all aspects of working with the considerable quantities of data being gathered by the team.”

Kepler has demonstrated 38Mbps down and 120Mbps up. To put into context, that is above the maximum recommended specs used for some high-quality streaming.

Kepler achieves a world-first for satellite broadband with 100Mbps connection to the Arctic

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