The GeoIgnite conference adapts and expands despite COVID-19 pandemic

Credit: GeoIgnite.

Last year we began covering the annual GeoIgnite conference and were impressed with it despite the last minute need to go from an in-person event to a new virtual platform.

This year the organizers prepared knowing that in all likelihood that the event wouldn’t be in person again. And in so doing decided to expand the conference and divide the content into three separate events over the course of the last two weeks of April. This format of dividing events up into more manageable virtual events is catching on and has proven successful.

SpaceQ spoke with Jonathan Murphy, Managing Director, GoGeomatics Canada who organizes the annual event. Murphy told us that while the event is virtual and that they are trying to maximize the effectiveness of the virtual platform, that they hope to return to an in-person event in 2022 in Ottawa, though virtual events won’t disappear as they’re proving to be useful. He told us this years event has 90 speakers.

I also asked him how many people he’s expecting. Last year they had over 600 people attend and that was a smaller event. As all the events are free, the sponsors are covering the majority of the costs, he expects there will be more attendees than last year.

The conference bills itself as Canada’s National Geospatial & Location Technology Conference. This year there are three event periods with the first starting tomorrow.

GeoIgnite Career Fair & Diversity Leadership – April 14

This one day event offers an opening keynote talk by on The Past, Present and Future of Talent Needs in the Geointelligence Domain with Daniel Schulten, MDA LaunchPad Director, David Mann, Director, Talent Acquisition, MDA and introduced by Jonathan Murphy, GoGeomatics Canada.

The keynote is followed by talks on topics such as Jobs for Technical Project Managers, Are You Ready For Public Sector Contracting?, and Innovator in Earth intelligence & Space Infrastructure.

There are also plenty of breaks and opportunities to network. The last event on the schedule is a Diversity Leadership Panel: Taking Action for the next generation. Panelists include;

  • Moderator: Tanya Tejassvi, Manager – Accessibility Initiatives, SPARC BC/ GoGeomatics;
  • David Gachuche, RiverCross Technologies, CEO;
  • Parshati Patel, Astrophysicist and Science Communicator, Institute for Earth and Space Exploration;
  • Keith Masback, Principal, Plum Run LLC;
  • David Mann, Director, Talent Acquisition, MDA;
  • Bilyana Anicic, President, Aurora Consulting.

Canadian Leadership & Geospatial Intelligence Conference – April 21-23

The main conference begins Wednesday, April 21 and runs through Friday, April 23 and will have 24 total talks or panels with a keynote starting each day and a panel ending each day.

Keynotes include:

  • MDA and the Future of SAR – Dr. Minda Suchan, VP of Geointelligence, MDA
  • Luc Brulé, Vice-President of the Canadian Space Agency
  • “Why it Takes a Legion,” Dr. Walter Scott, Executive Vice President & CTO, MAXAR
  • Supporting Decision Makers: Challenges and Opportunities for the Earth Observation and Geospatial Communities, Barbara Ryan, Executive Director, WGIC

Panels include:

  • Advancing Space Based Observation in Canada:: The Federal Government of Canada Geospatial Directors General Panel with;
    • Éric Loubier, Director General, Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation;
    • Eric Laliberté, Director General, Space Utilization, Canadian Space Agency;
    • David Harper, Director General, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC);
    • Moderator: Jonathan Murphy, Managing Director, GoGeomatics Canada.
  • Spatial Finance, New Markets For Earth Observation with;
    • June McAlarey, President & CEO, PCI Geomatics;
    • Bill Greer, Product Manager, Maxar;
    • Florian Thaler, CEO and Co-Founder, OilX;
    • Joe Morrison, Head of Product Success and Impact, Umbra;
    • Moderator: Will Cadell, CEO, Sparkgeo.
  • Canada’s Provincial & Territorial Geospatial Leadership Panel with;
    • Melanie Desjardins, Director, NWT Centre for Geomatics and Chair, Canadian Council on Geomatics (CCOG);
    • James Britton, Manager Mapping and Geomatics Services, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry;
    • Colin Macdonald, Director, Geographic Information Services, Internal Services, Province of Nova Scotia;
    • Moderator: Trevor Taylor, Director, Member Services, Asia and Americas, OGC;

There’s also a Fire Side Chat with Dr. Steve Liang, Founder & CTO of SensorUp & Dr. Nadine Alameh the OGC’s CEO.

17 Workshops, Seminars & Training and the Canadian Underground Forum – April 26-30

There are 17 workshop, seminars and training sessions between April 26-30th. Two of the more substantive sub-events include the two day Canadian Underground Forum on the 29th and 30th and the Canadian Perspectives: The Power of Geospatial Literacy for Space, Earth Observation, and Education seminar on the 28th.

Update Wed. April 14, 2021 – Changed the title of The Federal Government of Canada Geospatial Directors General Panel panel from “News from the Budget” to “Advancing Space Based Observation in Canada” as reflected on the updated conference schedule.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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