Geotec 2006

Geotec 2006

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Hrishikesh Samant
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This annual Canadian event had a special significance this year – it commemorated the 100th anniv-ersary of the Atlas of Canada and the 20th anniversary of the event itself.

The conference was held in the Ottawa Congress Centre between the 18th and 21st June. The event was set rolling by Matt Ball, show manager of the event who welcomed all the participants during the opening ceremony. The gathering was then addressed by Pierre Lemieux, Member of Parliament who paid tributes to the first atlas of Canada made by James White in 1906. He also later unveiled a special stamp commemorating 100 years of the Atlas of Canada. ‘The 100th anniversary of The Atlas of Canada marks an important event in the history of our country and Canada’s evolution in the last century into one of the world’s leading nations,’ said Lemieux. ” This commerative stamp provides a unique way of recognising the important role that the Atlas, produced by Natural Resources Canada has played in this country’s growth.’ Elizabeth Wong, Stamp Manager, Canada Post presented Mr Lemieux a framed copy of the stamp.

Ian Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Library and Archives Canada also addressed the inaugural gathering. Having stated that Canada was the first country to have an online national atlas in 1999, he said that the popularity of the atlas can be gauged by the phenomenal downloads which touched nine per second within a short time.

The inaugural session was followed by the Keynote titled ‘Ambient Findability: mapping the Future Present’ by Peter Morville, President, Semantic Studios, USA. He spoke about information architecture and the concept of ‘findability’. Navigating with the audience through provocative cyberspace, Peter led them into the future of gaming – ‘which could be on a Google Earth like platform’, and discussed ‘Reciprocal Transparency’.

The post inaugural session on the first day had two parallel panel discussions – Geospatial Technology Outlook, with Joseph K. Berry, Henry Kucera, Nick Chrisman as the panellists, Matt Ball as the moderator, and National Atlases: Now and in the Future, with Karen Siderelis, Irwin J. Itzkovitch, Frazer Taylor, Alex Miller as panellists, Cameron Wilson as the moderator.

During the post lunch session and in the successive two days, sixty-six technical sessions were conducted. On the morning of the 21st, a Keynote Breakfast session: The Meaning in the Map: Examples from Medical Cartography by Tom Koch set the pace for the day.

The highlights of the conference were the Mobile Mapping Unit on Display from the Canadian Department of National Defence. This featured the Deployable Geomatic Support System (DGSS) and the other was the Cartographic Exhibit where maps and cartographic works commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Atlas Canada. The exhibition also had a sales counter for facsimiles of antique maps dating into the early 16th century. A book launch was scheduled on the evening of 20th June – ‘Terra Nostra:The Stories behind Canada’s maps, 1550 – 1950’ by Jeffrey S. Murray .

Geomatics Leaders Forum
In parallel with GeoTec 2006, the GIAC 2006 – Geomatics Leaders Forum was held on the 21 and 22 June in the Government Conference Centre. On the first day the forum hosted three sessions. The first – Serving A Rapidly Changing Spatial Information market, after an introduction by the outgoing Chairman of GIAC Alex Miller, had highly informative presentations from Dr. Irwin Itzkovitch, Hank Garie, Dr. Vincent Tao and Maj. Gen. M. Gopal Rao. The second session – National Geomatic Initiatives, had Jeff Labonte, Bob Parkinson, Dr. Gordon Deecker and LCol Pierre Bilodeau. Which was followed by a session on New Market Directions – with presentations from Dr. Shawana Johnson and Dr. Bob Moses. The second day of the Forum hosted the National Geomatic Policy Workshop: Engaging CGDI Investment Partners and Key Communities of Practice. After an introduction and overview of the workshop by the new Chairman of GIAC, Jim Huff, three presentations were made by representatives from Natural Resources Canada and Infrastructure Canada. The post lunch session had Dr. Thongchai Charuppat, Director, geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, Royal Thai Government as the guest speaker,followed by presentations on Environmental Emergency Management System by Ms. Mary-Ann Spicer from Environment Canada and on Geo-Spatial Information System for Public Health and Emergency Management by Ms. Louise Boily from CEPR Canada. The forum concluded its proceedings with a round table discussion on ‘Engaging the Key Stakeholder Communities’.