Geomatics News

We have provided this Geomatics News section to allow our members and corporate sponsors the ability to share any geomatics related news or information with the geospatial community.  This page works much like a typical blog, so others can add comments to any news post, or include the information on their own website using the RSS feed

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To add geomatics related content simply click the 'add post' button below and enter your details in the appropriate boxes that appear. [Note: you must be logged-in to your GANS member account to post information below, so if you do not see a button then you may not be logged-in].

  • 15 Jul 2016 10:55 AM | Ted MacKinnon (Administrator)

    Anyone can now explore Canada’s remote Sable Island, thanks to Google

    Parts of Sable island, the crescent-shaped island located about 290 km southeast of Halifax, can now be seen on Google Street View.

    With just a few clicks, curious people can explore the inaccessible island’s windswept sand dunes and vast coastline.

    HALIFAX—Whether they’re at a desk or on the couch, anyone with an interest in visiting the windswept dunes of Nova Scotia’s remote Sable Island can now do so without getting sand in their shoes. 

    Parts of the crescent-shaped island, situated roughly 290 kilometres southeast of Halifax, can now be seen on Google Street View. 

    From Google Maps, one click triggers a dizzying switch from the generic blue and green shapes of the map to crisp, 360-degree photographic images. Dozens of seals can be seen lounging in the white sand and blue surf on the expansive shoreline, and horses nibble on sparse grass among the shifting sand dunes.

    Click here to continue reading ... 

  • 08 Jun 2016 8:33 PM | Ted MacKinnon (Administrator)

    Nova Scotia’s popular Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program is back on!

    The 2016-2017 Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program is now open for submissions. The deadline for applications is Friday, July 8, 2016, at 5:00 pm AST.

    The Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program is intended to help small and medium-sized businesses become more productive and innovative while building stronger linkages between businesses and Nova Scotia universities and colleges.

    The productivity and innovation voucher is a credit note. Vouchers are valid until March 31, 2017.

    • Tier 1: Vouchers of up to $15,000 for eligible businesses that have not previously been awarded a voucher, or are applying with a new project.
    • Tier 2: Vouchers of up to $25,000 for eligible businesses to build on work done through a previously awarded Tier 1 voucher.


    • Past Tier 1 voucher recipients are eligible to apply for a second Tier 1 voucher. The second Tier 1 voucher application must be for a different project than the previously awarded Tier 1 voucher.
    • The applicant is a registered Nova Scotia business. Businesses operating in Nova Scotia must register with the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies (RJSC). Details are available from Service Nova Scotia. Successful applicants will be issued vouchers using the same name as the one used in their RJSC registration.
    • The majority of the company’s workforce currently resides in Nova Scotia.
    • The company has fewer than 100 employees at the time of application.
    • A company may have only one active voucher at a time.
    • The vouchers are non-transferable or assignable, and shall be void if reproduced, transferred or assigned.
    • Vouchers can only be used to obtain services from eligible service providers. Companies are asked to select a provider and service that best fits their needs. Applicants must discuss their project with an eligible service provider and lead researcher prior to submitting an application.
    • Prior to work being undertaken and by November 1, 2017, the service provider will submit for Innovacorp’s approval a project contract that provides preliminary details on the type of service and service costs associated with each voucher project.

    To Apply

    The 2016-2017 Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program is open for submissions. The deadline for applications is Friday, July 8, 2016, at 5:00 pm AST

    For More details and to apply click

  • 27 May 2016 4:37 PM | Hugh MacKay

    Following the 2016 Annual General Meeting, it is with great enthusiasm that we introduce Ted MacKinnon as the new President of GANS.  

    Ted works with Natural Resources Canada as the Senior Geomatics Technologist for the Survey General Branch's Atlantic Regional Office in Amherst. He has been working in the geomatics industry for over 18 years and has a diverse background in various disciplines including GIS, Cartography, LIDAR, Remote Sensing and GPS Surveying. He graduated from the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) with advanced diplomas in both Remote Sensing and Applied Geomatics Research and with a B.Sc. in Geology from Acadia University. Ted has been accredited with GISP status from the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) as well as Geomatics Specialist in Remote Sensing certification from the Canadian Institute of Geomatics (CIG) and is a fellow with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

    In 2004 he created to help make it easier for the geospatial community to find jobs in the Canadian gematics sector and then shortly later started; an online geospatial resource site that provides people with information on the Canadian geomatics sector. The success of the sites has been contributed to being well connected with the Canadian Geomatics community through social networking and various memberships with other professional organizations. Ted first became a member of GANS in 2004 after receiving the Geomatics Association of Nova Scotia Award at COGS. 

    In his remarks at the AGM, Ted expressed that one of his goals this year will be to increase the engagement of the GANS membership at our professional and social events. 

    Please drop a line to Ted and congratulate him and offer your support to him as he takes on this exciting new volunteer role on behalf of our community.     

  • 25 May 2016 11:59 AM | Hugh MacKay

    To all GANS Members:

    On Thursday, May 26th, I will be stepping down as your President of GANS, during the association's Annual General Meeting. It has been an incredibly exciting year for me, meeting and representing the interests of geomatics professionals and the geo-community from around Nova Scotia and beyond.

    I am grateful for the efforts and energy provided by the GANS Board of Directors and members of the Working Groups during the past year, as well as the individual members who stepped up to assist when called upon. Together we have accomplshed much.  Thank you one and all.  I would also like to recognize and thank David Keefe, Executive Director of GANS, for his leadership in support of the association.

    I look forward to staying involved with GANS, and in touch with the members, through my new position with GeoAlliance Canada. GANS is one of the founding members of GeoAlliance Canada, the organization I now represent as Executive Director (part-time) for Eastern Canada.

    If you are interested in learning more about participating in GANS, or GeoAlliance, please attend the AGM on Thursday at 1:00 pm at the Halifax Central Library on Spring Garden Road contact me. 

    Thank you.


    Novellus Management Consulting

  • 19 May 2016 8:40 PM | Ted MacKinnon (Administrator)

    Hugh MacKay, Managing Partner of Novellus Management Consulting and president of GANS has recently been hired as the Executive Director - Eastern Canada for GeoAlliance Canada. 

    GeoAlliance Canada is a new umbrella organization created to help unite the energy and resources of existing geospatial business, non-profit, education and government organizations. GANS is a GeoAlliance founding member and has been involved in promoting geomatics in Canada for over 25 years. For more information on GeoAlliance Canada see



  • 16 May 2016 11:43 AM | Ted MacKinnon (Administrator)

    Various Lidar mapping data in Nova Scotia is now available under an open license via Nova Scotia's Open Data Portal

    Lidar (Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging) is described as an optical remote sensing technology which measures properties of scattered light and/or information of a distant target. 

    It combines laser, GPS and inertial navigation systems to produce highly accurate topographic maps with accuracy within a few centimetres.

    Lidar data is utilized in various ways including Coastal Flood Mapping, Geological mapping, Transportation, Forestry and Archaeology.  Lidar, an extremely accurate mapping tool, enables better decision making for Nova Scotians.

    Click here to learn more about the Nova Scotia LIDAR data that you can download for free as well as the other 300 collections of data covering business and the economy, communities and social services, nature and environment and government. 

  • 11 May 2016 11:36 AM | Ted MacKinnon (Administrator)

    It was great to see the next generation of geospatial professionals come out tp GANS’ first family event, "GANS at the Museum!"

    We had an awesome time exploring the Museum of Natural History while we created an interactive map of world features related to things we have in Nova Scotia, using a custom app tailored especially for us by the ESRI team in Toronto!

    We had our cake, and ate it, too, while we checked out the complete map! You’ll have to bring your own cake, but you can see the map here:

  • 07 May 2016 12:45 PM | Ted MacKinnon (Administrator)

    Bob Maher and his wife, Heather Stewart visited their grandchildren in Iqaluit for three weeks in April and had an opportunity to attend a lecture mapping land use in the North. Below he reviews a few books  dealing with Community Mapping that he recommends ...

    Being in Nunavut

    During the first week in Iqaluit, we went to a public lecture by David Pelly on his new book 'Ukkusiksalik. the People's Story'.  

    Ukkusiksalik is a new national park around Wager Bay however Pelly focuses on the oral tradition of the Kivalliq Inuit of that region.

    People lived on the land, and not in 'communities'. In mapping the land use, he shows 'fuzzy boundaries' of use. There are no boundaries or property lines imposed on the landscape. In the words of one of the elders, Mariano Aupilarjuq.



    'This is our land, this is our home, which means that it actually ties up our lives and we become one'.

    In the last few years, there has been much discussion about the fate of the Franklin expedition. David Woodman wrote a seminal book on 'Unravelling the Franklin Expedition. Inuit  Testimony'. Bob Maher and his wife, Heather Stewart in Nunavut

    In the second edition (2015), after the rediscovery of the Erebus, he reaffirms the importance of the Inuit oral tradition. Stories that have been passed down through generations since the mid- eighteenth century. Much of this research was conducted by Louie Kamookak, Inuit historian.

    In both these books, it is interesting to contemplate the meaning of 'community mapping', and the use of Inuit and European place names. The Inuit names are much more descriptive of the landscape.

    First, consider the size of the territory and the low density of human occupancy.

    Second, it is important to appreciate that 'community' is a recent Western concept, the activities of family groups was determined by access to the resources on the land and water I.e. caribou, Arctic char, seals. Human movements were related to fluctuations in the fish and wildlife populations. Presence on the land was a function of food availability.

    'The first half of the book holds the first person accounts of those interviewed, while in the second half the author weaves collected stories together that are connected by common elements.

    Together the two parts of the book show the spirits of the people who travelled through and lived in the area, remain a fundamental part of the landscape, their stories woven in time and space'.

    'The elders, the knowledge-holders, I think understood the value of old stories as reflections of where they had come from and who they are'. Pelly, interviewed for Nunatsiaq News (April 22/16)


    If you are looking for books for grandchildren, check out Inhabit Media at For example, The Legend of the Fog. By Qaunaq Mikkigak and Joanne Schwartz, 2011.


    David F. Pelly. 2016. Ukkusiksalik. The People's Story. Dundurn Press.
    David C. Woodman. 2015. Unravelling The Franklin Mystery. Inuit Testimony. MQUP second Edition

    About the author

    Bob Maher is a Geographer, living in Paradise, Nova Scotia. In the 1980's he designed, developed and delivered a number of intensive computer programming programs at COGS. In 2000, he returned as Senior Research Scientist at the Applied Geomatics Research Group until his retirement in 2011. He has worked closely with the Geomatics industry for over thirty years. 


  • 05 May 2016 8:28 PM | Ted MacKinnon (Administrator)

    Last week at the NSCC-COGS awards night in Lawerncetown, Hugh MacKay presented awards to three Maritime students who have, or is expected to, contribute significantly to the geomatics sector. Congratulations to Jeff Sutherland, Mike Hannon, and Peter Porskamp.

    2016 GANS student award awarded to an Advanced Diploma in Geographic Sciences - GIS Concentration graduate in high standing who is from the Maritime Provinces and has, or is expected to, contribute significantly to the geomatics sector and the winner was Jeff Sutherland

    2016 GANS student award awarded to an Advanced Diploma in Geographic Sciences - Remote Sensing Concentration graduate in high standing who is from the Maritime Provinces and has, or is expected to, contribute significantly to the geomatics sector and the winner was Mike Hannon.

    2016 GANS studentawarded to a Marine Geomatics graduate in high standing who is from the Maritime Provinces and has, or is expected to, contribute significantly to the geomatics sector and the winner was Peter Porskamp.

    [Photos by : Paul Illsley]

  • 28 Apr 2016 10:21 PM | Ted MacKinnon (Administrator)

    The Copernicus Masters competition 2016 is now open for submissions - with new challenges, renowned partners and an immense prize pool.

    Since 2011, the Copernicus Masters competition has evolved into the leading innovation platform for promoting user uptake of Earth observation data in a commercial and societal context. It showcases new ideas and trends each year in serving as an integral part of an international innovation network. Over the past five years, Copernicus Masters has already selected a total of 39 winners from among more than 1,200 entrants from 60 different countries, who have submitted over 700 cutting-edge business ideas.

    With support from its international network, the Copernicus Masters also aids participants in realising their applications and business models. This year's edition will once again feature challenges and corresponding prizes to be awarded by a series of prominent partners, including the European Space Agency (ESA), the German Aerospace Center (DLR), T-Systems International GmbH, Satellite Applications Catapult Ltd., the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, and Stevenson Astrosat Ltd. The University Challenge, meanwhile, will be geared specifically towards students and research employees. The prize pool includes cash awards, satellite data access and quota as well as support-packages and is worth EUR 300,000.

    SMEs, start-ups, entrepreneurs, students and everyone with a brilliant idea is welcome to join and submit their entries from 15 April to 18 July 2016 at

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