mapping

Episode 09 with James Floyer

Episode 09 with James Floyer 900 450 Nowhere Podcast

James Floyer, the Program Director and Senior Avalanche Forecaster of Avalanche Canada, joins us for this episode. Avalanche Canada is a non-government non-profit that focuses on avalanche safety for individuals in the backcountry.

Avalanches can happen anywhere there is steep terrain and significant snowfall. There are also a few different types, with loose snow and slab avalanches being the most dangerous. Because there is a lack of infrastructure, those most at risk to avalanches are people in the backcountry.

The MIN, or Mountain Information Network, is an observation system used by Avalanche Canada to assess risk. Individual users can submit information to this network, as it was created in response to recognition of an untapped resource for safety: the public.

Avalanche Canada puts out the call for public user support early in the season, and generally the response is quite strong. People feel called to step up to the plate and submit data, and looking at this data is where avalanche analysis and safety really begins.

Avalanche Canada also has six field teams, five of which are located in Western Canada. They go out about four times a week into data-sparse areas to gather information about snowpacks and make observations of conditions to feed back into the forecast center. They also demonstrate best-practices to the public to help keep everyone in the backcountry safe.

Listen to the episode here:

Episode 07 with Andrew Arreak and Lynn Moorman

Episode 07 with Andrew Arreak and Lynn Moorman 900 450 Nowhere Podcast

On this episode we’re joined by Dr. Lynn Moormon, Professor of Physical Geography at Mount Royal University, as well as Andrew Arreak, SmartICE Nunavut Operations Lead. The Inuit people across Northern Canada rely on sea ice for hunting and access, and it also plays a large role in their culture.

Knowing how to read the land and the ice has been passed down through Andrew’s family from one generation to the next. The people in his community have learned about it largely through first-hand experience. You really have to be there to understand how therapeutic it can be.

SmartICE is a co-development approach that aims to merge the traditional knowledge of sea ice with advanced data acquisition and remote monitoring technology. The goal is to create maps to help navigate ice conditions in real time using terminology that the community uses. This is becoming even more important as the climate warms.

They have been utilizing Facebook to transfer the knowledge throughout Northern communities and beyond. Digitizing the sea ice knowledge is another way of helping to pass the knowledge from one generation to the next. It also helps increase confidence around ice conditions.

In Andrew’s community, snow begins to fall in October, and the ice begins to form around mid-November. This is when they will begin creating sea ice maps again. Andrew loves it when he meets people out on the ice while he’s gathering data and enjoys taking the opportunity to educate them about the technology he’s using.

Listen to the episode here:

Episode 06 with Joshua Johnston

Episode 06 with Joshua Johnston 900 450 Nowhere Podcast

Joining us in this episode is Dr. Josh Johnston. He is the Principal Investigator for the WildFireSat mission, and a career wildland firefighter. Why is managing fire important? The truth is that fire isn’t always a bad thing. The fire is a natural means of keeping the forest healthy and actually plays a large role in stimulating new growth.

That said, getting too close to the fire or having too much of it can be dangerous. Sometimes fire management is about suppression, sometimes fires need to be started, and sometimes they simply need to be left alone. In instances where people are around, the objective is to put them out as fast as possible.

The WildFireSat is the world’s first purpose-built fire monitoring mission via satellite. Prior to this, the science revolved around general purpose missions. This one is specifically for fire management, and it’s a uniquely Canadian endeavor. This allows for effective tracking of fires, which will play an even more important role as the world experiences climate change.

While imagery is nice to have, analysis and a breakdown of what a fire is doing—and what it is likely to do next—is more important than the visual asset. These analytics will be embedded in forthcoming products. This technology collects information regarding the landscape and classifies the threat of the fire. Decision makers who have to make a choice based upon this data will benefit the most from interpreting this data.

Listen to the episode here:

Episode 05 with Matt Lowe

Episode 05 with Matt Lowe 900 450 Nowhere Podcast

In this episode we’re joined by Matthew Lowe, the CEO of ZeroKey. Matthew has been interested in software since he was a child. His passion developed throughout the early nineties and blossomed into his entrepreneurial career in technology.

ZeroKey uses the digitization of location to bring presence to objects in a new way, and this indoor positioning technology has a lot of potential. For instance, if put to use in a factory setting, it could help you monitor processes, track material flow, and do analytics of physical processes. ZeroKey is accomplishing this on a never-before-seen precise scale.

What humans could improve on in factories specifically is the handoff point from human to technology. Hybrid assembly lines across the world face this problem, and a queued process can create huge backups across the assembly line, wasting both time and money. Indoor positioning technology could be used to make this process more effective.

One significant difference between ZeroKey and their competitors is the use of ultrasound as the fundamental mechanism for location. Sound provides a higher level of accuracy than radio signals or light because it travels more slowly. This reduces errors in measuring.

ZeroKey is seeing interest from autonomous vehicle manufacturers, which indicates one way this technology may be used in the future. It can also help detect safety hazards. This fundamental understanding of what’s going on to the environment opens up a world of opportunity.

Listen to the episode here:

Episode 03 with Alex Gierus

Episode 03 with Alex Gierus 900 450 Nowhere Podcast

On this episode we’re joined by the CTO of Trusted Dispatch, Alex Gierus. Trusted Dispatch is an automated shipping system designed specifically for heavy equipment and freight shipping. What sets them apart from other businesses is their use of geospatial technology to link one expertly equipped driver with one shipper.

Alex has a background in logistics and spent years working with the Alberta government helping to move oil, as well as working for a pipeline logistics company and a software company. When he joined the founder of Trusted Dispatch, they worked together to restart the business and the technology from the ground up.

There is a lot more to take into account when shipping something oversized than you might think, such as clearance, borders, permits, and road conditions. This is where the technology behind Trusted Dispatch comes in to ensure the shipping process is safe when linked up with a driver with the right equipment.

Agriculture equipment is a commonly transported type of heavy machinery. When in transport, one combine can take up the whole highway going well under the speed limit. What’s interesting is that if it weren’t agriculture-related, this wouldn’t be allowed. This is a reflection of how much we value our farmers as a society.

There’s a lot that can go wrong on the road, from difficulties finding an address to troubles crossing the border. This use of logistics for optimized routing is important when shipping large, often unique items.

Listen to the episode here:

Episode 02 with Maggie Cawley

Episode 02 with Maggie Cawley 900 450 Nowhere Podcast

Maggie Cawley joins as a guest in this episode. Maggie is the Executive Director for OpenStreetMap, a nonprofit collaborative project to create an editable geographic database of the world. Anyone with an email address can edit this map. The goal is to try and build the best, most comprehensive map of the world.

OpenStreetMap has become a resource for people all over the world for analysis, to inform decision making, and allowing local participants to show the important features of where they live. Over 20,000 companies like Craigslist, Amazon, and Uber use OpenStreetMap.

About a year before recording this podcast episode, Maggie was contacted by park rangers concerned about the use and overuse of specific paths that were being perceived as trails based on information provided by OpenStreetMap. She used this opportunity to start a wider discussion on bringing awareness to this issue.

Maggie now has a working group with land managers, mappers, outdoor enthusiasts, and soil experts who are volunteering their time to work together and find a solution. This situation has highlighted the emphasis for adding the necessary metadata—for example, not just that there is a trail, but the features of the trail. As they work towards a solution, Maggie hopes educational resources will be available moving forward.

Listen to the episode here:

Episode 01 with Will Cadell

Episode 01 with Will Cadell 900 450 Nowhere Podcast

In this episode we’re joined by Will Cadell. He is the founder and CEO of Sparkgeo, which is a geospatial partner for some of the biggest technology brands in the world. Will sees geospatial work as a community practice because it touches so many different people.

Sparkgeo recently worked with Arturo, who is in the insurance space. A large part of their work includes evaluating roof properties, and Sparkgeo worked with their team to help them make these evaluations even quicker and more effectively.

Will is very interested in open data, and he values the accessibility of sharing information. That said, open data does reveal more than you think. Having structure in the data is key, but this begs the question: whose internal values are going to be reflected in the data when they decide how to structure it? Data is opinionated—and this idea can be difficult to get around.

Being able to use geospatial technology can play an important role in protecting people from natural disasters like landslides, floods, and fire. The data shows there is a link between a high fire severity index and flooding. Fires can inhibit an environment’s ability to absorb water. These extreme fluctuations are connected, as one event can lead to another. Read more about the data on SparkGeo’s blog.

Imagine if you were buying a home. Wouldn’t you want to know how at risk your area was for wildfires and flooding, especially amid the climate changes we’re experiencing? This is an example of how geospatial technology can be applied to help everyday people.

Listen to the episode here:

Dedicated Support

Whether you’re looking for answers, would like to solve a problem.