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Andrew Davidson Space for Agriculture: Supporting a Competitive Agricultural sector in Canada through Earth Observation

The ability of the Canadian agriculture sector to make better decisions and manage its operations more competitively in the long term is only as good as the information available to inform decision making. At all levels of Government, a reliable flow of information is critical for developing and supporting agricultural policies and programs. However, as the availability of survey based information becomes increasingly reduced, decision makers face an absence of good information on the status and trends in Canadian agriculture. This information gap will need to be filled. A solution to this problem may be the use of past, present and future space-based Earth Observation (EO) technologies whose data collection capabilities are ideal for mapping and monitoring agricultural systems and delivering timely and relevant information to the sector. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has taken advantage of the increasing development of technology that has made satellite data less expensive, more reliable and more available. The availability of data from sensors such as Landsat-5, -7 and -8, AVHRR, MODIS, SMOS, AMSR-E, RADARSAT-2, SPOT, DMC, RapidEye and AWiFS has allowed AAFC scientists to acquire, integrate and evaluate information from many regions of the electromagnetic spectrum (visible, near-infrared, shortwave infrared, thermal infrared, microwave) and across a wide range of spatial (pixel) resolutions (5m to 1km) and sampling frequencies (daily to every few weeks). The results of these activities have demonstrated the value of EO to provide useful national-extent, cost-effective, timely, accurate and scalable information on land use, crop condition and soil moisture, as well as their changes through time. As an early adopter of new EO technologies and their data, the ability of AAFC to meet the informational needs of the sector is only expected to improve as new satellite sensor technologies are launched, brought online and made available (e.g. Sentinel-1, -2 and -3; SMAP; RCM). However, this work is not without its challenges. For data, these include: (i) issues of spatial and temporal resolution; (ii) problems associated with inconsistent, missing or inappropriate data; (iii) data continuity and the need for long term data records; (iv) the challenge of processing much larger volumes of geospatial data than ever before; and (v) data product validation. The Government of Canada’s move towards Open Data and centralized data warehouses with enhanced storage and processing capacity will help AAFC address some of these issues.

Bahram Gharabagh Water Management in a Changing Climate
Increased intensity and frequency of occurrence of extreme floods, droughts, ice-storms and freezing-rain events in response to climate change is a major concern for many Canadian Municipalities. The main goal of this research project is to quantify the long-term potential adverse effects of climate change on water management capacity for selected representative municipalities. The effect of climate change on key hydrologic parameters such as precipitation and temperature is studied and incorporated as input to hydrologic models to assess the expected long-term trends on extreme flooding, droughts, winter road maintenance operations, groundwater recharge and streamflow quantity and quality. This research will help develop effective water management practices and long-term adaptation strategy to improve resiliency of municipalities to better manage future extreme climate events.
Martin Sykora Social Media Monitoring: Emotions, Events and Inspiration…
Today social media streams, such as Twitter, represent vast amounts of ‘real-time’ daily streaming data. Topics on these streams cover every range of human communication, from banal banter to serious reactions to events and information sharing regarding any imaginable product, item or entity. It has been suggested in literature that social-media are a valid, valuable and effective real-time tool for gauging public, often spontaneous, subjective reactions to events and entities. Due to the vast big-data that is generated on a daily basis on social media streams, monitoring and gauging public reactions has to be automated and scalable – i.e. human, expert monitoring is generally unfeasible. In this talk several projects related to automatic social-media monitoring, conducted at the Centre of Information Management, will be discussed and introduced.
Dan Gillis Geospatial Fishing
The Saugeen Ojibway First Nations (SON) are located on the eastern and western shores of the Bruce Peninsula. Collectively they operate a commercial fishery that primarily targets Lake Huron lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) – a socially, culturally, and economically important species. To ensure sustainable harvest and the long term health of the population(s), it is necessary to understand the distribution and abundance of lake whitefish in Lake Huron, and the effect that various anthropogenic stressors have on the species. A summary of the various geospatial studies relevant to this research will be presented.
Tarmo Remmel FOSS for Geospatial Computing: R + SAGA -> RSAGA
My affinity for Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) began during my PhD when I would do consulting work ‘on the side’ to make some extra money. Obviously, I was not permitted to use University licensed (academic) software to conduct this work, so I turned toward FOSS options. I eventually settled on R (r-project.org) as my base platform and used it to connect with other software tools and environments as necessary and R quickly became the programming environment that facilitated the connections and automation among them. Since starting with R, I have written 1000s of lines of code, published 3 packages on CRAN, and have another nearing submission status. I have numerous additional algorithms that have yet to be released on CRAN. Today’s talk will highlight some of the tools, experiences, benefits, and challenges of working in this area. My goal is to inform, excite, and educate about these options, not as absolute replacements, but as valuable additional tools for your geospatial computing toolbox.
Jennifer Baltzer Assessing landscape change in high latitude ecosystems
Climate warming is driving dramatic changes in subarctic and arctic ecosystems with important impacts on the structure and function of these systems. Because of the pristine nature of much of Canada’s north, access to the majority of the landscape is difficult resulting in the need to employ a variety of remote sensing techniques to understand the rates and spatial extent of change. These methods include but are not limited to analysis of series of historic air photo analysis, LiDAR images, and satellite imagery at various scales. We are making important advances in our understanding of high latitude ecosystem response to warming through the coupling of such landscape scale products with intensive, ground-based studies of ecological and hydrological processes. In this presentation, I will highlight these advances using two such collaborative studies and the challenges we are facing as we work to address important landscape-level questions: (1) quantification of climate warming induced permafrost thaw, its ecological and hydrological implications in subarctic boreal forests, and its detection at regional scales; and (2) assessment of the landscape-level drivers and rates of tundra shrubbing and the local feedbacks that these changes produce.
Matthew Tenney Friends Retweet My Like From Here: An Ensemble of Methods for the Neo-Geo-Social-Web
This talk will review some recent methods for capturing geographic information from novel sources including social media, web-blogs, news sources and inferential techniques to connect them across spatially-situated social networks. Three primary areas will be covered: (1) Harvesting and mapping data from the geoweb, (2) cleaning, categorizing, and extracting topics from unstructured text, (3) and constructing spatially situated social networks as a representation of dynamic communities-of-interest in urban areas. There will be a focus on open-source tools, best practice, and future work being used in a collaborative project between Esri Canada Inc. and McGill University called “Geocollective”.
Steve Grise The Next Frontier for Maps
The next frontier for Geospatial computing is not Mars, the bottom of the oceans, remote jungle locations, or the arctic. It is the inside of buildings, and there is a wave of data and technologies that will require indoor mapping to support a variety of business and consumer needs. This is a major challenge for the next generation of Geospatial Computing systems. The tools and methods for these systems are emerging but still in the early stages of development. The presentation will explore some of the applications and computer representations of building information that are setting the foundation for this type of work.
Carson Farmer Geospatial data in Python: Database, desktop, and the web
Tools and libraries for working with geospatial data in Python are currently undergoing rapid development and expansion. Libraries such as shapely, fiona, rasterio, geopandas, and others now provide Pythonic ways of reading, writing, editing, and manipulating geographic data. In this tutorial, participants will be exposed to a number of new and legacy geospatial libraries in Python, with a focus on simple and rapid interaction with geospatial data.We will utilize Python to interact with geographic data from a database to a web interface, all the while showcasing how Python can be used to access data from online resources, query spatially enabled databases, perform coordinate transformations and geoprocessing functions, and export geospatial data to web-enabled formats for visualizing and sharing with others. Time permitting, we will also briefly explore Python plugin development for the QGIS Desktop GIS environment.This tutorial should be accessible to anyone who has basic Python knowledge (though familiarity with Pandas, NumPy, matplotlib, etc. will be helpful) as well as familiarity with IPython Notebook. We will take some time at the start of the tutorial to go over installation strategies for geospatial libraries (GDAL/OGR, Proj.4, GEOS) and their Python bindings (Shapely, Fiona, GeoPandas) on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Some knowledge of geospatial concepts such as map projections and GIS data formats will also be helpful.
Nicole Rabe Precision Ag: Where to from here → BIG DATA!
What’s new in agriculture? BIG DATA! High velocity, high volumes of geospatial data are being collected on the farm. The number of commercial services and solutions being offered in the precision agriculture space is increasing exponentially. Farmers and agronomists alike are struggling with the management & analysis of BIG DATA from the farm. There are also many questions being asked around the validity of some precision ag services & solutions for Ontario conditions.
Krista Amolins ArcGIS and the Web: Using Esri technology to create and share your geospatial data online
The ArcGIS platform allows you to discover, use, make, and share maps from any device, anywhere, at any time. Each aspect of the platform, from Desktop to Server, from ArcGIS Online to ArcGIS SDKs, APIs, and Apps, is continually being updated with new tools, improved features, or interface modifications. It can be difficult to keep up with all of the changes, particularly for the Web and mobile technologies.
In this workshop, you will learn about various ways to share your data from within the ArcGIS Online environment. You will also learn about the resources available for developers and start using the ArcGIS API for JavaScript to create your own Web app.
This is a hands-on workshop. Bring your own devices.
Richard Worsfold Introduction to OCE and its Programs
(no abstract)