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  • December 16, 2021 3:01 PM | Sandra Crutcher (Administrator)

    Dear BeSpatial Members,

    As the year draws to a close, I wanted to take the opportunity to offer my heartfelt thanks to you all for your continued support of our organization. We recognize that in these challenging and often uncertain times, such support is not always assured.

    We were therefore somewhat nervous about staging our first virtual AGM this past May, but delighted and amazed at the excellent turnout and feedback we received from attendees. The responses we received from our post-event survey was extremely encouraging as well.

    Since then, the BeSpatial Board had many long and involved discussions on how we would stage our upcoming AGM in May 2022. We all strived to get back to a live event, but in light of the frequent setbacks we as a society have had in our ongoing struggle to contain and move on from CoVID-19, the Board had to take the difficult decision to once again stage a virtual event. However, the good news is that with the experience we gained through our inaugural virtual event, we are confident we can make BeSpatial ’22 even better.

    The theme we have selected is “BeConnected”, focusing on how organizations cooperate/collaborate in geospatial and data implementations. We feel strongly that there is an abundance of topics and sub-themes that fit well under this overall theme, and we encourage our members and their organizations to submit abstracts that align with this. A first call for presentations was sent out at the end of November, so please consider sharing your experiences with our members. We would love to hear from you.

    Lastly, I wanted to give a quick thanks to our Board members and Executive Director, without whom none of this would be possible. There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, and their passion and dedication is inspiring.

    And with that, my colleagues on the Board and I would like to wish you and your families the very best for the upcoming holidays, and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. We hope you can join us for BeSpatial ’22. We look forward to “seeing” you there.

    Sincerely,

    Peter Hettstedt
    President, BeSpatial

  • December 01, 2021 9:00 AM | Sandra Crutcher (Administrator)

    BeSpatial'22

    • When: May 3-4, 2022 
    • Where: Virtual

    BeSpatial'22 overall theme is BeConnected

    con·nec·tion

    /kəˈnekSH(ə)n/

    • a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.

    • the connections between social attitudes and productivity

    • Real-world connections draw from, or upon, actual objects, events, experiences and situations to effectively address a concept, problem or issue. It involves learning allows students to actually experience or practice concepts and skills, as opposed to learning that is theoretical or idealistic.

    • Social connection can lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and actually improve our immune systems. By neglecting our need to connect, we put our health at risk.

    • Connection helps us to feel responsible – for ourselves and for each other. Without connection, this feeling of responsibility can fade and we may lose sight of our shared purpose and values. This is the consequence of isolation and disconnection.

    If you’re eager to be part of this exciting agenda, you are invited to submit for a presentation opportunity at the geospatial and information community's annual Ontario event. Click here to submit your abstract for BeSpatial'22.

  • October 29, 2021 10:20 AM | Sandra Crutcher (Administrator)

    A COVID related application was developed and is being updated by the University of Toronto in cooperation with the University of Guelph and the Sick Kids Hospital Toronto.

    Impressive group effort using GitHub. They have been using data from local Public Health agencies posted on open data sites and Open Street Map. Clearest visualization of probably the most reliable data.

    Here it is:  COVID Canada

  • October 28, 2021 2:41 PM | Sandra Crutcher (Administrator)

    YPN Social Network

    BeSpatial has launched its LinkedIn and Facebook pages for the Young Professionals Network where members can connect and share with each other. We will be posting resources that will help to educate, engage and grow young professionals. During COVID-19 members are also encouraged to share and discuss about the affect the pandemic has had on their life and operation of work.

    LinkedIn: BeSpatial Young Professional Network

    Facebook: BeSpatial Young Professional Network

    About the YPN?

    The Young Professional Network consists of a cross-section of new GIS professionals that have been working in a public or private sector organization for 1-7 years. This community includes recent graduates and more experienced professionals just beginning to leverage geospatial technology. Young professionals in this community have a diverse range of experience and skill sets.

    YPN Update from the BeSpatial's May 5th Virtual Town Hall meeting

    COVID-19 has been a crisis that has impacted professionals of all ages. This has been entirely new territory for all of us. While we all might be experiencing this together, young professionals are at a bigger disadvantage. Having not experienced working through a recession before, young professionals and those newly graduating are faced with a difficult challenge.

    Companies have transitioned to work from home and increased safety measures have been put into place for essential field workers. Companies have offered support programs to help improve access to workplace wellness resources and support essential workers during this difficult time. The way young professionals work and complete their jobs has changed. Where there once was in person staff meetings there are now web meetings and conference calls.

    For many young professionals working from home previously was unfamiliar territory that comes with its own set of challenges. To overcome these challenges young professionals have been resilient finding new ways to work and communicate with others effectively. This includes setting up a dedicated workspace, maintaining a schedule, making use of breaks during the work day and increased communication with team members. Overall young workers are adapting to the ever changing work environment leveraging new technology and assisting with the transition where possible.

    Interested in joining or volunteering with the YPN?

    Contact Brooke

    Please feel free to add your comments below to this blog.

  • October 10, 2021 11:28 AM | Sandra Crutcher (Administrator)

    Home  -A list of scheduled webinars will be posted in the “Save the Date” section on the Home page . We'd like to hear from you!

    Want to Register? Engagement

    BeSpatial / urisa ontario is currently scheduling an ongoing series of webinars for the current program year in monthly noon hour sessions. The webinar content is to be public sector and/or industry recognized and non-corporate aligned.

    If you have a presentation that would appeal to our geospatial and information community, please complete the webinar submission form or contact John to discuss.

    If you are a private sector partner, please consider inviting a public sector client to co-present with you. Sponsored opportunities for the private sector are available.  

  • October 01, 2021 7:14 AM | Sandra Crutcher (Administrator)

    Open to municipal, provincial public servants as well. 

    Note: Are you a public servant in Canada but not a *federal* public servant? No worries, the Digital Academy has got you covered! Provincial, municipal, and "other sector" public servants (health, education, infrastructure, etc.) can sign up using their work email at https://lnkd.in/eqCPV-jK 

    There is a lot of talk about "being digital" in the Canadian public sector, these days. But how does one "become digital"? 

    In today's digital-by-default work environment, knowing how to apply a digital mindset is a highly sought skill.

    The Canada School of Public Service's Digital Academy is here to help you acquire this skill by offering "How to Be Digital in the Canadian Public Service," a 6-week, online, self-paced microcourse that explores what digital looks like in the Canadian government context and examines digital concepts such as agile and human-centred design.

    Canadian federal public servants can sign up at the School's online learning platform at https://lnkd.in/eWztFbhb

    Happy learning!

    This course was promoted by Phil Gratton on LinkedIn

  • September 29, 2021 2:39 PM | Sandra Crutcher (Administrator)

    Message from the President

    In June 2021, the Federal Government of Canada passed Bill C-5 naming September 30 as a federal statutory holiday in observance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. As we approach the first anniversary of that inaugural day of observance, I felt it would be fitting to share some thoughts.

    The day honours the children who never returned home, and survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities. As a community of Geospatial Professionals serving both the Public and Private sectors throughout Ontario, we felt it appropriate to show our support.

    We are certainly encouraged by events of the past year, including the creation of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, as well as the historic visit by Pope Francis to begin the journey of healing, understanding and reconciliation.

    September 30 is also Orange Shirt Day, which is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day intended to raise awareness of the individual, family and community intergenerational impacts of residential schools, and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters”. With that in mind, I dug out out some t-shirts we had printed a few years back. The words that were printed on the front certainly seem appropriate, in the sense that we must all continue to inform ourselves with respect to the history of the residential school system and the impacts it has had, to be inspired by the strength of the survivors and their families, to be involved in the act of reconciliation, and to recognize that yes, every child does matter.

    On Friday, September 30th, I will be wearing this Orange t-shirt, and I encourage all of our members to observe this important day in their own way.

    Peter Hettstedt
    President, BeSpatial Ontario

  • July 02, 2021 12:48 PM | Sandra Crutcher (Administrator)

    A warm welcome to our new President of BeSpatial Ontario.

    Peter obtained a B.Sc. in Geography from the University of Calgary, graduating in 1987. While working as a research assistant in the Yukon in the summer of 1986, looking into permafrost landforms, he was introduced to surveying. After graduation he worked as a surveyor and Party Chief for an exploration company in both Africa and the Middle East. Once kids came along in the mid 90’s, he didn’t want to be an absentee parent, and he transitioned into a sales role promoting new Survey technologies, including GPS, Reflectorless Total Stations and in 2001 the introduction of terrestrial LiDAR to Canada. He has been involved in the Geomatics/Geospatial industry ever since.

    He now works as Business Development Manager for J.D. Barnes Ltd. and its subsidiaries, including First Base Solutions and Onsite Locates Inc., consulting with clients to provide the appropriate geomatics or geospatial services to make their projects successful.

    Peter joined the Board of BeSpatial in late 2020, and was nominated and accepted the role of President at the 2021 AGM.

    Board Position & e-mail: President 

  • May 17, 2021 5:20 PM | Sandra Crutcher (Administrator)

    General Organization & Pheedloop

    • The organization of presentations was great on Pheedloop, and I appreciated being able to filter presentations for specific days, topics, speakers, etc.
    • For the MApps gallery, I thought providing the entries in a video was great. I would have loved to have links to active apps and maps as a supplement to this so I could view some additional details for each entry.
    • I liked having the notifications for presentations and other sections of the event that were starting - it was definitely helpful when I was busy during the scavenger hunt!

    Gamification

    • This was great, and it was very clear how to get gamification codes and redeem them. I liked having multiple options for getting gamification codes and how this encouraged interactions with the exhibitors!
    • The only suggestion I would have here would be to have a notification through Pheedloop giving a 5 minute warning for when the prize draw was happening so everyone could get their final ballots in.

    Presentations

    • Presentations were well-organized and it was great having the chat options for asking questions along with a moderator to collect questions.
    • I'm not sure if this is just a Pheedloop setting - but I did notice in a few presentations, the presentation stopped broadcasting as soon as their time ended. As we had a little bit of time in between sessions, I would have loved to have the option to either continue viewing the broadcast or to disperse out to the exhibit booths. Alternately, a 5 minute warning for the presenter would work if there isn't an option to allow the broadcasts to go longer.

    Interaction/Engagement

    • I loved the private chat / video meet now options and really appreciated being able to start a chat with other attendees. I actually ended up reconnecting with someone I knew who was presenting, and it was much nicer to start our conversation with a quick chat than sending him an email separately. A few others also reached out through chat, and it was great being able to talk with them on Pheedloop itself rather than having to go to email or set up a separate call.
    • The poll and quiz options were great and I especially liked the word clouds for quiz responses being generated in real time.

    Thank you so much again for all of the work that went in to making this event fantastic. Many of the events I've attended over the last year have just been presentation after presentation, with very few options for engaging with presenters and connecting with other attendees. I thought Pheedloop really tied everything together and made it feel more like an in-person conference - even little touches like having a map view of the exhibitor booth with people icons at each booth made it feel special. 

    If there's anything here you want further clarification on, please reach out!

    Katherine O'Hearn, 1st time BeSpatial volunteer

  • May 05, 2021 10:53 AM | Sandra Crutcher (Administrator)

    Dear BeSpatial 

    We would like to thank you all for such a successful virtual event! I believe we had a record – over 290 folks online on day one, and over 200 on day two! Your support is greatly appreciated.

    We are so grateful to both of our BeSpatial Co-Directors: Wendy Baldin and Mohamed Nishath, and to our Web Co-Directors Melanie Warwryk and Jeff Norris. Honorable mention to Hanna Sjostrom. Not just for their leadership in the event and our virtual platform Pheedloop, but behind the scenes on the event days, along with our other board members, these folks were busy keeping the sessions going and fixing glitches. You all did such an amazing job!

    We truly appreciate all of our volunteers who helped make our event successful. From preparation in the months leading up, to help on the day of. Even though we were virtual, there was still much to do. Our volunteers really stepped up.

    To our speakers – your sessions were so interesting and thought provoking. You delivered so much information for folks to digest and consider as they move forward in their day jobs. We appreciate the effort you put in to your presentation. Thank you to our moderators who kept things on track.

    Our keynote speakers, Biju Misra and Alex Miller - inspiring with very timely messages. Thank you both!

    And for those who had a part in our event, big or small, we thank you.

    Our poll at the end of the day indicated a 60/40 split for virtual and in person for our next event. We will keep you informed about our decision.

    Warm Regards,

    Susan, Past President & Peter, President

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We are recognized as the premier geospatial and information non-profit organization in Ontario. where members share their experiences through networking and program events for the use and integration of spatial data, information, applications and technologies that provide solutions and solve challenges in both the public and private sectors.


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