BeSpatial 2021 

AGM and Expo - May 4th & 5th | Virtual Event 


 “A Glimpse into Geospatial Future”

Dedicated to geospatial data and technology implementation presentations

We are thrilled to announce Alex Miller, President, Esri Canada and Biju Misra, Director, Transformation/Operations at Enbridge, as recognized transformation and strategic leaders as the keynote speakers at our annual BeSpatial event. 

May 4, 2021 - Keynote Speaker  - Biju Misra 

At BeSpatial'21, Biju will share his perspective on transformative change, innovation and leadership. He will highlight the importance of teamwork and building high impact teams, critical to enable resilience as we tackle the challenges and opportunities entering the 2020s!

Insight Statement: We are living in times of unprecedented disruption changes in the world around us. Innovation coupled with globalization and interconnectedness is fueling disruption which in turn is driving change in how we live, work, and play. The pace of change is much faster than our ability to absorb. The pace of change will only keep increasing.

In this increasingly demanding and changing world, it is easy to become overwhelmed and have varying degrees of personal or professional setbacks. How we cope with setbacks in our lives play a major role in our mind and body well being. Building our resilience muscle is key to cope with setbacks and resilient people are able to leverage their skills to cope and recover.

Everyone reacts differently, however, the key is not to dwell on how far we have fallen but rather how high we can bounce back and be better and stronger than before. Resilient people don't let change or challenge stop their pursuit of their purpose and if anything, they keep going with a belief that tomorrow will be better than today. In many ways resilience is more about letting go and learning to grow. The positive side of all this is that resilience can be learnt through understanding and deliberate practice.

May 5, 2021 - Keynote - Alex Miller

Insight Statement - Alex Miller

“Digital transformation in cities needs a human heart and a digital brain”.  Geospatial infrastructure is the core of this brain. Future systems, first and foremost, must serve the needs of the people who live there.

Alex Miller is president and founder of Esri Canada, the leading geographic information system (GIS) company in Canada, founded in 1984.

With more than 400 employees and privately owned, Esri Canada became a Platinum Club winner of Canada’s Best Managed Companies in 2019. Mr. Miller is a pioneer in transforming geography and mapping into a 21st century digital tool used by millions around the world. His work has helped people see location as a unifying lens through which land and resources are understood. Having successfully guided a software company for so long, Mr. Miller is constantly in demand from tech startups, helping them address the needs of their future market to ensure their long-term business viability. He has chaired the Geomatics Industry Association of Canada and the Natural Resources Canada Earth Sciences Sector Minister’s Advisory Committee and was a member of the Government of Canada's Open Government Advisory Panel.

Mr. Miller launched The Community Map of Canada, a comprehensive, freely available map, constantly updated and from authoritative community sources. He has donated software and expertise so that maps of the longest trail in the world, Canada’s Great Trail, are easily accessed by everybody. Passionate about using technology to promote environmental sustainability, Mr. Miller is Chairman of the Planet in Focus Foundation, which showcases outstanding films on environmental themes, and is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

BeSpatial'21 Executive Management Sessions

Leverage Talent, Optimize Performance

How do you assemble world-class teams that are built to meet the increasing pressure and demands of the modern workplace?  By leveraging an objective methodology and system for optimizing talent.  Talent optimization utilizes quantitative data and analytics so you can comprehend job requirements, identify the best candidates, understand the team dynamics needed to accomplish business goals, and manage employees in a way that pushes everyone to the top of their game.

Using your own Predictive Index profile as a reference point, we will explore how behavior affects performance.  More specifically, we will look at how your own tendencies and traits can be channeled to help you adjust to change, cope with evolutions in roles and responsibility, and increase your overall resiliency.  You will also come away with some people strategies that can be implemented immediately in your own organization.

 Upon registration, Attendees will have the option to complete their own Predictive Index survey.  

We'd like your participation!

Hello BeSpatial'21 Registrant,

One of the sessions during this year’s conference is titled “Leverage Talent, Optimize Performance”. During the presentation we will explore how a person’s instinctive traits affect their resiliency, ability to adjust to change and cope with evolutions in roles and responsibility.  You are welcome to complete a complimentary Predictive Index survey to gain insights into your own behavioral profile.

The PI survey is two pages long and will only take you 5-10 minutes to complete. You will be asked to answer two questions and you simply pick the words that you think describe you. When you are ready to start your PI survey, click the following link and you will be taken to the login page:

The Future of Work - Challenge Factory Overview

Presenter: Lisa Taylor,  President, Challenge Factory -  Speaker, Researcher, Consultant & Author of The Talent Revolution: Longevity and the Future of Work.

Insight Statement - Lisa Taylor

Even before the pandemic, everyone was talking about how to prepare for an uncertain future. From new graduates to executives transitioning to retirement with decades of productivity ahead of them, everyone is searching for what’s next in their work, career, and lives. Surely preparation is needed. When COVID-19 hit, long term preparations were put on hold. Afterall, how can you prepare when even the things you rely on day to day become unpredictable? Can real-time data be a part of the post-pandemic Future of Work equation?

Join Lisa Taylor from Challenge Factory and Anthony Mantione from LMIC as together they explore how to create, craft, and thrive in the world of work – now and in the future.

Anthony Mantione is a senior economist with the Labour Market Information Council (LMIC), where he conducts research and analysis primarily related to the skill needs of the Canadian labour market. Some of his work includes, for example, the identification and measurement of labour and skills shortages in Canada, exploring new technologies for skill classification, writing recommendations on best practices for generating and using LMI, and consulting with stakeholders. In addition to studying labour-related issues, Anthony has previous experience in both the health care and education sectors.

Anthony is a member of the Canadian Economic Association. His interests include British comedies, ultimate frisbee, fantasy novels, and crochet. 

Challenge Factory focuses on building talent equity by elevating strategic thinking and using career management as a catalyst for change. We do this by supercharging our clients’ workforces. Challenge Factory believes that a talent revolution is taking place, in which job roles, employee roles, and workforce dynamics are changing rapidly. Successful organizations find themselves one step ahead of current workforce trends, prepared to grow, and able to incorporate new thinking, models, and methods into their work.

Artificial Intelligence in Public Sector. Channeling out Thoughts into Building Smart and Intelligent Cities.

Presenter:  Kalyan Chakravarthy, Chief Information Officer, Regional Municipality of Durham

Bio:  Kalyan Chakravarthy(KC) is Chief Information Officer for the Regional Municipality of Durham. In this position, he is responsible for establishing and implementing a long-term technology strategy for the Region. KC has over 20 years of experience in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. He graduated with an MBA from Smith School of Business and did a certificate course on Artificial Intelligence from MIT.

Insight Statement:  The covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation in the public sector and increased the digital literacy of residents. Due to the way in which services have been provided during the pandemic, there is an expectation and anticipation, from citizens, that there will be continued digitalization of services in the future. To realize this, technology must be leveraged effectively to meet citizen demand.  More than ever, this is the time for local governments to focus on building smart and intelligent cities that will help the residents to gain access to services in a smarter and easier way.

United Apart: Working together to sustain culture through change

Presenter: John Houweling, Director, Data, Analytics and Visualization Services, York Region

Abstract:  York Region is often described as being progressive and “ahead of the curve” in municipal management. The Data, Analytics and Visualization Services Branch (DAVS) lives its motto of being a “trusted partner.” The DAVS Branch also has a strong culture promoting teamwork, excellence and forward-thinking. Throughout this pandemic the DAVS culture came to life to support the organizations response!

This is NOT a technical presentation. In this presentation John Houweling will show how culture, in the face of crisis, is what matters most! Culture starts at the top, and the Branch’s leadership persona could be described as both “visionary” and “getting it done.” DAVS has established an environment. where opinions and ideas are valued and everyone feels free to provide their own perspective. Staff members know that what they are doing is making a difference. They have the trust and respect of their peers and the support of their management. They focus on the client, work hard to excel in what they do and take pride in their results. And, there’s collaboration and partnership amongst the staff and throughout the organization. Also, the Branch is fostering a data-informed culture within the Region which is a key “pillar” of the Region’s recent Data and Analytics (DnA) Master Plan.

Building for the future using mobile movement data and GIS tools

Presenters: Jan Kestle, President, Founder and Rupen Seoni, Chief Revenue Officer, Environics Analytics

For decades, access to current data on the Canadian population—across thousands of data points and at a high level of geographic granularity—has been an invaluable asset for marketers, statisticians and geospatial professionals. In recent years, with the emergence of mobile movement data, the potential for more timely and local insights became possible, but the large data feeds were often still too raw and difficult to use or integrate into existing applications.

When COVID-19 hit, Environics Analytics pursued the opportunity to invest for the future and hasten its pace of innovation by creating pandemic recovery tools to support its partners in the GIS and analytics space across all industries. This session will focus on EA’s strategic redeployment of its talented staff and resources to advance its mobile movement data by weighting and projecting it to the general population, developing over 100,000 geofences and to make the data much easier to use so that near real-time insights on the movement behaviours of Canadians are available in this rapidly changing environment.

Leveraging Online GIS Applications for Non-Traditional Uses

Presenters:  Courtney Dunn, GIS Analyst,  County of Peterborough;  Nathan Bruce  and Matt Mulder,  County of Lennox & Addington

This presentation will detail key new projects developed during 2020 at the County of Peterborough and County of Lennox & Addington (L&A). It will provide an overview of other non-traditional in-house GIS case studies.  In each organization, the possibilities of GIS software, skills, and connectivity continue to meet the imaginations and needs of staff as they seek to streamline processes, work “smarter”, and increase communications.

 ArcGIS Online caught the eye of staff managing Communications roles at both Peterborough County and one member-municipality, the Township of Asphodel-Norwood.  As a result, StoryMaps were used to raise heritage funds, prepare an emergency management resource app, and engage residents in COVID-safe community activities.  Survey 123 and Dashboards helped to assess broadband connectivity needs, monitor daily COVID screening logs, and administer a contest that collected stunning local geo-tagged photographs.  In a major overhaul of the annual presentation, the 2021 Budget ( was shared via StoryMap and held budget figures and graphs that could quickly be edited and updated as Finance managed last-minute changes, a 10-year Capital Works Forecast dashboard, and a Survey 123 app to gauge the success of the new format.

 The County of Lennox & Addington (L&A) continues to adapt Esri’s ArcGIS Online Platform to areas beyond core services, in support of decision making and initiating digital transformation in areas accustomed to paper-focused approaches.  The cloud oriented platform has enabled GIS initiatives to be more easily deployed, at a wider scope than what most municipal GIS services are accustomed to supporting.  A quick COVID-19 response incorporating screening, monitoring access at municipal buildings and communication streamlining demonstrates the capabilities of the cloud environment over paper.  Relatedly, County Social Services staff have been able to leverage GIS apps for several internal wins, over past non-traditional use cases, exploring dashboards, Storymaps and addressing a national agenda item through the addressing affordable housing dashboard.  L&A GIS Services Staff will continue transformation efforts on their new integrated Public Works R.O.A.M. (Roadside Operations & Asset Management) project which leverages complex app integrations involving QuickCapture, Survey123, Dashboards, to WorkForce that allow staff to log Operational issues, create Work Orders, and manage progress in one easy-to-navigate environment. 

Report an Issue – Guelph’s use of Citizen Problem Reporter 

Presenter:  Chris Sambol, GISP,  Business Systems Analyst, GIS,  City of Guelph

The City of Guelph is no stranger in receiving issues reported from the public using a map-based solution through the implementation of 311GIS in 2015.  As this solution came to the end of its life the City needed to find a new solution to meet this need.  Esri’s Citizen Problem Reporter solution was determined to be the solution of choice, branded Report an Issue.  In this session, you will learn why we chose this solution and how it was setup, as well as the successes, challenges and enhancements associated with implementing this cloud-based platform for our community

Enhancing Utility Coordination Through Improved GeoSpatial Data Tracking

Presenters:  Gord Reynolds, Vice President of Commercial Advisory and Strategy at Infrastructure Ontario and/ Alon GatLead of the Office of Utility Coordination,  Metrolinx

In July of 2020 the Government of Ontario passed Bill 171, the Building Transit Faster Act (“BTFA”) to streamline the delivery of the province’s four priority transit projects. In response to this new legislation, Metrolinx partnered with Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Transportation to establish the Utility Coordination Program (UCP), a new initiative which oversees the development of utility relocation standards and the supporting process to improve the location, treatment and relocation of utility infrastructure. To support this program, Metrolinx also established the Office of Utility Coordination (OUC) which monitors compliance to the BTFA and operationalizes the program’s objectives of providing business insight, traceability, and geospatial visualization capabilities in what is referred to as the One Window.

This session will focus on the best practices pertaining to the development and use of GIS-enabled insight management capabilities such as the OUC, in managing, tracking, analyzing and scoring utility coordination through the geospatial lens.

InfoNOW project: One stop shop for property info at City of East Gwillimbury

Presenters: Lesley MacKenzie, GIS Application Specialist, Consortech and Carolyn Saxton, GIS Coordinator, City of East Gwillimbury

At the City of East Gwillimbury, like at many cities, information is spread across multiple IT system platforms and departments, in applications that are curated for specific purposes like issuing permits, or processing taxes, managing public works tickets, and mapping (GIS)…. This means, however, that staff need to login into multiple source data applications and patchwork to get a consolidated operating picture and this is time consuming and prone to error. The InfoNOW project will enable staff to access a single interface to retrieve as much information as possible about a property including an inset map for visual representation. In collaboration with Consortech, the City is working to develop integrations of the spatial, and SQL data, on the backend leveraging their FME technology and a Web front end for searching and reporting. 

Halton Region's Employment Survey 2.0: Automating survey administration, mobile data collection processes and quality control

Presenters: Arjun Rattan, GIS Specialist and Jae Park, Intermediate Planner, Halton Region

Employment Survey Overview

Purpose; History; Current State Assessment

 - ES Platform Update Process and Solution

- Process Overview; Requirements; Research, Testing & Results

New Imagery uses in the City of Mississauga

Presenters: Jim Silburn, Manager, Geospatial Solutions and Scott Anderson, Project Leader, Geospatial, City of Mississauga and Michael Franschman, Senior Manager, Strategic Accounts - Government & Utilities, Teranet

We would like to deliver a joint presentation from the City of Mississauga and Teranet on how the City of Mississauga uses Imagery like Ortho, Oblique, Aerial, Mobile LiDAR and additional Imagery based solutions to;

•       Assess Infrastructure and verify current status.

•       Ascertain asset location and status.

•       Monitor Development Projects.

•       Increase data collection accuracy.

•       augments Geographic Information Systems

The imagery is provided to the City of Mississauga through the Teranet Imagery Partnership Program. We will present the imagery uses in a use case format that will highlight benefits, efficiency gains and new work flows that were not possible prior to the introduction of the imagery into the cities GIS.

Police Transparency Powered by GIS

Presenters:  Marianna Pellizari, Senior Open Data Specialist and Gaya Ganesan is a GIS & Crime Analyst, Analytics and Innovation Group, Toronto Police Services

The Toronto Police Service (TPS) is committed to the ongoing release of open data for public safety, awareness, greater openness, transparency and accountability. GIS technology plays a key role in the Service’s Open Data Program and in providing continuous support for public understanding, use and application of police information.

In accordance with recommendations for police reform, the TPS has continued to innovate and enhance its provision of public safety information through the use of GIS technology to engage the public and support the community. eness, greater openness, transparency and accountability. GIS technology plays a key role in the Service’s Open Data Program and in providing continuous support for public understanding, use and application of police information.

As an example, in 2020, the Service launched the new digitally transformed Annual Statistic Report (ASR). This report is a comprehensive overview of police related statistics including reported crimes, victims of crime, search of persons, firearms, traffic collisions, personnel, budget, communications, public complaints, regulated interactions and other administrative information. The team is currently updating this report to include 2020 year end statistics.

As part of this presentation, we will discuss and demonstrate how the Analytics & Innovation Unit, with the help of Esri platform, transformed the provision of annual statistics, which can be found on the TPS Public Safety Data Portal – a site created using ArcGIS Hub.

Enterprise Asset Management Decision Support Project

Presenters:  Andrew Nichols and Calin Armenean, City of Richmond Hill

The Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) tool is the latest evolution of the City of Richmond Hill Asset Management journey. The EAM tool translates spatial and non-spatial data into risk-based outputs based on the City’s asset management technical strategies which detail each assets’ level of service (LoS), lifecycle, and risk considerations. It provides a real-time view of the City’s assets supporting organization-wide decisions, to determine optimal actions and associated investment plans for assets. The project scope was broken down to three phases (Discovery, Core Assets, and Non-Core Assets) and included all of the City’s assets and services . It emphasized transparency and repeatability, and included a continual improvement plan to enhance asset knowledge through evidence based, data driven analyses.

EAM TOOL AND OUTCOMES: The EAM tool was developed using in house expertise and is a web-based internally hosted solution. The technical solution uses Angular on the front end, LoopBack API framework on the backend, FME in the background to translate information and perform spatial analysis, and AM4Charts to help visualize outputs. The team operationalized asset management (AM) strategies (LoS, Lifecycle, and Risk) developed concurrently. The strategies were converted into logics which were then coded into the solution. The solution promotes AM processes as ‘Business-As-Usual’ for the City and will comply with current AM regulations (O.Reg 588/17).

CORPORATE BENEFITS: Like many others, our City is challenged with providing our customers with the highest level of service for the lowest cost. This project and the resulting tool will allow us to optimize our service delivery and minimize cost. It will support the hard decisions of infrastructure investment prioritization and allow scenario planning to predict future impacts of infrastructure investment decisions on service levels. This project may have ended but our asset management journey will continue.

    Asset Management with QGIS and PostGIS: Lessons learned from Canadian Municipalities

    Presenter:  Cliff Patterson, Ph.D.

    PSD has been enhancing asset management practices for almost 20 years. Today, our clients are increasingly using open source GIS solutions, such as QGIS and PostGIS, as part of their asset management process. Due largely to the ease of use, advanced functions, and cost effectiveness of these applications, municipalities are able to manage every aspect of the data lifecycle, from creation to deletion.

    This presentation summarizes the lessons learned when using these applications throughout the data lifecycle, from initial data collection to long-term data management or deletion. Data collection strategies have benefited from database-level constraints, trigger functions, and granular user permissions. Within the desktop environment, tools for basic and advanced digitizing are complemented by advanced functions such as default symbology, data entry forms, and offline data collection. Upon completion of the initial data collection, these applications also help with long-term data management by seamlessly integrating with CityWide Asset Manager and by facilitating functions like search and zoom and advanced queries in the DB Manager.

    Eventually, when an asset needs to be removed, various options exist, such as soft deletions, legacy tables, or permanent deletion. Open source GIS software is therefore an effective solution for even the most complex asset management strategies.

    All Construction: Built on a foundation of data

    Presenter:  Brian McPhail,  Program Manager,  Asset Management Data Analytics, York Region

    Presentation Abstract

    Members of the YorkInfo Partnership have created a collaborative approach to construction planning. Through the sharing of self-managed data and templated tools these partners have built a pipeline into one another’s data to help project managers coordinate construction projects. Whether projects include road work, underground infrastructure, street lighting or all of the above, the “All Construction” program shares this information dynamically between all participants ensuring a single source of truth. This presentation will explore the impetus behind this initiative, the group effort it took to build and the initial results of the “All Construction” Program.

    Analyzing Main Breaks in the Region of Peel to Ensure Safe Reliable Water

    Presenters: Bill Grant – Industry Manager, Public Works, Esri Canada,  Martin Pendlebury - Advisor, Water & Wastewater Strategic Infrastructure Planning, Region of Peel,  Christopher Roth, Technical Solutions Specialist – Public Works, Esri Canada

    Organizations need information to make fact-based decisions and support operational activities and capital budget requests. The challenge is to transform years of raw “big” data into usable information. This presentation will demonstrate how the Region of Peel performed analysis on some of its asset data to improve its water delivery reliability and customer satisfaction. By analyzing over 10 years of water main break data, the Region of Peel successfully developed new Key Performance Indicators and detailed water break analyses to make better asset replacement and rehabilitation decisions.

    The use of artificial intelligence in schedule planning for the Healthy Smiles Ontario program - Region of Peel

    Presenter: Hongcheng Zeng, Business Intelligence Specialist, Region of Peel

    Public Health is required, under the Ontario Public Health Standards, to deliver the Healthy Smiles Ontario program. As part of the program, dental hygienists are required to travel to all publicly funded elementary schools and perform dental screenings for

     students. The development of a scheduling system that ensures an equitable distribution of workload and travel distance for hygienists has proven challenging. Previously designed and tested scheduling approaches were complicated and time consuming and were unable to account for factors such as workload (impacted by various school and student population characteristics) and travel distance.

    In 2019, in partnership with the Oral Health Team, the Health Intelligence and Analytics team in Peel Region successfully developed a novel artificial intelligence (AI) tool, derived from the cellular automaton approach, coupled with spatial analytical methods to address the scheduling challenge. The AI tool accounts for a variety of school characteristics and automatically searches for the optimal dates for the dental screening tasks, determining the best overall schedule for the dental screening among the hygienists. The application of the new AI tool resulted in shortening the annual planning time from five months to one month, distributing the dental hygienists’ workload almost evenly, and significantly reducing their travel distances.

    Mapping Children’s Environments: A spatiotemporal analysis of how children use their neighbourhoods

    Presenter:  Malcolm Little, Masters graduate student, Western University

    Children are spending more free time indoors, rather than outdoors in parks and recreation spaces. Such spaces provide amenities that foster improving physical, cognitive, and mental health among children. Relating to the complexities of children’s lifestyles, properly measuring children’s levels of exposures with these spaces is poorly understood in geospatial research. 

    Examining attributes of children, our research improves on the measurement of children’s exposures with parks and recreation spaces. Our research utilized household survey data, high-resolution GIS datasets of environmental factors, and GPS logs from participants ages 9-14 years recruited throughout southwestern Ontario. Sociodemographic characteristics acquired from the survey plus GPS tracks of participants were merged with rich GIS datasets, including regional parks-and-recreation geospatial data; the merged dataset was examined through an Accessibility-Exposure-Engagement spatiotemporal framework.  

    Statistical tests revealed relationships between children’s home locations or sociodemographic characteristics and levels of accessibility/exposure/engagement with parks and recreation amenities. Hierarchical regression modelling assessed the influence of individual, interpersonal, social, and built-environment characteristics on children’s proportion of free time in parks and recreation spaces. Results show gender, visible minority status, and urbanicity are significantly associated with proportion of free time in parks and recreation spaces among children.

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