At the Global Geospatial Conference 2012 in Québec City, the Minister of Natural Resources of Canada, said that geomatics is strategic for economic development in Canada. Geomatics annually contributes $2.8 billion to the Canadian economy, $540 million in export revenue, and employs 23 000 workers.
He said that historically mapping and geomatics have been criitical to Canada's economic development, from the early surveyors who defined national boundaries, the Canadian cadastre, and railway right of ways, through the world's first geographic information system, the Canadian Land Inventory, developed in 1963, to the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI), which made Canada’s geospatial data and information available based on industry standards on the Web. The Minister mentioned Canada's open data initiative, the Canadian data portal, which sees over 11 million downloads per year, 90% of which is geospatial.
Specifically in the area of natural resources, he said that geomatics is an essential tool for evaluating projects from an environmental, social impact, and economic growth perspective. The mining, oil and gas, and forestry sectors employ three quarters of a million people in Canada, and to ensure the continued development of these sectors the government has a pipeline of natural resource development projects wirth $500 billion over the next ten years. As an example, the Government of Canada is contributing to improved mapping of northern Quebec in support of Québec's $80 billion northern development initiative Plan Nord. The Minister siad that Canada intends to support responsible natural resource development for the benefit of the public including aboriginal peoples, but also protecting the environment. He said that the govenment has already announced its intention to streamline the review and approval process for major natural resource and infrastructure development projects.
The Minister Oliver announced the newest series of contribution agreements through GeoConnections, investments totalling $1.6 million over three years. This is the latest funding announement that are part of the $30 million five year Geoconnections program announced in 2010.
The Global Geospatial Conference is actually a combined event involving four geospatial organizations, the GSDI World Conference (GSDI 13), the 14th GEOIDE Annual Scientific Conference, the 7th 3DGeoInfo Conference, and the Canadian Geomatics Conference 2012, and draws more than 700 geospatial professionals from around the world.