Posted in Event Review

3D workshop: from the real world to the digital world

The Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) in Lawrencetown recently hosted a two day workshop on 3D data collection, analysis and visualization. The event was co-sponsored by the Canadian Institute of Geomatics (CIG) and Geomatics Association of Nova Scotia (GANS). The workshop chair was Tim Webster from the Applied Geomatics Research Group (AGRG) at the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC).
There were over twenty presentations and about two hundred persons in attendance. From my perspective, presentations could be divided into the following categories: technology, measurement science, applications, and implications for society and education.

This was the second 3D workshop. In comparison with last year, Tim webster and his team should be congratulated on expanding the presentation roster to diversify both the technologies and the applications. Technologies included LiDAR, UAV, Augmented and Virtual Reality, 3D printing, and Hologram tables. The applications expanded from geology and forestry to palaeontology, oceanography, shipbuilding, city and interior building environments. In terms of measurement science, there was a sub-theme on terrestrial photogrammetry and camera systems. Government agencies at both the provincial and federal level were represented. They described their approach to open access and high volume LiDAR data sets.

As an independent observer, with no institutional affiliation, my interest was captured by the industry speakers  who came from afar to put the technologies and their applications in a global perspective. These included Anders Ekelund from Leica Systems, Sweden, the Skype presentation from Euclideon, Australia and Kevin Lim from Lim Geomatics in Ottawa. The keynote of local interest was given by Hugh MacKay, MLA Nova Scotia.

Keynote 1. Advances in airborne 3D data capture

Anders  Ekelund described the Leica (Hexagon) approach to our changing world: global population growth, migration to the cities and sustainable resource management.

A couple of Anders quotes:

” 90% of all digital data in the world has been created in the last two years ”

” Data is the new OIL”

For more, go to  to view their presentation on ‘The Shape of Potential”.

Keynote 2. Smarter Spaces – SLAM technology.

Colin Gillis described SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping), LiDAR capture for indoor mapping. Applications include underground structures, stockpiles, buildings, e.g hospitals and shipyards. It leads to Building Information Modeling (BIM). Colin referenced the work at AnyWhere in the UK, as well as research at CSIRO, Australia on GeoSLAM.

On the second day, after an overnight snowstorm, we had a Skype presentation from Euclideon, Australia. Bruce started by quoting Moore’s Law, in terms of the rate of change in CPU power and memory speed. Euclideon has developed efficient 3D search algorithms. They have also designed hologram tables to display these high volume, three dimensional images. The challenge is to develop a better understanding of the ‘use cases’ for this technology.

A second presentation on Day 2 was by Kevin Lim. His company has moved, from LiDAR data collection for advanced forest modelling, into the delivery of large data sets in the cloud within a shared economy. Kevin’s concept of a shared economy included an incentive model, access, quality of data, training and certification. These elements can be viewed within the context of crowd sourcing geographic knowledge (VGI) and, by example, with Open Street Map.

At the Nova Scotia scale, Hugh MacKay was the keynote on Tuesday evening. Hugh emphasized from his experience in the Geomatics industry in Europe and elsewhere, the need for a different collaborative model. In his case, he was looking at the three legged stool: government, industry and academia.


From the two day immersion in 3D data, the following was apparent.|
1) we are seeing multiple technologies for data collection,analysis and visualization
2) the volume of data has increased exponentially.
3) there is a significant need for education and training in both the science and the technologies.
4) we need new models of collaboration.

It is fascinating to be living in rural Nova Scotia, with access to many of these technologies, either at COGS/AGRG or over the Internet. From the workshop, there is evidence of BIG industry (e.g. Leica-Hexagon, JD Irving) and BIG data.

To meet Hugh MacKay’s collaborative challenge and the shared economy described by Kevin Lim, what has to happen at an institution like COGS/AGRG ? Does an Advanced Diploma in Geospatial Data Analytics still make sense ? Or do we need to rethink our educational model ?

Congratulations to Tim Webster and his support team for a very stimulating event. I look forward to seeing the agenda for the next workshop in 2019. Finally, as an ex-COGS instructor, I think that the current generation of technology/science instructors have an awesome, but very scary, challenge in front of them. To do it ‘right’ will require significant investment, creativity, a truly collaborative environment, understanding of the use cases, access to new technology, and fundamental science and technology expertise. In the words of Hugh MacKay: carpe diem. Seize the day.


To check out the detailed workshop program, presenters and presentations, go to




One thought on “3D workshop: from the real world to the digital world

  1. I’m impressed but it went right over my head!

    On Fri, Feb 2, 2018 at 7:13 PM, Ernest Blair Experiment wrote:

    > maherrv posted: “The Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) in Lawrencetown > recently hosted a two day workshop on 3D data collection, analysis and > visualization. The event was co-sponsored by the Canadian Institute of > Geomatics (CIG) and Geomatics Association of Nova Scotia” >


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