Posted in Event Review

Background story to the COGS and CCA relationship

I was an instructor at NSLSI from 1980-1988. Later, I returned to the NSCC as Senior Research Scientist at AGRG from 1999-2011. This blog explains some of the background behind the creation of COGS and its relationship to the CCA. For more details on the history of COGS go to thestoryofCOGS.castoryOfCOGS

In 1980, the Nova Scotia Land Survey Institute (NSLSI) was providing practical training in surveying, photogrammetry and cartography. My arrival coincided with a new program to teach Scientific Computer Programming. John Wightman had recognized the need for the new technology. We acquired a PRIME  mini-computer system. The intensive 48-week program emphasized the application of computer software. As a Geographer with a background in Biogeography and Computer Mapping, I was keen to find software that would run on PRIME. After a short search, I discovered Esri. We initially installed PIOS and GRID; later we were an early adopter of Arc/ Info.

In 1986, with input from Roger Tomlinson, Ray Boyle and others, the decision was made to change the name of NSLSI to the College of Geographic Sciences. By this time, we were offering an advanced diploma in GIS. As Esri Canada was selling new systems, they would come to COGS to recruit trained technical staff.

In 1987, there was a demand to offer a GIS Summer Institute. We matched up graduating students from the GIS program with new Geography university faculty interested in teaching the technology. CCA supported the Summer Institute. We brought in Tomlinson and Goodchild from Ontario. This was before  Michael headed to UCSB as part of the NSF funded National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA).

Attendees included Peter Keller, Brent Hall, Norm Drummond, Stephen Reader, Chris Gold, Simeon Roberts, Roger Wheate and others. It was a success and repeated a second time. Now over thirty years later, COGS and CCA are working together again. COGS is now the Centre of Geographic Sciences, as part of the NSCC.

Returning this year will be Michael Goodchild, Bob Maher, John Wightman, Roger Wheate plus faculty and ex-faculty from COGS, Dave Raymond, Mike Donnelly,  David Colville and Roger Mosher.
Plus a number of Esri employees.

We all look forward to John’s lobster boil on the Bay of Fundy.


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