Posted in Event Review

Preview of Sensors conference

banner_cogsconference_2019On Wednesday and Thursday (January 23 and 24th), COGS in Lawrencetown is hosting a two-day conference, entitled: Sensors High and Low: Measuring the reality of our world. A draft copy of the agenda is available online. My plan is to write a review after the event for GoGeomatics.

Here, at this time, I want to explore the main components of the conference and make a few personal observations. The conference title suggests that it will cover a variety of sensor systems for different environments; terrestrial as well as marine. High and low presumably refers to both spatial and spectral resolution.

Looking at the list of speakers, we can identify three different perspectives: industry, academia and the community. AGRG has had a lengthy involvement with sensor technology. From my time at AGRG, this ranged from LIDAR technology to weather station networks. In parallel, COGS has maintained strong relationships with a number of technology leaders.

From industry, there are speakers from Leica Geosystems, Esri, IBM, Hoskins Scientific, Stantec Consulting, Global Spatial Technology Solutions and Hanatech IoT Inc.

From the academic community, speakers are from the NSCC (AGRG, Applied Oceans Research Group, COGS), St Marys University (Beacon Labs), Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE), Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) and CIDCO.

While there are a number of businesses and colleges with regional interest, there does not appear to be specific presentations by community groups. The one exception is Nathan Crowell’s presentation on the Garrison graveyard in Annapolis Royal, combining UAV and ground penetrating radar. Partners are Boreas Heritage and MapAnnapolis.  This leads me to the following suggestion.

As an instructor at COGS in the 1980s, I recall the yeoman efforts by Phil Milo, Survey Department in reaching out to the high schools in Annapolis County and well beyond. In this same spirit of community outreach,  it would be unorthodox, yet progressive, if COGS/CANMAP could provide a select number of gratis seats for high school students across Annapolis County to allow them to attend the conference. This would encourage future community engagement. Sensor technology is only as useful as our ability to ground truth the results. Ongoing monitoring of change in both the terrestrial and marine environment requires collaboration with the user communities, whether in the context of fisheries, forestry, agriculture or other types of land use. Or whether to address questions of alternative energy, climate change or physical infrastructure.

Note on Terminology

If we think about imaging the earth’s surface we can use satellites, aircraft or drones. As the platform is placed closer to the surface you can expect a higher resolution. If you think in terms of trail cameras for wildlife, the camera can be triggered by movement or sound. Another approach is to put in place a network of sensors, for example, weather stations across the Annapolis Valley or a set of sensors for temperature and moisture in a vineyard. AGRG has used LiDAR onboard aircraft and boats to measure the topography of the land as well as the sea bed. Many of these applications will be presented at the conference.


I appreciate my recent conversations with both Rachel Brighton and  Edward Wedler on community engagement.


The web site for the conference is at It includes the draft agenda. It also details the industry expo, the GANS  and GoGeomatics social event at Lunn’s Mill Beer Company.

ADDENDUM by Edward Wedler
Considering Annapolis Royal high school students have launched their own “Annapolis Royal Space Agency” balloons, with sensors, I’d like to think that COGS/CANMAP could promote these UK-Kettering-type students at events such as these and maybe even have them tell their stories.
11jan19 4-43-40 pm



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