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Canada Releases Report Detailing Economic Contributions of Geomatics Sector

The Canadian Geomatics Environmental Scan and Value Study Summary Report provides highlights and key results from two major bodies of work carried out by Hickling Arthurs Low Corporation on behalf of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). This research represents the most comprehensive assessment of geomatics and geospatial information in Canada to date.

Geospatial information (GI) identifies “where” natural, built or cultural objects are located relative to the Earth – in other words, their geographic location. Combining location with other forms of data allows for better and more informed decision making.

GI is used in a wide variety of applications:

  • by business – e.g. transportation, construction, retail and marketing, utilities, natural resource management;
  • by government – e.g. property rights and boundaries, elections, weather, asset management, emergency response;
  • by universities and colleges – e.g. research;
  • by not-for-profit organizations – e.g. conservation; monitoring; and
  • by consumers – e.g. social networking, leisure, tourism, shopping.

The Geomatics Sector produces GI and makes the production and use of GI possible for others through geospatial services and technologies. The Sector includes organizations from industry, government and academic institutions that:

  • create or capture geospatial data (e.g. through surveying, digitization, satellites); process, analyze and/or display GI;
  • deliver location-based services; and/or
  • develop geospatial technologies (e.g. sensors, positioning systems).

What does the summary report tell us?

  • In 2013, about 2,450 private sector geomatics firms contributed $2.3 billion to the Canadian economy.
  • The use of geospatial information contributed $20.7 billion – or 1.1% of national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), $19 billion to Real Income, and generated approximately 19,000 jobs to the Canadian economy in 2013. Regional distributions of GDP and Real Income by region are available in the report.
  • The uptake of “open” geospatial data (data available a minimal or no cost and for use without restriction) provides an estimated additional $695 million to GDP and $635 million in real income in 2013.
  • National scale productivity impact estimates attributed to the use of geospatial information (measured by percentage change in industry output) are most significant (>1.0%) for:
    - mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction (4.54%)
    - transportation and warehousing (1.64%)
    - utilities (1.58%)
    - public administration (1.51%)
    - construction (1.23%)
    - agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (1.22%)
    - management of companies and enterprises (1.08%)
    - Fourteen (14) case studies carried out as part of the Study describe important, but hard-to-measure social and environmental benefits, like:
    - improved health and safety for employees;
    - more effective deployment of public health campaigns;
    - increased competitive advantage for companies;
    - more livable cities;
    - better coordination and planning for asset management;
    - more of the “right” habitats conserved;
    - more effective assessment of risks;
    - and many more…

Download the Summary Report