Improving the management of natural resources in Alberta, Canada and around the world is the goal of a new research centre announced recently by federal Minister of State (Science and Technology) Gary Goodyear.
Funded under the federal Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) program and industry/government partners, the new Centre of Excellence for Integrated Resource Management will be the first of its kind in the world to focus geomatics science and engineering expertise towards the complex problems of large-scale resource and environmental management.
The centre will be led by Dr. Naser El-Sheimy, holder of a Canada Research Chair and the head of the Department of Geomatics Engineering in the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary and involves partners at the University of Alberta, the University of Lethbridge and other Canadian universities, the Province of Alberta and industry partners.
"This is a research and development centre that will lead to the commercialization of geomatics tools that will help ensure the responsible maintenance and management of resources in Canada and in countries across the globe," U of C Vice-President (Research) Rose Goldstein says. "A centre of this calibre will undoubtedly attract some of the leading researchers in the field to our province."
"At the University of Lethbridge, we have been working on – and investing in – this program for the past six years," says Dr. Dennis Fitzpatrick, Vice-President,
Research. "We brought to Lethbridge senior remote sensing scientists like Dr. Philippe Teillet and Dr. Karl Staenz to join Dr. Craig Coburn and Dr. Derek Peddle, and this group of experts is housed in our new Alberta Water and
Environmental Science Building. The optical imaging of the earth is important to Alberta – for land and water management, as well as other natural resources and urban issues."
Fitzpatrick adds that the new centre at the University of Calgary and the collaborative focus between researchers and institutions represents a natural partnership where researchers can combine efforts to create a stronger program than they ever could individually.
"We expect the impact of this announcement, and the research generated from it, to have far-reaching implications," Fitzpatrick says.
"At the U of L, we are already at work on commercial applications for remote sensing through our partnership in the Alberta Terrestrial Imaging Centre, which we operate with pioneering local business Iunctus Geomatics. As well, we have numerous undergraduate and graduate students currently studying this technology. They will take advantage of the educational and research opportunities generated by our people and others involved in this high-tech activity."
The extended time frame for funding – up to five years initially – allows for the significant development of new research and researchers, according to Dr. Philippe Teillet, who joined the U of L faculty in 2006 (Department of Physics and Astronomy). Teillet is a remote sensing researcher working with colleagues in the Alberta Water and Environmental Science Building.
"I came to the University of Lethbridge with my colleague Karl Staenz, and our goal was to help build research capacity and add to the projects that are already putting the U of L on the remote sensing map. This announcement is a validation of our approach, which was to be collaborative and flexible. Once programs are up and running, we will be working not individually, but in multiple teams. Together we can be even more productive."