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From Site Selection magazine, March 2019

Ready, Aim, Hire

A new asset mapping tool for eastern Ontario goes way beyond a parlor trick.


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dropped by the Ottawa-area tech capital of Kanata in February to announce that the Canadian government was investing C$40 million in Blackberry/QNX to support Carleton University’s research leadership in autonomous systems. But that’s not the only next-generation thinking going on at the 30,000-student university.

Attempts to map assets are a dime a dozen in the economic development world. But you’ve never seen anything like the Ontario East 3D mapping project developed by the Ontario East Economic Development Commission and the Carleton Immersive Media Studio (CIMS). Using a combination of terrestrial laser scanning, building information modelling (BIM) and open-source data, CIMS is creating a hyper-realistic 3D model of eastern Ontario (see image).

As Team Lead Martine Gallant blogged in August 2018, it started as an Asset Information Model (AIM) exercise to map out the region’s agri-food assets, but quickly escalated to encompass layers and layers of economic, demographic, infrastructure and land/property data. Users can take full virtual tours of industrial parks and sites, turning corners on buildings and zooming in on a parcel’s topography.

It’s all in the service of creating “a unique AIM pushing the boundaries of what it can do,” Gallant wrote.

New Perspective

“We’re looking at it as a key element of what Ontario East does,” former Ontario East President Dan Borowec, director of economic development and tourism for Northumberland County, told me at a meeting in Toronto this winter.

The Ontario East region stretches from Port Hope — just east of Toronto — to Ontario’s border with Quebec, and encompasses 46,200 square kilometers (17,838 sq. miles), including such areas as Ottawa, Brockville, Kawartha Lakes, South Dundas, the County of Renfrew, the County of Lennox & Addington and the Quebec-border community of Prescott-Russell — 13 counties in all.

The region has focused on the five sectors of “innovative rural opportunities,” food processing, advanced manufacturing and technologies, logistics and transportation, and investment tourism.

But the new tool might enable companies and government officials alike to glimpse opportunities heretofore unseen.

Adam Bruns
Managing Editor of Site Selection magazine

Adam Bruns

Adam Bruns has served as managing editor of Site Selection magazine since February 2002. In the course of reporting hundreds of stories for Site Selection, Adam has visited companies and communities around the globe. A St. Louis native who grew up in the Kansas City suburbs, Adam is a 1986 alumnus of Knox College, and resided in Chicago; Midcoast Maine; Savannah, Georgia; and Lexington, Kentucky, before settling in the Greater Atlanta community of Peachtree Corners, where he lives with his wife and daughter.


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