Archived — Government of Canada Invests in Next-Generation Earth Observation Technology

Toronto, Ontario, September 9, 2009—Bob Dechert, Member of Parliament for Mississauga–Erindale, on behalf of the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, today confirmed $200 million in funding for the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI) and announced a $7.6-million repayable investment in support of a research and development (R&D) project being undertaken by PCI Geomatics to develop next-generation earth observation technologies.

"I'm very pleased to confirm our government's commitment to support SADI's budget with $200 million," said Mr. Dechert. "These funds will help Canadian companies build on their existing capabilities, diversify into new areas of expertise and develop new products and services. The SADI repayable investment in PCI Geomatics builds on Canadian expertise in space technologies while helping an innovative company to play a vital role in the growing earth observation market."

The R&D project at PCI Geomatics will involve developing a high-speed computing framework and software suite that will make it possible to process large amounts of raw satellite image data faster and more cost-effectively, with an emphasis on increasing the automation of image processing. The resulting data are essential for decision making in many fields, including environmental monitoring, agriculture, security and intelligence, aerospace and defence, and wide-area surveillance.

SADI supports strategic industrial research and pre-competitive development projects in the aerospace, defence, space and security industries. SADI is managed by the Industrial Technologies Office, a special operating agency of Industry Canada with a mandate to advance leading-edge research and development by Canadian industries.

For further information (media only), please contact:

Lynn Meahan
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
Minister of Industry
613-995-9001

Media Relations
Industry Canada
613-943-2502


Backgrounders

Government of Canada Invests in Next-Generation Earth Observation Technology

The Government of Canada is making a repayable investment of $7.6 million in a $25.5-million research and development (R&D) project being undertaken by PCI Geomatics to develop the next generation of its earth observation technologies. The investment is being made through the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI).

Earth observation is a growing market. Organizations in a variety of fields use image data gathered by satellites to make decisions about the environment, agriculture, security and more.

However, before decision makers can benefit from the vast amount of raw data obtained through earth observation tools, the data must be processed and analyzed.

Through this SADI-supported project, PCI Geomatics will develop an innovative high-speed computing framework and software suite that will make it possible to process large amounts of raw satellite image data faster and more cost-effectively. The company will also increase the automation of processing the satellite images, which will eliminate many labour-intensive tasks and reduce the need for operator interaction.

Increasing the speed and automation of image processing will save users of earth observation data time and money, while helping them obtain the decision-making information they need. PCI Geomatics intends to develop a platform that can be customized to meet the needs of individual users for a variety of applications.

The R&D for this project will help maintain a highly skilled Canadian workforce and facilitate collaboration with academic, federal and other partners. PCI Geomatics will expand its university outreach and collaborate with several institutions including the Alberta Terrestrial Imaging Center, the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, Defence Research and Development Canada, the University of Ottawa and York University during this project.

This project supports Canada's Science and Technology Strategy by helping develop a skilled workforce and knowledge economy. It is also in line with SADI's objectives to encourage innovative R&D; enhance the competitiveness of Canadian aerospace, defence, space and security companies; and foster collaboration among research institutes, academic organizations and the private sector.

Based in Richmond Hill, Ontario, PCI Geomatics employs 77 people and has facilities in Gatineau, Quebec, and other locations around the world. It specializes in desktop software and solutions that feature remote sensing, digital photogrammetry, geospatial analysis, map production, mosaicking and automated production capabilities.

SADI, launched in April 2007, supports private sector industrial research and pre-competitive development in Canada's aerospace, defence, security and space industries through repayable investments. For more information about SADI, please visit the Industrial Technologies Office website.

The Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative

The Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI) supports strategic industrial research and pre-competitive development projects in the aerospace, defence, space and security (A&D) industries.

Launched on April 2, 2007, this new initiative was developed with three key objectives in mind:

  1. to encourage strategic research and development (R&D) that will result in innovation and excellence in new products and services;
  2. to enhance the competitiveness of Canadian A&D companies; and
  3. to foster collaboration among research institutes, universities, colleges and the private sector.

New funding announced for SADI will be spread over four years, starting in 2010. It will ensure that the program has enough money to meet its current obligations and an anticipated increase in demand in the future.

By investing in strategic R&D projects, SADI contributes to the development of technologies that focus on next-generation products or services, build on Canadian strengths and enable Canadian companies to participate in major platforms.

SADI is administered with high standards of transparency and accountability by the Industrial Technologies Office. All project applications undergo extensive evaluation using a clear and rigorous process with published assessment criteria. These criteria include the company's ability to achieve the stated objectives, the project's technology benefits, and the expected social and economic benefits. SADI is consistent with Canada's international trade obligations.

All Canadians receive value from SADI's contributions through the technological and economic benefits that result from supported R&D projects. These benefits include spinoffs in diverse sectors of the economy, such as nanotechnology and information technology, as well as the development of collaborative partnerships with universities, colleges and research institutions. Contributions to R&D made through SADI will also contribute to high-quality employment opportunities; strengthen Canada's workforce with talented scientists, engineers and researchers; and leverage private sector investments in R&D.

Canada's A&D industries are recognized around the world for producing leading-edge products and services. Domestically, these industries are important economic drivers in all regions of the country and are collectively significant players in the development of Canada's knowledge-based economy. Among the world leaders, Canada's A&D industries offer competitive and innovative solutions and are backed by a highly skilled workforce.

The Industrial Technologies Office is a special operating agency of Industry Canada with a mandate to advance leading-edge R&D by Canadian industries.

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