Satellite imagery and other forms of geospatial imaging are becoming big business and Lethbridge is playing a growing role in it.
Geomatic technologies generate roughly 2.8 billion dollars a year in Canada. Forty percent of the country’s market is centred in Alberta.
Work by Economic Development Lethbridge, Tecconnect and now a national organization called Tecterra could put Lethbridge at the forefront of the industry in Alberta. Tecterra supports the development and commercialization of geomatics technologies in Canada.
“We are going to be able to have representatives from Tecterra come down at least three times a year to specifically meet with entrepreneurs interested in geospatial imaging as their business development plan,” said Cheryl Dick, CEO of Economic Development Lethbridge.
Six Lethbridge companies are already working in some form of geospatial imaging. BlackBridge is a world leader in it. It was formed in Lethbridge, is headquartered here and takes images for clients around the world.
“We’re focused on geospatial imagery, the imaging component of the geomatics sector,” said BlackBridge Geomatics manager Sam Lieff. “We own and operate a number of different satellites that basically take pictures of the earth. Those pictures are used in map making and planning.”
Among the satellite images at BlackBridge are one of Vancouver harbour, another showing Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, a street and neighbourhood being developed in Lethbridge and another showing Alberta’s oil and gas industry with an image of well pads and roads.
“It’s important to track those assets and use this information for new development,” said Lieff “so we can access certain areas to put in new well pads or what’s happening when it comes to environmental impacts.
Tecconnect – a centre for new commerce in Lethbridge, is also working with Economic Development Lethbridge and Tecterra to bring more geomatic and gespatial companies to Lethbridge.