On October 1, the SOWC hosted a Waterloo Watershed node event entitled “Smarter Watershed Management” at the University of Waterloo. The event provided an overview of the unique infrastructure being constructed within the Watershed node of SOWC and of the data platform being created in collaboration with IBM Canada. The event attracted attendees from academic, industry and government. The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and Mr. Peter Braid, MP (Kitchener-Waterloo) provided remarks.
“Our Government is committed to supporting the development of research-based technologies and infrastructure to ensure that communities and businesses in southern Ontario can prosper,” said Minister Goodyear who made opening remarks to the crowd of over 85 people. “The Waterloo Watershed Node of the SOWC platform is a great example of how building a strong partnership between the public and private sectors can result in accelerated economic growth throughout the region, creating jobs and smarter natural resource management.”
The Watershed node enables research, development, testing and demonstration of water technologies and services, with specific focus on monitoring of a whole watershed ecosystem under the influence of urbanization. This, in turn, allows water-focused technology companies to effectively test their products in real world environments.
“The SOWC is creating unique facilities for academic and private sector collaboration for technology development that will support economic opportunities and create jobs in southern Ontario,” said Brenda Lucas, SOWC Operations Manager. “Specifically, the SOWC watershed activities led by University of Waterloo enable collaborative research and demonstration opportunities that attract companies with leading-edge watershed monitoring technologies and services to the region, to utilize the ‘living laboratory’ within the Grand River watershed.”
Presentations on the platform’s Watershed Node focused on developing ‘Smarter Watershed Management’ through the ongoing work within the node by academic, government and industry partners. Speakers and presentations included:
- Dr. George Dixon, Vice-President, University Research at the University of Waterloo provided highlights of water research at the university
- Dr. David Rudolph, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Waterloo and Watershed Node leader delivered an overview of the SOWC Watershed Node
- Dr. Carl Mitchell, Associate Professor in the Department of Physical and Environmental Science at the University of Toronto described the unique aspects of the SOWC Watershed Node at Mimico Creek
- Ian D’Souza, Mission Scientist at COM DEV Canada delivered a high level presentation on the complex subject of water resource management and environmental data acquisition in remote geographical locations using micro-satellites, and a current demonstration project utilizing the SOWC Watershed infrastructure
- Geoff Riggs, Global Business Services within the Smarter Planet project at IBM Canada focused on complex systems integration and smarter water solutions and IBM’s collaboration with SOWC
A panel session also provided an opportunity for audience engagement and a preview of the SOWC data platform, which is being piloted with the network of smart sensors and monitoring stations within the Alder Creek sub watershed. Panelists included speakers Dr. David Rudolph and Geoff Riggs (mentioned above), as well as George Sousa and Sandra Cooke from the Grand River Conservation Authority, Lisa Trevisan from the Ontario Ministry of Environment, and Odum Idika, Facility Manager for the Watershed node.
Like the other elements of SOWC, the data platform is also meant to be a tool to facilitate innovation. The question “How can this platform help you do your job better?” was posed to the audience. The discussion addressed user needs, functionality, opportunities to utilize historical data, real-time applications and flexibility of the platform.
Research and trials are ongoing within the data platform to permit event-based communication between sensors, data capture from remote sensor locations, and the transmissions of that data to a high-performance computing environment in near real-time to users.
For pictures of the event, visit our Flickr page at www.flickr.com/photos/sowc.
If you attended the event, please take a moment to evaluate your experience by completing our short post-event survey so we may improve on future events (Update: survey is now closed).
SOWC Watershed Node Event
Brenda Lucas Presentation – SOWC and Watershed Node Overview
Carl Mitchell Presentation – The Smart, Urban Watershed
David Rudolph Presentation – Goals and Opportunities Through the SOWC Watershed Node
Geoff Riggs Presentation – IBM Smarter Planet Solution
Ian D’Souza Presentation – Space Based Global Sensor Network