The 2023 theme Alchemy speaks to the ongoing growth of geospatial data and the myriad systems that collect, create, and generate spatial data every day. With the exponential growth of data geospatial is uniquely positioned to create value from this firehose and to help answer the critical business and social questions that arise. Speakers will address topics on spatial finance, environmental management, augmented reality, and the impacts and challenges of geospatial in a world affected by climate change.

Meet the MC

Daniel O’Donohue

Host, MapScaping Podcast

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

4:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Hotel Check-in

Once you arrive in Banff, you’ll be able to check into your hotel room at the Rimrock Resort Hotel from 4:00 PM.

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Welcome Drinks

Pick up your badge and join us in the Wildrose Function room for welcome drinks.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

7:30 AM – 8:30 AM


Join your peers for breakfast and networking.

8:45 AM – 9:15 AM

Welcome Remarks from the Co-Chairs

The conference kicks off with welcoming remarks from the Co-Chairs and an introduction to the 2023 theme, Alchemy.

9:15 AM – 10:00 AM

Keynote: XR Marks the Spot!

Mixed reality helps us see and experience the world in new ways. As the digital maps we make to represent the world edge closer and closer to reality, the computing layer we build over the physical world can enable engaging and useful location-based experiences across a range of industries. In this talk, we’ll walk through the geospatial building blocks for location based augmented and virtual reality applications, take a peek at recent technical breakthroughs, and explore the new world these technologies unlock.

Janine Yoong

Geospatial Advisor

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Coffee Break

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Panel – A Million Points of Data? No Problem! How Visualization is Revolutionizing Geospatial

How do you effectively display a million points of data? A billion? With an ever increasing amount of geospatial data the limitation becomes our ability to perceive and understand the information. Can we use machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to automate the visualization process and enable users to quickly generate insights and identify patterns? During this panel, we’ll explore how companies are using visualization tools to find alchemy and provide value for their projects.

Ian Schuler


Development Seed

Hongwei Liu



Sundeep Kharey

Vice President – Business Development


Alastair Jenkins


Aethon Aerial

Doug Culbert

Chief Development Officer


11:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Talk: SmartICE Sikumik Qaujimajjuti – Co-developing geospatial agency to support safe ice travel in Inuit Nunangat
The frozen Arctic Ocean has long provided a reliable transportation and hunting platform for Inuit. While knowledge of ice and safe ice travel practices gained through generations of experience is embedded in Inuit culture and language, the warming climate is disrupting that knowledge through shortening of the ice season and increasingly unpredictable and dangerous ice conditions. SmartICE is a social enterprise that supports northern solutions for safe ice travel, through operational monitoring and mapping, directed by local committees. One of these programs, Sikumik Qaujimajjuti (“tool to know how the ice is”) builds mapping expertise through geospatial education grounded in Inuit knowledge and learning principles, resulting in the production of weekly ice safety maps customized to each community’s needs and required scale. Through scaffolded peer and Elder mentorship, Inuit youth develop the agency to address a critical need for their communities, while building GIS and remote sensing skills and increasing their own local ice knowledge.

Leanne Beaulieu

Sikumik Qaujimajjuti Mapping Specialist


Dr. Lynn Moorman

Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Mount Royal University

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Lunch & Networking

Join attendees for lunch and networking.

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Panel – The Power of Collaboration: Understanding Modern Open Source

Geospatial data in many parts of the world has historically been expensive or not available, but this has changed in the last several years. Open data supports global collaboration by allowing some of the most progressive minds in tech to work together and craft solutions – the potential benefits for every industry are massive. During this panel, we’ll discover what modern open source looks like from panelists who live it every day.

Matt Hanson

Geospatial Engineering Lead


Kevin Booth

Director of Engineering


Maggie Cawley

Executive Director


Mike Jeffe

Geospatial Technical Domain Expert

2:00 PM – 2:30 PM

Debate – AI vs Humans: Who’s Better for Geospatial?

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in geospatial technology has been a topic of debate among experts in the industry. Some argue that AI can revolutionize the way we analyze and interpret spatial data, leading to more accurate and efficient decision-making. Others, however, express concerns over the potential negative impacts of AI on privacy, security, and human labor. During this debate, we’ll encourage critical thinking and foster an open exchange of ideas and perspectives in a fun and open forum.

Rachel Olney

Founder & CEO


Andrew Pylypchuk

Senior Account Executive

EarthDaily Agro

2:30 PM – 3:00 PM

Coffee Break

Join your peers for coffee and networking.

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Powering a Connected World: Big Data and the Smart Grid

The transition from the legacy energy grid to smart grid isn’t simply a technology shift; a successful transition has the potential to redefine power generation and consumption far into the future with broad implications for energy security, decarbonization strategies, and community resilience. At the core of this transition is the data generation capacity of smart grid technologies. Advancements in ICT have pushed open the door for enormous amounts of data to be acquired, analyzed, and applied to improve the reliability, efficiency, and security through the convergence of computing and operations for the smart grid. Yet with the benefits of these data also come inherent challenges. Comprehensive data strategies are still significantly lagging behind constantly evolving technology, particularly in an era of greater customer participation and distributed energy resources. This discussion will look at the evolving role of geospatial in the digital transformation of the energy system, shifting from traditional one-way energy flows and siloed data to dynamic learning frameworks enabled by interoperable, sharable data.


Amy Rose

Senior Scientist

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

3:30 PM – 4:15 PM

Keynote: A Desirable EO Solution is an Ethereal Siren in a Rough Sea  

A platform for probing changes on Earth seemed like a great idea to many companies in 2015. Cheap cloud computing, open source deep learning, and increasing remotely sensed data converged to have people thinking ‘we could query the Earth for useful information that surely someone will pay for!’ (I myself was the author of several such patents during this time at a cheeky DC startup). Maxar, Planet, Descartes Labs, Orbital Insight, and SpaceKnow were among early commercial companies deploying Earth interrogating platforms. But building the platform to entice a use case did not help validate the hypothesis that remote sensing data may have a billon-dollar evaluation. People don’t want your platform. They also don’t want the data you are serving on your platform.

ICEYE operates 21+ small satellites. We recognized several years ago that selling pixels only grows a company so far. We went through the growing pains of throwing SAR at many seemingly viable applications, but came to the conclusion (like many) that finding [all the cars] [all the buildings] [all the deforested regions] [all the dark vessels] wasn’t the multiplier product that people needed. We decided to focus on a single vertical and sink so deep in that Mariana Trench of a domain that we would make the solution that people actually wanted. Through ICEYE’s mission to create a foundation of trust for decision making, we must first succeed in understanding the decisions of one user. Only after market dominance (measured through recurring revenue) can we allow ourselves to think of the next user. Our mission, glistening like an ethereal siren on a rough sea, is arguably only accessible if we first prove deep value (and knowledge and application) through a clear solution offering that leverages the strength of the constellation and the engineering that made it happen.

In this talk, I will share our SAR + Remote Sensing + Product development jaunt so far at ICEYE.

Shay Strong

Vice President, Analytics

6:15 PM

Social Event Shuttle Departure

6:30 PM – 9:30 PM

NORTH51 Social Summit at the Bison Restaurant

We’re taking the party to the heart of Banff for an evening of networking and local farm-to-table fare.

Friday, May 12, 2022

7:30 AM – 8:30 AM


Join your peers for breakfast and networking.

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

Panel – Riding the Big Data Wave: How Geospatial Companies Are Creating Value

With the exponential growth of data, geospatial is uniquely positioned to create value from this firehose. There is undoubtedly an enormous amount of data being produced every second, but how are geospatial companies able to extract value from the tremendous amounts of data available? During this panel, speakers will share their experiences.

Graham Sucha

Public Affairs Specialist


Jim Thomason

VP of Imagery & Analytics Products


Luke Fischer



Mo Sarwat

Co-Foundeer & CEO


9:30 AM – 10:00 AM

Talk – Geospatial Data in Insurance – From Lloyds to Landsat 9

In this presentation, Todd will illustrate how geospatial data is in the DNA of the multitrillion dollar insurance industry.  From the inception of modern insurance at Edward Lloyd’s coffeeshop – through the development of Catastrophic Modeling and the leveraging of Big Data, Cloud Scale Compute, and AI to analyze risk, and understand the impact of disasters and climate change.

Todd Barr

Director of Geospatial Strategy & Solutions

Verisk – Extreme Event Solutions

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Coffee Break

10:30 AM – 11:00 AM

Spatial Finance: Intersection of Sustainability and GIS 

In this panel, Bob will discuss how companies have a unique opportunity to shape spatial finance with the use of new technologies. Focusing on GIS, remote sensing, AI and blockchain/DLT, this talk will highlight new methods that can support or challenge organizations’ sustainability goals.

Bob Elfanbaum


Object Computing Inc.

11:00 AM – 11:45 AM

Keynote – What can geospatial technology do for nature?

‘Everything comes from somewhere’ – what we eat, what we wear, the rare minerals in our smartphones. Humans are entirely dependent on nature. My talk is the story of how a conservationist with an increasing frustration learning about impacts on the environment from sectors such as mining, oil and gas too late, discovers the power of integrating environmental, observational and satellite imagery and asset-level data , to provide conservation intelligence. I will talk about how our team applied this intelligence to successful campaigning, and how resulting actionable data and analysis has powerful application for the finance sector ranging from project finance, insurance to potentially increasing the sustainability of sovereign bond finance. With nature and biodiversity quickly rising up the agenda, especially post the Convention of Biological Diversity COP15 in Montreal, the opportunities for leveraging geospatial technology to provide actionable insights that are real-time and independent are huge. This is particularly the case if integrated with rapidly developing in-situ data technologies, including e-DNA and acoustic sensors. I will also discuss the barriers which range from remaining asset-level data gaps, institutional resistance to licencing and talk about some initiatives to overcome these.

Susanne Schmitt

Nature & Sustainable Finance Advisor

Thank you to our Sponsors

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