2010 Winner: Outstanding Achievement In Applied Technology And Innovation Sponsored By SAIT
Industry Leader In Remote Sensing Technology Invaluable For Alberta
The best illustration of the success of Iunctus Geomatics Corp. comes from a meeting two years ago between commercial clients, federal and provincial government representatives and himself, remembers President and CEO, Ryan Johnson.
“Each of the clients produced maps derived from our products,” Mr. Johnson recounts. “This was a great commercial success, but the proof came when the provincial representative remarked that it was the first time the group had met and shared the same current information to make land use decisions. To hear this was a validation of what we are doing. Our mission is to empower land use decisions.”
The Powerful Engine
Since it was founded in 2000, the Iunctus team has developed leading remote sensing products. Among them is the TerraEngine, which facilitates the storage and transmission of large data sets of digital imagery over the Internet. Iunctus technology provides GIS images with accuracy of less than one pixel. The imagery is used to create geographical maps and other data relevant to agriculture, disaster management, forestry, telecommunications planning, urban planning, flight simulation, geology, mineral and oil exploration.
“Alberta is a great place to showcase our technology and products, as it likely has the most intensive and complicated land management challenge in the country,” Mr. Johnson says. “We re-image the entire province every year and provide this to our clients in a GIS-ready format so they can make sound land use decision based on the current activity on the ground.”
Numerous Imaging Opportunities
Recently completed applications using Iunctus Geomatics’ image data and high-resolution mapping include planning of seismic, drilling, pipeline routing, construction and environmental monitoring for oil and gas activities, pine beetle detection and monitoring industrial waste disposal. The provincial government makes extensive use of the company’s data to manage an array of environmental, transportation, resource and agricultural land use strategies. This means Iunctus has large and complex data to manage.
“About 30 satellites related to our business are currently in space,” Mr. Johnson says “In 10 years this number will grow to more than 300 and with advancements in sensor technology, the data volumes are going to grow exponentially.” Iunctus recently established its own data centre dedicated to manage geospatial data sets to enable clients to pull out information specific to each client’s needs.
The company has almost 50 employees in three divisions: ATIC, a joint venture with the University of Lethbridge; a new data centre; and PrioraNet Canada, a joint venture between Iunctus Geomatics and the Swedish Space Corporation that operates satellite antennas capable of telemetry, tracking, control and reception in northern Canada. They’ll be used by Canadian and international clients to coordinate and gather earth observation data from satellites.
Iunctus is a Latin mathematical term meaning ‘bring together’. The company is literally bringing together the geomatics industry in Lethbridge – Iunctus invested $1 million into a partnership with the City of Lethbridge to sponsor an incubator for technology companies.
“We hope to make a big difference in the community by attracting other technology businesses to our city,” says Mr Johnson, who credits the start and growth of Iunctus to governmental support and local investors. “We‘re helping young entrepreneurs by building a hub for technology companies to grow and stay in Lethbridge.”