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GeoVisage helping to reboot municipal sector

​Thanks to Nipissing’s significant contribution to agriculture through the GeoVisage web service, the university was invited to play a role at the Combined Conference of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) and the Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA), held in Toronto this past winter.

Structured around the theme, Rebooting Ontario's Municipal Sector, the conference featured many illustrious speakers, including Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynn, Interim PC leader Jim Wilson, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, Nik Nanos from Nanos Research, and Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development.

Dr. John Kovacs, professor in the department of Geography, participated in the session Beyond No Comment: Proactive Strategies for Communicating with Constituents. He and his co-panelists Antoni Wisniowski, President and Chief Administrative Officer of MPAC; and Barbara Swartzentruber, Senior Advisor for Policy for the City of Guelph, discussed digital transparency and accessibility in public service, as well as engaging constituents to facilitate problem solving and fostering a sense of community.

The session, which was well received by the approximately 400 people in attendance discussed efforts to engage communities and to receive feedback through data dissemination. Dr. Kovacs illustrated how GeoVisage facilitates communication and provides time-sensitive information to agricultural producers, government and other stakeholders in the vast Northern Ontario geographic area. Of particular interest was the ability of GeoVisage to show changes in agricultural conditions over time through remote sensing imagery. Participants were also impressed with the intuitive web-based interface, as well as the availability of tutorial videos.

GeoVisage is an interdisciplinary community-based participatory research project led by Dr. Dan Walters, Dr. Kovacs, and Dr. April James, from the department of Geography, and Dr. Mark Wachowiak, from the department of Computer Science and Mathematics.

GeoVisage directly engages Northern Ontario agricultural producers and rural municipalities and associations to provide key information to support agricultural efforts.

The project is funded by the NOHFC, the Ontario Soil and Crop Association and Nipissing University.

Nipissing University
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