Management of land, water and natural resources to meet social, economic and environmental outcomes is a priority in many jurisdictions. In Alberta, Cumulative Effects Management (CEM) frameworks, such as Integrated Resource Management (IRM), are being implemented to enable sustainable land and resource management to provide long-term social, economic, and environmental benefits. These systems are complex, encapsulating energy, mineral, forest, agriculture, land, air, water, and biodiversity resources.
Foundational for the success of any CEM/IRM initiative are technologies that enable more accessible, timely, scalable, interoperable, science-based data upon which governments and stakeholders can base informed decisions. Earth observation (EO) data and technologies meet this need, and form an integral part of the spatial data infrastructure needed to support these approaches.
From 2010 to 2015 the Government of Alberta, Alberta Energy Regulator, Natural Resources Canada – Canada Center for Mapping and Earth Observation, and a number of post-secondary institutions collaborated on several projects to demonstrate the use of EO technologies for regulatory and environmental monitoring. The final workshop report provided a number of recommendations for future projects and initiatives:
Recommendations from this report led to the development of the Open Data Areas Alberta (ODAA) Initiative. Led by Alberta Data Partnerships (ADP), the intent of this initiative was to develop a series of areas that:
The six 2,500 km2 areas selected for the project are representative of provincial and some global land cover types, and encompass a range of recreational, commercial, and industrial activities. By making available a range of datasets comprised of EO (i.e., aerial and satellite imagery, LiDAR, radar), geospatial information (i.e., cadastral maps, land ownership, vegetation, and soils information), the project aims to fuel creative ideas and enable data users to solve challenges.
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