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Leading Operational Observations and Knowledge for the North - LOOKNorth

$20.6 million for 2011-24
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Leading Operational Observations and Knowledge for the North

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Managing Director
Paul Adlakha Paul Adlakha

Board chair
Dennis Clarke Dennis Clarke
Lawyer, Goodland Buckingham

Networking the Canadian Remote Sensing Sector, Leveraging Innovation for Canada’s North

The opportunity

As a Northern nation, Canada contains some of the world’s most pristine and fragile ecosystems. There is an urgent need for accurate and continuous environmental monitoring to ensure responsible, sustainable land/water use management and safe operations in a changing global climate system.

Canada has developed extensive internationally recognized expertise in remote sensing. By networking, advancing and promoting that expertise, Canadian small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with innovative satellite and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technologies and services are poised to capture an emerging market of well over $1 billion. Additionally, remote sensing technologies/services can supplement indigenous traditional knowledge to help understand environmental conditions, especially in remote or challenging areas with sparse infrastructure; delivering remote sensing services in Northern communities has the potential to build local capacity and create significant socio-economic benefits in and for Canada’s North.

How LOOKNorth is seizing the opportunity

LOOKNorth networks Canadian remote sensing innovators and provides a bridge to commercial markets through a combination of remote sensing technology expertise, project management support, continuous engagement with end users to understand market needs, and business development support. The Centre is partnering with Canada’s leading satellite SMEs to define and launch industry-relevant missions, with Unmanned Systems Canada to support Canada’s UAV sector and advance beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations, and with Arctic innovators to establish Northern remote sensing enterprises.

Among the results

  • LOOKNorth’s partnership with GHGSat continues to grow with collaborations aiming to increase the impact of their world leading, high-resolution greenhouse gas satellite monitoring constellation. GHGSat has recently launched their third, fourth and fifth satellites, and continue to reliably detect and quantify some of the smallest methane leaks ever accomplished by satellite! GHGSat and LOOKNorth have been successful in securing investments to develop advanced analytics for offshore platforms and urban environments, and their commercialization into these markets.
  • Internationally, LOOKNorth is leading satellite remote sensing technology and business development for a collaboration between companies from the USA, Norway, and Denmark. The collaboration is commercializing an Arctic and maritime monitoring service that utilizes satellites, aircraft, drones, and ocean going platforms to support safety and security applications. The integrated technologies are demonstrated during an annual campaign (ArcticX) where scenarios, such as illegal fishing, are staged. During ArcticX21 (October 2021), satellite remote sensing successfully detected a ship outside of its designated sailing area.
  • The sustainability model for LOOKNorth was further validated with fee-for-service contracts exceeding $6.3 million. The contracted work includes greenhouse gas emissions analytics developments, oil spill detection, northern infrastructure monitoring, ice road season optimization, and the potential for Arctic communities to develop in-shore fisheries in their areas. The LOOKNorth partner network needed to execute on these contracts includes small to medium enterprises from the North and southern Canada, territorial governments, Arctic research institutes, and Indigenous organizations.
  • Since 2017, LOOKNorth has been implementing a program of larger investments in satellite and RPAS innovations as well as a significant program to increase the remote sensing capacity and community enterprises in the Arctic. With the $10 million CECR investment, LOOKNorth committed to delivering a $50 million program. At the end of year four of the six-year program, LOOKNorth has exceeded that goal with over $30 million of industry investment, plus attracting $15 million in revenues and $3.7 million of university/government contributions, for a $59 million program to date. In addition, LOOKNorth is pleased to report that their network partners attracted an investment of $54 million into their companies.

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