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Leading Operational Observations and Knowledge for the North - LOOKNorth

$20.6 million for 2011-23
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Leading Operational Observations and Knowledge for the North

Number of partners

Partner contributions
$22.1 million

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Managing Director
Paul Adlakha Paul Adlakha

Board chair
David J. Oake David J. Oake
President, Invenio Consulting Inc.

Promoting safe and sustainable development of Canada's northern natural resources

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 Technology Validation Program (TVP) has advanced and commercialized 51 Canadian remote sensing products and services that have attracted close to $7 M in sales.
  • LOOKNorth network member C-CORE successfully installed its novel satellite ground station at the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility (ISSF) in 2017, receiving its first data from GHGSat’s Claire satellite, whose sensor testing was supported by LOOKNorth in 2014. Optimized for use with next-generation small satellites and roughly one quarter the size of conventional ground stations, its self-leveling platform ensures stability during seasonal frost heave, making it ideal for Arctic deployment.
  • LOOKNorth is partnering with Unmannned Systems Canada to develop a Canadian Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) UAS sector cluster and progress BVLOS regulations in Canada aimed at achieving an effective BVLOS operations scenario in Canada to meet a large and growing market need.
  • TVP alumnus SmartICE is supporting climate adaptation and improving safety by integrating in-situ monitoring and Inuit traditional knowledge to provide near real-time information on sea-ice conditions, which is essential for transportation, hunting and fishing. LOOKNorth is working with SmartICE to establish community-based enterprises in Northern communities and to provide satellite-based ice surveillance training to the employees.

Connect with LOOKNorth


Monitoring greenhouse gases from space
June 22, 2017
Managing carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases (GHG) is not just good for the environment. Read more
Canadian technology slashes cost of detecting iceberg hazards
March 13, 2014
Oil and gas exploration companies and transport vessels now have access to a more affordable and efficient tool to guard against icebergs in harsh ocean environments. Developed through LOOKNorth (Leading Operational Observations and Knowledge for the North), the Altimeter Iceberg Detector (AID) has already been used to help with oil exploration and a round-the-world yacht race. Read more