Nowhere Podcast

Jonathan Neufeld

Nowhere is a monthly podcast that will feature stories about the invisible alignment of technology and society and will explore the ways in which geospatial technology affects our lives. Understanding societal values in technology design is critical for success in it’s intended use, although more often than not there are unintended consequences. The intersection of society and technology and its accidental uses provide interesting and compelling stories of how tech unexpectedly affects our lives. Nowhere is a podcast that brings you monthly episodes of inspiring, informative, and authentic discussions with technology leaders from around the world. Host Jonathan Neufeld aims to explore the intended or unintended uses of geospatial technology and its effect on the real world. read less
TecnologíaTecnología

Episodios

E.15 with Masoud Kalantari and Luke Buckberrough
08-06-2023
E.15 with Masoud Kalantari and Luke Buckberrough
On this episode of Nowhere Podcast we’re joined by Masoud Kalantari, CEO of The Rubic, and Luke Buckberrough, Chief Growth Officer at The Rubic. The Rubic is a development company that specializes in creating autonomous robotics and industrial automation solutions. Supply chain is not something most people have great knowledge about, yet it represents one of the largest industrial ecosystems in the world. When you break it down, there are several points to consider: product storage, inventory management, order fulfillment, packaging and labeling, and receiving. It’s an expansive process. This can also be a very intensive process, especially when it comes to the demands on human time and energy, as well as operational budget. However, humans are flexible and adaptable, which is something automation has lacked previously. The Rubic aims to offer this flexibility using robotic design. The robots created at The Rubic are designed to map a warehouse using a combination of lidar technology and a camera vision system. They use AI learning technologies to remember what can be found where, gaining the ability to efficiently fulfill their duties over time—no barcodes required. Anything that can be automated likely will be automated in the future, and that includes the supply chain industry, but spans across industries too. Using AI technology and robotics inside a warehouse setting allows a business to maximize their spaces in ways they couldn’t before. It helps reinforce the workforce, and it can save a business money too.
E.14 with Jason Winn
04-05-2023
E.14 with Jason Winn
Today we’re welcoming Jason Winn, Founder and Director at Narrative Infrastructure. He’s also an architect and urban planner with a focus on long-term design. The term narrative infrastructure refers to the basic structure that underlies the rest of the infrastructures that we all live around, and that’s what we’ll be talking about in this episode. Narrative infrastructure sees the world around us as a setting for our stories. All the environments that we live in are a mixing of each other’s stories. By being able to demonstrate that graphically and show how stories might be interfering with one another will tell us what the combined story is for that location. When visual cues have been erased, narrative techniques can be used to build them back with the correct references to the past. Stories that have been passed on can always be used to rebuild, whereas images in a person’s memory cannot. Jason gives an example of when recreating infrastructure becomes meaningless if stories are not used. For people who want to map the stories of their own community, it’s important to take the time to tell their own story. As long as it’s been recorded, it has the potential to be incorporated and mapped. Google Earth allows you to record voice and a flythrough on a map, which are fundamental building blocks of a narrative infrastructure. There are technological challenges with recording narratives, mainly that the stories must not be tampered with. The stories need to be ethically of the individuals who has the experiences.
E.13 with John Norman
06-04-2023
E.13 with John Norman
Our guest in this episode is John Norman, Director of Strategic Research and Development at Teren, in Lakewood, Colorado. Today, we’ll be talking about wildfire reclamation and the role of geospatial technology in this work. The 2022 Hermits Peak fire in New Mexico was the biggest in the state’s history, and 60% of its coverage was on private land. Private land owners in this area vary greatly, from those who live off the land by cutting firewood, to those who have a secondary home there. These socioeconomic conditions make this fire one of the most unusual that John has worked on. Because of the history and private ownership of the affected areas in Hermits Peak, there were thousands of individuals that needed to be contacted so the federal government could start the reclamation process. This was especially difficult because many people in the area do not use technology or are very skeptical of the government.     While also using publicly available terrain and satellite imagery, John and his team were rapidly flying LiDAR and 4-band imagery over the burned area. This process impressively only took about a week, despite covering around 600,000 acres. They were even able to analyze individual trees with the data they acquired. These fires are occurring more often, so John believes that task forces will be established to immediately come in with technology to quantify exactly what areas are the most at risk. He also hopes to see geospatial technology used to mitigate risks in areas that are prone to fires before they even happen.
E.11 - Fossil Hunting
02-02-2023
E.11 - Fossil Hunting
We’ve got three guests in today’s episode: Dr. Caleb Brown, Curator of Dinosaur Systematics & Evolution at the Royal Tyrrell Museum; Dr. Derek Peddle, Professor of Geography at The University of Lethbridge; and Sean Herridge-Berry, a master’s student at the University of Lethbridge, join us to discuss how modern technology is being used to explore ancient fossil beds. Alberta is known for being a hotbed for fossils, but why? Alberta’s rocks are the right age to preserve fossils, but these rocks have eroded at a quick rate in the badlands of Alberta. These abundant fossils are being uncovered at a high rate, which means this landscape provides a lot of information about fossils. The standard method of prospecting to find new fossils is pretty low tech: put your boots on, get outside, and keep your eyes on the ground. Generally, fossils look like any other bone. The hardest part is figuring out which fossils are most important.     An interesting fact about fossils is that they are a breeding ground for lichen, a composite organism. There is a bright orange lichen which grows on the fossils, and this orange glow can be used to identify fossils. Furthermore, fossilized material and lichen reflect the sunlight in a certain way, and Sean is currently studying how to use that to identify them in a remotely sensed image. This technology opens the door to discovering new, yet to be discovered bone beds (layers of rock with concentrated fossils). Watching million-year-old fossils collide with new technology is really interesting and will lead to even more exciting dinosaur bone finds down the road.
E.07 with Lynn Moorman and Andrew Arreak
03-10-2022
E.07 with Lynn Moorman and Andrew Arreak
On this episode we’re joined by Dr. Lynn Moormon, Professor of Physical Geography at Mount Royal University, as well as Andrew Arreak, SmartICE Nunavut Operations Lead. The Inuit people across Northern Canada rely on sea ice for hunting and access, and it also plays a large role in their culture. Knowing how to read the land and the ice has been passed down through Andrew’s family from one generation to the next. The people in his community have learned about it largely through first-hand experience. You really have to be there to understand how therapeutic it can be.     SmartICE is a co-development approach that aims to merge the traditional knowledge of sea ice with advanced data acquisition and remote monitoring technology. The goal is to create maps to help navigate ice conditions in real time using terminology that the community uses. This is becoming even more important as the climate warms. They have been utilizing Facebook to transfer the knowledge throughout Northern communities and beyond. Digitizing the sea ice knowledge is another way of helping to pass the knowledge from one generation to the next. It also helps increase confidence around ice conditions. In Andrew’s community, snow begins to fall in October, and the ice begins to form around mid-November. This is when they will begin creating sea ice maps again. Andrew loves it when he meets people out on the ice while he’s gathering data and enjoys taking the opportunity to educate them about the technology he’s using. They have been utilizing Facebook to transfer the knowledge throughout Northern communities and beyond. Digitizing the sea ice knowledge is another way of helping to pass the knowledge from one generation to the next. It also helps increase confidence around ice conditions.  In Andrew’s community, snow begins to fall in October, and the ice begins to form around mid-November. This is when they will begin creating sea ice maps again. Andrew loves it when he meets people out on the ice while he’s gathering data and enjoys taking the opportunity to educate them about the technology he’s using.
E.06 with Dr. Joshua Johnston
06-09-2022
E.06 with Dr. Joshua Johnston
Joining us in this episode is Dr. Josh Johnston. He is the Principal Investigator for the WildFireSat mission, and a career wildland firefighter. Why is managing fire important? The truth is that fire isn’t always a bad thing. The fire is a natural means of keeping the forest healthy and actually plays a large role in stimulating new growth. That said, getting too close to the fire or having too much of it can be dangerous. Sometimes fire management is about suppression, sometimes fires need to be started, and sometimes they simply need to be left alone. In instances where people are around, the objective is to put them out as fast as possible.     The WildFireSat is the world’s first purpose-built fire monitoring mission via satellite. Prior to this, the science revolved around general purpose missions. This one is specifically for fire management, and it’s a uniquely Canadian endeavor. This allows for effective tracking of fires, which will play an even more important role as the world experiences climate change. While imagery is nice to have, analysis and a breakdown of what a fire is doing—and what it is likely to do next—is more important than the visual asset. These analytics will be embedded in forthcoming products. This technology collects information regarding the landscape and classifies the threat of the fire. Decision makers who have to make a choice based upon this data will benefit the most from interpreting this data.
E.05 with Matthew Lowe
27-07-2022
E.05 with Matthew Lowe
In this episode we’re joined by Matthew Lowe, the CEO of ZeroKey. Matthew has been interested in software since he was a child. His passion developed throughout the early nineties and blossomed into his entrepreneurial career in technology. ZeroKey uses the digitization of location to bring presence to objects in a new way, and this indoor positioning technology has a lot of potential. For instance, if put to use in a factory setting, it could help you monitor processes, track material flow, and do analytics of physical processes. ZeroKey is accomplishing this on a never-before-seen precise scale.     What humans could improve on in factories specifically is the handoff point from human to technology. Hybrid assembly lines across the world face this problem, and a queued process can create huge backups across the assembly line, wasting both time and money. Indoor positioning technology could be used to make this process more effective. One significant difference between ZeroKey and their competitors is the use of ultrasound as the fundamental mechanism for location. Sound provides a higher level of accuracy than radio signals or light because it travels more slowly. This reduces errors in measuring. ZeroKey is seeing interest from autonomous vehicle manufacturers, which indicates one way this technology may be used in the future. It can also help detect safety hazards. This fundamental understanding of what’s going on to the environment opens up a world of opportunity.
E.04 with Danika Kelly
29-06-2022
E.04 with Danika Kelly
Danika Kelly is with us in today’s episode. She is the Co-Founder and CEO of My Normative, a female-focused health tracking app that can help the user gather data so they can understand more about how their unique hormone cycles impact their sleep, activity, and overall wellness. Danika is a high-performance athlete who always used apps to track her health and wellness. However, she found they simply weren’t usable because these apps didn’t take into account that she is a female. Female bodies are different, and their needs should be met accordingly, which is why she decided to start My Normative. Female-body inclusion is important in health tracking. Researchers are working on this, but they are generally very specialized. My Normative is helping to break these barriers by acting as a salient tool for researchers.     Before tracking her own patterns of behavior, Danika would say she has a tendency to “hunker down” when she’s beginning her menstrual cycle. What she’s learned through tracking is that this isn’t true. She actually spends a lot of time doing low-intensity ambient movement, which is common for women to do to mitigate pain and inflammation as their cycle begins. It can take a few cycles for the My Normative app to gather the right amount of data and hone in on one’s personal experience. Over time, the insights become even more specific to the individual. In addition to this, they’ve put in barriers to ensure privacy protection for every user.
E. 03 with Alex Gierus
09-06-2022
E. 03 with Alex Gierus
On this episode we’re joined by the CTO of Trusted Dispatch, Alex Gierus. Trusted Dispatch is an automated shipping system designed specifically for heavy equipment and freight shipping. What sets them apart from other businesses is their use of geospatial technology to link one expertly equipped driver with one shipper. Alex has a background in logistics and spent years working with the Alberta government helping to move oil, as well as working for a pipeline logistics company and a software company. When he joined the founder of Trusted Dispatch, they worked together to restart the business and the technology from the ground up. There is a lot more to take into account when shipping something oversized than you might think, such as clearance, borders, permits, and road conditions. This is where the technology behind Trusted Dispatch comes in to ensure the shipping process is safe when linked up with a driver with the right equipment.     Agriculture equipment is a commonly transported type of heavy machinery. When in transport, one combine can take up the whole highway going well under the speed limit. What’s interesting is that if it weren’t agriculture-related, this wouldn’t be allowed. This is a reflection of how much we value our farmers as a society. There’s a lot that can go wrong on the road, from difficulties finding an address to troubles crossing the border. This use of logistics for optimized routing is important when shipping large, often unique items.
E.01 with Will Cadell
06-05-2022
E.01 with Will Cadell
In this episode we’re joined by Will Cadell. He is the founder and CEO of Sparkgeo, which is a geospatial partner for some of the biggest technology brands in the world. Will sees geospatial work as a community practice because it touches so many different people. Sparkgeo recently worked with Arturo, who is in the insurance space. A large part of their work includes evaluating roof properties, and Sparkgeo worked with their team to help them make these evaluations even quicker and more effectively. Will is very interested in open data, and he values the accessibility of sharing information. That said, open data does reveal more than you think. Having structure in the data is key, but this begs the question: whose internal values are going to be reflected in the data when they decide how to structure it? Data is opinionated—and this idea can be difficult to get around. Being able to use geospatial technology can play an important role in protecting people from natural disasters like landslides, floods, and fire. The data shows there is a link between a high fire severity index and flooding. Fires can inhibit an environment’s ability to absorb water. These extreme fluctuations are connected, as one event can lead to another. Read more about the data on SparkGeo’s blog. Imagine if you were buying a home. Wouldn’t you want to know how at risk your area was for wildfires and flooding, especially amid the climate changes we’re experiencing? This is an example of how geospatial technology can be applied to help everyday people.