Information Systems

As background, there is an explosive increase in demand for delivery of ecosystem goods and services and communication using real-time Internet information platforms. This demand is also driving the need for greater access and world connectivity, such as the ongoing evolution of ‘Big Data’ analytics and commercialization of related software tools and ‘smart’ technology products.
 
As an international (Canadian) award-winning enterprise, GREENLAND® understands there is significant opportunity in Canada to establish a leadership consulting engineering position to use niche (proprietary) ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) technologies. As new software systems and smart products are introduced into the market, GREENLAND® and business partners will keep pace through their own research & development, client training, and dissemination of knowledge on how these systems relate to core GREENLAND® business units.

GREENLAND® originally distributed watershed-related software by the Government of Canada. We also developed a popular hydrologic model (Visual OTTHYMO) still being used world-wide as a stormwater management and master drainage planning tool. The following are overviews of three (3) web-based tools (owned and maintained by GREENLAND®) and also used on a regular basis for the organization’s second-to-none integrated IT and consulting services. Also, details about the history and collaborations for each web platform are presented after this page.


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After fall-out from past Canadian drinking water tragedies, GREENLAND® focused its software development resources on source water protection needs. This included the development of an integrated water budget, nutrient and contaminant loading model. This open source GIS-based program included an intuitive and stable interface whereby users were able to quickly create models from scratch. We incorporated features such as customized output files, cross scenario plotting, importing routines and search tools. In late 2004, this initiative produced CANWETTM (v1.0), and still known also as the "CANadian Watershed Evaluation Tool". We further adapted the software code in 2005-06 for TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load), assimilative capacity and watershed protection projects and as part of the Version 2.0 development program for the Province of Ontario. CANWETTM (Version 3.0) was completed in 2008. Versions 4.0 through 4.2 until 2012.


In 2013GREENLAND® and a team affiliated with the University of Waterloo, initiated an information and communication technology development joint venture (and still active today). The goal of this alliance is to utilize Canada-wide open government data resources; Big Data; web-based and mobile application tools; citizen crowd sourcing; social media marketing and other emerging technologies to engage and empower government market places to be more open, efficient and effective. In 2015, the first collaborative technology was completed – namely, the first “Big Data” version of CANWET™ and called ‘CANWET-5”. The platform was then used for P3 collaborative cumulative effects and river basin projects in Canada.
 
In 2018, the CANWET™ team was expanded to include the University of Guelph. Completed work to-date has included a ‘machine learning prototype’, as well as maintaining all capabilities and adding new / best-science predictive modelling functions too. Further announcements about new project applications will be made soon and as this partnership extends well beyond 2020.


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In 2016GREENLAND® formed a strategic alliance in Europe with private and public sector teams from Sweden and France and to initiate a new IoT Platform partnership. The initial goal was to develop a cloud-based flood forecasting, flood control and floodplain mapping system (called ISWMS™ - Version ‘2’) for watershed managers and regulatory agencies. The first collaboration was completed in 2019 and where the new web-based tool is being used now in Canada to identify real-time solutions that can minimize mixed rural & urban watershed flood damages and help prevent loss of life from flood disasters. This platform was developed for use anywhere else in the world. It includes an early warning flood forecasting system that requires powerful visualization connected to the latest (public domain) versions of HEC-HMS and HEC-RAS that are developed /maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
 
Development of the ISWMS™ Platform relied on other proprietary GREENLAND® hydrology and stormwater management modelling tools. The GREENLAND® (Canada-Europe) team consulted also with property-casualty insurers in order to develop an open/transparent system framework that could also address climate impact concerns. Other Canada-based partners included the County of Simcoe (Ontario); University of Guelph; Communitech Corporation; First Nations; and, University of Waterloo Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3) and Partners for Action (P4A) network. Finally, the U.S. software engineering firm ‘Civil-GEO’ was consulted on the project too. In late 2019, the GREENLAND® team (and also with the University of Guelph) secured new leverage funding to continue the ISWMS™ IoT Platform development program. In the meantime, GREENLAND® continues to use ISWMS™ (v.2) as a “free licensed asset” for its consulting client contracts (private and public sectors), and for new collaborations supported by Canada’s National Flood Damage Reduction Program, as well as future Smart Cities & Climate Change Adaptation - Protection Programs.


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Cumulative effects assessment is now recognized by all levels of government in Canada and Indigenous People. This policy approach considers past, present and future development stresses together and seeks to maintain impacts below agreed upon thresholds determined from historical or reference watershed conditions. This assessment methodology can effectively identify climate change issues of concern too.
 
The THREATS™ technology (owned and maintained by GREENLAND®) is a second-to-none web-based platform that is helping Canada’s resource industries to improve cumulative effects assessment procedures for capital project planning and design operations. The tool enables better defining relationships between stressors and environmental responses through more efficient data management, modeling, analyses and visualization.


Capital infrastructure project planning processes by resource companies anywhere in the world use cumbersome manual methods of assessing cumulative environmental impacts posed by a project in concert with impacts from prior and future development over an appropriate scale. The latest version of THREATS™ can provide better understandings of stressor – environmental response relationships by assessing cumulative impacts against reference states and measured responses using appropriate indicators and evaluating trends in multiple datasets over time.

The tool can now help resource industries, land developers and government agencies develop approaches to quantify impacts and risks on a secured platform and to inform better decision making by staffs. Better decisions in the planning phase will also reduce costs and potential for conflict during project consultations, environmental assessments, approvals & implementation phases. For example, mining sites designed using THREATS™ (and to minimize cumulative watershed impacts) will reduce the cost of mitigation measures during operating phases, if failures should occur. Use of the tool will also allow mining companies to examine means of achieving greater efficiencies in the management and reporting of performance monitoring operations, while also reducing life cycle operations and asset management costs.
 
There are potentially millions of dollars of cost savings by automating and improving the way the resource companies can predict cumulative environmental impacts (air, terrestrial and water) and risks associated with any extraction activities. The benefits of the latest THREATS™ web-based decision support system include the following benefits from these perspectives:

  • THREATS™ will more effectively and efficiently predict cumulative environmental effects from current and proposed resource development operations and thereby enable staff to propose effective management plans to regulators and therefore secure timely / confident approvals for capital projects;
 
  • From a public relations perspective, THREATS™ will provide a better transparency means for facilitating relations with Indigenous People and other watershed stakeholders during industry construction activities and future operations; and,
 
  • Better prediction, automation and use of available resource library databases will help reduce capital costs and keep mining facility projects on budget and on schedule.


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Client Testimonials

County of Simcoe

The County of Simcoe is the upper tier government and planning authority for most of the South Georgian Bay – Lake Simcoe Source Water Protection Region. The County, in partnership with its member municipalities, other levels of government, floodplain management agencies and two (2) conservation authorities, also provides leadership through policy, and actively in the restoration and protection of the environmental health and quality of these watersheds. As you know, in order to comply with, and be environmentally proactive with respect to the Province of Ontario’s “Places to Grow” legislation, the County of Simcoe utilized innovative decision support tools such as Greenland’s CANWET™ model. In 2012, CANWET™ was also used by the County to prepare a “Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Visioning Strategy”. To this day, the information in the Strategy’s final report is used by local municipalities, development interests and other stakeholders as a background reference to help identify sustainable development solutions.
 
This letter confirms the County of Simcoe's commitment of support which includes initially facilitating the introduction of this landmark international collaboration with all 16 local municipalities, other governments (small and large) and other agencies that partner now with the County of Simcoe on land use planning; infrastructure renewal; and flooding risk/damage reduction initiatives.
 
As always, I look forward to our continued working relationship with you and your colleagues and the significant benefits these efforts will have for our residents and environment. The County of Simcoe appreciates your efforts towards developing information based decision making tools and we are confident that this project will prove beneficial in our collaborative goal to improve watershed health for all County residents.

Mark Aitken
Chief Administration Officer
The Corporation of the County of Simcoe

October 19, 2015
 

County of Simcoe

Greenland provided exemplary consulting services to complete this landmark project. The firm’s attention to detail and proactive ideas was very important to assist the County in addressing the issues of concern about the study’s findings and also providing defendable, yet provocative, solutions based on best available science and proven technologies for the benefit of all local municipalities.

This letter confirms that the study objectives were met within the approved time frame. Greenland also provided a sizeable in-kind contribution to complete value-added deliverables and established new partnerships in terms of future watershed modeling and technology development initiatives involving the County of Simcoe. 

Rick Newlove, P. Eng.
General Manager of Engineering, Planning and Environment
County of Simcoe

May 1, 2012
 

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

In March of 2013, Greenland International Consulting Ltd. completed a study for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to estimate nutrient loading in small catchment of about 177 square kilometers in the La Salle River watershed in southern Manitoba using the CANWET 4 model. Given uncertainties in some input data and model parameters, the preliminary results using the CANWET 4 model for baseline conditions of stream discharge, nutrient concentrations and loads were satisfactory in our project team as simulated values were within the range of observed values during the validation period.

This study suggests the CANWET 4 modeling approach could be used to predict changes to nutrient loads from changing land use scenarios in watersheds of this region.

Jason Vanrobaeys
Senior Land Resource Specialist
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

 

Corporate Partnerships

Partnerships and Accreditations