invited Speakers

col (ret'd) andre dupuis, president, Space strategies consulting limited 

maj (ret'd) marc fricker, president, canadian space society

dr. paris vachon, defence scientist, DRDC Ottawa

mr. william jefferies, executive director, Looknorth

mrs. maria rey, space strategies consulting limited

andre dupuis

The coming flood of Earth Observation Data: Challenges and Opportunities

Col (Ret) Andre Dupuis has over 35 years of experience in the Canadian Armed Forces in Air Defence and Space operations, mission execution and strategic planning.  Throughout his career he has been selected to lead a number of highly-visible command and transformational initiatives.  His first space operations tour was in 1986 when he was posted to the 7th Missile Warning Squadron, Beale Air Force Base California, holding the position of Chief of Tactical Operations.  He led the Canadian Space Cadre during his last 8 years in the service and had a key role in the recognition of the importance of space operations to the Canadian Forces.  His last Job in the Department of National Defence was as the Director of Space Requirements, where he was responsible for all aspects of the delivery of space capabilities to the Forces.  Upon his retirement he founded Space Strategies Consulting Limited.
Almost every day there seems to be an announcement of a new constellation of Earth Observation satellites, with the promise of good resolution, frequent refresh rates, across a broad range of the electromagnetic spectrum.  When this unprecedented amount of earth observation data is married with automated change detection algorithms, predictive analytics and increasingly sophisticated fusion techniques, the potential for a step-change in understanding the world we live will be quickly upon us.  What does the future hold and what challenges need to be address in the near-term to ensure future earth observation data can be exploited to support safety, security and defence applications.

marc fricker

Data Fusion in the hierarchy of sensors dedicated to the Surveillance of Canada’s borders

A retiree of the Canadian Forces. Marc started his career as an Integral Systems Technician (now Avionics Tech) in 1990.After completing basic training, and a posting to Comox, BC, on beautiful Vancouver Island, he was accepted for the University Training Plan for Non-Commissioned Members.He was one of the last courses to go through Chilliwack, BC before being sent to the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario.

He completed a BEng in computer hardware from the Royal Military College of Canada and received his commission in 2000.Having been accepted for a DRDB scholarship, he remained at RMC to complete a Masters of Computer Engineering, with a specialization in autonomous systems control. Following graduation, with master’s degree in hand, Major Fricker was seconded to the Canadian Space Agency, to assist with teaching astronauts how to operate the Mobile Servicing System (CanadArm 2), as part of Canada’s commitment to the International Space Station.

Returning to RMC in 2007, Maj. Fricker held the position of Assistant professor with the Electrical and Computer Engineering department, teaching undergrad courses in the field of robotics.

He ended his career with the Aurora Incremental Modernization Program as the Software Integration Manager.  Marc is currently working as a professor in the Engineering and Information Technologies department of Heritage College in Gatineau, QC.
To implement the Canada first strategy, especially concerning the surveillance of the Artic, a number of sensors will need to be employed.  These sensors will not exist on a single platform, but on many space, air, ground and sea-based platforms.  As Canada fields its upgraded CP 140 Aurora aircraft, arguably the most sophisticated C4ISR platform in the Canadian inventory, the need for intelligently fused data has become apparent.  With the Aurora, the operational community is experiencing first-hand, the type of information that is required for real-world situational awareness.  The Aurora’s experience is only uncovering the tip of the iceberg.

Current plans for Artic sovereignty include the use of space assets to identify (or ‘flag’) targets of interest to separately controlled air/sea assets for further investigation.  At present, this plan would be strife with problems associated to data-fusion simply in how each community (Space/Air/Sea) collects/receives data.  The real need that the Aurora community is discovering, shows us that all the data, from Satellite to end user (eventually on the ground) needs to be perceived and fused in a common method.  If not, the information will be useless, and the missions bound to fail.

paris vachon

Performance of the SAR-AIS Association System in Polar Epsilon

Paris W. Vachon is a Defence Scientist with Defence Research and Development Canada – Ottawa Research Centre, working on space-based surveillance in the Space & ISR Applications Section.  He was Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, an Associate Editor of IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, and twice-received the IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing Prize Paper Award.  He received the Canadian Remote Sensing Society 2013 Larry Morley Gold Medal Award and is an IEEE Fellow.
Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) conducts wide area surveillance of ships using the near-real time ship detection (NRTSD) capability that was delivered by the Polar Epsilon (PE) project in 2012.  The NRTSD system uses RADARSAT-2 (R2) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery to detect ships over wide areas.  The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a compliant VHF-based ship self-reporting system that can be received by terrestrial systems and from low earth orbit satellites.  Association of NRTSD ship detections with available AIS data could reduce operator work load in dealing with unknown contacts.  A DRDC-developed SAR-AIS Association System (SAAS) was installed in the PE processing facility in 2013 for pre-operational demonstration.  SAAS is being used to deliver AIS-enhanced R2 ship detection reports within a few minutes delay that can include AIS-derived ship identification and velocity information.  The overall rate of successful SAR-AIS association using SAAS is approaching 50% in recent months.  A limitation on the association rate is the time difference between the R2 pass and the space-based AIS receiver pass.

william jefferies

The evolution of space based maritime surveillance in Canada - A commercial perspective

William Jefferies is the Executive Director of LOOKNorth. Mr. Jefferies holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the University of Toronto, specializing in Remote Sensing. He brings to his role as Executive Director more than 34 years of experience in managing the development and delivery of operational Remote Sensing solutions to commercial, government, and defence users worldwide. Mr. Jefferies has worked with a wide variety of operational systems, including radar, optical, laser, thermal, magnetic, gravity and electromagnetic sensors in over 35 countries throughout the world.