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Access West logo and newsletter header image

November 2014 Issue

New State-of-the-Art Technology and Production Opportunities in the West

Canadian communities across the West have amassed an admirable record of success in a wide variety of economic sectors, including energy, tourism, manufacturing and technology.

The following stories demonstrate how two organizations are creating new opportunities for research, collaboration and technology.

Hollywood North: In the Game

The Motion Picture Production Industry Association of BC (MPPIA) is a non-profit organization established in April 2002. MPPIA is dedicated to building a strong and sustainable future for the film, television and digital production industry in British Columbia.

Did you know?

  • In 2012, BC generated $1.216 billion in film and television production activity which is level to that of the ICT and wireless industry;
  • In 2013, 294 productions were filmed or completed post-production in BC, including Rise of the Man of Steel (2013), Planet of the Apes (2011), and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011);
  • The film industry generated $690 million in salaries for British Columbians from 2012 to 2013.

In 2011, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) invested $510,000 in a three-year project with MPPIA to attract investments and foreign productions to the region by promoting BC as an international centre for film, television and digital production.

Picture of a film studio

With WD funding, MPPIA has raised awareness of BC’s cross-sector capabilities and competitive advantages in order to build a greater understanding of the film industry’s value within the global creative economy. WD-funded projects have enabled the film and motion picture industry to experience a renewed sense of collective action.

WD funding allowed MPPIA to develop a market intelligence database and to hold the Transmit BC Conference in 2012, which succeeded in encouraging participants to take a more competitive approach to the film industry. The database has been vital in dynamically connecting BC film and motion picture industry members with access to in-market information, industry progress reports, and resources in a timely manner. This has allowed projects to reach a high level of effectiveness and success through market preparedness, which was not previously possible.

Activities ignited by the WD project included numerous outbound trade missions and business networking opportunities between BC and Los Angeles, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. Through these newly formed relationships, Familiarization Tours were organized to allow for pre-qualified senior industry executives from other countries to tour Vancouver. This resulted in projects worth $46 million coming to BC.

Geomatics Equipment Brings New Technologies to Market for Alberta Companies

TECTERRA geomatics image analysis software
TECTERRA geomatics image analysis software

Canada is considered a global leader in the field of geomatics, which consists of tools and techniques used in land surveying, remote sensing, geographic information systems, global positioning systems, and related forms of earth mapping. In Alberta alone, there are nearly 600 geomatics companies, which generate over $1 billion in industry revenue for the province. Geomatics applications are used across various sectors, especially ones that directly benefit the western Canadian economy, such as air, oil, and gas.

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is committed to supporting and working with TECTERRA, a not-for profit organization that supports the development and commercialization of geomatics technologies for integrated resource management in Alberta and across Canada. In 2011, WD funding enabled TECTERRA to purchase specialized prototype development and testing equipment. With access to this state-of-the-art equipment, small- and medium-sized geomatics companies have received support for pilot-scale prototype development and technology testing. This funding has enabled companies to more rapidly move products from the concept stage through to testing and onto commercialization stages. As of October 2014:

  • 74 new technologies have gone to market;
  • 95 new prototypes have been developed;
  • 69 companies have accessed the Geomatics Lab creating 15 HQP opportunities;
  • 20 projects were funded under the Prototyping and Pilot Projects Program creating 31 HQP opportunities.

This month, TECTERRA’s portfolio company, Decisive Farming, was presented with the Innovation in Agricultural Science award for its achievements in farm management software and variable rate technology by the ASTech Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that promotes science and technology achievement in Alberta. Tactalis, another TECTERRA portfolio company, was also recognized at the 2014 ASTech Awards Gala as finalist in the category of Outstanding Science and Technology Start-Up, while TECTERRA was the finalist in the category of Outstanding Contribution to the Alberta Science and Technology Community.