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Steve DeRoy

Steve DeRoy

Credit: Steve DeRoy

  • Job title: Cartographer
  • Anishinaabe/Saulteaux from the Buffalo Clan and a member of Ebb and Flow First Nation and Lake Manitoba First Nation

Steve DeRoy is a cartographer who fell in love with art and science and was introduced to Geographic Information Systems by a friend. Steve received a diploma in cartography from Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario. He went on to receive his master of science in geographic information science at the University College London in London, England.

Firelight, the company he co-founded, began with 8 people and 10 projects that quickly turned into 100 projects. The company has now grown to 60 employees, with 35–40% First Nation, Métis or Inuit, and is 65% Indigenous owned. Since , they have worked in every province across Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. However, the most fulfilling work is done with Indigenous communities.

The Indian Act, other legislation and the effects of colonization have had a devastating effect of Indigenous people and communities. The mapping process became a healing process by connecting the past to the future and by allowing work with communities across the country and enabling them to make important environmental decisions.

"When thinking of potential employees, I look for gamers with great hand-eye coordination who love competition and love technology. The spatial elements of gamers make mapping a natural thing for them. Stay curious! Be open and expose yourself to different things – don't be afraid to fail. Try to break the technology and learn its limits – break it so we know what needs to be fixed and figure out how to fix it."

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