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Arctus: a Canadian company that uses satellite data


Uploaded on December 7, 2020


Arctus: a Canadian company that uses satellite data

2020-12-07 – Canadian coastal areas are home to many people, valuable infrastructure, and unique habitats. They are sensitive to climate change and require constant monitoring to track their evolution. Meet Arctus, a Canadian company that does exactly that – with the help of satellite data. Data generated by satellites is the raw material that fuels the company’s business. Arctus uses it to map Canada’s water environments. (Credits: Canadian Space Agency, ESA, Natural Resources Canada, Arctus, Laboratoire de dynamique et de gestion intégrée des zones côtières, Université du Québec à Rimouski)


Narrator: Water is one of the most precious resources on our planet, and coastal areas are home to valuable infrastructure, and unique environments and habitats.

Coastal areas play an important role in our country’s economy, as trade flows through their ports.

They are constantly evolving and are sensitive to climate change. In order to protect them, it is important to monitor them and better understand those changes over time.

Meet Arctus, a Canadian company that does just that! How?

By using satellite data! In fact, data generated by satellites is the raw material that fuels the company’s business.

Arctus uses it to map Canada’s water environments. Dr. Simon Bélanger is the Scientific Director.

Simon Bélanger: Our company works in remote sensing, so Earth observation, and we focus on observing aquatic environments. I’m talking about oceans, rivers, lakes and estuaries.

Our company provides services to different clients: governments, scientists, industries and companies.

Narrator: Arctus is working on various projects to map Canadian coasts using satellite data.

One of them aims to map the impacts of climate change on the shore of the northern St. Lawrence River in near real time, looking at shore ice, coastal ecosystems, and suspended sediment.

Simon Bélanger: This project focuses on coastal areas, where land and water meet.

Sea levels are on the rise, as we all know. We also know that storms are becoming more intense.

They’re becoming more frequent. And because of global warming, there is less and less ice. In Canada, our coasts are often covered in ice during the winter, and that ice provides natural protection against storms that cause damage along the coasts.

So there are a number of challenges, and our project aims to offer solutions to meet those challenges.

We’ll create maps to bring all the information together, and those maps will provide decision makers with useful information.

They could be municipalities, or they could be different levels of government: local, provincial or federal.

Narrator: Arctus is also using Earth observation data to develop an environmental monitoring system for the management of industrial port areas like the Baie des Sept-Iles, home to rich coastal and marine environments.

In another project, the company is exploring ways to combine artificial intelligence with optical satellite data to measure the depth of the coastal waters.

Simon Bélanger: Satellite data is already improving the lives of Canadians, without people even realizing it.

Earth observation data can help mitigate the impact of climate change, or at least help us adapt to climate change, by helping us better understand the environment.

I want Canadians to know that there are satellite tools available in space, and they provide data that can be used to observe, document and map changes along the coast – along Canadian coasts – and that data is very valuable to the country.


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