Not Fully Appreciated –
Until You Start Thinking About It
By Dr. Bob Ryerson

Bob-Ryerson BIO
DR. BOB RYERSON is President of Kim Geomatics Corporation. He has held positions in remote sensing in government ranging from scientist to Director General. In the private sector, he has been Vice-President and Presi- dent in several companies. He has been elected to serve on the boards of scienti c organizations in Canada and the U.S., as well as on the boards of a number of companies and a national industry association. Ryerson and his col- league Dr. Stan Arono published the book, “Why Where Matters,” which has now sold into 29 countries. The book is available at

redarrowsDISCOVER 2012, Organized by the Ontario Centre of Excellence, is the Province Ontario’s showcase event on innovation and entrepreneurship. The conference is aimed at connecting industry and research, entrepreneur and financier, student and mentor, all with the goal of speeding innovation to market. This year there were 330 exhibitors and 2600 attendees. For the past two years it has won the award for Best Trade Show in Canada. To provide focus, there are usually several themes around which panel discussions and presentations are built. This year one of the major themes was location and geographic information. One session considered how one prospers in the GeoEconomy, which we defined in our book as the new economy driven by and dependent upon geo-information. Another panel addressed the title of our book “Why ‘Where’ Matters.”

Richard Wunderlich of Siemens said that it wasn’t until he really thought about the GeoEconomy Panel and read the book that he realized just how important “where” was to his and almost every other business. Wunderlich spoke of the new electricity distribution systems that no longer simply send electricity from a generating station to users. Today there are many sources of electricity and in some cases (think of homeowners with solar panels) there are flows of electricity both to and from one location, greatly complicating the grid.

In the “Why ‘Where’ Matters” Panel, Remi Godin, a Senior Engineer with Waste Management Inc., talked of the many ways that the 40,000 employees of his company depend on geo-information and tools – from routing trash pick-up to operating machinery at land-fills, and responding to regulatory agencies. What is the primary conclusion from the discussions? Geo-information is so widely used and so inextricably bound up in many business processes that its importance is often not fully appreciated – until you start to think about it.