Foundry Spatial

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Quakey allows home and business owners to generate earthquake hazard reports for their properties. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Sarah Petrescu

    Software maps earthquake risks in Greater Victoria

    A Victoria geographer is launching an online tool today that allows home and business owners to generate earthquake hazard reports for their property based on public data.

    “There is a lot of general information about how to prepare for an earthquake, but not much that targets what the impact could be on them,” said Ben Kerr, founder of Quakey Victoria.

    Kerr said he wanted to debut the service alongside the annual provincewide earthquake drill which will see thousands of students, workers and families stop, drop and cover this morning as part of the ShakeOut B.C. campaign. The region has a one-in-three probability of a major earthquake in the next 50 years.

    “The idea is to give people more information to use when they come up with family response plans and preparedness,” Kerr said.

    He is also the chief executive of Foundry Spatial, a map-based online service that uses data for water resource management.

    He founded the company in 2009 and it’s grown to employ eight people and serve mostly government clients.

    Kerr said he wanted to create a similar model for the public to generate a report about what threats a catastrophic earthquake might pose to their property that was easy and inexpensive (under $20).

    His company created Quakey Victoria, which allows clients to type in an address and get a 20-page report detailing the risk of the ground underneath. This includes the risks of ground motion, amplification and liquefaction, as well slope information and tsunami risk. The report also offers tips on how to prepare.

    Kerr helped develop the provincial earthquake hazard data for Greater Victoria and Richmond, which are the foundation of the mapping program.

    “The situation here varies in every area,” said Kerr, noting the high-risk zones are found spotted throughout the city rather than in one major area.

    “Places built on rock are in the best situation, whereas sand and clay have the greatest amplification of shaking.”

    The report does not look at factors above ground, such as building structure or materials.

    “We have a substantial earthquake risk here, but our construction methods are pretty good,” Kerr said. “Wood frames hold up well.”

    Tanya Patterson, the City of Victoria’s emergency program co-ordinator, said the recent major earthquakes in Mexico led to a spike in interest about local preparedness and workshops.

    “It definitely increases awareness and gets more people asking questions,” said Patterson, who will be at Victoria City Hall today for the earthquake drill.

    Stop, drop and hold or cover is the standard method to reduce injury during a major quake. Mexico City held an earthquake drill hours before it was struck with a magnitude-8.0 temblor on Sept. 19, which was credited with saving many lives.

    Patterson said there will also be an earthquake preparedness information booth at city hall and the ShakeZone earthquake simulator — a ride-like trailer that mimics the shaking of an 8.0 quake.

    For those who can’t take part in the ShakeOut events today, Patterson suggested visiting victoriaready.ca for more information and signing up for Vic-Alert. The program sends users an email, text or call when there is a public emergency or hazard in their neighbourhood. This can include natural disaster, as well as gas leaks and missing children. Patterson said it has been utilized six times in the past seven months.

    spetrescu@timescolonist.com

    • For more information, go to http://quakes.foundryspatial.com.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Foundry Spatial joined the Mapbox Developer Network, an exclusive international community of develop see more

    Foundry Spatial Joins Mapbox Developer Network

    Victoria, BC – December 7, 2016 – This week Victoria-based environmental consulting firm, Foundry Spatial, joined the Mapbox Developer Network, an exclusive international community of developers, designers, and geospatial professionals.

    “We use Mapbox open source tools to make complex geospatial data easy to visualize,” says Ben Kerr, CEO and Senior Water Scientist at Foundry Spatial. “Being invited to the Mapbox Developer Network recognizes the high quality of work we do, and gives us access to exclusive resources to bring to our clients.”

    Borrowing from gaming technology, Mapbox drives mapping tools for General Electric, IBM, Tableau, National Geographic and hundreds of other companies and government agencies worldwide.

    A recent example of Foundry Spatial using Mapbox tools is the new “Satellite Forest Monitoring in Canada” interactive map that shows how the country’s forest cover has changed over the past 30 years.

    “We used innovative Mapbox tools to create an easy way for people to explore huge amounts of data, smoothly displaying almost a BILLION points of satellite imagery data on the fly,” says Kerr. “This wouldn’t have been technically possible just one year ago.”

    Visit http://forests.foundryspatial.com/ to access the free map.

    Foundry Spatial created the interactive map on behalf of the Canadian Forest Service of Natural Resources Canada, partnered with the University of British Columbia, with support from the Canadian Space Agency.

    “It’s an exciting time to be in the geospatial analysis and data visualization business,” says Kerr. “Mapbox makes it easy to integrate location into any mobile and online application, and we’re now using Mapbox tools and code in our work with government and industry partners on projects around the world.”  

    Foundry Spatial’s talented programmers and geospatial experts have won numerous awards for creating high-performing, beautiful visualizations of real-world data. The team is eager to implement Mapbox technologies to solve complex data visualization problems, and welcomes all challenges.

    -copy ends-

     

    Media contact

    David Sovka
    250-580-8478
    david@foundryspatial.com
     

    About Foundry Spatial

    Based in Victoria, BC, Foundry Spatial is an environmental science and consulting firm. Our expert team of scientists and programmers builds helpful tools that turn raw data into meaningful information for smart, sustainable, resource management decision-making. We have a proven track record, having delivered hydrology modeling and decision support tools for more than one million km2 of Western Canada. For more information, visit www.foundryspatial.com

    About Mapbox

    Mapbox wants to change the way people move around cities and understand our planet. For more information about the tools, people and approach at Mapbox, visit https://www.mapbox.com/about/.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    The functionally-improved tool presents the scientifically validated hydrology modelling... see more

    Updated, Validated British Columbia North East Water Tool (NEWT)

    Victoria, BC (November 1, 2016) – A new version of the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission’s North East Water Tool (NEWT) has been released. The functionally-improved tool presents the scientifically validated hydrology modelling, to address questions about the reliability, accuracy and usefulness of the free online application, which was designed to provide information on water supply and demand in the rivers and lakes of northeast BC.

    “Improving and validating NEWT is an important step in the increasingly sophisticated way in which we sustainably manage British Columbia’s water resources,” says Ben Kerr, CEO and Senior Water Scientist at Victoria-based Foundry Spatial, the company which built the new version of the water tool for the BC Oil and Gas Commission. “In addition to validating the hydrology models used by NEWT, we also expanded the application in accordance with changes to British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act,” says Kerr.

    In March the Province of British Columbia replaced the Water Act with the Water Sustainability Act, a large framework of policies and regulations aimed at caring for BC water resources. Under the new Act, a significant amount of location-specific water information is required when applying for a water use license.

    NEWT and other, free, online tools were developed to collect, aggregate, and turn complicated water resource data into meaningful information to support water resource decision-making.

    In parallel with the scientific validation process, improvements were made to both NEWT’s web interface, and the content included in reports generated by the tool, including enhanced environmental flow needs information, and downstream rights interests. The application interface updates allow for searching by waterbody, place name, or water allocation reference, tablet compatibility, and greatly improve ease of use of the application. The reports provide more detailed hydrologic information, and watershed characteristics such as vegetation, topography and climate.

    The impetus for presenting publicly the validation of NEWT came from an Environmental Appeal Board review two years ago, in which Dr. Dan Moore, UBC Professor of Geography and Forest Resources Management, commented that the accuracy and reliability of NEWT couldn’t be determined. Foundry Spatial used validation code developed by Dr. Moore to complete a validation of NEWT, part of a suite of GIS-based hydrology decision-support tools developed by Foundry Spatial in partnership with the BC Oil and Gas Commission and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

    “Our thanks to Dan for the code which put to rest any concerns about NEWT’s scientific accuracy and validity for supporting natural resource decision-making in the province,” says Ben Kerr, CEO and Senior Water Scientist at Victoria-based Foundry Spatial. The scientifically-robust NEWT and its sister tools provide guidance on water availability across northern BC, and support the decision-making process for water use approvals and licenses.

    Visit the free, online NEWT: http://water.bcogc.ca/newt

     

    Media contact:

    David Sovka
    250-580- 8478
    david.sovka@gmail.com

    About Foundry Spatial:

    Based in Victoria, BC, Foundry Spatial is an environmental science and consulting firm. Our expert team of scientists and programmers builds helpful tools that turn raw data into meaningful information for smart, sustainable, resource management decision-making. We have a proven track record, having delivered hydrology modelling and decision support tools for more than one million km 2 of Western Canada. For more information, visit www.foundryspatial.com

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    “Teaming up with one of the world’s best hardware manufacturers makes sense for us.” see more

    Foundry Spatial teams up with hardware manufacturer, FTS

    A match made in natural resource heaven..

    Victoria, BC (October 27, 2016) - Next month Ben Kerr, CEO and Senior Water Scientist at Foundry Spatial will be at the Latornell Conservation Symposium in Ontario, meeting with conservation authorities, government and non-profit workers, students and others interested in making sound environmental decisions. That’s nothing new – Ben regularly shares his data analysis expertise with others (and regularly shows off the Fountainhead software he designed to do it).

    What’s new is for the first time Ben is at a conference with a hardware manufacturer, Forest Technology Systems (FTS) – an environmental monitoring company with more than 30 years of experience and an international footprint.

    “Teaming up with one of the world’s best hardware manufacturers makes sense for us,” says Kerr. “We’re happy to build innovative software, and leave the bullet-proof hardware design to the experts.”

    Foundry Spatial’s Fountainhead software is “technology agnostic,” meaning that it works with any kind of database, regardless of the hardware used to collect it, and whether it is stored in the cloud, on a machine, or on a local network.

    “FTS has a proven track-record of building reliable hardware for collecting data in extreme environmental conditions,” says Kerr. “And we have a proven track-record of building reliable software that turns that data into actionable information. It’s a match made in natural resource heaven.”

    How does it work?

    Fountainhead rapidly and accurately accesses and aggregates water data, then generates beautifully-presented online reports to users, including easy-to-understand charts and graphics:

    • see current water conditions in the context of historical monitoring
    • explore how past years data compare to the present, how much variability has been observed during a customizable time period, and how different time periods compare
    • understand your data side-by-side other publically-available monitoring networks

    All you need is a web browser to access the power of Fountainhead’s sophisticated data analysis and rendering tools. It does all the work for you.

    Fountainhead is used by federal, provincial/state and municipal governments; industries including oil and gas, mining, forestry and agriculture; environmental groups; First Nation communities; and a wide range of recreational users, including fishers, kayakers, and other adventurer lovers. A few places to see Fountainhead in action:

    Cariboo Water Tool: http://cariboo.bcwatertool.ca/stream

    BC Water Portal: www.bcwatertool.ca/waterportal

    Alberta Water Tool: www.alberta-watertool.com

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    A free new tool allowing government, First Nations, industry and members of the public to access... see more

    Victoria, BC – Aug 3, 2016 – Award-winning environmental science and consulting firm Foundry Spatial today unveiled a free new tool allowing government, First Nations, industry and members of the public to access detailed information on water supply in the Cariboo region of the province.

    The Cariboo Water Tool presents monitoring information from 1,500 stream flow, groundwater, water quality and weather measurement stations in the central portion of the Fraser River watershed. It also uses innovative technology to estimate mean annual and monthly discharge for user-defined watersheds at over 180,000 locations, and provides an overview of watershed characteristics including vegetation and topography, along with an overview of current climate and projected climatic conditions.

    “The Cariboo Water Tool is very fast and easy to use,” says Ben Kerr, CEO and Senior Water Scientist at Victoria-based Foundry Spatial. “Traditional hydrologic data analysis requires days or weeks to generate information to prepare and adjudicate water license applications. With the Cariboo Water Tool, users can get meaningful information within a few seconds.”

    Water license applicants can use the information from the Cariboo Water Tool to help them during the water use application process. Likewise, regional water managers can use modeled flow and environmental flow needs information to support their water allocation decisions. This allows users to not only see what the long term average water availability for their location of interest is, but also to estimate what is happening at locations where there is no monitoring data.

    “The Cariboo Water Tool joins a suite of GIS-based tools we developed to support decision-making on water-use planning and approvals,” says Kerr. Building on the success of the Northeast, Northwest, and Omineca Water Tools, and the Water Portal, the Cariboo Water Tool summarizes information on all water-use licenses, and provides government decision-makers with guidance on environmental flows and potential water supply in a format that is transparent, readily accessible, and easily interpreted.

    Developed by Foundry Spatial for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, together with the Ministry of Environment and the BC Oil and Gas Commission, the BC Water Tools are unique in North America as water resource decision-support tools.

    Quick Facts:

    • The information used in the Cariboo Water Tool was developed through a modeling process that used 119 hydro metric stations in BC, the Yukon and Alaska.

    • The Cariboo Water Tool allows users to generate reports describing the hydrology of over 180,000 watersheds in the region.

    • The Cariboo Water Tool includes information on currently active water approvals issued under the Water Sustainability Act.

    • The Cariboo Water Tool includes historical and current environmental monitoring data from over 1,500 locations in the region.

     

    Cariboo Water Tool: http://cariboo.bcwatertool.ca

    Omineca Water Tool: http://www.bcwatertool.ca/owt

    Northwest Water Tool: http://www.bcwatertool.ca/nwwt

    BC Water Portal: http://www.bcwatertool.ca/waterportal

    Alberta Water Tool: http://alberta-watertool.com

     

    MEDIA CONTACT

    David Sovka
    250-580-8478
    david.sovka@gmail.com

     

    ABOUT FOUNDRY SPATIAL

    Based in Victoria, BC, Foundry Spatial is an environmental science and consulting firm. Our expert team of scientists and programmers builds helpful tools that turn raw data into meaningful information for smart, sustainable, resource management decision-making. We have a proven track record, having delivered hydrology modeling and decision support tools for more than one million km2 of Western Canada. For more information, visit www.foundryspatial.com

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    The Alberta Water Tool provides real-time information on the quantity of water available... see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    A small Victoria firm is intent on making a big splash in the Alberta oil and gas market with a new online tool that puts the power of water into the hands of exploration companies.

    Foundry Spatial, a six-year-old environmental consulting firm, has just launched the Alberta Water Tool, which provides real-time information on the quantity of water available in any location where exploration may take place.

    Founder and chief executive Ben Kerr said the tool draws water information from 30,600 surface and groundwater allocation points and 185 hydrometric stations for 181,000 unique watersheds in Alberta. He said that means companies will be able to make better exploration decisions and in a more timely manner.

    Kerr, who started the company after working as a computer mapping specialist for the provincial government for eight years, said water has become a huge issue for the oil and gas industry, where hydraulic fracturing and shale gas are key players.

    “It’s changed the whole industry. They need water to produce petroleum,” he said.

    Kerr said the data they mine is readily available, but it can take days or weeks for consultants to pull it together in what is often a very costly report.

    Instead, Foundry Spatial has built technology and a delivery system that allows exploration firms and government ministries to log into the database and produce a customized report on a specific area in real time.

    “We do it at a fraction of the cost,” Kerr said. Foundry Spatial charges by volume. A single report would be $1,000, but a company that needs them often could pay as little as $400 each. “Companies want to do it themselves and do it now,” said Kerr.

    The tool was originally developed by Foundry Spatial for the B.C. government, and the company is paid to maintain its technology and continue to provide the product.

    The first version of the engine was developed in 2012 for the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission and was recognized with a B.C. Premier's Award for Regional Innovation.

    “It helps resource managers in government as well as water users get access to information about how much water there is, what existing demand is for it and what the environment needs all in a matter of seconds,” Kerr said.

    The technology developed by Foundry collects the data, builds a computer model and extrapolates information from that about areas that are unknown.

    “It lets you choose any spot you’re interested in and produce a report describing that exact location,” Kerr said.

    Though it was just launched two weeks ago, Kerr has already secured one Alberta client, with another five expected to sign on in the coming months.

    He said the quiet oil and gas market has helped, rather than hurt. “Our value proposition is efficiency,” he said. “So it’s an ideal time to launch a product in Alberta if a product is about saving people money.”

    While oil and gas is driving the market for the product right now, Kerr said it has applications for mining, agriculture, forestry, First Nations and basically anyone who requires water.

    “This technology [is] of interest to every single industry because every single industry depends on water,” he said.

    The company has also developed tools that help people find and access environmental monitoring information, and is working on a product that will allow people to look at a specific location — such as their homes — and see what effect a massive earthquake would have on it.

    “It will let them see what could potentially happen to their property and offer suggestions on how to mitigate the damage,” he said.

    - See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/business/victoria-firm-helps-to-pinpoint-crucial-industry-water-supplies-1.2283221#sthash.5bbw4ujJ.dpuf

     

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Visit www.bcwatertool.ca/ to access the tool. see more

    Victoria, BC – March 1, 2016 – This week the Province of British Columbia replaced the Water Act with the Water Sustainability Act, a large framework of policies and regulations aimed at caring for BC water resources. 

    Under the new Act, a significant amount of location-specific water information is required when applying for a water use license. Fortunately, a free, online tool exists to collect, aggregate, and turn complicated water resource data into meaningful information to support water resource decision-making. 

    Visit http://www.bcwatertool.ca/ to access the tool.

    “The best decisions are made when you have the best information,” says Ben Kerr, CEO of Foundry Spatial, and lead developer of the BC Water Tool. “The BC Water Tool provides the information most users need for the first step in applying for a water use licence.”

    The new Act includes requirements for groundwater use and licensing, well construction and maintenance, dam safety, and compliance. For the first time, users of BC groundwater for non-domestic purposes like irrigation, industry, water bottling and municipal water systems require a water license and must pay fees and annual water rentals, just like surface water users. 

    First Nations, industry, researchers, and members of the public can use the BC Water Tool to access accurate, science-based information on water supply in the northern regions of BC using an online, map-based program that supports decision-making on water use planning and license approvals.

    “The BC Water Tool is for everybody interested in our water,” says Kerr. “It’s fast, and it’s free.”

    Traditional hydrologic data analysis can take a week or two to collect and prepare the required information for water use license applications. The BC Water Tool takes minutes, and has no cost to access the most up-to-date information available. 

    The BC Water Tool uses innovative technology to produce data for each watershed, including estimates of stream flow for rivers, lakes and streams, watershed characteristics such as land cover, climate and impacts from predicted future climate change across northern BC.

    Developed by Victoria-based Foundry Spatial, with the support of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the BC Oil and Gas Commission, the BC Water Tool is unique in North America as a water-resource decision-support tool. But not for long. 

    “This is just the beginning,” says Kerr. “We’re very excited to be rolling out sophisticated tools that support sound water resource management in other regions of Canada. Next month we will release the first Alberta Water Tool.”


    Media contact:
    David Sovka
    250-580-8478
    david.sovka@gmail.com 

    About Foundry Spatial
    Based in Victoria, BC, Foundry Spatial is an environmental science and consulting firm. Our expert team of scientists and programmers builds helpful tools that turn raw data into meaningful information for smart, sustainable, resource management decision-making. We have a proven track record, having delivered hydrology modeling and decision support tools for more than one million km2 of Western Canada. For more information, visit www.foundryspatial.com 

    About the Water Sustainability Act
    More information about the new Water Sustainability Act and the new regulations can be found at: http://www.gov.bc.ca/water.

     

  • VIATEC posted an article
    Ben Kerr is a Victoria native, mountain biker, foodie, father, CEO and Lead Analyst for Foundry Spat see more

     

    You won’t believe what the panelists called Ben Kerr during Experience Tectoria’s Showcase Showdown!

     


    Ben Kerr is a Victoria native, mountain biker, foodie, father, CEO and Lead Analyst for Foundry Spatial, and our Tectorian of the Week!

     

    There can be no arguing that Ben is not a true Tectorian.  He was born and raised here, is a UVic geography grad, gets involved in local organizations with his two young daughters, is growing a local tech company doing very cool things, and says “I have never had a reason to leave and plan for it to stay that way! Victoria has such a beautiful natural setting and it is really beginning to emerge culturally and business-wise. I feel like Victoria is starting to build an amazingly unique new identity which is up there with the best places in the world!"

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Foundry Spatial

    Foundry Spatial provides environmental analytics SAAS tools, with a primary focus on water.  They offer customers complete, streamlined environmental and watershed information - meaning they can answer questions that directly impact the viability and sustainability of both a business, and its surrounding environment.

    Ben started the company out as a one man environmental consultancy, or as he recalls, “me in my garage with a bunch of spiders."  Over the last 6 years Foundry Spatial has grown steadily, and now they're rolling out a national service at the end of the year, that will provide a network of waterway understanding all across Canada!

     

    Why would someone need to know how much water is in a river?

    The Showcase Showdown panel asked Ben the same thing during Experience Tectoria.  His answer really helped to win over everyone in the room, because of the information he provided, and the affable manner in which he responded.

    If you asked Ben again he would say “people need water to drink and for day to day life. Fish and all kinds of other animals depend on rivers for their livelihoods. Farmers use the water from rivers to grow the food we eat. Industries need water too to keep our economy going, things like hydro and energy production, pulp and paper, and oil and gas. With demand growing from all these sectors and the challenges we're facing in a changing climate, technology can help us find balance. It's everyone that cares about water!”

    Ben and Foundry Spatial participated in both the Demo Camp and Showcase Showdown during Experience Tectoria.  In the Showcase Showdown he reached the final pairing, and the panel called him "the hands-down friendliest contestant!"

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     What's next for Foundry Spatial?

    They have their sights set on expansion across the rest of North America in the next three years. Ben asserts that “we'll continue to prioritize the areas of greatest need, where demand and shortages are causing conflict.”

     

    From water, to gravel (and the end of this article)

    Ben started his career in gravel exploration. It may not be the most widely appealing topic, but Ben loves it, so one of the guys in his office offered to add some flair to that story for him...

     

    Born at age 7, Ben knew that one day, he would grow up to stare at rocks in a serious way. One day, he found the best gravel he had ever seen, but his bucket was broken.

    His desire for gravel persists, driven by the one that got away.

    The one gravel.

    The end.

     

    If your interest is piqued - click here to learn more about Foundry Spatial