Cybera joins collaborative Alberta initiative

A new project that will connect hundreds of water-related organizations across Alberta and promote improved access to and management of water resources was announced today by Cybera. The Cloud Services for Water Management pilot project '€” a collaborative initiative between Cybera, Tesera Systems Inc., and the Grid Research Centre at the University of Calgary '€” will explore cloud computing technologies as a possible data management and storage solution. The project will build a prototype portal that will incorporate cloud computing technologies for improved sharing and manipulation of data relevant to land use planning. This includes the integration of a social networking environment and the capabilities to acquire and process data from a number of different sources, which is beyond what individual user groups can presently access.

'€œIn Alberta there are over 1,000 water-related organizations, each with their own perspectives on our water challenges and opportunities, and they are generating their own data and creating their own websites to reach out to their communities,'€ said Mike Scarth, Executive Director for Alberta WaterPortal. '€œThese are positive initiatives, so the challenge is about connecting this community of stakeholders and knowledge to add value and compliment the goals and the work that each of these groups are doing.'€

The project will build a prototype portal that will incorporate cloud computing technologies for improved sharing and manipulation of data relevant to land use planning. This includes the integration of a social networking environment and the capabilities to acquire and process data from a number of different sources, which is beyond what individual user groups can presently access.

'€œOperating in a sustainable fashion is an ongoing complex challenge for all Albertans, and this project will help by enabling new technologies to support wise decision-making to meet that challenge,'€ said Bruce MacArthur, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tesera. '€œAn important focus provincially is the Land-use Framework. This project has an opportunity to align itself with the framework by facilitating new linkages, new understandings and new opportunities for incorporating water conservation and sustainability initiatives within the regional land use plans.'€

'€œOne of our strategies to enhance innovation in Alberta is to use our exceptional information and communications networks, like Cybera'€™s high-speed network, to link people, their ideas and information,'€ said Doug Horner, Minister of Alberta Advanced Education and Technology. '€œInformation is the base for enhancing the integrated resource management system for our vital water resources.'€

Through projects such as this one, Cybera leverages funding received from Advanced Education and Technology to advance the development of Alberta cyberinfrastructure in government priority areas including resource management, energy, the environment, and information and communications technology.

'€œThe Cloud Services for Water Management project is an example of how Cybera is advancing excellence in research and business,'€ said Jill Kowalchuk, Vice President, Project and Partnership Development for Cybera. '€œThis project integrates leading-edge cloud computing, vast data collection resources, powerful computer processing, and collaborative networking environments in support of a broader initiative to promote water sustainability in Alberta.'€

The Grid Research Centre at the University of Calgary will leverage existing cyberinfrastructure that has been developed for other Cybera projects, such as the GeoChronos and EDM Studio projects, to create the Cloud Services for Water Management prototype environment.

'€œThe Grid Research Centre will provide expertise in the area of cloud computing and social networking,'€ said Rob Simmonds, Research Director for the Grid Research Centre. '€œWe will use some of the portal technologies developed for GeoChronos and EDM Studio and the cloud computing environment that was developed for use through these projects.'€

Tesera Systems Inc. will work with partners such as the Western Irrigation District and other key water stakeholder groups from across Alberta to gain access to specific water data ources, as well as to develop use cases around the portal.

Cybera and the Geosensor Web Lab, led by Professor Steve Liang at the University of Calgary, will provide project planning and technical expertise to the project as needed. In particular, the Geosensor Web Lab will provide access to existing standards-based web service tools for accessing data and provide consulting on various open geospatial standards relevant to the project.