GET TO KNOW US

What we’re about

Geospatial Niagara is dedicated to educational opportunities that foster economic prosperity through community-minded projects. We are a not-for-profit organization that strives to provide the very best in geographic education, geospatial technology support and skilled resources to educators, students and the public alike throughout Niagara, and all of our partners beyond.

Our Vision

A Niagara in which all citizens are engaged citizens through geographic awareness and access to geospatial technologies and geospatial information.

Our Mission

To promote geo-literacy and community participation through geography. To accomplish this mission Geospatial Niagara will serve as the conduit of engagement to students, citizens and organizations in order to educate and facilitate geospatial projects and outreach.

History

Geospatial Niagara grew from a January 2013 Roundtable Discussion – A Path to a Geospatial Economic Sector for the Niagara Region. Darren Platakis invited participants from education, government and business to discuss the utilization and cultivation of the strengths and assets Niagara already possesses to create and grow a geospatial economic sector in Niagara. Geospatial Niagara was incorporated as a non-profit organization on June 18, 2014.

Strategic Goals

Connect

To connect, facilitate, build, create, promote and attract a geospatial economic sector to the Niagara region.

Inspire

To inspire citizens and students to value geography and spatial thinking through community engagement initiatives, public outreach and promoting volunteerism through geospatial projects.

Promote

To promote the value of geographic education and its connections and integration with the natural/social sciences and humanities.

Develop

To develop knowledge mobilization in order to bridge the gap between education, research, policy and practice in a range of sectors within the Niagara region.

Provide

To provide support and leadership to geographic educators and students. Support geographic/geospatial education research.

Organize

To organize meetings, conferences and events pertaining to and promoting geographic education, geospatial technologies and information while promoting Niagara as a place to live, work and do business.

Our Team

  • DARREN PLATAKIS
    DARREN PLATAKIS
    Founder/ Executive Director
  • DR. MARILYNE JOLLINEAU
    DR. MARILYNE JOLLINEAU
    Director
  • ASHLEY NORTHCOTTE
    ASHLEY NORTHCOTTE
    Director of Education
  • AIGUL DJOLOCHIEVA
    AIGUL DJOLOCHIEVA
    Project Coordinator
  • MATT MAROTTA
    MATT MAROTTA
    Director of Data Management
  • IAN LUCAS
    IAN LUCAS
    Secretary
  • RICHARD BENDELL
    RICHARD BENDELL
    Treasurer
  • TREVOR JONES
    TREVOR JONES
    Creative Design Support
  • PAUL CONNOR
    PAUL CONNOR
    Senior Advisor
  • JUSTIN SERROUL
    JUSTIN SERROUL
    Board Member
  • GEOFFREY VERKADE
    GEOFFREY VERKADE
    Board Member
  • TAYLOR MORRIS
    TAYLOR MORRIS
    Staff Member
DARREN PLATAKIS
Founder/ Executive Director

Darren is the Founder and Executive Director of Geospatial Niagara, and holds an Honours BSc. degree in Geography from Brock University (2010) and a Post Graduate Certificate in GIS/Geospatial Management from Niagara College (2011). In 2013 he was elected to the College of Fellows of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

He envisions a Niagara where every citizen is an engaged citizen through geographic awareness and access to geospatial technologies and information.

Darren suffers from ADHGID (Attention Deficit Hyper Geographic Information Disorder) This affliction was contracted through his incredible high school geography teachers and causes him to be interested in anything and everything that is remotely “geo” in nature.  Promoting geo-literacy throughout Niagara is his passion as it is through geography and geospatial technologies that he believes Niagara can be economically prosperous by capitalizing on the strengths of our post secondary institutions. He will endlessly promote Niagara as a great place to live, work and do business.

DR. MARILYNE JOLLINEAU
Director

Dr. Marilyne Jollineau is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Brock University. She is a member of the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre and is currently Interim Graduate Program Director for the Master of Sustainability Science and Society Graduate Program at Brock. Her research interests include sustainable agriculture/viticulture land-use practices, geomatics approaches to vineyard management, water resources and water quality management, geoliteracy, remote sensing of wetland ecosystems, and land-use/land-cover mapping and monitoring.

Click HERE for more information on Marilyne

ASHLEY NORTHCOTTE
Director of Education

As the Director of Education, Ashley has been responsible for planning, coordinating, and facilitating education and education related activities in support of Geospatial Niagara outreach to promote geo-literacy and geospatial technologies through Geography. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography accompanied by a Bachelor of Education, returning to complete a Post Graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems. Ashley strongly believes in the value of a geographic education and the importance of integrating natural and social science disciplines as a representation of the diverse possibilities of becoming a geographer.  Ashley is excited to contribute to Geospatial Niagara’s growth and provide support to the greater community.

AIGUL DJOLOCHIEVA
Project Coordinator

Aigul is a dedicated professional with the most recent experience in GIS project management with governmental agencies and financial and human resources management with the provincial government of Ontario. She has extensive experience in the promotion and implementation of best practices as part of programs and projects delivered by the European Union Commission TACIS program and the United States federal government agency in developing countries. Her research interests and pastimes include International Development, Ecology, Geography, hiking and Classical Music especially Rachmaninov.

MATT MAROTTA
Director of Data Management

Matt has experience working in the petroleum and banking industries, which provides him with an interesting perspective on geospatial applications. Matt completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Geography with a concentration in Geomatics at Brock University and his post graduate certificate in the GIS – Geospatial Management program at Niagara College. As the director of Data Management, Matt mainly manages the Niagara College GIS Thesis Project Database which he developed for his Honours Internship at Brock University. He is also involved with managing the Geospatial Niagara Newsletter. Matt is a strong believer in the necessity for Open Data and Open Source solutions. He enjoys remote sensing, databases, programming, data mining, web scraping, and linked data.

Click HERE to visit Matt’s website

IAN LUCAS
Secretary

Based in Pelham, Ontario, Ian is a founding partner of Public Service Request Inc. (PSR), providing Customer Service cloud-computing services to the Public Sector. Ian has been supporting Geospatial Niagara’s goals and vision since its inception, as a Board member, and in particular the treeOcode project. Ian is currently Chair of the Welland Centennial Secondary School Council. Ian also volunteers on the Board of the Niagara Olympic Track and Field Club in St. Catharines. Ian is committed to improving business and quality-of-life opportunities across the Niagara peninsula through education, involvement and promotion.

Click HERE to visit Public Service Request Inc.

RICHARD BENDELL
Treasurer

Richard graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1988 with a BA in Administrative and Commercial Studies then went on to obtain a professional Certified Management Accounting designation after four intensive years of combining work and school in 1992. His career experience includes Transport Canada, Peterbilt, Golden Mill Bakery, Velcro Canada and Trophy Foods, as well as the Regional Municipality of Niagara for almost 16 years. Personal interests include writing, listening to music, watching movies and playing hockey.  Also, in 2012, he self-published the most comprehensive book ever done about the 1972 Canada-USSR Summit Series that took 10 years to research and write. He works with the Geospatial Niagara board as Treasurer, and is happy to help contribute its success.

TREVOR JONES
Creative Design Support

Trevor is the Creative Director for a national company where he focuses on the brand development of the entire organization, including corporate and franchised locations for the last five years. Inspired by all forms of media, he attended the Arts program at Sheridan College and obtained a Creative Graphic Design Production diploma at Mohawk College.  Trevor enjoys the early stages of business development and the challenge of setting high standards for visual identity, which he has displayed through developing several branding and print marketing opportunities as a staff member for Geospatial Niagara.

PAUL CONNOR
Senior Advisor

Paul Connor, MBA is Manager, Economic Research and Analysis at Niagara Region. Prior to this posting, he served as Administrator, then President, then Senior Advisor to the Network of Angel Organizations – Ontario (NAO-O), the province-wide grouping of Angel investor groups which put funding in early-stage, scalable (usually technology) companies, and the economic impact of which was $40 of private investment for every dollar of public funding. Paul has also been an election campaign manager, school teacher, web designer and corporate communicator.

Paul joined Geospatial Niagara as a Senior Advisor to assist us with communications/marketing, economic sector research and community liaising.

JUSTIN SERROUL
Board Member

Justin is a GIS and Data Management Specialist with MMM Group Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of WSP Canada Inc. A graduate of Brock University with a B.Sc. in Physical Geography and Niagara College’s post-graduate Geospatial Management, he has spent the last 10 years in managing large spatial databases with an environmental focus. His interests include open GIS data for community involvement, environmental monitoring, and geoliteracy.

GEOFFREY VERKADE
Board Member

Geoffrey Verkade is the Supervisor of GIS Services at the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority. He is a graduate of the Fish and Wildlife Technology program at Sir Sanford Fleming College and holds a Post Graduate Certificate from the Niagara College Geographic Information Systems/Geospatial Management Program. His interests include GIS/Geomatics Information Management, Water Resource applications including hydrology mapping, floodplain mapping hydrologic/hydraulic modelling and Natural Heritage Applications including natural heritage inventory, ecological land classification mapping and data management and promotion of geoliteracy.

TAYLOR MORRIS
Staff Member

Taylor Morris is a Sir Sanford Fleming College Urban Forestry graduate, tree lover and outdoor enthusiast who’s dream is to set a world record for hugging the most trees. She recently joined Geospatial Niagara as a treeOcode Niagara coordinator and Jill of all trades.

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