At Geothink, we explore how the Geospatial Web 2.0 is reshaping interactions between governments and citizens. From Google Maps and GPS-enabled cellphones to Tweeting about potholes and using mobile applications to find the quickest bus, Geothoughts explores how this technology is reshaping our lives.


  • Geothoughts 15: Reflections from Geothink’s Researchers at the Conclusion of the Grant

    21/09/2018 Duration: 11min

    In this episode, we take a look back and reflect on five years of fruitful Geothink research. We spoke to Geothink Head Renee Sieber, Co-Applicants Rob Fieck, Daniel Paré and Stéphane Roche, and Geothink students Rachel Bloom and Edgar Baculi about their most memorable experiences with the grant.

  • Geothoughts Talks 10: Geothink Researcher Victoria Fast

    10/10/2017 Duration: 42min

    The first day continued with a talk from Victoria Fast, a former Geothink graduate student and now an Assistant Professor at University of Calgary in the Department of Geography. In it she posed questions about accessibility and how smart cities may or may not benefit those who are most in need.

  • Geothoughts Talks 9: Montreal City Council Chairman Harout Chitilian

    09/10/2017 Duration: 21min

    Later on the first day of the Summer Institute, Montreal City Council Chairman Harout Chitilian introduced students to the ways in which Montreal aims to blend open data, new tech and entrepreneurship to make Montreal a leader in smart cities. He spoke at the Institute even as outside McGill the city celebrated its 375th anniversary.

  • Geothoughts Talks 8: Day 1 Morning Panel Session on Smart Cities

    08/10/2017 Duration: 01h18min

    Discussion began with introductions by Geothink Head Renee Sieber, associate professor in McGill’s School of Environment and Department of Geography. Presentations were given by Stephane Guidoin, open data chief advisor in Montreal’s Smart and Digital City Office and Geothink Co-Applicants Stéane Roche, associate professor in University Laval’s Department of Geomatics; Pamela Robinson, associate professor in Ryerson University’s School of Urban and Regional Planning; Rob Feick, associate professor in Waterloo University’s School of Planning; Teresa Scassa, Canada research chair in University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law; an Victoria Fast, an assistant professor at University of Calgary’s Department of Geography.

  • Geothoughts Conversations 3: Defining Smart Cities and the Human Relationship to New Decision-Making Processes

    03/09/2017 Duration: 22min

    The topic of our third Geothoughts conversation was how to make sure human concerns remain paramount in the design of increasingly digital smart cities.

  • Geothoughts 14: Toward A Just Smart City at Geothink’s 2017 Summer Institute

    02/09/2017 Duration: 07min

    In this episode, we take a look back at Geothink’s 2017 Summer Institute at McGill University in Montreal, QC from May 25-27. The theme of this year’s Institute was “Smart City: Toward a Just City.” An interdisciplinary group of faculty and students tackled many of the policy, legal and ethical issues related to smart cities.

  • Geothoughts 13: A conversation with Open North and Ajah on the challenges for open data advocacy

    01/09/2017 Duration: 37min

    In this episode of the podcast we sit down with two Geothink research partners, Open North and Ajah, to talk about the challenges they face in Canada’s current open data and open government environment.

  • Geothoughts 12: Can A Game Improve Regional and Urban Planning Processes?

    21/07/2016 Duration: 06min

    In this episode, we take a look at two Geothink researchers who are investigating how the popular video game Minecraft can be used to improve local and regional planning processes. In particular, we talk with Ryerson University Gold Medal award winner Lisa Ward Mathers, and Ryerson master’s student Jacky Li.

  • Geothoughts 11: 2016 Geothink Summer Institute Trains New Generation of Open Data Experts

    31/05/2016 Duration: 07min

    In this episode, we take a look at the just concluded 2016 Geothink Summer Institute. Students at this year’s institute learned difficult lessons about applying actual open data to civic problems through group work and interactions with Toronto city officials, local organizations, and Geothink faculty.

  • Geothoughts Talk 7: Measuring the Value of Open Data

    25/05/2016 Duration: 14min

    In a talk that helps to summarize the previous three presenters, Renee Sieber discusses the different ways in which open data can be evaluated. She details many of the common quantitative metrics used—counting applications generated at a hackathon, the number of citizens engaged, or the economic output from a particular dataset—before discussing some qualitative indicators of the importance of a specific open data set.

  • Geothoughts Talk 6: Open Data: Questions and Techniques for Adding Civic Value

    25/05/2016 Duration: 21min

    Pamela Robinson dispels the notion that open data derives value from economic benefits by instead discussing how such data can be used to fundamentally shift the relationship between civil society and institutions. She elaborates on this idea by noting that not all open data sets are created equal.

  • Geothoughts Talk 5: Geothoughts Talk 5: The Value of Open Data: A Legal Perspective

    25/05/2016 Duration: 23min

    Teresa Scassa starts our fifth talk by discussing how those working in the discipline of law don’t usually participate in the evaluation of open data. While those in law don’t actually evaluate open data, however, legal statutes often are responsible for mandating such valuation, she argues. In particular, legal statutes often require specific types of data to be open.

  • Geothoughts Talk 4: Reflecting on the Success of Open Data: How Municipal Governments Evaluate Open Data Programs

    25/05/2016 Duration: 24min

    Join Peter Johnson as he kicks off day two of Geothink’s 2016 Summer Institute by inviting students to dream that they are civil servants at the City of Toronto when the city receives a hypothetical “F” rating for its open data catalogue. From this starting premise, Johnson’s lecture interrogates how outside agencies, academics, and organizations evaluate municipal open data programs.

  • Geothoughts 10: Governing Makerspaces in Toronto with Jordan Bowden

    26/04/2016 Duration: 04min

    In Geothoughts 10, we examine a project funded by McGill University Arts Undergraduate Research Internship Award (ARIA) and Geothink. In it, one student has found a huge variance between the types of Makerspaces found in Toronto.

  • Geothoughts 9: Geothink Project Measures Open Data Standards for Consumer and Publisher Uses

    01/04/2016 Duration: 07min

    In Geothoughts 9, we examine a Geothink project on open data standards that officially kicked off in February 2015 with a Geothink teleconference call.

  • Geothoughts 8: How Technology is Reshaping Citizen Interactions on Climate Change

    01/03/2016 Duration: 08min

    Here we examine what role Canada's cities play in international solutions to climate change as well as how new technologies shape interactions in neighbourhoods with Geothink co-applicant Alex Aylett.

  • Geothoughts Conversations 2: The Nature of Democracy in the Age of Open Data

    22/02/2016 Duration: 30min

    In Geothoughts Conversations 2, we stop by McGill University to talk about the nature of democracy in an age of open data with Geothink head Renee Sieber, associate professor in McGill University’s Department of Geography and School of Environment, and Daniel Paré, associate professor in the Department of Communication and School of Information Studies at the University of Ottawa.

  • Geothoughts 7: Unpacking the Current and Future Value of Open Civic Data

    14/10/2015 Duration: 05min

    In our latest podcast, Geothink co-applicant researcher Peter A. Johnson, assistant professor of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo, discusses how the seemingly desirable ethos of open data may nonetheless hamper our understanding of how end users are interacting with government products.

  • Geothoughts 6: Leslie Shade

    30/09/2015 Duration: 03min

    In this podcast, we interview Geothink co-applicant Leslie Regan Shade, associate professor in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information. Together with PhD candidate Harrison Smith, Shade has been exploring the “cartographies of sharing,” situating the geoweb in the sharing economy of Canada. Shade is particularly interested in the political economic questions now surfacing in the media, in policy circles, and in academia.

  • Geothoughts Talk 3: Discussion on the Future of Crowdsourcing in the Public Sector

    16/09/2015 Duration: 35min

    Brabham and Goodspeed lead a discussion on where the future for crowdsourcing lies in the public sector. In particular, Goodspeed begins with an opening statement on how crowdsourcing can be used to help government agencies gain legitimacy by actually seeking input which can guide their actions. Brabham then challenges students to consider that crowdsourcing applications do fail and, even when they succeed, often can challenge whole professions that exist to collect the same data by other means.

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