Graduate Student Presenting At The Labrador Research Forum

Nic Durish, Master’s student in the School of Computer Science, will present some of his research at the upcoming Labrador Research Forum (May 1-3). This is the 2nd such event to be held in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and will bring together interdisciplinary researchers working in the communities of Labrador.

Nic’s presentation will take place on May 3rd at the College of the North Atlantic as part of the Community Systems session that begins at 1:15pm. Nic will lead a talk on Bridging the Digital Divide in the Circumpolar North. However, since Nic and I have been taking part in the 2019 Teaching and Learning Innovations Conference in Guelph, he’ll stream his presentation from here.

Nic has also co-authored another talk with me, titled Supporting community-based monitoring with technology in the Circumpolar North, that will be presented in the same session.

Abstracts for each are provided below.


Title: Bridging the digital divide in the Circumpolar North
Authors: N. Durish, D. Gillis, F. Seymour, K. Rourke, M. Asch, S. Raturi, B. Hughes, C. Flowers, I. Shiwak, M. Wood, J. Ernst.

Abstract:
Many communities in the Circumpolar North lack the necessary information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure required to support the collection and dissemination of data relevant to these programs. In particular, low internet bandwidth, slower internet speeds, and often a complete lack of cellular connectivity limit the ability of Northern communities to share information.

This is evident in the Inuit community of Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, where limited ICT infrastructure is a bottleneck. To bridge the digital divide, the community is exploring alternative ICT known as wireless mobile mesh networks. Wireless mobile mesh networks are formed using acollection of mesh-enabled devices that have Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, and/or Bluetooth capabilities. In particular, these capabilities are used to create connections between devices instead of to a central device like a Wi-Fi router or cell phone tower. The resulting mesh network is capable of passing data from one device to another. In this way networks can form where they are needed, as they are needed, without the overhead of installing and maintaining complicated and potentially costly ICT. In this discussion, we will begin with an overview of the lack of ICT infrastructure in the community of Rigolet. Wireless mobile mesh networks will be described; including considerations such as relevant device density required to sustain a dynamic network, maximum distance between devices to sustain a data linkage, transfer speeds, and more.

Title: Supporting community-based monitoring with technology in the Circumpolar North
Authors:D. Gillis, N. Durish, K. Rourke, M. Asch, J. Knarr, J. Samuels, A. Kipp, A. Sawatzky, J. Middleton, D. Borish, I. Bell, A. Cunsolo, I. Shiwak, C. Flowers, M. Wood, S.L. Harper.

Abstract:
Community-based monitoring has been identified as an important method for tracking and adapting to the impacts of climate change. Many communities in the Circumpolar North are interested in using technology to support collecting and sharing environment and health data to enhance climate change adaptation.

This is evident in the Inuit community of Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, where community members have been piloting the eNuk health and environment monitoring program. Led by the Rigolet community and developed in partnership with researchers from the University of Guelph, the Labrador Institute of Memorial University, and the University of Alberta, as well as the Nunatsiavut Government, eNuk has been designed to allow users to record observations while in the community and off on the land using hand held mobile devices.

In this discussion, we will begin with an overview of the community-led eNuk software, and outline design considerations that need of the community of Rigolet. This will also include a broader discussion of the potential for technology to facilitate the collection and dissemination of data within community-based monitoring programs such as the eNuk health and environment software, and the design considerations required to implement them.


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