The Government of Canada is committing $671,751 in SmartICE technology to enhance safe travel on ice in Inuit Nunangat.
SmartICE gathers real-time data on ice thickness using a GPS-like device “as unpredictable ice conditions pose safety risks to hunters and harvesters and continue to threaten Inuit traditional way of life and food security,” a federal press release stated on Wednesday.
One aspect of the project entails sea-ice monitoring in Pond Inlet, Iqaluit, Cambridge Bay, Arviat, Kugluktuk and Nain, Nfld.
There’s also an awareness campaign involving posters and maps in Pond Inlet.
“Both projects are conducted under Inuit management and in collaboration with local communities, using both science and Inuit Qaujimajatugangit (traditional knowledge). They also benefit local youth, who receive training and contribute to the safety of their communities by becoming involved in the operations of the SmartICE system,” the federal government stated.
A third project will add to a two-year SmartICE baseline initiative in partnership with the Amaruq Hunters and Trappers Association in Iqaluit. It will see a SmartQAMUTIK deployed to gather real-time ice data on areas around Iqaluit, in addition to the placement of four SmartBUOYs. Beyond collecting sea ice data, this project will help with the understanding of the marine ecosystem and sensitive coastline environments.
“The Government of Canada’s goal with this investment in SmartICE is to help Northerners, Inuit in particular, acquire, manage and use this innovative technology to safely travel on the ice and, ultimately, improve their quality of life,” said Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal. “Travelling on ice across the North is becoming increasingly dangerous in an environment impacted by climate change. Going about their daily activities can be extremely hard or even impossible at times with unpredictable ice conditions making planning difficult and putting food security in jeopardy. I want to congratulate all those working on this important project for their dedication to their communities and keeping people safe.”