Smart Great Lakes Initiative gains momentum at Toronto meeting

Posted by: GLOS_Admin January 16, 2020

Smart Great Lakes Logo Smart Great Lakes Toronto Meeting


On December 5, 2019, Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS), Cleveland Water Alliance, and Council of the Great Lakes Region hosted forty governmental, academic, and environmental policy leaders in Toronto, Ontario to discuss the Smart Great Lakes Initiative. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce attendees to the binational initiative, which aims to identify and meet the information needs of the Great Lakes region in order to improve the way people learn about and respond to lake events, inform critical policy, and direct future science and innovation. The meeting was also an opportunity for attendees to learn about “smart” technologies, discuss challenges and solutions to data access, management, and sharing, and understand how initiative governance will be structured as well as how to become more involved.

Kicking off the meeting was Kelli Paige, Chief Executive Officer at GLOS, Bryan Stubbs, Executive Director and President at Cleveland Water Alliance, and Mark Fisher, Chief Executive Officer at Council of the Great Lakes Region providing a welcome and brief overview of the agenda. Kelli Paige then introduced the Smart Great Lakes Initiative, which included the inspiration behind moving GLOS’s vision of using technology to make our environment “smarter” forward.

Tim Kearns, Chief Information Officer at GLOS, discussed some of the emerging trends related to smart technologies that are happening in other vectors of our personal and professional lives. Cloud, edge, machine to machine, artificial and augmented intelligence, and fog computing are all foundational components of a next generation marine IoT technology platform. GLOS is embarking on a development effort to support a growing cadre of users interested in diverse information from a host of devices and sensors deployed in the Great Lakes.

Kelli Paige then provided an overview of the Smart Great Lakes Initiative’s governance structure and how individuals may choose to participate either on a leadership team, steering committee, or as a partner. Bryan Stubbs followed to showcase Smart Lake Erie as an example of a collaborative partnership model that is successfully working in the Lake Erie region. 

Next, Mark Fisher led a discussion where attendees shared challenges and opportunities to improve data access, data management, data sharing, and data dissemination in the Great Lakes region. Issues around metadata, data credibility, standardization, and funding needs to upgrade existing technology systems were explored among others.

In closing, Kelli Paige offered ways to stay connected to the Smart Great Lakes Initiative. This included participating in a short survey, signing up for GLOS e-newsletters, and visiting our website for more information. She also highlighted a future Smart Great Lakes Initiative meeting being planned for this spring in Chicago. 

Want to get connected? Email Smart Great Lakes Liaison Katie Rousseau at