Quebec’s Plan Nord and Mobile Applications

Posted on April 24, 2012

One of the great projects in Quebec today is Jean Charest’s Plan Nord. By opening up the sparsely inhabited northern areas of the province to mineral excavation, the Charest government believes it can improve living conditions for the First Nations and bring economic benefits to Quebec as a whole.

There have been and remain today a lot of controversial points of view on the Plan Nord, but this blog is not the place to discuss them. Instead, the focus will be on the mobile opportunities of the Plan Nord.

The companies that are interested in the Plan Nord are the standard mining and tools companies such as ArcelorMittal, Caterpillar, Hewitt and Xstrata. These are generally large companies, employing a lot of manpower, expensive heavy equipment and using a lot of logistics services.

Here are some ideas from Digital Possibilities on how mobile application development can enhance the Plan Nord:

1.Tool tracking: knowing where tools are, from drills, explosives to large diggers can be immensely valuable. With GPS tracking on devices, information can be sent down to servers and then made available on tablets or phones.

2.Work Distribution: mobile devices from smartphones to tablets are perfect for the distribution of work. Employees can receive their work orders on their mobile application, feedback on their progress and their status. The use of mobile devices enables work to be redistributed efficiently and hence the workforce is employed in the most efficient manner possible.

3.Logistics: an item that you may need for your work could be anywhere in the north; en route to the site, in storage or at the airport. Being able to check the whereabouts of any item from a mobile application is immensely valuable. On the other hand, being able to update the system on the progression of items in transit is absolutely essential. All can be achieved through the judicious implementation of mobile technologies.

4.Planning: from work planning to surveying to mine design can all be managed from specialized mobile applications for the Plan Nord. Any activity that requires the creation and consumption of plans and designs can be created and amended on a tablet; then sent to tablets and smartphones for amendment. The use of smartphones at the worksite can provide users the means to provide direct text, photographic and video feedback to the planner.

5.Education: if the Plan Nord is a big project for Quebec as a society, then oughtn’t Quebec know more about it and understand it? Applications can be used to inform people about the new installations being made, environment protection measures being taken and the progress of each project. Workers could even make multimedia presentations of the work they are doing to share with the population back south. It would also be a great opportunity to share the effects of the Plan Nord on the First Nations communities in the north.

There are a lot of opportunities for mobile applications to enhance the Plan North, these are but a few large ideas. Working with a mobile application development team based in Montreal, these ideas can be investigated further to come up with concrete uses for mobile in the Plan Nord projects.

Many of the companies involved in the Plan Nord have major offices in the city or are even headquartered here. Hence collaboration between mobile application development teams in Montreal and these companies would be more fluid and beneficial.

Mobile applications offer a lot of opportunities for the Plan Nord to be as efficient as possible whilst helping to create a project involving all of Quebec.