Hunters, bird watchers and other outdoor enthusiasts are one step closer to having an app on their phone that connects recreational users of private land with property owners.
Today at the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) office in Regina, the Minister Responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan Tina Beaudry-Mellor unveiled a prototype web application designed to allow recreational users to ask property owners for permission to access their land.
Local business Western Heritage developed the prototype as part of SARM and Innovation Saskatchewan’s Rural Property Access Innovation Challenge.
“The collaborative approach taken by Western Heritage and SARM has already resulted in a working prototype under our Innovation Challenge,” Beaudry-Mellor said. “The development team is now moving into testing to see how the app works in the real world.”
The new application, SaskLander, is intended to support amendments made to The Trespass to Property Act earlier this year. The Act requires members of the public to get permission from rural property owners before entering their land.
“The web app gives landowners the ability to specify which activities can take place on their private property and when,” SaskLander co-founder Aldo Scribante said. “SaskLander uses a map interface to show all potential land users what land is available for use. It also gives them the ability, inside the app, to ask the property owner for permission to access that land.”
SaskLander was developed through the government’s Innovation Challenge program, where Innovation Saskatchewan crowd-sources ideas from local innovators to resolve challenges or capture opportunities for citizens.
The initial idea for SaskLander was further developed through a 16-week residency with SARM and Innovation Saskatchewan. The residency gave Western Heritage the opportunity to connect with various government ministries and organizations to identify and work through potential challenges during prototype development.
“With SARM’s role in representing the interests of rural municipal government, we are very pleased with the outcomes of the Innovation Challenge and look forward to continuing to represent our stakeholder’s interests as SaskLander pilots its technology,” SARM President Ray Orb said.
SaskLander is moving into early stage pilot testing in the RM of Shellbrook. The pilot project is expected to wrap up before the end of 2020.
Background on Saskatchewan’s Innovation Challenge Program can be found at https://innovationsask.ca/initiatives/innovation-challenge/previous-innovation-challenges.
Innovation Saskatchewan’s Innovation Challenge Program
The Innovation Challenge is a government initiative to engage the technology sector with helping identify and develop innovative solutions to everyday challenges in the province. Each Challenge seeks to address a particular issue through technology and will invite applications and proposed solutions from the public. Upon evaluation of applications by a technical review panel, a winner is then selected. Winners have four months to develop a prototype, which then goes through a pilot-testing phase. Successful solutions may be commercialized.
The first Innovation Challenge resulted in the creation of BeeSecure – an asset tracking system designed to help resolve rural property thefts that is now available in the commercial market. The second Innovation Challenge, targeted at finding private property access solutions, resulted in the creation of the SaskLander prototype, which is now being tested. A third Innovation Challenge is underway to find ways to monitor the amount of solid waste generated and disposed of in the province.
Two ideas were selected from Challenge submissions. The winners are working with the Ministry of Environment and Innovation Saskatchewan to further develop their concepts.