Dartmouth companies develop advanced ocean monitoring technologies

News release

Federal funding will help three Dartmouth-based ocean tech companies launch new products

January 25, 2021 · Dartmouth, Nova Scotia · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Three Dartmouth companies are preparing to launch their advanced satellite, seismic and acoustic data collection technologies. This next step will create jobs and strengthen Nova Scotia’s position as a leader in ocean sensor surveillance, artificial intelligence and monitoring technologies.

Federal government investments in technology

Today, Darren Fisher, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Dartmouth – Cole Harbour, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, announced a total of $1,313,742 in repayable contributions to help three companies pursue development and commercialization projects:

      • Global Spatial Technology Solutions Inc. is developing new satellite surveillance features with maritime management applications, including tracking COVID-19 through maritime points of entry into Canada.
      • Reftek Systems Inc. is launching its high-resolution seismic recorder in new global export markets; and
Sensor Technology Ltd is boosting production of its custom acoustic sensor products.

These innovative technologies will help protect our oceans as well as the health, safety and security of Canadians and others around the globe.

Today’s announcement further demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to Canadian businesses – helping them innovate and get new products to market. Funding for strategic projects like these ones will help the region seize new opportunities to build a stronger, more resilient and sustainable economy in communities throughout Atlantic Canada.


"I have seen firsthand the drive of Atlantic Canadians to work together and support the economy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Innovative Canadian-made solutions have emerged from various industries across the country this past year, highlighting  the solidarity, strength and resilience of our entrepreneurs. I’m proud that today’s investment in Nova Scotia firms will help them continue to do what they do best so they can contribute to Canada’s economic recovery.”

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

“Canada’s new and improved ocean technologies are used in a variety of sectors around the world, strengthening the country’s world-class blue economy. I’m pleased that our support for the innovative projects announced today will create skilled jobs in Dartmouth and enable Nova Scotian entrepreneurs to emerge from this pandemic stronger than before.”

Darren Fisher, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Dartmouth – Cole Harbour

“The growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled applications in the maritime domain is expanding rapidly. The funding from ACOA will enable GSTS to hire additional staff and accelerate the roll out of our Global Maritime Management platform – OCIANA, to meet the growing demand for decision support to save lives, energy and the environment.”

-   Richard Kolacz, CEO, Global Spatial Technology Solutions Inc.

“We almost didn’t do it. When the pandemic hit in early 2020, we wondered if we were doing the right thing by moving a Texas-based business to Nova Scotia. We are really glad we did. We have already hired seven additional people and plan to hire more this year. Reftek is a world renowned Seismic equipment company that designs and manufactures Seismic systems to monitor the effects of earthquakes. Reftek products are used the world over in structural monitoring and hazard mitigation. By moving to Nova Scotia, we gave Reftek access to the highly skilled technical staff and positive business environment that exists here.”

-   Derek Inglis, P.Eng., MBA, President & CEO, Reftek Systems Inc.

“When we moved our assembly plant of underwater acoustic sensors to the Center for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE) in Nova Scotia, we started with only one desk. In less than two years, we have expanded our footprint with more production space, new equipment and new hires. We have been fortunate to build excellent local relationships and we are thrilled with our partnership with ACOA to be able to further fund our expansion and hire the staff that we need to venture into new markets and do our part in creating a stronger blue economy.”

-   Niru Somayajula, President & CEO, Sensor Technology Ltd.

Quick facts

  • Global Spatial Technology Solutions Inc. (GSTS) is receiving a $500,000 contribution to commercialize a new risk management platform, which collects data and monitors ocean, weather and maritime activity by satellite to improve safety and efficiency in the transportation, energy and security sectors. This project will create up to 15 new jobs.

  • Reftek Systems Inc. is receiving a $420,375 contribution to establish operations in Dartmouth, increase production and commercialize its seismic recording systems, including the Wrangler, a high-resolution recorder used to monitor earthquakes and infrastructure such as buildings, dams and bridges. This project is expected to create 10 new jobs.

  • Sensor Technology Ltd. is receiving a $393,367 contribution to purchase new equipment and expand its facilities to increase its capacity to manufacture custom acoustic products, such as transducers and hydrophones, for use in the energy, oceanography and defense sectors. This project is expected to create 10 jobs.

  • Repayable funding for these projects is provided through ACOA’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program. 

Associated links


Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic
Development and Official Languages

Chris Brooks
Communications Director, Nova Scotia
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Stephen Martins
Global Spatial Technology Solutions Inc.

Krista Mulholland
Inside Sales/Marketing
Reftek Systems Inc.
902-444-7650 ext. 212

Derek Mackenzie
Marketing Manager
Sensor Technology Ltd.

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