GIS Application Shines Light on the ‘Dark Side of the Chew’

Esri Canada supports Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival’s Closing Film

Toronto, ON – November 4, 2014 – Canadians may be aware of the unsightly presence of chewing gum on the streets but they are largely unaware of its detrimental effects on our environment and health. In his new film, Dark Side of the Chew, award-winning filmmaker Andrew Nisker returns with an in-depth look at the world's second largest form of litter and how it threatens our health and damages the environment. Esri Canada, the leading supplier of geographic information system (GIS) solutions, contributed to the film by performing analysis of more than 7,100 km of Toronto’s sidewalks to find more than 2,000 tons of gum on the city’s streets.  The company is also developing the Gum Shoe Application aimed to raise awareness about gum pollution and is sponsoring the Eco-Hero Reception and Eco-Hero Salon at the Planet in Focus (PIF) Environmental Film Festival’s closing night festivities.

Closing night events of PIF will be held on November 9, 2014 at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. The evening commences at 6:00pm with the Eco-Hero Reception, followed by the Eco-Hero Salon where Esri Canada president and Planet in Focus Foundation chairman, Alex Miller, will present the 2014 Eco-Hero Awards to filmmaker/activist Rob Stewart and author/activist Tzeporah Berman. The presentation will then be followed by an interview of the award winners by Alex. The Planet in Focus Awards Ceremony at 7:45pm will announce award winners for Best Short Film, Best Canadian Feature and Best International Feature with the winners of the Green Pitch and Green Screen Award also being announced. The evening’s feature film, Dark Side of the Chew, will be screened at 8:10pm, followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Andrew Nisker and finally the Closing Reception will begin at 9:30pm.

Esri Canada partnered with Nisker in building an app which will be available in the near future. The Gum Shoe Application builds upon the findings presented in the Dark Side of the Chew documentary in an interactive Web-based interface. The mobile app user can record gum pollution in their neighbourhood using the camera and GPS coordinates.  Once the picture is taken, each piece of gum in the frame is identified and the collected data is sent to the backend GIS system.  Once in the system, the geocoded location applies the record to a world map where the extent of chewing gum litter can be easily visualized and analyzed.  The Dark Side of the Chew film and the Gum Shoe Application are aimed at bringing attention and awareness to how a seemingly innocuous material like chewing gum contributes to a plastic polymer environmental health issue.

“Mapping and quantifying gum pollution has never been done before,” said Andrew Nisker, filmmaker, Dark Side of the Chew.  “Being able to harness Esri Canada’s team has been invaluable. This project would not have been possible without having their technology to perform in-depth analysis to map the information and resources on a global scale.”

“As part of our ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability, Esri Canada is pleased with our involvement at this look into the impact that chewing gum has on our global community,” observed Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada. “When Andrew first approached me about his plans to investigate the devastation caused by a simple stick of gum, I was eager to find a solution that would bring awareness to this issue.”

In its 15th year, The Planet in Focus (PIF) Environmental Film & Video Festival is Canada's largest and longest running environmental film festival. PIF showcases and promotes outstanding and compelling environmental films and videos in all genres (documentaries, animation, experimental, shorts films and dramas) by Canadian and international filmmakers.

This year’s festival will take place from November 6 – 9, 2014 in Toronto.  For screening locations or more information, please visit

About Esri Canada
Founded in 1984, Esri Canada provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower businesses, governments and educational institutions to make timely, informed and mission-critical decisions by leveraging the power of geography.  The company distributes the world's leading GIS software from Esri, Schneider Electric, Cityworks – Azteca Systems, Inc. and other technology partners.  Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada.  Esri Canada has joined the elite rank of Canada’s Best Managed companies and has been named to the Branham300.  Information about the company can be found at Follow Esri Canada on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn

About Andrew Nisker
Andrew Nisker is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, author, activist and politician. His film Garbage! played at Hot Docs Film Festival and was awarded a special mention at the Cinemambiente Film Festival in Torino, Italy. Garbage! can be seen on CBC’s Documentary, Netflix, TVO, Sundance Channel, TF1 and other international networks. His second film Chemerical was awarded the people choice award at the Whistler Film Festival and is currently playing on CBC’s Documentary, Netflix (USA), TF1, YES! and other international networks. His film Orange Witness (Documentary), was granted an award at the  Cinemambiente Film Festival and hailed as a hard hitting documentary about the legacy of Agent Orange and it’s unknown domestic across Canada and around the world. Nisker regularly participates in panels and has been a part of programs at DOC Canada, NWA Green Expo for WalMart Home Office, Planet In Focus Film Festival, Northwestern University and has also been a regular jury member for Earth Day Canada’s Home Town Heroes. As an educator, Nisker has held filmmaking workshops in Canada, Italy and the United States in collaboration with various film festivals and school boards and taught part time at OCAD University in downtown Toronto.

About Planet in Focus Foundation

The Planet in Focus Foundation is a not-for-profit and member driven charitable organization whose mission it is to promote environmental education by raising awareness of critical environmental issues through a variety of media-based initiatives including; the Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival, the Green School Tours, cross-Canada Earth Day Screenings and the UN World Environment Day Student Film Festival. Also featured is the monthly screening series Salon Vert at the Hot Docs Bloor Cinema which showcases the best environmental films from Canada and around the world.


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Esri Canada: Email Contact

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