The Canadian Geotechnical Society’s annual conference is always a highlight on the international geotechnical calendar. This year, however, the organizers in Calgary had to cancel the plan for an in-person gathering in September, due to Covid concerns and travel restrictions. We don’t have to miss the high-quality lectures, presentations, and papers, though. The CGS is hosting GeoVirtual 2020 from September 14 to 16.

Registration for this first-ever virtual event for the CGS is now open.


The Canadian Geotechnical Society is one of the oldest and most influential geotechnical societies in the world.

“GeoVirtual 2020 will be a professionally run conference that will follow a similar format to what CGS conference delegates are accustomed to,” the CGS announced in June. “We have confirmed that Dennis Becker will deliver the R.M. Hardy Keynote Address and Ariane Locat will give the 2020 CGS Colloquium. There are special sessions planned such as the Heritage Session and Women in Geotechnique panel, in addition to multiple concurrent sessions where authors will present their papers.”

Networking opportunities are also being set up.

The program is available here.

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The CGS’s entry into a major digital event is quite welcomed. It is certainly a measure that can succeed. Across the world, we are seeing more events opt to move online this year over cancelling or moving to another year.

Notably, the Australian Centre for Geomechanics pulled off a pretty epic feat in May when it held the Slope Stability 2020 conference entirely online, with almost no time to prepare. They enjoyed strong participation in the presentations, they retained their sponsorship support, and they made the entire proceedings open online.

On a smaller scale, TRI Environmental utilized online learning to deliver its popular geosynthetics CQA courses in early June.


We may be missing out on gathering in Calgary this year, but the Canadian Geotechnical Society has found a nice solution: GeoCalgary 2022. This gives the local organizers another chance to showcase the geotechnical expertise in the city within the always international context of CGS conferences.

So look for future events to be in-person, with GeoNiagara 2021 and GeoCalgary 2022.

For this year, the CGS will convene the geotechnical community online with GeoVirtual 2020. Learn more at