Geomatics Atlantic 2018 Confirmed Presenters

Photo of Aaron Bishop
Aaron Bishop
Research Assistant Applied Oceans Research Group (NSCC)

Aaron Bishop is a recent graduate from the Electronics Engineering Technology program at the NSCC Ivany Campus. Aaron will be working as a research assistant with the AORG team focusing on the research and development of underwater camera and light systems. His work will involve the design and construction of various electronic systems as well as the means of controlling these systems.

[source: NSCC]

Underwater camera technology development: Drop camera/Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems 

The primary focus of AORG camera development team is to create camera systems that can produce high quality imagery of underwater environments. For large-scale deep water applications, AORG has developed an 80 000-lumen ultra-high definition drop camera system easily deployed from a small fishing vessel. This system has been used extensively in the past 2 years, with over 300 deployments in the challenging waters of the Bay of Fundy.

Another area of interest is the development of small, autonomous camera systems that can provide long term monitoring options while capturing high resolution images of the seafloor. The development team is continuously designing and developing lighting solutions and innovative camera housing like the light in-oil and the 360 camera system.

Photo of Brittany Curtis
Brittany Curtis
Research Assistant Applied Oceans Research Group (NSCC)

Brittany Curtis graduated from the Ocean Technology Advanced Diploma program with honours at NSCC (Ivany Campus) and has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Victoria with a combined major in Biology and Earth and Ocean Science. She previously worked as an aquarist, a Pacific salmon fisheries observer, and as a lab technician and research assistant.  Her work with the Applied Oceans Research Group involves collecting and analyzing seafloor video data, as well as research and development of new technologies related to underwater imagery.

[source: NSCC]

Seafloor Habitat Mapping – Bay of Fundy project

The AORG has been working on a collaborative project with Fisheries and Oceans Canada  to map the Bay of Fundy using new MBES backscatter processing tools and conducting benthic ground-truthing surveys using the AORG Drop camera. From this project, we aim to create habitat maps for fisheries management purposes.  Video analysis focuses on the presence of lobster, scallop and horse mussels, as well as full species identification and benthoscape classification. This data will be used along with the MBES data to create thematic maps of the Bay of Fundy’s seafloor allowing for sustainable management of fisheries in the region. Brittany’s research will focus on assessing the distribution and diversity of Horse Mussel reefs and test the feasibility of “Structure from Motion” using 3D photogrammetry software to measure habitat complexity.

Photo of Taylor Dagenais
Taylor Dagenais
GIS Specialist Department of Municipal AffairsProvince of Nova Scotia

Taylor is a GIS Specialist with the Department of Municipal Affairs. He has previously worked a GIS Technician with the Department of Agriculture, the Town of Kentville and as a consultant in the Annapolis Valley.

He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Acadia and a Diploma in Geographic Science from COGS-NSCC.

LOCUS: An Online Municipal Planning Map Application – Coastal Planning Senarios

The Locus app is an interactive Web Map Viewer that makes spatial data available for analysis through an online Geographic Information System (GIS) to support informed and evidence based decision-making related to economic development and land use planning. It is targeted in this initial phase at municipalities and Regional Economic Networks (REN).

As noted in the Ivany Report, to increase economic development and community benefits across the province, the highest and best sustainable use must be made for land, resources and infrastructure in Nova Scotia. The Province has a wealth of spatial information that is provided through the Locus app that can be used to identify, assess and select economic development opportunities, promoting the province’s natural assets/advantages.

Photo of Dr. Emmanuel Devred
Dr. Emmanuel Devred
Research Scientist Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Dr. Emmanuel Devred is a research scientist at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) with more than 20 years of experience in the field of radiative transfer, marine optics and satellite remote sensing. His interests include the development of bio-optical algorithms, which relate information on marine constituents (e.g., phytoplankton) to the light field and are applied to data collected by satellite ocean colour sensors to derive information on the marine environment. This information, in turn, can be used to monitor the state of the ocean under climate change, and can provide scientific advice for ocean management and decision-making. His playground covers the three Canadian oceans including coastal and offshore environments.

Using Satellite Oceanography for real-time GIS 

Satellite ocean colour radiometry provides a synoptic view of the coastal and offshore marine environments at a frequency that is unmatched by other observation means. However, its full potential can only be achieved when field data are used to develop and validate algorithms that are applied to this technology to derive information on water properties such as phytoplankton biomass and production, sediment load or water transparency.

Several examples will be presented, emerging from research carried out at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO), that illustrate the development of bio-optical algorithms and demonstrate the utility of ocean-colour products to monitor the health of our oceans, to quantify changes in the marine ecosystem, and to help in the management of fisheries and protection of our oceans.

These examples include i) the early detection of harmful algal blooms in the Bay of Fundy, a recurrent issue that has severe economical impacts in term of fisheries and tourisms, ii) the discrimination of phytoplankton types to help monitor possible shifts in the marine ecosystem as a result of climate change with potential impacts on fisheries, iii), derivation of near-real time water clarity to infer bathymetry and bottom-type classification, and iv) monitoring of sediment transport by large rivers.

The presentation will also discuss the various sensors that are currently available for ocean colour measurements and the requirement of supplementary oceanography data (e.g., sea surface temperature) to increase the value of ocean colour products.

Photo of Renata Dividino
Renata Dividino
Senior Data Manager Global Spatial Technology Solutions

Dr. Renata Dividino has extensive expertise in knowledge management and artificial intelligence. She received her Ph.D. degree of Compute Sciences in Germany and has worked in diverse international research institutes (e.g. the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence & the Institute for Web Science and Technologies).

She also spent several years in research for knowledge modelling and semantic integration of disparate information sources which has been successfully applied in many domains – from drug discovery in pharmaceutical companies to identifying suspicious activities at sea.

Dr. Dividino recently left the Institute for Big Data Analytics at Dalhousie University where she researched how to better support the current and future information needs of naval decision makers aboard Royal Canadian Navy vessels to join a Halifax-based start-up – Global Spatial Technology Solutions. Dr. Renata Dividino leads the semantic Big Data integration to boost the machine learning model accuracy.

[source: Dalhousie University]

The Interplay between Knowledge Graphs and Machine Learning

Machine learning algorithms aim to make sense out of noisy data to generate data-driven insights. These algorithms, often called smart algorithms, are first given access to real-world examples of a huge data set, and then are set to detect patterns (or ‘similar data’) in other datasets in order to predict different events. As expected, the algorithms are only as good as the data behind them.

High-quality data can be extracted from knowledge graphs such as from google’s knowledge graph and Wikidata. Knowledge graphs form crucial components of modern web search engines and state-of-the art question answering systems as they provide a semantic structure to the underlying  data, i.e., data becomes a source of information that machines can easily interpret, combine and reuse. In this talk, we will discuss how companies running machine learning applications can use knowledge graphs to fine tune results and increase processing capabilities.

Photo of Jill Ejdrygiewicz
Jill Ejdrygiewicz
Research Assistant Applied Oceans Research Group (NSCC)

Jillian Ejdrygiewicz is an Honours graduate from the NSCC Geographic Sciences Diploma program at the Centre of Geographic Sciences concentrating in Cartography. She also holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Dalhousie University majoring in Marine Biology.

Her most recent work experience included a cooperative education work term with the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg as a Geographic Information System (GIS) student, and as a laboratory technician and research assistant of a Neuroscience and Veterinary Medicine research lab at the University of Calgary. Jill’s current position as a research assistant with the Applied Oceans Research Group will incorporate her passion for marine research, her GIS and cartography skills, and bathymetric data and imagery to produce a variety of print and digital maps of the ocean floor around Nova Scotia.

[source: NSCC]

Canadian Healthy Ocean Network – MPA mapping/cartography 

Collaboration between the Canadian Healthy Oceans Network (CHONe), Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Applied Oceans Research Group (AORG) is contributing to deep-sea and marine conservation-related monitoring and management approaches, specifically for the biological communities in the Laurentian Channel Area of Interest (AOI) and St. Anns Bank Marine Protected Area (MPA). Developments and advancements in acoustic survey technologies over the past few decades have allowed marine scientists to match the quality of terrestrial mapping efforts in the marine realm. Among these technologies, multibeam echosounders (MBES) have become widely acknowledged and preferred tools for wide-scale offshore mapping, producing accurate, aerial-like images of the seafloor.

More specifically, MBES backscatter, bathymetry, and bathymetry derived layers such as slope, curvature and aspect can all be used to segment and classify the ocean floor into regions with similar biophysical characteristics. They can also provide baseline data from which thematic maps (substrate maps, benthic habitat maps, species-specific habitat suitability maps) of the seabed environment can be derived. Cartographically visualizing marine environments through seafloor mapping not only helps to improve our understanding of seabed habitats, but also contributes to the facilitation of ocean management, mapping of conservation areas, and to the mitigation of increasing human impacts.

Photo of Kitrina Godding
Kitrina Godding
Geologist & Offshore Surveyor SEDNA expedition

Kitrina Godding is an offshore surveyor, geologist, rugby player and PADI Master Scuba Diver.

Kitrina became fascinated with the water, at a young age, and her passion for the ocean has has continued throughout the years. She became scuba-certified in 2007, has participated in numerous clean-up dives. She has dived in four different countries to date.

Kitrina holds a B.Sc. in Geology and Geography from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and an Advanced Diploma in Marine Geomatics from COGS in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia.

The Sedna Epic Expedition: Bringing the Ocean to Eye Level for Inuit Youth in the Arctic

The multi-year Sedna Epic Expedition is comprised of a volunteer team of women ocean explorers, scientists, photographers, videographers, artists, historians, educators and scuba divers from Canada, the USA and Mexico.

Sedna’s dive and snorkel expeditions to the Arctic (in the summers of 2014, 2016 and 2018) involved bringing the ocean to eye level for Inuit youth, girls and Elders living in remote northern communities. Sedna’s sea women bring the ocean to eye level for Inuit youth, girls and Elders via mobile touch aquariums that temporarily house sea critters and by running workshops to build underwater robots equipped with video-cameras. Taking the concept one step further, Sedna’s sea women equip Inuit girls and Elders with dry suits, masks, fins and snorkels, leading them on snorkel safaris to explore what lies beneath the waves in their own back yards.

Through its unique ocean mentorship program, the Sedna Epic aims to inspire and empower Inuit girls and young women of the Arctic—the next generation of leaders in this matriarchal Indigenous society—who will combat not only climate change but societal change in Canada’s remote northern communities.

Subject to vessel availability and funding, Sedna’s sea women will mount an epic snorkel relay of the Northwest Passage—all 3,000 kilometers of it—during the summer of 2020, conducting oceanographic research and delivering their ocean knowledge mobilization program in Inuit communities along the way.

Photo of Katharine Hayhoe
Katharine Hayhoe
Director of the Climate Science Center Texas Tech

Katharine’s research focuses on high-resolution climate projections to evaluate the future impacts of climate change on human society and the natural environment.

She has published over 125 peer-reviewed articles and served as lead author on key reports for the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the National Academy of Sciences.

[No abstract submitted …]

Photo of Steve Iris
Steve Iris
Manager and Senior Program Officer Canadian Space Agency

Since he joined the Canadian Space Agency in 2002, Mr. Iris  occupied various responsibilities. From RADARSAT-1 mission planner to manager of international relations responsible for Africa and South America, including support for the Space Affairs Advisor at the Canadian Embassy in Washington. In December 2010 he became the Mission Manager for the RADARSAT Constellation, which ensures that the entire satellite system meets mission objectives and user requirements.

The RADARSAT Constellation

RADARSAT Constellation Mission The RADARSAT Constellation is the next step in evolution of the RADARSAT Program with the objective of ensuring data continuity, improved operational use of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data and improved system in reliability.

The mission consists of three identical C-band SAR satellites flying in a constellation which will provide complete coverage of Canada’s land and oceans offering an average daily visit, as well as a potential daily access to 90% of any location on the globe.

The main objective of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission is on meeting Government of Canada User Department’s needs and requirements in Core Use Areas such as Maritime Surveillance, Disaster Management, Ecosystem Monitoring and Northern Development.

The constellation is designed primarily as a wide area monitoring system, offering medium resolution data, but it will also offer high resolution imaging capabilities, including a Spotlight Mode, as well as multiple polarization including Compact Polarimetry.

The greatly enhanced temporal revisit combined with accurate orbital control will enable advanced interferometric applications in between satellites on a four-day cycle that will allow the generation of very accurate coherent change maps. RADARSAT Constellation Mission frequent revisit capability, near real-time SAR data availability and vessel identification capabilities (through an AIS payload) will provide the capability to identify and monitor ships up before they enter national waters or ports.

The RADARSAT Constellation Mission is currently under construction with satellite launches planned for 2018. This presentation will describe the overall RADARSAT Constellation Mission system, the space and ground segments, provide an overall project status and discuss activities surrounding Canadian Government user’s operational readiness.

Photo of Karl Kenny
Karl Kenny
CEO Kraken Robotics

Karl Kenny, CEo of Kraken Robotics has over 30 years of technical and executive experience in communications, electronic navigation systems, and digital imaging.

Kraken Robotics is a marine technology company, founded in 2012, that is dedicated to the production and sale of software-centric sensors and underwater robotic systems. The company is headquartered in St. John’s, Newfoundland with offices in Nova Scotia (at COVE); Germany; and the US.


[No abstract submitted …]

Photo of Stephane Kirchhoff
Stephane Kirchhoff
Research Associate Applied Oceans Research Group (NSCC)

Following a post graduate degree in biological oceanography at Pierre and Marie Curie University in France, and an M.Sc. in ecotoxicology and oceanography at the University of Quebec in Rimouski, Stephane Kirchhoff started his professional career 16 years ago in Louisiana monitoring and studying low oxygen zones in the Gulf of Mexico as lead diver, instrumentation technologist and field data manager.

Since then, he has served technical and managing roles at Dalhousie University for two coastal ocean monitoring research projects, and the Ocean Tracking Network. Experienced with years of field operations, technical lead roles, and project management, Stephane has shaped his expertise in the ocean research environment. He has also gain invaluable experience in the private sector working for a few years for an environmental consulting company and a marine geoscience company based in Nova Scotia.

In November 2015, Stephane joined Dr. Craig Brown’s Applied Oceans Research Group at the NSCC Ivany campus. He is presently in charge of developing an underwater camera system capable of ultra-high resolution imagery to complement sonar data for benthic habitat research.

[source: NSCC]

Overview of AORG research areas

Based at the NSCC  Ivany Campus for the past 4 years, the AORG has been involved with industry and government on several marine habitat mapping research projects.  At the core of its activities, the AORG processes and analyzes MBES and backscatter data, while developing in parallel a suite of ultra-high resolution underwater imaging systems that are use extensively during ground truthing surveys. The AORG is a well-established research team that has grown and developed its seafloor mapping expertise within a stimulating NSCC environment and regional ocean technology sector.

Photo of Vladimir Kostylev
Vladimir Kostylev
Section Head for Coastal and Shelf studies Geological Survey of Canada

Dr. Kostylev is a Section Head for Coastal and Shelf studies at Geological Survey of Canada (Atlantic). He received his Masters degree in biology from Odessa University (Ukraine) in 1984 and his Ph.D. from the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) in 1996, studying the effects of habitat complexity and spatial heterogeneity on marine benthic fauna. Through his career he was fortunate to carry research in a variety of geographical areas and habitats – from polar to tropical, and from intertidal to deep-water.

Dr. Kostylev has recognized expertise in marine ecology, benthic habitat mapping, analysis of spatial heterogeneity and habitat complexity, and their applications to Ocean and Coastal Management.  He is a recipient of the Federal “Excellence in Technology Transfer” Award for successful development, transfer and commercialisation of multibeam seafloor imaging applications for the fishing industry (2008). With strong experience in interdisciplinary remote sensing studies Dr. Kostylev carries several projects related to seabed mapping and coastal erosion in Atlantic Canada and in the Arctic.

Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for coastal monitoring and surge modeling. 

Through repeat UAV surveys throughout the years 2017 and 2018, we collected high-resolution aerial photography and produced digital elevation models to observe seasonal beach dynamics. Effects of three winter storms were captured by the surveys, showing dramatic change of a gravel barrier ridge on Long (aka Miseners) beach. The storms caused breaching of the gravel ridge separating the beach from the Long Lake, turning the lake into a tidal lagoon, with water levels in the lake varying by up to 1.5 meters.

The intrusion of salt water into the lake threatened fresh water wells and coastal dwellings. Analysis of historical shore profiled, LiDAR and BathyLiDAR data showed that the beach crest has retreated by more than 20 meters since 1980’s. The elevation of the crest was slowly decreasing through this time period, followed by a sharp decrease in the winter of 2018, which was a result of strong storm surge.

A storm surge model was developed and validated using Halifax harbour tidal gauge data and applied to the Long beach. The model estimates wind, wave and barometric setup, and wave run-up based on weather and sea state observations/predictions and on the coastal site configuration (coastal morphology and nearshore bathymetry). The model explains 96% variability in observed hourly water levels. Using high-resolution digital elevation models in surge modeling improved our understanding and capacity to predict the risk of wave run-up, flooding and coastal erosion. The developed model can be used to predict surge effects at other similar gravel beaches.

Photo of Jeremy Nicholson
Jeremy Nicholson
Sales Manager CARIS Teledyne

After receiving his technical diplmoa in Geomatics from COGS, Mr. Nicholson held several survey related positions in Alberta oil fields, Confederation Bridge project, as well as an offshore surveyor for Racal surveys. in 2000, he received his BSc. Eng in Geomatics from UNB and has been working with CARIS where he leads the customer service group that delivers high quality training, consulting and support to CARIS’s global hydrographic client base.

The OGC Canada Forum

This presentation will introduce the Canada Forum which has been established is to better serve Canadian needs for geospatial data and services. The Forum is an informal organisation open to all Canadian Organisations  (including non-OGC members) and international OGC members conducting business or research in Canada. Example organisations include, but are not limited to Federal, Provincial, Territorial and Municipal governments, Indigenous Organisations, Academia, and Industry.

The Canada Forum will provide a platform for all stakeholders to increase collaboration with a focus on Canada’s requirements for sharing geospatial data and information, capacity building, innovation, outreach, industry business development, and others. The forum is also intended to provide a venue for the community to improve the level of Canadian influence in the OGC geospatial standards process and related standards partners (e.g. ISO, IHO, GEO, UN-GGIM, W3C, CGSB).

The Canadian Forum intends to inform stakeholders on the objectives of the group in the East, West and North of Canada at a series of geomatics events. Another aspect of the Forum is to identify geospatial sectors where Canada excels so that this expertise can be highlighted globally. The Marine geospatial sector is one such sector so the presentation will also focus on the data standards work being conducted that relates to Ocean data.

Photo of Alex Nunes
Alex Nunes
Solutions Engineer Ocean Tracking Network (OTN)

Alex Nunes is the Solutions Engineer at the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) headquartered at Dalhousie University. OTN’s mission is to inform the sustainable management and stewardship of aquatic animals by providing knowledge on their movements, habitats and survival in the face of changing global environments.

Alex has a Bachelor’s of Informatics Majoring in Software Systems and a Diploma in Audio Engineering. He has been contributing to OTN’s mission for the last two and a half years by researching and developing models, visualizations, and analytical tools to display, contextualize and interpret OTN biological and physical oceanographic data using R and Python.


Acoustic telemetry is an emergent technology for tracking marine species regionally and globally. Electronic tags attached to animals can log position, depth, and a suite of environmental variables, but because of the scale of the ocean, they only offer a pinpointed snapshot in space and time.

Habitat and migration of these tracked species are not ignorant of the seasonal and long-term changes in global ocean conditions that are currently underway. Oceanographic variables influence both animal behavior and the likelihood of detections. Correlating animal detections with oceanographic variables is key to understanding and improving the analysis of marine species movements. But with this correlation come new challenges of highly variable sampling effort, aggregation of detections within and across dissimilar project designs, and dealing with limited sample sizes in animals tagged/detected compared to larger oceanographic data densities and sampling rates. To improve predictions about animal movement, acoustic receiver detections, and population sizes, detections may be correlated with environmental and/or oceanographic variables/models. Leveraging community-built and maintained geospatial and visualization tools in Python/R we are able to put detections of animal movement into the context of oceanographic variables, while preserving and communicating location and time.

The Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) is a global research network uniting telemetry researchers through equipment and data sharing. Its policy makes tracking data accessible while respecting the intellectual property rights of its collaborators. OTN’s novel approach to aggregating acoustic telemetry data lets tag owners leverage the network of affiliated global acoustic receivers to detect long distance movements of their tagged animals, and to use oceanographic observations from stationary platforms and mobile AUVs to characterize the habitat during the tag detection period. OTN provides a set of geospatial and time series based analysis tools in Python, and works with the Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System (GLATOS) to provide a similar set of tools in R.

Photo of Rachel O’Neil
Rachel O’Neil
Lead Geospatial Architect Bluejack Consulting Inc.GIS Architecture and Web Mapping Services Group

Rachel O’Neil has over 18 years experience working with Geographical Information Systems as a developer, consultant, application and system architect. This experience spans across major provincial, state and federal agencies across the US and Canada.

Rachel’s master’s degree concentrated on machine learning and big data which has continued to grow and evolve into the field of GIS.

Rachel’s presentation will discuss the unique challenges associated with the nature and size of marine data, how the concept and practical implementation of the analysis of marine data can leverage big data concepts, future trends and directions. Discussion will also include existing implementations from vendor specific software to custom and hybrid applications and platforms.

Photo of Cristian Suteanu
Cristian Suteanu
Associate Professor Saint Mary’s UniversityDepartment of Geography & Environmental Studies

Dr. Suteanu is an Associate Professor cross-appointed in the Department of Geography & Environmental Studies and the Department of Environmental Science at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada. His research focuses on nonlinear analysis and modeling of natural systems. Applications include climate variability, renewable energy, natural hazards (e.g. space-time patterns associated with seismicity and volcanism, landslide dynamics), and structural aspects of geosystems from small to large scale. In addition, he studies epistemological aspects of our interactions with the environment. His courses include Environmental pattern analysis and modeling, Environmental information management, as well as Statistics, Natural hazards, and graduate and post-doc courses on nonlinear approaches to natural complex systems. Results of his research are published in journals such as Pure and Applied Geophysics, Geomorphology, Fractals, Surveys in Geophysics, Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, Journal of Environmental Informatics, Quaternary International, etc.


Environmental big data and nonlinear systems with high output rate: persistent challenges and novel solutions

Valuable environmental big data are often associated with major challenges regarding their appropriate handling. Moreover, their effective interpretation and their integration in evolving patterns with strong potential for application raise barriers that are even more difficult to overcome. This presentation argues that for challenges of such proportions, while a methodological arsenal focusing on aspects of fast handling of large amounts of environmental data of a wide diversity is beneficial, it is insufficient and sometimes inadequate. The effectiveness of efforts related to environmental big data can be notably enhanced by a comprehensive and suitably targeted assessment of the dynamic system characteristics to which the acquired data are associated. In the case of complex dynamic systems, understanding the nature of the system and monitoring its spatio-temporal change should be seen as more than an optional set of operations.

Considered in isolation, in-depth system-identifying operations can be relatively expensive in terms of time and computing resources, but they may provide insights capable of considerably improving the performance of the tools to be subsequently applied to the data. Not only can the processing time be slashed significantly, and not only can proper resources be more realistically allocated to each task: new, initially unforeseen value may be identified in the data without any additional acquisition effort. Moreover, most natural systems are complex and nonlinear. Their output is usually non-stationary and often strongly irregular. How can we make sense of their output in order to better understand them, when fast data streaming is added to their non-stationary and wild irregularity?

The paper presented addresses the above-mentioned difficulties with the help of methodologies developed by the author, which build on and incorporate some powerful approaches to nonlinear pattern analysis. A key step in this context is the transformation of time series into transition structures, which can be two-dimensional or multi-dimensional matrices. Properties of the resulting matrices are analyzed using rapid procedures and then followed in time in order to characterize systems with fast streaming output.

The methods are introduced systematically, step by step, and illustrated with practical examples. Key aspects addressed include scaling, universality, the detection of long-range correlations and their possibly spurious nature, as well as multifaceted aspects of pattern change identification. Applications concern renewable energy resources and natural hazards.

Photo of Danika Van Proosdij
Danika Van Proosdij
Chair of Geography Saint Mary’s UniversityGeography and Environmental Studies

Over the last 25 years Dr. Danika van Proosdij has been engaged in understanding how the biophysical processes of coastal ecosystems respond to natural and anthropogenic drivers of change. As a coastal geomorphologist and director of two CFI funded labs:  the Intertidal Coastal Sediment Transport Research Unit and Maritime Provinces Spatial Analysis Research Unit, she merges field studies of sediment transport and hydrodynamics with geomatics and geo-visualizing technologies to assess and enhance the resilience of these systems. This includes coastal vulnerability assessment to climate change impacts and the use of ecosystem based adaptation to manage flooding and erosion hazards in Canada, the Caribbean and Indian Ocean.

Over the last decade she has assisted the provincial government critically assess the vulnerability of their dyke infrastructure to coastal erosion and flooding, and develop best practices for management of dykelands and foreshore marshes that protect them. Her longterm engagement with CB Wetlands Environmental Specialists (CBWES) has facilitated the application of innovative techniques, including 3D hydrodynamic modelling and UAVs, to restore close to 100 Ha of tidal wetland habitat in NS.  She is currently leading $2.4M of federally funded research focused on building resilience to climate change impacts along Canada’s Atlantic coastal using nature-based adaptation strategies.


Vulnerability Assessment of Dyke Infrastructure in the Bay of Fundy: Challenges and Opportunities

The purpose of this project was to assess the vulnerability and probability of dyke over topping and/or failure in dykeland areas in Nova Scotia within the Bay of Fundy, to help inform decision making by the NS Department of Agriculture. Analysis was performed using updated surveyed dyke elevations, newly released LiDAR elevations from the Province, and other attribute data within the Dykeland Decision Support Tool (DDST).  Vulnerability to over topping and/or failure was identified as a function of water depth, crest elevation, exposure, foreshore marsh width, platform elevation and form (ramped versus cliffed), and presence or absence of armouring.  Dykes were divided into 25 m segments and attributes assigned per segment using an automated process in ArcGIS 10.5.1.  Based on the analysis, dyke tracks were coded into categories of low to high risk and viewed in conjunction with a companion project identifying assets as risk.  Historical patterns of erosion and progradation over the last 60 years were quantified using AMBUR for the 1671 individual marsh units fronting 240 km of agricultural dykes in the Province.

A robust post analysis accuracy assessment was developed and applied to empirically identify areas where reported rates of coastal change were not in line with known coastal processes and individual transects were adjusted manually as needed.   As seen elsewhere in the region, cyclical patterns of erosion and progradation were observed within each Basin however the impacts of human action on this process (e.g. armouring, engineering, dredging) were evident.  Ecomorphodynamic principles were then applied to identify areas of foreshore marsh that had the greatest or least likelihood of continuing to provide natural forms of coastal defense in the future, and time period over which this would occur.  Areas of high vulnerability were assessed for opportunities of strategic managed realignment of dyke infrastructure.

Photo of Doug Wallace
Doug Wallace
Scientific Director MEOPAR

MEOPAR (Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response Network) is an independent not-for-profit, that funds research, trains students, mobilizes knowledge and communicates results for marine risk and resilience; tackling marine challenges and opportunities for the benefit of the Canadian economy and society.

Dr. Wallace, Scientific Director with MEOPAR is a world leader in developing new technologies to measure changes in the world’s oceans.


Photo of Emma Wattie
Emma Wattie
Director Atlantic Water Network

Emma is the Director of Atlantic Water Network, and has been working with community-based monitoring organizations for the last four years. As a proud Maritimer, she’s thrilled for the opportunity to work throughout Atlantic Canada and empower local community based monitoring programs.

Her role is connect with watershed organizations, hear what resources are needed to build or improve their own monitoring programs connect these groups with other like minded organizations in the region. Emma holds a Masters of Science in Integrated Water Resource Management from McGill University, and a Bachelors of Science degree in biology from Saint Francis Xaiver University. In addition to supporting community environmental programs, Emma loves to travel, explore the local food scene and will find any excuse to get outside.

Community Environmental Water Monitoring

Atlantic Water Network is an umbrella organization with over 40 partners throughout Atlantic Canada. Their organization works with community-based water monitoring programs to bring standardization from data collection methodologies to data storage. Earlier in 2018 they partnered with the Gordon Foundation to bring Atlantic DataStream to the region.

DataStream is an open access platform for water quality data collected by community groups and governments, that was originally piloted in the Mackenzie River Basin. Atlantic DataStream is the missing piece to the puzzle for both freshwater and marine data management in Atlantic  Canada.

Photo of Dr. Tim Webster
Dr. Tim Webster
Applied Geomatics research Group (AGRG)

Tim leads a group of researchers at AGRG where they concentrate on new geomatics mapping techniques. Of late they are utilizing a topo-bathymetric lidar sensor for coastal and aquatic applications. He also has expertise in flood risk mapping, shoreline delineation, sub-watershed monitoring, geoscience and landscape evolution, quality control and mission planning for remote sensing surveys. He has written extensively on the topic and is considered an authority on the subject.

3-D data collection, analysis and visualization

With the advances in laser scanning, drone-based structure from motion, and the ability to map indoors using SLAM and structure from light, the collection of 3-D point cloud data is becoming common place. The coastal zone consists of the area around the land-sea boundary and is critical to many community’s economic development and prosperity. With issues related to ecological degradation, storm-surge flooding and erosion, the ability to map and monitor the condition of the coastal zone in 3-D is critical.

The coastal zone is a challenging place to map; techniques for mapping the land elevation do not work under water and echo sounding methods for mapping the seabed elevation work well in deep water but are dangerous and expensive in shallow water. The Chiroptera II shallow water topo-bathymetric lidar sensor can collect 3-D seamless elevation and RGB-NIR orthophoto data in coastal or freshwater environments. Drones offer the ability for low-cost repeat topographic surveys, but have challenges related to the high absolute spatial accuracy.

Recent advancements in 3-D collection technology now allow the construction of building interiors that can be merged with lidar and drone-derived point clouds to map structure such as real-estate, commercial, and historic properties. The various 3-D data can then be visualized using the latest mixed and virtual reality systems to better interpret and represent reality.

Photo of Carl Yates
Carl Yates
General Manager Halifax Water

Carl Yates joined the Halifax Water Commission in 1988 as Project Engineer and obtained his Masters of Applied Science from the Technical University of Nova Scotia (now Dalhousie) in 1992. In October 1993, he was appointed Chief Engineer of the Halifax Water Commission and held that position until October 1994 when he was appointed General Manager.

In February 1996, Mr. Yates was appointed General Manager of the Halifax Regional Water Commission which came about as a result of municipal amalgamation within the metro Halifax area. On August 1, 2007, Mr. Yates became the General Manager of Halifax Water, the first regulated water, wastewater and storm water utility in Canada with the transfer of wastewater/storm water assets from the Halifax Regional Municipality.


Living on the Edge: Adaptation and Mitigation of Climate Change  

With the Atlantic Ocean in our backyard, Halifax Water is very mindful of climate change and how it may influence service delivery in the future. It is clear that weather patterns have changed and sea level is on the rise. Halifax Water has a responsibility to adopt best practices to adapt to and mitigate the impacts from source to tap and back to the source again.

The presentation will include many of the strategies adopted by Halifax Water to ensure future generations have a sustainable water, wastewater and storm water system for the betterment of our communities and environment. These strategies include, water loss control, wet weather management, energy management and environmental stewardship.

Conference Program Schedule

The Geomatics Atlantic Conference Committee is using the Conferize application to maintain the event Agenda.